Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Election of Barack Obama Triggered Ron DeSantis

I have been hesitant to buy into the idea that the GOP's descent into madness and fascism was triggered by this country's election of our first African American president. I think it dates back farther than that - to the era that spawned the party's embrace of the so-called "Southern Strategy" on the heels of the Civil Rights movement. 

And yet it is hard to ignore the impact President Barack Obama had on conservatives. Ta-Nehisi Coates captured a lot of that in a piece titled "The First White President: The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy."

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally...Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness...Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.

Interestingly enough, the first black president also triggered Trump's chief rival for 2024 - Ron DeSantis. The year before he first ran for Congress in 2012, DeSantis published a book titled: "Dreams From Our Founding Fathers," whose title is a blatant ripoff of Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father." If that isn't bad enough, take a look at how DeSantis copied the cover:

From what I've read, the DeSantis book is hard to come by because it was printed by a "vanity press" - meaning that it was funded by the author with very few copies in print. But here's what Kimberly Leonard wrote about it:

Dreams from our Founding Fathers" doesn't just take heavily from Obama's autobiography. Throughout, DeSantis uses excerpts from Obama's campaign promises, speeches, and legislation. It shows DeSantis had carefully studied the president and his agenda...

DeSantis was also critical of Obama personally, calling him "first in his own mind" and saying, "he actually believed that he was a historically special figure." In one section of the book, DeSantis wrote that Obama lacked the humility of George Washington, the first US president.

He wrote that Obama had a "palpable cockiness" and "made outlandish claims about his own significance as an individual." He accused the Obama campaign of having a "messianic posture."

In other words, this white guy from Florida thought that the country's first African American president was "uppity." Eleven years after writing that, DeSantis released a video claiming to be uniquely chosen by God to be a "fighter." Go figure! 

The book also seems to have captured the roots of the governor's desire to whitewash (literally) history. Here's what David Waldstreicher wrote about that (emphasis mine):

[T]he most revealing and consequential element of his book is not so much his drawing of a straight line from the founding precedents to the Tea Party movement’s dissent over big government. It’s rather how his entire reading of American history is enveloped in both unquestioning fealty to the Founders and an insistence that the role of slavery, and race more broadly, in that history does not seriously change anything about how we should understand the birth and development of our country...

It becomes necessary for DeSantis to cleanse the Founders from any connection to slavery. In his first chapter, he tries to make quick work of those who stress the “personal flaws” of great Founding Fathers (i.e., their enslavement of other humans). First, an explicitly antislavery Constitution couldn’t possibly have been ratified, he writes—we should rather trust the good faith of the “strongly anti-slavery” Founders (Hamilton, Franklin) who supported it anyway. Slavery had been a “fact of life” throughout history...Moreover, “the philosophical foundations of the Constitution are incompatible with slavery.” This made slavery “doomed to fail” in the new republic. In the end, “the Constitution was created despite the existence of slavery, not because of slavery.” Most of its provisions had nothing to do with slavery anyway, according to DeSantis.

I happen to agree with the idea that "the philosophical foundations of the Constitution [all men are created equal] are incompatible with slavery." That is why it became necessary to dehumanize slaves and claim they were biologically inferior - leading to the development of "scientific racism."

Waldstreicher goes on to point out that "hereditary racial slavery was a new thing associated with the Americas," meaning that it had not actually been a "fact of life" throughout history. In suggesting that most of the Constitution's provisions had nothing to do with slavery, DeSantis ignored the fact that things like "the three-fifths clause, its highly calibrated brand of federalism, and the Electoral College, contributed mightily to slavery’s survival and even expansion in the United States."

All of this comes from the guy who now wants to tell teachers what they can/can't teach about Black history, while claiming that an AP Black studies course is "lacking in historical value."

It is not surprising that a racist like that would be triggered by the election of Barack Obama.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

About that poll Scott Adams referred to...

Scott Adams, creator of the cartoon strip "Dilbert" and major Trump supporter, has been been in the news lately for the blatant racism he espoused in this video. 

I was curious what poll he was citing to suggest that "nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people." As it turns out, he was referring to one from Rasmussen, a firm with an obvious GOP bias. About a week ago they released the results of a poll that included these two questions.

1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s OK to be white.”

2. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.”

Right wing news sites reported that the results demonstrated that "voters are not buying into woke racial politics and anti-white attacks from liberals" because "72% agreed with the statement, 'It’s OK to be white.' Even a majority of black people, 53%, agreed." Apparently Scott Adams saw things differently and zeroed in on the 47% of Black people who didn't agree with that statement.

The phrase "it's OK to be white" seems pretty innocuous, but that's only if you don't know its origin. 

The phrase “It’s Okay To Be White” is a slogan popularized in late 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the controversial discussion forum 4chan. The original idea behind the campaign was to choose an ostensibly innocuous and inoffensive slogan, put that slogan on fliers bereft of any other words or imagery, then place the fliers in public locations. Originators assumed that “liberals” would react negatively to such fliers and condemn them or take them down, thus “proving” that liberals did not even think it was “okay" to be white.

That trolling campaign was so successful that Rasmussen polled the slogan - allowing right wing sites to proclaim that voters aren't buying into woke racial politics and Adams to say that anyone who doesn't agree with it is part of a "hate group."

This is how the party whose mantra has become "America is not a racist country" fuels racism as their platform.  

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The New Red Scare: Republicans Attack Chinese-Americans as Infiltrators

It has become clear that the only tool in the Republican toolbox is fear. They want us afraid of each other. But it doesn't end there. A concerted effort is being made on the right to identify China as the biggest threat we face in the world today. 

I'm not here to defend anything China is doing, and a case can be made that President Biden is being tougher on that country than all of Trump's hair-raising rhetoric. But in their quest to spread fear, Republicans have taken a page from Senator Joe McCarthy's book and started attacking Chinese Americans.

The case in point starts with a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray accusing Dominic Ng, a banker that Biden appointed to serve on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council, of being tied to two Chinese intelligence front groups. 

Their claims are based on an article in the Daily Caller by Philip Lenczycki, who suggested that Ng was executive director of the China Overseas Exchange Association (COEA) until 2017 and still serves in that capacity at the related China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA). Lenczycki goes on to write that both are considered fronts groups for the United Front Work Department (UFWD), a CCP agency responsible for both influence and intelligence operations. Of course, he also includes the fact that Ng donated money to the Biden Victory Fund and the DNC.

Before taking a look at those claims, it is helpful to note that Dominic Ng is president of East West Bank in California. He transformed that institution from a small savings and loan association with $600 million in assets into a full-service commercial bank with total assets of $62.6 billion. Ng has received numerous awards for his work in banking, the arts, and philanthropy. 

Ng was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States to attend college. But here's a critical part of his heritage (emphasis mine):

He grew up as the youngest of six children in Hong Kong. His parents were among the 1 million people who fled there from communist China in 1949 and were forced to remake themselves. Ng’s mother, who came from a wealthy family in Shanghai, suddenly found herself penniless. His father drove a school bus; his mother sewed school uniforms.

Obviously Ng's parents weren't particularly fond of "communist China."

When it comes to the Daily Caller's accusations, here's Ng's response to the specifics. 

In a statement Thursday, the East West Bank said Ng was not an active member of either of the groups cited by the Daily Caller. Ng had been invited to take an “honorary position” in the China Overseas Exchange Association in 2013, one of the two groups, but never attended COEA meetings or paid membership dues, the bank stated. Ng withdrew his name from the group, “citing non-participation,” according to the bank.

“Mr. Ng has had no connection with COFA or ever agreed to serve as an executive director of COFA,” East West Bank added, referring to the China Overseas Friendship Association.

Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, issued this statement (emphasis mine):

As with every presidential appointee, Dominic Ng, who is Chinese American, has undergone an extensive vetting process and sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution and serve the American public. He has had a distinguished career as Chairman and CEO of East West Bank for 32 years. We are extremely disturbed and outraged—but not surprised—that some of our Republican colleagues in Congress would undermine his candidacy and even question his loyalty to the United States based entirely on loose claims of association trafficked on extreme-right outlets with extensive histories of spreading misinformation.

For that, Rep. Chu came under attack herself. 

“I think that Judy Chu needs to be called out,” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tex.) told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Wednesday. “I question her either loyalty or competence."

That wasn't the first time. The same author at the Daily Caller has leveled similar accusations against Congresswoman Chu in the past.

These attacks on Chinese-Americans are coming at a time when Asian-Americans are being subjected to increased levels of violence in this country. They are beyond shameful! Whether it's the reporters/editors at the Daily Caller or Republicans who spread their lies, I have one thing to say to them:  

Thursday, February 23, 2023

White Nationalists Opened J.D. Vance's Eyes to the Opportunity to Fan White Racial Fears

Let's take a look at the timeline around the train derailment in Ohio, with a specific focus on how the state's Republican senator, J.D. Vance, responded.

January 28 - February 4

News coverage was obsessed with the Chinese spy balloon crossing the United States.

February 3

Toxic train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. That day, Vance posted this on Twitter:

February 4

Vance tweeted that his team was monitoring the situation in East Palestine and that he was praying for everyone's safety. 

February 7

President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union speech. Here's an excerpt:

My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.

Maybe that’s you, watching at home.

You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away.

I get it.

That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind.

Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.

February 12 

A political group named American Virtue posted this video on Twitter: 

American Virtue is a project of the far-right American Bull Moose Foundation, and, according to the nonprofit group Political Research Associates, appears "to be a venue for young White nationalists to curry favor with a new crop of MAGA-aligned political figures" (emphasis mine). It is meant to be, that organization reported, a more mainstream version of Nick Fuentes' far-right white nationalist group, America First.

All of the sudden, right wingers switched from balloon mania to lighting their hair on fire about the train derailment.
February 13

After not mentioning the situation in East Palestine for nine days, Vance issued a statement and paid a visit to Tucker Carlson, where he claimed that "we are ruled by unserious people" (ie, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg) who are focused on whether we have too many white men in construction jobs instead of the (white) residents of East Palestine - who are "our people."

You may wonder why I inserted that excerpt from Biden's State of the Union speech into this timeline. It's because two conservative pundits referred to it when writing about the response of Republicans to the train derailment. For example, Sohrab Ahmari (a prominent National Conservative) introduced his column in praise of Vance and Rubio with this:
In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Joe Biden sounded about as populist as he ever has. “My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten,” he declared. “Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.” Turning to the home viewer, he added: “Maybe that’s you, watching at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away. I get it.”

Good stuff. The train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, was an opportunity for Biden to show that he really “gets it,” by coming to the rescue of America’s forgotten men and women, and holding accountable the market and governmental elites responsible for their misery. But the president utterly flubbed it—giving an opening to two of the GOP’s most serious populist rising stars to step into the breach.

What we can see from this is that "pretend populists" like Ahmari and Vance were seriously threatened by the success of Biden's focus on "a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America." When a white nationalist organization like Virtue America made them aware of the opportunity to stoke white working class racial fears as a result of the train derailment in Ohio, they jumped on it.

On a side note, during Obama's presidency I wrote a lot about the way he used "conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy" and often included this quote from Mark Schmitt:

One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that's not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists -- it's a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.

Take a look at Buttigieg doing exactly that in response to Senator Rick Scott. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

MAGA World Can't Handle the Truth - Even From Fox News

I have often thought that David Frum was prophetic when, back in 2010 following the passage of Obamacare, he wrote this in a column titled "Waterloo" (emphasis mine).

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination…If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

The fact that the real GOP leaders were on TV and radio had become even more clear by the time David Hopkins wrote this in 2017:

The turmoil in Republican ranks is often described as pitting the party’s leadership class against an unruly popular “base.” But as scholars of public opinion often point out, few citizens develop strong political opinions or are mobilized to political action without influence from trusted authorities. What’s changed is whom voters are listening to: Unelected elite actors, especially conservative media figures, are gaining influence over the behavior of Republican voters while officeholders and candidates are losing it.

