But What If We Didn’t

Fuckin' Mitch McConnell, y'all.
John Scalzi

I have a theory about the Republican Party, and it is that around the time Newt Gingrich became the head of its brain trust, the GOP added a fourth functioning principle to its previous tripod of “Southern Strategy to corner the racist vote,” “Abortion to corner the Evangelical vote” and “Tax cuts to corner the capitalist vote (and money).” The fourth principle was not about kettling and controlling a voting bloc, but rather a principle to maximize its power and to motivate the voting blocs beyond whatever the GOP could offer them politically.

That fourth principle, to put it in its shortest and bluntest form, is:

“But what if we… didn’t?”

Somewhat more broadly, the Republicans recognized there was a suite of political conventions and traditions that were designed to make it easier for things to get done, and that this suite of conventions and traditions were exploitable by denial. While people in both parties (and the parties themselves) would occasionally use this exploit, it was not done systematically.

That is, until Gingrich saw that practice as a weakness to be attacked. Here’s an early version:

“Treat the members of the other political party as colleagues rather than bitter enemies? Okay, but what if we… didn’t?

And it worked! Which is to say that it got attention, raised temperatures and was an effective political cudgel against those who didn’t understand (or didn’t want to believe) that the political ground was shifting underneath their feet. Gingrich was a political genius (until he wasn’t), and he set the pattern of Republican contravening of norms that advanced inexorably over the years.

Mitch McConnell, seen above, is a master of the “But what if we… didn’t?” school of politics. Allow a sitting president of the opposite party to name a Supreme Court justice? Okay, but what if we didn’t? Stick with the principle that you established with regard to Supreme Court justices being nominated in an election year? Okay, but what if we didn’t? Actually choose to have the Senate be a legislative body rather than just a rubber stamp for conservative judges of questionable competency? Okay, but what if we didn’t? And so on. McConnell understands the depth of his transgression against political norms, you can be sure — he’s been in Congress long enough to remember how it was before — but like Gingrich, he doesn’t particularly care. He doesn’t care, because it get results. The ends justifies the means.

In this, Trump was — and make no mistake, still is — the perfect GOP president. Trump has no loyalty to tradition and operating principles; indeed his entire appeal is transgression. He no interest in procedure, regulation or rule of law. To be sure, he was less “But what if we didn’t” than “I’m just not gonna,” but the effective difference between the two is subtle and in any event abetted the GOP’s “what if we didn’t” principle to a significant degree.

The 2020 election was a perfect storm of “but what if we didn’t?

So: Joe Biden won the 2020 election and has to be acknowledged as the president.

Okay, but what if we didn’t? Let’s say the election was tainted by fraud!

The facts show that the election was not tainted by fraud and indeed it was one of the most secure elections in US history, and we have to acknowledge those facts.

Okay, but what we didn’t? Let’s take it to court!

More than 60 court cases, on both state and federal levels, rule that, yes, in fact, the election went for Biden without any significant fraud. His electoral count stands and is uncontroversial and should be acknowledged as such when Congress convenes to count the votes on January 6.

Okay, but… what if we didn’t?

Well, now we know what happens when they didn’t.

The Republicans want us to believe they are surprised an insurrection has happened, but why should we believe that? These are not (all) unintelligent people. They knew what they were doing, they knew how they were transgressing, and they knew, every step of the way, what the result of each transgression was meant to be, both in terms of the fabric of democracy in the United States, and on the expectations of the Republican voting base.

There was a Republican mob at the Capitol yesterday because the GOP put them there. Not just yesterday, or through the course of the election, or the four years of the Trump administration. The storming of the Capitol is the (current) culmination of a decades-long project by Republicans, a project of denial, in which they didn’t recognize the validity of power being shared, or the equality of the other party, or the supremacy or desirability of democracy, if democracy meant a diminishment of their power and goals.

Democracy? Okay, but, what if we didn’t?

The Republicans aren’t surprised that this is where we are, and make no mistake that if at any point in the 2020 post-election they could have gotten away with subverting the will of the voters they absolutely would have done so. Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes and 7 million more popular votes than Trump, an unambiguous and, realistically, unassailable number. The Republicans chose to assail it anyway — not just a few members of the party, but as a matter of policy from the top all the way down. What is the number of electoral votes a Democrat now must win to be acknowledged without contestation as the winner of a presidential election by the GOP? We don’t actually know, except to say it has to be more than 306.

Yesterday our nation’s capitol was invaded and looted, and our democracy was shamed, and even then a half dozen Republican senators and more than a hundred GOP representatives who a few hours before were stuffed into shelters for their safety decided to play the “But what if we didn’t?” card. Sedition was preferable to being put on record as acknowledging a loss of power and privilege. Don’t come to me in the light of day and tell me this wasn’t where the GOP understood we would one day end up. The only problem the Republicans have with where we are at the moment is that, for once, “but what if we didn’t?” didn’t do what it was supposed to.

The Republican Party is a traitor to the ideals and practice of democracy in the United States. It fomented, aided and abetted an insurrection. A regrettable number of its members in the national government have signed on for sedition over the peaceful transfer of power (“The peaceful transfer of power? Okay, but what if we… didn’t?”). These seditious members should be drummed out of Congress, right now, and some Republicans who are in power should be charged with crimes. The Republican Party got us as close as we have gotten since the Civil War to the collapse of our democracy, not by accident, but by design, and had the implementation of that design been only a little more competent, both now and over the last few years, it might have succeeded. The GOP is an enemy of the United States — not conservatism as a whole, but its party (although at the moment I have no great kind thoughts about conservatism, either) — and if it had any institutional capacity for shame and self-reflection, it would end itself.

To which I see the Republican Party saying, “Okay, but what if we… didn’t?” Because even now I can tell you that from the GOP point of view the problem isn’t the damage that party has wreaked upon the US and its people. The problem is its plan didn’t work.

The GOP always meant for us to be here. The thing is, there’s somewhere beyond here the GOP still wants us to go. We shouldn’t pretend that the GOP won’t get us back to here as soon as practically possible. And then past it, to the ruin of us all.

— JS

94 Comments on “But What If We Didn’t”

  1. I subscribe to a closely related theory. Republicans don’t care about truth, or about right and wrong connected to truth, because they’re focused on a narrative. In that narrative, a United States completely dominated by Christian white men and weak government was the best of all possible worlds, and it must be brought back. Anybody who tried to do that is Good. Anybody who opposes any part of it is Bad. It’s all complete garbage of course, but they truly believe that the evidence of their own eyes is subordinate to the narrative. Ditto the logic or moral sense one would normally apply. All must bow to the narrative. The mythical ends justify the concrete means. The similarity to evangelical thinking is obvious, but I think it applies just as well to the other two legs of the triad.

