Wednesday, December 09, 2020


In The Washington Post, Paul Waldman writes:
President Trump has, thoroughly and completely, lost the 2020 election. Now who’s going to tell the Republican base?

Or more to the point, who’s going to tell them they’re being scammed?

The message of the scam is this: Trump can still win — but only if you stay angry enough, keep tuning in to our network and keep sending those donations. He’s counting on you! ...

According to the most recent FEC report, Trump has spent $8.8 million on legal efforts to overturn the election but has used that effort to raise more than $200 million, sending hundreds of email pitches to donors begging them to contribute to his quest to save the election from being stolen by dastardly Democrats.

Much of that money will go to a leadership PAC that Trump can use for all kinds of other purposes, including steps that would help him mount a 2024 campaign. He could also easily funnel the money into his own pocket, by having the PAC spend it at his properties.
Yeah, yeah, we know. The rubes are being gulled. They're too dumb to realize that this is just a ruse to separate them from their money. And what are they getting in return?

I think the answer in a post Kos wrote late last month, which was brought to my attention by a commenter:
... both 2016 and 2020 saw the emergence of a massive wave of white voters that polling totally missed.... So I came up with a theory: the Hidden Deplorables.

The outline goes like this:
The hidden deplorables aren’t Republican. They aren’t even conservative. They’re apolitical, otherwise ignoring politics, because their lives legitimately suck.... These deplorables have been left behind. So their attitude? “Fuck them all.”
... Wednesday morning brought fresh new evidence of my theory, in a piece by conservative pollster Daniel Cox of the American Enterprise Institute.
Finally, research on the 2016 election by David Shor, a Democratic pollster, echoed what we found in our own pre-election 2020 survey: There was a large swing to Trump among white voters who had low levels of social trust — a group that researchers have found is also less likely to participate in telephone surveys.

In our pre-election survey on the strength of Americans’ social networks, we found that nearly one in five Americans (17 percent) reported having no one they were close with....

Sixty percent of white voters without anyone in their immediate social network favored Trump, compared to less than half (46 percent) of white voters with more robust social ties.
These are people who don't trust anyone and don't do a very good job of making social connections -- but Trump gives them a way to feel loyalty to a group larger then themselves. Once they were alienated; now they can literally imagine themselves dying for a cause.

And the cause is saving America! What could be more awesome? What could make a lonely, suspicious white guy feel that all his anger and mistrust have been in a good cause?

And this Lost Cause is refreshing the brand of the Republican Party even as we speak. It's infusing the party with new energy, just the way the Tea Party did starting in 2009. I belong to the party that won the presidential election, and I gave a lot of money to the party's candidates, but I don't feel energized by the party's behavior. In this way, I envy the Republicans.

These folks are running out of options to steal the election from Biden, but their unearned self-righteousness will last long after January 20. The community they're building will endure. So the folks who are scamming them really are giving them something in return.

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