One of the people who was obviously listening to those "unelected elite actors" in conservative media was Donald Trump. He developed such a symbiotic relationship with them (especially Fox News) that the phenomenon of a Trump-Fox feedback loop was documented by reporters. 

But something seems to have gone awry. According to documents filed in the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News, the network amped up the Big Lie about a stolen election in 2020 because they were afraid of losing their viewers.

Newly released messages show Fox executives fretting [in November 2020] over an uncomfortable revelation: that if they told their audience the truth about the election, it could destroy their business model.

That all seems to have come on the heels of Fox telling the truth about the fact that Biden won the state of Arizona - something the MAGA crowd didn't want to hear. Viewers had to be won back by spreading the Big Lie - even though everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Tucker Carlson knew it was untrue. 

From that, it might seem that the MAGA crowd is more attuned to Trump than they are to right wing media. But I don't think that's the case. You might remember that a few months ago this happened.

When the former guy told the truth about covid vaccines and admitted to getting boosted, the MAGA crowd booed him. 

One of the reasons I've become pessimistic about the possibility of the MAGA fever breaking is that they seem to have welded their epistemic bubble completely shut. Here is what Julian Sanchez (who coined the term "epistemic closure") said about that a few years ago:

So an “echo chamber” just means you never hear any contrary information. The idea of “epistemic closure” was that you WOULD hear new and contrary information, but you have mechanisms in your belief system that reject anything that might force you to update your beliefs…

I bring this up now, because the Trump ecosystem has developed a pretty sophisticated set of epistemic closure mechanisms that work to reject new information that might otherwise pose a problem.

Even when Fox News or Donald Trump tell MAGAites the truth, those epistemic closure mechanisms click in to reject it. To get back into the good graces of MAGA world, even their leaders have to re-embrace the lie. 

That's how far down the rabbit hole these folks have gone. I'm not sure how they will ever manage to come back. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

What it Will Take to Win the GOP Presidential Nomination

An awful lot of ink is being spilled these days on how GOP presidential hopefuls stack up against the former guy. But in talking about DeSantis, Katherine Stewart has written an important piece about how the Florida governor is walking the same path that Trump forged.

Authoritarianism may come to America on three wheels: a style of politics that emphasizes grievance and performative cruelty, the support of a critical number of hyper-wealthy individuals, and an alliance with the Christian nationalist movement.

Stewart walks through the first two wheels and then points out that not as much attention has been paid to the third wheel. She posits that it was Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s endorsement of Trump (followed by the rest of the "court evangelicals") that was the turning point in the 2016 primary. 

As Trump and DeSantis understand equally well, the path to power in today’s Republican Party passes through an “endorsement” from the Almighty.

So DeSantis put out an ad suggesting that on the eighth day (IOW, post-creation), God decided that he needed a protector and made a fighter - all while images of the governor in heroic poses flash across the screen. That was DeSantis's shot at anointing himself as the one having the "endorsement" of the Almighty.

It may be working. Trump announced his 2024 candidacy shortly after the November midterm elections. But most of the big names among the court evangelicals are keeping their powder dry.

Many conservative Christian leaders who once rallied behind Trump and reveled in his policy victories now say they are interested in new standard-bearers for 2024...While conservative Christian pastors and political leaders often expressed interest in potential candidates besides Trump, DeSantis came up repeatedly as a “fighter” on hot-button social issues important to their demographic...

Painting oneself as a "fighter" in the culture wars (against "wokeness") seems to be the critical task for anyone running as a GOP candidate. Stewart explains why.

The belief that the United States is engaged in “spiritual warfare” is arguably the defining doctrine of supporters of the Christian nationalist movement today. They want a leader who gets that America is engaged in an apocalyptic struggle with demonic forces (often articulated as liberals, secularists, or just plain Democrats). They want a man—a certain type of rough, bullish man—who won’t let rules and niceties get in the way of the fight to restore the nation to righteousness.