    And yes, I know I’m talking to a (very good) writer about the power of narratives. Probably a bad idea. :D

  2. This swallowed my previous comment, but this is exactly what I’ve been saying for the past couple days.

    Republicans wanted this. They’ve been pushing this for decades. The ones that are making nice noises today don’t deserve any approbation or applause, because if they cared they would have actually done something about it. They haven’t and they won’t, and they know that making nice noises every once in a while will get them forgiven so they can continue to escalate a week or two later.

    You can see this with Elaine Chao and to a lesser extent Romney. Both participated in this. Both pushed for it. Both gratefully accepted the results of this larger strategy of norm and rule breaking. And both, having made mostly meaningless ‘stands’ are now being lauded for their behavior. It’s really sickening and I don’t know how we pass it.

  3. Many years ago I heard a historian point to the Gingrich Speakership as a watershed point in turning away from civility. He pointed out that previously Congressmen and Senators socialized when off duty, which lent a certain civility to their interactions–you wouldn’t want to be too caustic with a political rival, because you’d likely find yourselves at the same barbecue over the weekend. Gingrich saw this as fraternizing with the enemy, and insisted Republicans return to their districts when off duty. This was said to be “to be in touch with their constituents” (modern forms of communication notwithstanding), but was in fact to keep them from getting too chummy with Democrats.

  4. This tracks with my thinking of the GOP having become the Party of No. Want to help people? No. Want to improve healthcare in the US? No. Want to improve rights for minorities, women, etc.? No. They became an opposition party that was only interested in tax cuts, primarily for the wealthy, but it’s part of the Reagan small government mantra. We want less government. Much less government. How do we get it? Say no to everything. They’re an opposition party that has absolutely no ability to govern, but they’re really good at opposing everything the Democrats or anybody else wants to do.

  5. I have been saying for the last 20 or so years that “The GOP is the single largest threat to the republic since the civil war.”

    Back in the day, people thought I was the radical. And here we are.

  6. I will remember every institutionalist who patronizingly told me that everything would be fine, it’s just noise, you’re a Chicken Little, the electoral votes would be counted January 6 and that would be that.

    The Capitol was literally invaded. Berserkers with Confederate flags smashed the windows and looted the place, incited by the president and several sitting congressmen.

    In the end, those votes weren’t fucking counted on January 6, were they.

    We’ve been telling people this was where it was going. Loads of journalists and activists watched the coup being planned on Parler, with t-shirts and everything. But apparently not the fucking FBI or the Capitol police force that let in the treasonous mob and arrested mere tens of them.

    I’m pissed at the coupmongers most, to be clear. But I’m also sick of normalcy-huffing pundits and others who refuse to contend with the real risks to our democracy. Everything from absolutely nothing to AR-15-toting maniacs gunning down Congress was possible (not likely, but possible) yesterday.

  7. “This is a time for reflection, not retribution.” – Barack Obama, 2009

    But… what if we didn’t?

  8. Well said. The problem is that these assholes will be rewarded for it – particularly Cruz and Hawley, both obsequious devious and (to some degree) smart/cunning people – they are cynically exploiting the credulity of the GOP base, who they keep on side by saying “those other (non-white, non-male, non-allegedly Christian) people are oppressing you. It’s beyond pathetic, but extremely powerful. The thing that gets me is that Cruz in particular transparently doesn’t believe any of the shit he is shoveling, it’s just cynical power politics. He’s not dumb like Gohmert.

    Schumer seems to have found a spine from somewhere, but Trump isn’t going anywhere. All the loony-tunes QAnon idiots are saying that Camp David is part of the plan, and everyone is going to be arrested this weekend (more likely, he’ll start a war with Iran on his way out the door).

  9. Keep in mind that their votes were completely symbolic. There was never a chance to change the result of the election, since there was no way the house would vote to do so. But, what if the Republicans had won control of the house? Would Mitch McConnell have been so high and mighty about the integrity of the electoral process and role of the senate if they really could have flipped the election in their favor? Take his entire speech yesterday and add your “but what if we didn’t” to the end of it.

    Also, keep in mind that they have now discovered a mechanism whereby winning the house and senate can guarantee them the presidency if they so choose. Simple majorities and no filibuster issues apply. Of course that would go against the entire spirit of our democratic system, so of course they would abide by the will of the voters. But, what if we…didn’t?

    Our one saving grace for these last four years is that Trump is an idiot. He has no scruples about authoritarianism and would love to be a dictator, but he’s not smart enough to manipulate the system to achieve that, though he’s certainly revealed the cracks that could be manipulated. What scares me is that someone out there is watching; someone just as corrupt, but much, much smarter.

  10. I would love your take on how the media worked in all of this as well. They seem to have been ignorant at best, and some were even directly complicit in the growth of this monster.

  11. Like many Americans, I was still fuming about the whole state of affairs this morning and decided to write a (surely pointless) letter to one of the poster children for Republican intransigence: Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley. If you wouldn’t mind my sharing it, it went a little something like this:

    “Dear Mr. Hawley. I’m sure you would like to have an extended political career and therefore have chosen to stump for the preposterous conspiracy theories which many of your constituents believe. But by opposing the election results, you debase yourself. Possibly you do not care. Or maybe you
    only consume biased news and actually believe in the absurd and unsupported theories propagated by a side that, like its leader in the White House, simply can’t stomach the thought of losing a fair election.

    “I’m sure you’re getting similar messages like this from out-of-state Americans [I’m Californian and Hawley is from Missouri], probably some of them laced with expletives. I’m going to keep mine civil in spite of the fact that I am disgusted by the stand that you and other Republicans have taken on the issue of this election’s validity. You know full well it was a fair election. You went to Stanford for Pete’s sake, which means you have at least a modicum of intelligence. It’s a shame when a young man such as yourself puts politics ahead of the good of this nation. Down the road you’re traveling lies fascism and authoritarian rule. Don’t rely on the “herd immunity” of more level heads in Congress from saving you and us from that path. Vote honestly, even if it means risking your career. To do otherwise is seditious and amoral.”

    Obviously, I don’t expect an answer from this prig, but it felt good to shout against the ocean, you know?

