Tuesday, September 07, 2021


I agree with the point Greg Sargent makes in this post, but I don't agree with the way he frames it:
If there is one thing that might get Democratic voters to take state-level races more seriously, it’s the Zombie Trumpism that continues to afflict GOP governors. In states where covid-19 cases are surging, they steadfastly refuse to take the virus seriously enough, and some are actively thwarting local efforts to combat it, a state of derangement that refuses to die.

This is why we should pay close attention to the Virginia gubernatorial contest....

The Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, is placing public health questions involving masks and vaccines squarely before the electorate in a way that’s all too rare among Democrats. He is excoriating Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin for opposing vaccine and mask mandates, and casting this as a holdover of Donald Trump’s deranged approach to covid-19....

You’d think ... Democratic voters might get engaged by this lingering Trumpist derangement.
Sargent is right when he says that Democrats should run as proud supporters of public health measures, and should blast Republican refuseniks the way McAuliffe does in this ad:

And yes, they should link all this to Trump, who's widely disliked, and whose response to the pandemic was an utter failure, as even some Republicans .
are willing to concede.
But don't call it "Zombie Trumpism" or "lingering Trumpist derangement," as if we might see the end of the craziness in the foreseeable future, when Trump fades from the scene.

Besides the fact that he's not fading -- he seems quite likely to run again in 2024 -- he's not really the source of this derangement anymore. Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, and other Republican governors own it now, as do hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file Americans who cough on fellow shoppers and threaten those who try to enforce anti-COVID protocols with citizens' arrests. Linking anti-health madness to Trump is smart politics, but it's taken on a life of its own, and it really doesn't rely on Trump in 2021.

It was never his cause alone, even in 2020. More than a year ago, right-wing billionaires who weren't named Trump began bankrolling the "reopen" movement. Opportunistic podcasters and megachurch preachers expanded their followings by rejecting COVID science. Fox News regained some of the market share it lost after admitting that Joe Biden won the 2020 election by leaning into COVID conspiratorialism. And now conspiratorializing about COVID the go-to move for Republicans who want to collect large donations from across the country.

Right-wingers regard Trump as their supreme being, but the right-wing extremism we're experiencing today is rooted in the pre-Trump era; Trump simply put his spin on it and, to some extent, passed the torch. It won't get better when he finally leaves the scene, because, as a rule, it only gets worse. And it absolutely isn't merely "lingering" or zombified.

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