Here's how DeSantis put that in a fundraising email:

Our country is currently facing a great threat. A new enemy has emerged from the shadows that seeks to destroy and intimidate their way to a transformed state, and country, that you and I would hardly recognize.

This enemy is the radical vigilante woke mob that will steamroll anything and anyone in their way. Their blatant attacks on the American way of life are clear and intensifying: stifling dissent, public shaming, rampant violence, and a perverted version of history.

That last line is, once again, a perfect example of how every accusation is a confession

This week Nikki Haley announced her candidacy. Her big nod to the Christian nationalists was to have John Hagee provide the invocation at her campaign kickoff rally. He is the pastor who claims that the Holocaust was a divine plan from God, Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for Pride parades in New Orleans, and women are “only meant to be mothers and bear children.” When Haley began her speech she said, "To Pastor Hagee, I still say I want to be you when I grow up.”

On fighting the enemy, Haley is walking a bit of a tightrope. Her image is one of eschewing the nastiness (ie, performative cruelty) that has so consumed right wing politicians these days. 

Still, Haley makes the claim that she's a fighter. At the end of her introductory campaign video she identifies the "socialist left" (ie, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris) as bullies who think "we can be kicked around." Then she says this:

You should know this about me. I don't put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you're wearing heels. 

That's a cute line, but it won't be enough for those who think that "America is engaged in an apocalyptic struggle with demonic forces."

No GOP candidate will ever surpass Trump in his ability to emphasize grievance and performative cruelty. The one play the rest of them have is to vie for the "endorsement of the Almighty" as they ramp up fear about the demonic forces on the left. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

With Republicans, Why Is Every Accusation a Confession?

If you've been watching closely, something interesting is happening with Republicans.

  • While they complain about "cancel culture," they're banning books and telling educators what they can/can't teach.
  • While they're accusing the Biden's of corruption, Trump and Jared Kushner engaged in the most blatant example of high-level corruption in recent American history.
  • While they claim Democrats weaponized government, Bill Barr and John Durham blatantly weaponized the DOJ.
That is why we have come to see that, with Republicans, every accusation is a confession. Psychologists call this projection, or a self-defense mechanism characterized by a person unconsciously attributing one's own issues onto someone or something else as a form of delusion and denial.

Of course, there are people - like Karl Rove - who use projection as a political strategy. One way to inoculate yourself against an accusation is to project it onto your opponent. But most of the MAGA folks are too ignorant to pull that one off on a regular basis. 

Instead, it all starts with wanting to attack your opponent - especially her/his motives. But interestingly enough, that takes empathy, or an ability to understand another person from their point of view. That is not a skill these Republicans have developed. As a matter of fact, they've demonized schools for wanting to teach it to children.

If you want to attack your opponent, but lack the ability to understand where they're coming from, your only option is to project onto them what you would do in similar circumstances. In other words, your only frame of reference is yourself. 

So you are likely to accuse your opponent of corruption because that's what you would do in similar circumstances (or what you did). If you weaponized DOJ to go after your opponents, you'll accuse them of doing so.

As House Republicans use their new-found majority to go on the attack, what we are actually watching is a grand example of their own projection. There's a word for that one too: self-own, or "when someone inadvertently embarrasses themselves, especially by doing something that backfires on them."

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Right Wing Attack on Foundational Values Like Inclusion, Compassion, and Empathy

This video of Tennessee state senator Raumesh Akbari caught my attention. 

I too, never thought I'd live long enough to see diversity become a dirty word, along with values like equity and inclusion. But that is happening all over the country as we speak. It gets even worse. 

The curriculum these people are objecting to is part of the national commitment to "social emotional learning" (SEL) that has recently come under attack by right wingers. At the West Shore School District in Pennsylvania, it's called "Character Strong." Here's a screenshot taken from their web site:

That mother is saying that teaching these values violates her "Christian" faith. WTF?!!