  12. One of the most common and recurrent features of Ideological Fascism is the belief that objective truth is subordinate to, and at times completely irrelevant in service to, a sublime transcendental ‘truth’ that only the Fascists can themselves perceive. The obfuscation and blurring fact and false is not a by-product of Fascism, it is an active process that the Fascists intentionally cultivate.

    The GOP is now a Fascist political party. It did not start that way, and in better times they could perhaps switch course before it is too late….but people are now dead. Windows of the Capitol have been smashed. The putschists planned on assaulting and murdering our elected officials, all in the service to an orange demagogue who was kept in power by spineless cretins.

  13. The GOP has been this way since Newt was a back-bencher in the House and the “reality denial” narrative you can see stretching back to even before Limbaugh (allegedly) wrote “The Way Things Ought to Be”. That title is a clear insight into the GOP mindset of not accepting of reality, but “I reject your reality and substitute my own”. Is anyone really surprised this is where they’ve ended up after 30 plus years of this?

    Fuck the Trumper GOP and their sycophant followers.

  14. Worth remembering in this context that Rove & Company’s plan in the aughts was for “a permanent GOP majority” — their words (scheming for which landed Tom DeLay in jail). I always felt that was a bright light flashing red, and everyone (particularly in the pundit class) just let it pass — like they have done so many times (especially egregious, of course, was the Garland Supreme Court nomination — “political hardball” they called it). This is why I get so furious at the “it’s Trump” framing. No, the rot is far deeper and has been around for far longer.

  15. I don’t know where here is. At some point, with people flying flags of nations with no successes but at murder and moral and human degradation, while trying to institute those nations as models for ours, they can’t be naive as to where those nations and the people and nations unfortunate enough to be around them ended up. It doesn’t take much to figure what happened to the South, or Germany, and yet they insist that following them will end up with a good and strong America. If I had to guess, they look like people willing to commit national homicide followed by suicide (whether intentional or as a consequence of their previous homicide).

    The GOP doesn’t care who has to die to keep power. I have a hard time being unhappy in their party with people who have reached their limits, but even when they reach a limit, they didn’t do anything, They’ve handed their power to moral toddlers with guns and nukes and all they can hope is they’ll be eaten last.

  16. The most accurate description of them I’ve read, and why I have a zero tolerance policy for all of them, no matter if they do something semi-okay once in a while.

  17. I absolutely agree. I’d also trace it to the rise of Rush Limbaugh, and his “pointy-headed intellectuals” refrain. I remember my brother (who has always identified as a Republican, still haven’t heard back from him as to whether yesterday changed his mind) starting to trash education and repeat Limbaugh comments. I told him at the time to be careful of people in power who tell you not to educate yourself. Now, of course, they’ve largely replaced that with, “only trust the sources I point you to.” And I would definitely implicate the news media and their “all sides get to tell their version of the truth” problem, regardless of how insane or inaccurate some versions of the truth are. It all plays in. Yesterday is absolutely what the GOP has been working towards since the 80s, at least, and I’m pissed that any one of them has the gall to pretend to be shocked by any of this. If they couldn’t see the writing on the wall, then they should really spend the next several decades seeking out that education they’ve spent so many years disparaging and trying to avoid.

    Disgusted. In my quite politically-mixed family, I thankfully only now have one member who will ever even consider voting for another Republican in any capacity.

    If I were Joe Biden, I’d be having a little conversation with the Trump family about how I don’t have time for a civil war with everything else on my plate, and that if they don’t want to be arrested for sedition, they need to disappear into the ether like ghosts and never be heard from again.

  18. @Alex Wildstar:

    If Biden’s presser today on the DOJ was any indication, Biden is going to stay away from questions of prosecutions himself and won’t comment on them but totally expects them to happen.

    They made an extensive speech on the history of the DOJ and its purpose, and Biden prefaced the whole thing talking about how the behavior yesterday and the preceding years was completely unacceptable. I’m hopeful that means we’ll get some action out of it, especially given that Schumer and Pelosi have pretty much said they’re impeaching Trump.

  19. I wonder if the Cold War might have delayed the onset of Gingrich-style “But what if we…didn’t?”-ism. Among other things, the struggle between the USA and the USSR was an ideological one, with the USA playing the part of the land of freedom, opportunity and justice/fair play. This obligated the nation to live up to the part more often than not, and both conservatives and liberals had to pay attention to each others’ ideas about what freedom, opportunity and justice actually constituted.

    After the Cold War, it seemed for many American liberals like the world at large was moving toward greater heights of “liberty and justice for all.” But many American conservatives seem to have taken it as an occasion to celebrate the triumph of capitalism, and to get back to the business of making the rich richer without having to pay lip service to civil rights or any of that bosh. I think this is one reason liberals in politics continued the ideals of bipartisanship for so long (too long), while conservatives began treating opposition to their program as essentially illegitimate.

  20. I guess once you sell your soul, you’re only bargaining on price, but I would have thought people in the GOP thought their souls were worth more than this. For people that (allegedly) so believe in souls and and judgement and hell, they act very much like none of those things (let alone the major beliefs of their alleged religion) are true. They seem to be getting much closer to finding out, along with lots of other people. Choosing someone who kills everything he touches as the idol of your party seems like a bad idea too.

    When I was growing up, I was afraid we might end our world with the help of the Russians. I guess I was pessimistic – we could do it on our own. Hurray, America?

  21. Rob T. has a point. As for the point that most concerns me, it’s the men in para-military gear who apparently had an agenda to take hostages…it reminds me a whole hell of a lot of the plot up in Michigan last year to kidnap and “try” the governor. I have no real suggestions about what to do about the GOP, but going after the Black-shirt underground is in the realm of possibility.

  22. Why should we be surprised at all what happened. We had republicans give a nod and a wink to this behavior. This summer we had democrats do the exact same thing during those riots. One party plays against the other. Anyone can subscribe to the notion that one party is more moral or ethical than the other. Democrats get a slight advantage for recognizing reality and not denying absolutely everything. They are not the party of Trump. Anyway this is not new behavior and in fact hearkens back to the 19th century. The only reason things seemed quieter is that the 20th century was a nightmare of wars, fascism, communism and terrorism. America had to be joined at the hip. Not so in the 19th or the 21st. We need to band together because once again forces are marshaling around the world. I’d drop the provincial party attitudes and realize we rise and fall together. But sometimes people need a push to see that.

  23. Governor Whitmer spoke a bit about this earlier today as well. She said that there was an attempt to kidnap her and hold her hostage by right-wing radicals, and while it was stopped no one paid attention or did anything to keep it from happening to more people.

