Saturday, February 27, 2021


Jonathan Chait tries to understand why Republicans continue to embrace a loser:
Trump’s appeal to his party was rooted in his reality-television-corroborated claim to be a lifelong winner. Come to Trump’s side, he promised incessantly, and you will win so much you’ll get tired of it. What value does he still have now? When previous defeated presidents were discarded, why cling to the one whose value proposition was based on never being a loser?
There's an explanation:
An important part of the answer is that, seen through Republican eyes, Trump didn’t lose at all. Recent polls have found anywhere from 68 to 83 percent of Republican voters believe the election was stolen.
And now Republicans feel victimized by people who insist that Joe Biden's win was legitimate:
Support for Trump has ceased to be a strategy for acquiring power. It has become an act of rebellion. The powers that be wish to control your mind by making you believe Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election. In this context, denying the election outcome, and clinging to Trump, feels like an act of power.
It might feel like an act of power because it is an act of power. If it's a means of getting other Republicans elected in 2022 --and possibly getting Trump or a Trump-anointed presidential candidate elected in 2024 -- then it's still about winning electorally.

Republicans are using the election-theft lie as an excuse for further curtailment of Democratic voting. Then they'll use the lie to motivate GOP turnout in future elections.

It could work. If it does work in 2022, not only will Republicans gain power, they'll say the results prove that America is a right-leaning country, and thus the results of the 2020 presidential contest really were illegitimate.

I'm not sure how many people will actually buy this. But we need to keep beating them in elections -- we need to sustain the level of intensity we had in 2020, which won't be easy -- or the narrative will be (Republican version) that there was a sustained, Trumpian Republican renaissance after the Obama presidency that included the 2020 election or (non-Republican version) that the 2020 election was a fluke victory for the Democrats, and while there might be questions about how the GOP wins, there's no question that they have a near-lock on the electoral process. We need to prevent that from happening.

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