What we are witnessing is an attempt to turn all of these foundational human values - from inclusion to compassion - into political footballs. One side of the political spectrum is for them (ie, the "woke mob") and the other side against. 

I'm old enough to remember the days when Democrats and Republicans disagreed about things like federal spending, taxes, and foreign policy. Those feel like the good old days. The battle has now shifted to being about whether or not to reject the very values that are at the heart of - not just our democracy - but our humanity. So yeah, it's time to WAKE UP America!

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Trump Is Just Upping the Ante on DeSantis's Big Lie

With the 2024 presidential election still more than a year and a half away, we're hearing a lot of commentary on the upcoming battle for the GOP nomination between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Frankly, I don't have a dog in that fight, and all the speculation about the "better" or "worse" possibility is boring. But there is something interesting that is developing. 

Trump first announced his candidacy in mid-November. For a couple of months, he didn't really do much except rail on social media. But now he's started holding rallies and is pretending to put out an agenda by releasing short videos, like this one about an "education policy."

The former president called for cutting federal funding for any school or program that includes "critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial sexual, or political content onto our children." He also vowed to end teacher tenure and promised to “keep men out of women’s sports.” 

Does any of that sound familiar? It sure does if you've been paying any attention to what is happening in Florida.

A few days later Trump released another video.

Trump said he would push Congress to pass a law banning gender-affirming care for minors nationwide, order the Justice Department to investigate the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals to see whether they “deliberately covered up horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich” and cut off doctors from Medicare and Medicaid — a potential career-ender for many doctors — if they treat trans youths with hormones or surgery.

In addition, he said he would make it easier for patients who later regret having received gender-affirming care as minors to sue their doctors, calling the procedures “unforgivable.”

Trump also said his policy changes would extend to education.

He has already vowed to create a “new credentialing body for teachers” regarding the teaching of race history, adding that the panel would “promote positive education about the nuclear family, the roles of mothers and fathers and celebrating, rather than erasing, the things that make men and women different.”

As Steve Benen pointed out, all of that is interesting given that "in 2016, Trump had no real interest in targeting the LGBTQ community."

[T]he Republican, in apparent seriousness, said he would be a “better friend” of the “LBGT” [sic] community than Hillary Clinton. Just two days after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Trump added, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you.”

In preparation for 2024, the former guy has simply stolen the moves made by DeSantis in Florida and ramped them up. Perhaps that is because, as writer umair haque suggests, DeSantis's Big Lies have made Trump's seems almost quaint.

“The swamp” that “steals an election” is small fry compared to your kids being abused, sexually molested, perverted, corrupted, “indoctrinated.” Because, well, they’re your kids.

This Big Lie is a way to tell the paranoid persecution fantasies of “Great Replacement” and “white genocide” right out in the open. Who’s coming for your kids, after all? Well, everyone that’s impure of faith and untrue of blood. The LGBTQ, who are “grooming” them, liberals, teachers, professors, who are “indoctrinating” them, books, even words, which attack these poor innocent children, and hurt them, violate them, damage them, brainwash them. Every bad thing you can think of is happening to the kids of the pure and true, according to DeSantis...

This is the platform of the "National Conservatives" (sometimes referred to as the "New Right"). They stoke these "paranoid persecution fantasies" to justify wielding power over America's institutions - both public and private. That is the definition of fascism.

While Trump has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, he does have a unique ability to sense fear and exploit grievance. So he sees potential in the fascism being openly embraced by National Conservatives like DeSantis and is joining that bandwagon. 

As haque wrote, "this is the GOP’s entire strategy so far to win the next Presidential election. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got." 

But there is a problem with relying on a strategy of fear-mongering - it has diminishing returns, so you have to keep ramping up the lies (ie, "pink-haired communist teachers" in the video above). That's what the 2024 GOP presidential primary will be all about. If you think it's bad now, it's only going to get worse.  

The root of the problem is a theology that enables sexual abuse

As someone who was raised in a white evangelical Christian family and church, it deeply saddens me every time we hear that another leader o...