    No one wanted to confront the idea that a bunch of right-wing white militia people were stirred up and activated by Republicans, and even doing something simple like providing sufficient security to the Capitol was a bridge too far.

    To be fair, some of it was right-wing/white privilege, but I think there’s a real need to not recognize that our President and his party are actively causing these problems and egging them on. No one wants to be the guy who gets a target on his back for putting “patriots” on notice, and they’d be a target not only for the crazies but for the entire conservative propaganda apparatus.

  24. It takes more than elected officials to carry this out. “Someone” has to elect them. I believe many members of the Republican Part have learned how to manipulate the Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) so they can get and remain in office to carry out the “But what if we… didn’t?”.

    These people are always with us, amazingly up to ~ 40% of any population, ever ready to be manipulated, to support a return to the never existed utopia of the past, to follow the person who will lead them there, and trust them as the fount of all truth (hows that for a run on sentence).

    Look up the Washington Post Book review of “Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers,” if you are interested in a quick read. In a quick summary:

    The RWA “have only a superficial belief in liberty and democracy,” the authors write. “When authoritarians and their followers talk about how much they value freedom, they are talking about their own freedom — not that of others. They believe in being lenient if they and their leaders break the law but merciless against those they deem inferior.”

  25. For incite into what the far right is thinking and not from someone totally uneducated, Larry Correia’s blog and facebook is really something. He is convinced democrats cheated since he used to be an auditor he says he is qualified to know. He is convinced this is everyones fault because republicans are too squishy and he is an angry righty. Guy has gone way off the deep end on this. He is not exactly cheering this on, but he said seems like he is in favor of all this. His posts are weird. He has said that no matter what the press says he won’t believe there was NOT cheating in the election.

    its totally bizarre and worth reading just to see where this mindset comes from. Everything with that guy is us vs. them. He thinks BLM protestors got off easy and all the people who broke into the capital will go to jail because they are on the wrong side.

    When I read his posts I have to twist my head sideways to half understand how he thinks this way. He thinks anyone who says there is no cheating in the election is gaslighting. He says this was bound to happen due to all these angry people because the Tea Party was too moderate. The comments are just nuts.

    He is convinced the Utah governor tried to kill his wife. She needed cancer surgery and it got delayed due to covid. I don’t blame him for being mad about that. Delaying all surgeries over covid was a stupid over reaction and if you got cancer its not something that should be put off, but he literally has written he tried to kill his wife (thankfully surgery went well and she is fine). I can fully understand how nerve wracking it would be to have cancer surgery put off. I would be totally pissed if a loved ones surgery was delayed let alone Cancer surgery. But his taking everything to extremes is insane.

    Its worth a read , but you may have to hit yourself in the head a few times to half understand where he is coming from. He puts up posts like this multiple times a week. He has many on his blog too. All of his auditor analysis of why the election was cheated.

  26. @youthree I’ve refused to read anything from Correia (blog or book) since his Angry Puppies days, when they tried to fix and then overthrow the Hugos because they weren’t white and traditional enough.

    Not surprised at all he’s doing this.

  27. Adam Serwer has an important history lesson on this subject.


    There have ALWAYS been people who believed democracy was only for people who had the right beliefs.

    The 1898 Wilmington massacre was entirely an attempt to displace the government by the wrong people, and replace them by the Constitutional people, white supremacists.

    “This view of democracy is racial, but it is also ideological. The authors of the White Declaration of Independence argued that people could find themselves unfit to be members of the polity not only by being born into the wrong race, but by holding the wrong views. Black men were unfit, yes, but so were the white men who would ally with them to pursue political goals inimical to the true bearers of the Founders’ genetic and political inheritance. As the future governor of North Carolina, Charles Brantley Aycock, put it, “We have ruled by force, we can rule by fraud, but we want to rule by law.” Whatever the means, their rule was the only acceptable outcome.”

  28. I remember when Gingrich started doing the “but what if we don’t” stuff. I was young, early 20s, and not all that plugged in – but even I felt like something about it, something I couldn’t describe, was fundamentally wrong. And then the Republicans went all in on this strategy, aided and amplified at first by conservative talk radio and then by conservative cable news. It has been destructive all along.

    I heard a podcast yesterday by a man who identifies as a conservative and, earlier in his life, a Republican called “The Republican Party Hates Your Guts.” It’s a fascinating take that makes sense:


  29. Watching from the other side of the pond, the only thing that relieved the mind numbing spectacle of people who had spent hours hiding from the mob then announcing that the mob had serious concerns which should be addressed, was the moment when Lindsey Graham realised that he might have been killed by the mob. Obviously he expanded it a bit – we all could have been killed by the mob- but I doubt that his concern extended to anybody else.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like that; presumably Graham thinks if the Georgian Republicans had just done what he wanted everything then everything would have been fine. But that moment of bowel clenching terror when he realised that he might have been strung up on the gallows that the mob had so thoughtfully brought with them is the counterpoint to John’s “What if we didn’t?”…

  30. This post gets close to what I’ve been feeling. I grew up a Republican in the 80’s when Reagan and O’Neil could still be civil and social. Since then has been 30 or so painful years or having blinders ripped off. I no longer have doubts about what would have happed had a mass of Black Americans swarmed the capital. There would not have necessarily been more arrests, but there would be blood. This has to stop. Oh, and I hate that Mitch is my senior senator. Rand is not worlds better.

  31. I really haven’t seen it stated any better than your blog entry. I’m a dumbass, but I’ve been watching politics for half a century and saw this coming. Trump is poison now, but all the rat-bastards who enabled him haven’t seen the light and grown a social conscience. They’ll try again with somebody more stable. We are in the thick of battle.

  32. It’s really tainted the republican party. Those congress people and senators who raised objections to certification should be shamed and electorally punished.

  33. either they are prosecuted or they are above the law.

    there is no middle ground here.

  34. There is an interesting article posted late today on the NYT’s website which details how some of Trump’s high profile supporters are questioning “…whether the mob was an anti-Trump “false flag” “.

    I guess they are Trump supporters that are incited to violence by the president, until they aren’t.

  35. In the end, those votes weren’t fucking counted on January 6, were they.

    Much as I hate to burst your bubble?

    The votes WERE fucking counted.
    On January 6th.
    And Trump’s own VP publicly declared Joe Biden the winner.

    So…. Hard as it is to believe? The system actually worked, and this was just a spoiled-brat’s sideshow…that killed four people for no good reason.

