Saturday, June 12, 2021


My last post was titled "No, Trump's Spygate Isn't a Game Changer." My point was that the public, apart from people who already loathe Trump, won't care that his Justice Department spied on members of Congress and on family members and others associated with them. They'll see that classified information was leaked and accept the argument that surveillance was warranted. They don't really care what happens to members of Congress anyway -- most Americans don't like Congress.

On Twitter, there was this response:

I can't either. And it's not just this story.

I'm pleased that there are investigations into Trump's finances here in New York, but again, apart from Trump-haters, I don't believe anyone will be appalled to learn that rich guys cook the books. It would be good for America if we had a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 assault on Congress, but Americans, apart from self-deluding right-wingers who blame Antifa, largely understand what happened that day and recognize that Trump motivated the mob. No one's mind will be changed by a blue-ribbon commission. No minds are being changed by the arrests of the perpetrators.

We need to be talking more about the future threat of Republican rule. Large portions of America believe -- still -- that the GOP is a sober, responsible mainstream party and that Democrats are radical and extremist. Focusing on Trump's crimes or on January 6 doesn't change minds because the conventional wisdom is that Trump and Trumpism are invading forces that have perverted the Republican Party, rather than decades of Republicanism taken to their logical extreme. Focusing on Matt Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene in isolation doesn't work either -- they're still seen as wacky outliers, nothing like the wise, thoughtful GOP elders who talk in measured tones on Sunday talk shows and distract Americans from the radicalism of their party.

We need to remind Americans that we can't raise the minimum wage, fight climate change, pass sensible gun laws, increase taxes on the super-rich, or protect reproductive freedom because a solid bloc of Republicans won't allow us to. We need to hammer home the fact that Republicans back or at least tolerate COVID denialism and vaccine skepticism, that they want to restrict voting rights and probably overturn the results of future elections, that they want to scapegoat trans youth everywhere in America, that they believe it's okay to run over peaceful protesters in your car, that they want to return to the days of the Wall and family separations at the border.

Trump could go to prison tomorrow and all this would still be true. It's all true even though January 6 rioters are in prison and up on charges now.

Accountability is fine, but it won't save us. Talking about the ongoing threat posed by ordinary Republicanism might.

No comments: