In case you didn’t hear, Trump went golfing over Memorial Day weekend while the Covid death toll neared 100,000. The same petulant man-child who criticized Obama for golfing during the Ebola outbreak (American casualties: 2) hit the links in between several manic tweet-storms and a barely coherent Memorial Day speech. With a number of states gleefully re-opening even though their case- and death-counts are rising, it’s clear now that Trump has given up on any sort of coordinated national response to the pandemic, defaulting to the path taken by Sweden of just “letting things happen.” (To be fair, Sweden has a MUCH better health system.) Which means our national death count will continue to climb. And it means the United States mostly squandered the shutdown. We could have used the two months to mount a massive, organized effort to seize control of supply chains and push corporations to mass-produce tests while recruiting a corps of contact tracers. But instead, Trump and his corrupt cabinet punted responsibility to the states while pushing the bogus hydroxychloroquine “magic cure” and fantasizing about a vaccine that will be ready “very soon,” meaning maybe by the end of the year or maybe by the end of 2021–nobody knows. The disaster of each state developing its own response to the pandemic has been slowly materializing as huge groups of people gathered and partied in Daytona Beach, Lake of the Ozarks and Ace Speedway in North Carolina. Expect outbreaks from those gatherings in 3-4 days. And on it will spread as Republican leaders smile and golf and ignore the dead.
Please draw your attention to an incredibly insightful article by Noah Berlatsky at NBC News, and the underlying research it’s based on, about the true nature of Trumpism. It’s one of the best distillations of Trump’s public support thus far. The more we understand his appeal and his cult’s current attitude, the better we can respond and attack as we speed toward election day. Berlatsky’s article details a recent study about the motivations of Trump’s cult that contends our nation’s problems do not spring from “the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology.” Their research found a strong correlation between intolerance and support for authoritarian rule. Berlatsky accurately describes the place intolerant Republicans find themselves:
A party built on demonizing and attacking marginalized people is a party that will have to disenfranchise those same people if it is to survive.
And disenfranchise they have, whether it’s with voting purges or ID restrictions or limited voting times or gerrymandering or fewer polling places or deliberate misinformation or outright fraud. We’ve seen all of these tactics from the GOP in recent years. The authors of the study summarize their findings clearly and powerfully:
The growing concentration of intolerant white voters in the GOP…has created a party which appears less and less committed to the democratic project. When faced with a choice between bigotry and democracy, too many Americans are embracing the first while abandoning the second.
In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.
Trump and other Republicans clearly don’t care about democracy when they openly admit they want fewer Americans to vote because it’s the only way they can win.
Here’s a link to the NBC article:
It’s been no secret in recent decades that many evangelical Christians would choose religious totalitarianism over democracy if they could, placing their allegiance to the Bible above the Constitution. But now, many other conservatives are tacitly affirming they would jettison the entire American project if their “side” could take power permanently. And this odious reality is as terrifying as it is real. These people aren’t even close to a majority, but if they can cheat (with Russia, with election rigging or fraud, with voter disenfranchisement) it won’t matter. And that’s why the coming election is the most important in our lifetimes. The approval ratings shouldn’t be ignored, and we can be buoyed by good polling news, but favorable numbers and confident predictions shouldn’t sway us from our determination to get out the vote and get to the ballot box, even if the coronavirus is still raging. Bear in mind that many people still won’t admit to a pollster that they like Donald Trump. And countries like Russia and China will do everything in their power to demoralize opponents of Trump, especially in communities of color, which is exactly what they did last time. They know Trump is incompetent and weak, and they want America weak, or worse.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”