    You want to get angry? Get angry about the buttheads that thought this would actually change anything, the Lame Duck who whipped them up into a frenzy…and the Capitol Police that just let them waltz in because they were White….

  36. @timeliebe, you would be incorrect, they did NOT finish the count on the 6th. right from CBS’s website:

    Washington —Vice President Mike Pence announced just after 3:40 a.m. Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden had won the presidency after Congress completed the counting of the Electoral College votes.

    last time I checked, 3:40am thursday was the 7th, not the 6th…

  37. It’s at least worth pointing/calling out. Facts matter, and the fact is the votes didn’t get counted/certified until the 7th. Shoot, outright denial of facts is a huuuuuge part of the problem we have as a nation.

  38. Mr. Scalzi, you are being too nice. Things with the GOP have devolved more than Newtie boy could have dreamed.

    The GOP know there is a conspiracy because it is theirs. It started way back, with gerrymandering, and has this past election they had shadow candidates. In fact all of the elcetion fraud I have found were perpetrated by the GOP.

    Trump said there would be a surprise yesterday, the Capital Police send out that weirdly worded thing about not carrying guns to violate first amendment rights. That was the excuse used by the chief of the capital Police, who has not yet called Ms. Pelosi, even though she is actually the Senate Majority Leader.

    The whole shit bag was planned, including the lack of police presence.

    No, an argument about exactly when the electoral winner is moot,

  39. “The GOP is an enemy of the United States…”

    As is, to a rather large extent, conservatism.

    I’ll never, ever embrace it, but until it gets back to the point where it isn’t the root of objectively terrible policies, attitudes and practices, it can fuck itself with a splintery broomstick.
    TL;DR: Loyal opposition, good. Bigotted, genocidal, sedicious, murderous and social Darwinist, very, very bad.

  40. I stayed up to watch the end of the joint session; earlier I happened to see some of the speeches by House members who, even after the rioting, persisted in stating that their problems with Pennsylvania election law meant they should be able to hold up certification (despite the issue already having been rejected by the Supreme Court).

    Glad to see Pelosi and Schumer put pressure on Pence today regarding the 25th amendment, and why not?

    The only possible good reason for an Electoral College is to do exactly what they didn’t do 4 years ago: prevent a bad man from becoming president after the 2016 election but before 1/20/17. But it can be made irrelevant by more states joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

  41. And anyone trying to argue similarities between BLM protesters and protests and the shit that went down yesterday needs to have several seats, preferably in the nosebleed section where their false equivalencies and cries of “but, but what about the democrats?!!” can’t grate on thinking folks’ nerves.

  42. I for one would like to see progressives adopt this ‘but what if we didn’t?’ approach to many former norms that we have been lectured to follow, such as ‘going high when they go low’, ‘reaching across the aisle’ and ‘trying to listen and find common ground’.

  43. Mythago: I completely agree with you on that one, but I doubt if it will be majority view in this particular room. It tends to lean more center-right than AOC.

    And back from the dead: my prediction that Joe Manchin would become the most powerful man in Washington.

  44. Regarding that huge picture of Mitch McConnell: “That monster’s gonna give me nightmares.”

    Regarding fraud during the election: Well, as far as any malfeasance that may have occurred during the 2020 election goes, Donald Trump lost despite that, not because of it.

    Regarding the rest of it: Yeah, “But what if we didn’t” is as succinct and insightful an explanation of everything the GOP has done for the past 30 or so years as anything I’ve seen lately.

  45. I suspect the GOP members of Congress who DID join with the Democrats may have been keenly aware that mobs do not really care who they get their hands on after a certain point…

  46. To paraphrase Marcus Porcius Cate, “Republican delenda est” (the Republicans must be destroyed.) It is time for the Republican party to go the way of the Whigs, that fatally divided party that split over the original sin or slavery. Now we have what is ostensibly the conservative party potentially split over the completely non-conservative idea of trashing our country’s institutions and governing norms in the name of power-by-way-of-fascism. Some of the party have at least resisted this trend, and especially the culminating aspect of it (i.e., Trump) and now stand poised to split that party into two competing fragments. We, who are not Republicans, should do all we can to encourage that split, with the goal of driving that party out of the body politic permanently. What will emerge from that we do not know. It may be a conservative party that is actually worthy of that name and can once again participate in the process of government (as the Whigs developed out of the ruin of the Federalist treason during the War of 1812, or the Republicans themselves developed out of the abolitionist wing of the Whigs), or it may be that we have a long-term minority party that embraces the worst of Republican “values”: jingoism, racism, illiberalism, fascism. We will see, but under no circumstances should we act in any way to help preserve the Republican party as it is. As you rightly point out, John, they have become the party that destroys the institutions and function of our government, the very opposite of the conservative they claim to be. There is no place in our system for this kind of insurrectionist attitude and it must be rejected as forcefully as possible.

    Republican delenda est

  47. He is convinced the Utah governor tried to kill his wife. She needed cancer surgery and it got delayed due to covid. I don’t blame him for being mad about that. Delaying all surgeries over covid was a stupid over reaction and if you got cancer its not something that should be put off,

    It wasn’t a stupid overreaction. I work in the business end of healthcare. We were in a desperate scramble for protective equipment to keep healthcare workers safe in March & April. Surgeries that could be postponed/scheduled were because surgical procedures take a lot of PPE. Remember seeing nurses duct-taping trash bags around themselves to protect them from physical exposure? That really happened. IF her surgeon had told the facility where she was having the surgery that it needed to happen, it would have.

    We have come a long way in the last 10 months. We have enough PPE, but we don’t have enough people to take care of everyone who is sick.

  48. There was a joke the Daily Show made years ago about how you can’t have hostage negotiation if the kidnapper’s intent and purpose is to kill the hostage. That’s the part that any level of ‘both sides’ and ‘whataboutism’ and kumbaya reach-across-the-aisle thinking is completely misunderstanding.

    The Democrats are a regular everyday political party you can observe in any nation (that has competitive parties): prone to group-think and clientelism, mistaken ideals, power-brokering and inside trading, internal disagreements of direction and focus, sometimes too idealist to win the battle and sometimes too myopic to see the war. This happens. Fine, whatever. What we don’t want is any single-party rule by Democrats over all levels of government or the needs of the party will overcome the needs of the populace and the lack of competition will reduce pushback on groupthink that creates a risk to civil society.

    But the Republicans are not the same thing. They are not competing against the Democrats, they’re competing against liberal democracy as a whole. They don’t aim to govern, they aim to take down the government. Keep in mind not aiming to govern isn’t the same thing as seeking power. They’re absolutely seeking power. They just don’t aim to govern. These are different things. Those differences matter.

