Monday, November 23, 2020


Commentators continue to argue that what's happening in the 2020 election is a startling new development that was inconceivable in the time before Donald Trump entered politics. Here are Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier, writing on the op-ed page of The New York Times:
The Republican National Committee swung in to support [Trump lawyer Sidney Powell's] false claim that Mr. Trump won in a landslide, while Michigan election officials have tried to stop the certification of the vote.

It is wildly unlikely that [the Trump campaign's] efforts can block Joe Biden from becoming president. But they may still do lasting damage to American democracy for a shocking reason: The moves have come from trusted insiders....

When you really need to worry is when insiders go bad. And that is precisely what is happening in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.... For four years, Donald Trump has been trying to dismantle our shared beliefs about democracy. And now, his fellow Republicans are helping him.
I agree that it took a Trump to goad the GOP to this level of brazenness. But Republican rhetoric has been building up to this for years. This morning, my Twitter pal joan_mediator directed my attention to a tweet in which Greg Sargent of The Washington Post quotes from his 2018 book, An Uncivil War. Here's the excerpt; "Ayres" is the Republican pollster Whit Ayres:

Mitt Romney, now seen as a man of principle because he acknowledges Joe Biden's victory, told donors during his 2012 campaign that "47 percent" of voters are unreachable by the GOP because they are "dependent upon government, ... believe that they are victims, [and] believe the government has a responsibility to care for them." He also said they want "free stuff," a complaint echoed by another member of the GOP Establishment, Jeb Bush, when he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

A post at the website of the Mises Institute, which supports "Austrian school" economics, sums up this attitude succinctly:
Politicians are dividing Americans into two classes — those who work for a living and those who vote for a living.
Never mind the large numbers of Republicans who collect government benefits themselves. GOP voters have been telling themselves for years that Democratic votes aren't legitimate -- none of them. Perhaps you've seen this bumper sticker on the highway:

Mainstream Republicans and the right-wing media have long encouraged this belief. So why are we surprised when Trump's push to nullify an election is receiving so much support from the Republican mainstream?

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