    The Democrats need a solid competitor to keep them in check and adaptive to the always changing needs of the populace. The Republicans need to be defeated entirely and removed from the governing system. Individual Democrats need to be voted out where they fail to represent the interests of the people. Republicans need to blocked from access to electoral politics entirely.

    That last sentence is not something a liberal democracy can do by literally outlawing a political party. That is not liberal democracy, that is illiberal democracy, the type of soft authoritarianism performed in hundreds of countries around the world. I am not advocating for that. What it means is setting up a system in the voting and party certification that prevents political saboteurs from accessing the levers of electoral politics.

    Some of these reforms (may) include shortest line algorithmic redistricting, ranked choice voting, blockchain-backed instant registration and voting (including by mail and Internet), reverse Citizens United, reverse GOP induced Congressional procedural reforms, switch antimonopoly to focus on market access and not low price, and then headier and more contentious* things like but not limited to maybe even removing parties altogether? Required voting? Pegging House of Representatives to population and letting it expand by levels of magnitude while making the Senate ‘proportional weighted? Eliminating the Electoral College?

    There’s a lot of room for reform on multiple levels. The key behind them being successful, however, is to be clear: we need competitive elections. We need to constrain people who are not competitors, but saboteurs. The Democrats are a competitive party interested in governing. The GOP are an anticompetitive party interested in control. If we don’t reform toward liberal democracy, the Democrats will necessarily have to reform toward anticompetitive authoritarian measures in order to survive against the Republicans.

  49. As a thought experiment: American politics is dominated by two political parties. What if it wasn’t?

    What would happen if the Biden State Department declared the Republican National Committee a terrorist organization? Obviously the Republicans would sue. Even if they didn’t get it overturned they would regroup under a new name. But what would happen after that?

  50. @Privateiron, no doubt, although I’m expecting him to actually change parties in the next few weeks. It isn’t as though he comes from a district where an R is political suicide.

    I’m not sure mine is a particularly lefty position though? It’s more of a practical one; you don’t make deals with people you can’t trust.

  51. Raises hand in support of ditching the Obama strategy for dealing with the party of “no,” “for me but not for thee” and ” (insert scandalous and/or criminal behavior) okay when we do it or when it serves our political interests.”

    Republicans ought to get the treatment most school kids get when they can’t play nicely; we take the toys away, isolate them from the other kids, have them put their heads down and leave them at the time-out area until they’re ready to play nicely with the others.

    Of course, this would require stones on both sides of the aisle, so…

  52. I remember the GOP not allowing Obama to have any honeymoon period when he got in, and openly saying they planned to obstruct everything. Part of the long road to reform is reforming the belief in racism, which means the belief in white entitlement and supremacy.

    A hard thing to do. Even during the competition of the cold war, when racism at home meant third world people turning their faces to the second world, it was hard to reform.

    But every day is a new day.

  53. “All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, controul, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force—to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprizing minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils, and modified by mutual interests.

    “However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reigns of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

    — George Washington, excerpt from his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

  54. @Aaron Dow, you lost me at “blockchain backed”. I have 30+ years’ experience in that and related domains, I know how it works (and how it fails), and it’s just the wrong solution for this. Lets not use this situation or conversation to smuggle in our favorite dumb ideas along with the good ones. And most of your other suggestions are good, though I would say they’re impractical. For example, I love proportional representation but it would require a constitutional amendment. We won’t be able to pass any of those for a long time.

    We need to focus on what we can do to get to a point where such things are possible again, and what we can do to make things more bearable in the shorter term. Lets start with procedural reforms, which have no basis in the constitution anyway. Then maybe uniform voting laws, including many of the things you mention. Those mostly face constitutional roadblocks too, but equal protection has been used to get past that before and maybe could again … if we do something about the supreme court. That should be among our top priorities, but that also leads into a different complex discussion so I’ll just stop there.

  55. Stewart: I agree with you, but the Roman dude was called Cato, and there’s a conservative think tank named after him. And at the risk of presumption, the modified quotation would be republicani delendi sunt.

    Also, could we agree just to call the guy Gingrich? “Newt” is either a disrespectful diminutive for a giant of science, or an attractive, inoffensive, and to some folks fascinating amphibian (cf P. G. Wodehouse).

  56. Since we are at “what if we didn’t”s, question to the readers here with some knowledge about US constitutional law:
    What if, say, California, decided they’ve had enough of being underrepresented and decided to pursue Calexit? Would this work, if yes, how? Referendum, formal declaraton of independence, that’s it, or would the rest of the Union have to be on board?

  57. @mythago

    I think if Joe Manchin was going to change parties he would have done so in 2017.

  58. They get away with it because they rely on everyone else being “polite” and for no one to hold them to account.

    Nixon pardoned by Ford.
    W’s war crimes swept under the rug by Obama.
    Sedition ignored by Biden.

    We respond to these sociopaths by assuming their “feelings of guilt” is punishment enough and we do nothing about it. But sociopaths dont feel guilty. We respond by wagging a finger and telling them think about what you’ve done, but the sociopath is only thinking about what they can get away with next.

    They are narcicists with zero shame who will always do what they do. It us up to US to stop them. And the only way to stop them is to hold them to the rule of law, relentlessly.

    The only reason “what if we didnt” keeps working is because we do NOTHING.

  59. While I agree with everything you wrote, let’s not forget that the Democrats, the Jim Crow party, are not without blame!

  60. How many times must we prove, and re-prove, and re-re-prove that negative behavior must be discouraged by negative consequences? Punishment, in other words. The GOP has indulged in too much negative behavior with no fear of the consequences. Time to change that.

  61. Paul Campos of Lawyers, Guns and Money said earlier this week that part of the problem is that our legal and political systems depend on sociopaths being few and manageable. If everyone was like Trump and refused point blank to pay contractors (Disney and Alan Dean Foster come to mind as I type this), contract law would be worthless; the courts could never handle all the resulting lawsuits even if people were willing to fight.
    Likewise the Trump presidency shows that the supposed genius of our constitutional framework of limited government doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if someone’s willing to break all the rules, and has a reasonable amount of support from voters and his party.

  62. @Everyone Arguing for Punishment.

    Agreed 100 percent.

    Does anyone really think the bad actors give a quarter of a damn whether or not history will be kind to them?

    The profound and far-reaching consequences of their behavior are taking place in the present; why not hold them accountable in the present?

    Handwaving crime because “the powerful have always been protected” is why and how Trump was able to stomp deep cracks in the foundation of this democracy.

    What if, for once, people didn’t sigh and shrug at atrocities or dismiss them as necessary evils that must be forgiven in the name of national unity?

  63. Aaron :”The Democrats need a solid competitor to keep them in check”

    I’m sorry, you are saying Democrats, the party that would be considered “conservative, right of center’ in any other modern nation needs to be counterbalanced?

    Ron:”This summer we had democrats do the exact same thing during those riots.”

    No we didnt.

    “Democrats get a slight advantage for recognizing reality”

    I think the fact that when one party has devolved into pure lies and propaganda, you give dems a “slight advantage” for holding to the truth, says more about you than the democratic party.

    Derek: “the Democrats, the Jim Crow party,”

    Oh get real.

    Chbieck: “Calexit”

    Oh ffs. Thats like having an unruly mob show up at your house party, but because you feel uncomfortable telling thrm to leave, you instead sell your house.

    Wanna make rebublicans hate the electoral college? Give DC statehood. Maybe puerto rico. Once the EC leans blue, republicans will scream for popular vote.

  64. The problem is the GOP now has 70 million voters who thik this is business as usual, and their candidates will feel compelled to behave this way to be elected. They are caught up in their own shit storm and may be unable to end this even if they wanted to.

  65. @Pogo they do need a counterbalance, but that’s not necessarily a party to the right of them.

    Where I live, there’s basically no chance of a republican getting elected, so for at least the last couple of decades the republican candidates have grown steadily worse (because it’s purely people who can’t read the room) but also the democratic candidates are all too often ineffective and uninspiring because they basically just need to avoid rocking the boat too hard to get elected.

    A similar thing has happened, I’m sure, in the highly partisan and/or gerrymandered republican districts – clearly at least some of the elected representatives there are not the best and brightest their state has to offer.

  66. let’s not forget that the Democrats, the Jim Crow party, are not without blame!

    Let’s not forget that this is a crap statement.

    Jim Crow laws were a Southern institution, and those Southern Democrats voted against the Civil Rights acts, in lockstep with Southern Republicans, and became Republicans themselves.

  67. Pogo: “Wanna make rebublicans hate the electoral college? Give DC statehood. Maybe puerto rico. Once the EC leans blue, republicans will scream for popular vote.”

    Although I agree with pretty much everything else you posted, I don’t think you’re correct on this. The EC’s favoring of small rural states with disproportionate votes in the EC favors the GOP and will continue to do so, at least more than a popular vote system, even if the map of the EC starts to trend blue. Since 1992, the GOP has achieved a popular vote win ONCE, in 2004. Their solution to the EC map trending blue would definitely not be the popular vote as that would be even worse. It woudl be even more blatant vote suppression or an overt authoritarian and getting rid of elections by the declaration of some type of Permanent Emergency.

    That said, DC absolutely should be granted statehood and Puerto Rico should absolutely be given the option for statehood by a referendum. ASAP.

  68. What David Hunt says right here is instructive: “DC absolutely should be granted statehood and Puerto Rico should absolutely be given the option for statehood by a referendum. ASAP”

    The Democratic party reflects the beliefs and ideologies of its voters. Democrats, despite what some activists would want, can’t realistically be a second “What if we Didn’t” party. Note that even the aggressive response by David Hunt deliberately sets limits on bad faith actions

    In the 1800s, the GOP was the majority party, and they added SIX STATES in less than a single calendar year in order to stack the Electoral College and Senate in their favor: North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. The Congress at the time happily rammed through those statehoods without much subtlety.

    And here the activists are talking about DC and “maybe” PR… after PR has (yet another) vote on the matter? Seriously, guys. The “No F’s Given” approach here is to ram through DC, PR, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Guam, and Northern Marianas. You ignore the traditional population requirement to add American Samoa (or set a lower one), and use the non-binding referenda that ALL of these territories have had on statehood in the past century to argue that they ‘want’ statehood. You bribe enough local politicians with national political power, bridges to nowhere, etc, to get them onboard. You fax them a copy of a random state’s constitution (say, Alabama) with all the “Alabama”s crossed out and replaced by their territorial name, and get those local politicans to sign it. Then you ram the thing through and get appointed Senators to DC, ASAP, so that if the Supreme Court complains about any of your shenanigans, you can add however many new Justices you need to get the Court to approve. Then you use the most recent census counts to strip congressional districts from as many red states as possible to assign to the six new states.

    Heck, if it’s “what if we didn’t”, you court-pack anyway with your 12 new senators and larger House majority, just to control the Supreme Court.

    For the chirpy folks whinging about how “both political parties are just as bad”, they absolutely are not. I can absolutely imagine the GOP doing this — since they are on the historical record having already done this (granted, an earlier iteration). There is no chance in the world the Dems would do this, and not even their stronger activists are proposing even a fraction of these sorts of moves.

  69. Derek Broughton

    “let’s not forget that the Democrats, the Jim Crow party, are not without blame!”

    Blaming the Democrats at this time for Jim Crow, is something I only hear from conservatives who are trying to pull a “whatabout-ism”, to deflect from the fact that all of those “Jim crow” supporters and politicians are now part of the Republican Party.

    It’s every bit as relevant to the current Democratic Party as is the Republican’s being “the party of Lincoln”.

    Nobody should forget history or what the Nobody should forget history or what the Democrats WERE, but the Republicans since Nixon have made recruiting the racists and bigots, a deliberate, sustained and extremely successful policy. Johnson said after passing the Civil Right bills “we have lost the south for at least a generation.”

    The Republicans have made voter suppression, especially for minorities a cornerstone of their electoral strategy. I’m quite certain the only reason they haven’t actually re-instituted a poll tax is that’s too blatant (For now…) and they’ve developed more elegant methods of achieving the same end.

    They are fully the party of Modern Jim Crow.

  70. You know, I have really begun to believe something: Democracy isn’t natural for humans. Despotism, demagoguery, blind obedience to some “charismatic” leader, actually is. Part of human progress is to fight against that crap, and it’s an uphill battle. There must be some evolutionary biology behind it, but check out history and you’ll see people exchanging reality for nutty fantasies fed to them by leaders or by mobs and fighting to the death for said fantasies is everywhere. There’s an awful lot more witch hunts in our past than sane investigation using facts and reason. Why is it surprising that people will fanatically believe nonsense with no evidence once we examine the history of religions? Inquisition, heretics, people killed over whether you make a blessing with one or two fingers, (True story, check out Russian Old Believers) Back in the 50s hundreds of people used to go out to a desert every year to wait for the UFO and the Space Brothers to show up. There are still people convinced that the world is 6,000 years old, and/ or flat. So, no big shock that there are folks ready to believe that some pizza place in DC is the world center for child sex slavery. Compared to that story, which apparently gets much crazier as you dig into it, a fraudulent election is nearly reasonable. In fact it does happen all the time in other nations. We should be glad the GOP didn’t claim the election was altered by black magic. They would probably believe it. Anyway, my point is, this is something that seems to be part of human psychology and really really easy to manipulate. It must have conferred an advantage for survival and reproduction back in the paleolithic in some way, but it will be the end of civilization if we don’t get it under control now, instead of trying to exploit it for gain.

  71. Fabio – please do not give anyone the Alabama state constitution as an example. The only redeeming value, as far as I can see, is in a crisis a copy would make at least a year’s worth of toilet paper, for a family of 4.

  72. First of, that was totally a suprise. Nope not even here in Germany.

    Forbidding partys, not democratic: You know there are democratic countrys were a party can be forbidden, if they are a danger for democracy.

    The last four years proved for me one think, democracy is not somethink that is easy, it is somethink that can be in danger quite easy. I will no be afraid of every vote for president that happens in the USA. And a few years ago, even with McCane I wasn’t. The Reps made me afraid.

  73. Fabio:”The “No F’s Given” approach here is to ram through DC”

    If by ram you mean the president, senate, and congress all pass DC into statehood as spelled out by the constitution, then sure, “ram” away.

    Dems certainly have quite a few members who think taking the “high road” means avoiding using the political power the people give them, which means being a door mat for republicans. I’m not one of them. Dems get power jan 21. Either they USE that power or they squander it.

  74. Pogo — my apologies for the lack of clarity. When I say “ram through”, I was referring to the scenario I presented in its entirety: creating six new states over the next few months, all with two Democratic senators, and with Representatives largely taken (strategically) from red states’ delegations through manipulation of the Census for good measure.

    It does appear that both the party base and its elected leaders are broadly in favor of adding DC as the 51st state. That’s not nothing, but it’s nothing close to the sort of “But What If We Didn’t” power grab that is not only possible, but has actually occurred before in our nation’s history.

    My broader point was that the Democrats would never do such a thing, because their voter base would not contemplate or countenance such aggressive political action. For better or worse, that means that the party can’t be a second “But What If We Didn’t” party.

    In the long run, that’s probably for the best — I don’t see how democracy survives in a situation where the major parties (and their voters) see themselves in a zero-sum conflict where all norms and unspoken rules exist only to be manipulated or broken to your own advantage.

  75. Fabio, my only question is this: i brought up statehood for DC, a legitimate action for a legitimate democratic process. Why bring up a hypothetical six-state ramming through process that literally no one is talking about? All it does is raise hypothetical concerns, and potentially slow down, a legitimate process based on non-reality.

  76. Respectfully, this isn’t the first time we’ve had situations like this. Sumner from Massachusetts (disclaimer, I’m from Massachusetts where the r’s are optional) was beaten nearly to death for his abolitionist views on the floor of the Senate. What I will give the Republicans is that they have had two things going for them: a long-term plan and message discipline. Unfortunately for them (and US) Trump was the end of the long term plan. McConnell pushed forward with his agenda of not passing any Democrat led legislation and instead stacked the courts with conservative judges. I think that they just willfully ignored Trump capitalizing on the racism because it got them what they wanted, right before the first window was broken at the Capitol.

  77. Dear chbieck,

    Peaceful secession requires the approval of the Union. Note that this is based upon a Supreme Court case so in theory it could change. Unlikely. You can Google the specifics.

    Absent that or Union approval, you have war.

    We tried that. Didn’t work out so well.

    If you can imagine the Union would let go of California peaceably, (for practical economic reasons, if no other– look where the major ports for the Pacific are located) your imagination is much more expansive than mine.

    pax / Ctein

  78. Gingrich is absolutely an inflection point. Look up the memo he circulated to his caucus in the 90s (titled something like “Language, a Mechanism of Control”). It lays out very clearly that Republicans should demonize Democrats. That was a key step on the road (by no means the only one!).

    Many, many Republicans, whether they admit it (even to themselves, fully) or not, believe that only Conservative rule is valid.

    As some guy once said “…you will Rule or Ruin in all events.”

  79. Just wanted to let you know that I posted the link to this post over at the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog where I’m a “semi-regular” commenter. It was VERY well received indeed.

  80. “‘This Must Be Your First'”
    December 7, 2020
    Contributing writer at The Atlantic,
    Zeynep Tufekci

  81. When I started to read the article about the principles of Republican policy, I thought the ‘what if we didn’t?’ strategy applied to the principles themselves. For instance, has abortion been banned outright? Has the general public benefited from tax cuts?

    Because as Thomas Frank pointed out in his 2004 book, What’s The Matter With Kansas, the real strategy at play is to appeal to the angry factions without satisfying them. The GOP only give the impression that they want to outlaw abortion and to support the working class.

    When people start to realise that the stated objectives of the GOP aren’t being met, then the GOP decry the ‘liberal elites’ for foiling their plans, which only increases their anger, while doing nothing to address their alienation. The result? Thomas Frank wrote: “It’s like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy.”

    PS Joe Biden didn’t win by an unassailable 7 million votes. By that same measure, Hillary Clinton ‘won’ by 3 million votes. In several states Biden won with less than 20,000 votes. Donald Trump gained 7 million votes in this election.

  82. What I’m scared of is not taking the lesson out of this that there are over 70 million people out there who had no problem voting for Donald Trump and everything he has represented over the last four years. And I don’t think Democrats and progressives take them seriously and need to figure out how to talk with them, and building a bridge without sacrificing human dignity, identity or rights.

  83. Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico will have little effect on the Electoral College. DC already has three electoral votes (courtesy of the 23rd Amendment) and its small population won’t give it a fourth. PR might have as many as seven, unless the population continues to drop.

    Adding four Senators might make a bigger difference, but there’s never been any guarantee that PR’s would be Democrats, unlike DC.

  84. John as usual you hit the nail on the head. You are right, the repubs are traitors plain and simple. The only thing that I would add is that everyone who voted for Drumpf is also a traitor. We can not afford to ignore this, we will have to take drastic steps. We will have to spend years reeducating these people. They are willing to pull out all of the stops in this war, if we are not, then they win.

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