Thursday, August 25, 2022


The Editorial Board's John Stoehr has a theory about the midterms:
What if, and stay with me here – what if Donald Trump’s constant lying about the 2020 election being stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats is, um, good for democracy?

... Here are two items I saw Tuesday night as primary election results came in. The first came from Dave Wasserman, the Cook Political Report’s editor for House elections. There’s “lots of focus on Dems being more engaged/energetic post-Dobbs, which is undeniably true,” he said. “But to me, the GOP/Trump base appears less engaged than it was last November, which is just as big a part of the story.”

The second came from NBC News’ Ben Collins, who covers the paranoid-delusional fringe. He said that, “A lot of users in pro-Trump forums have fundamentally given up on voting. Shockingly, constantly saying every election bigger than a headcount is rigged has had a deleterious effect on voter turnout in national races.”

Collins cited a chat forum titled: “I’m telling you, we would win EVERY ELECTION in the country if the Democrats didn’t cheat.”
Stoehr's point: Maybe Trump's Big Lie really has a significant number of Republicans not turning out to vote.
The more Trump lies about rigged elections, the more his followers believe him. The more elections are lost to Democratic candidates, the more rigged every election seems.

But instead of doing something about it, as you’d expect, what if they’re losing hope.

... Why vote, organize, protest and debate when it’s hopeless?
I'm not sure I believe this. But what if it's true? What if some of these folks, whether they know it or not, don't even want to win anymore? What if they're so addicted to grievance that grievance is now what they enjoy most?

George W. Bush had "Mission Accomplished" and the death of Saddam. His father had the mini-war in Panama and the first Iraq War. Ronald Reagan had Grenada and "Morning in America." All those were moments of triumph, if fleeting ones in some cases, for Republican presidents.

The Trump presidency, by contrast, was primarily a four-year airing of grievances. Republicanism since then has been an orgy of grievance -- not just the 2020 election, but inflation, Antifa, the border "invasion," bail reform, Big Tech "shadow banning," COVID lockdowns (which ended a couple of years ago), trans rights, CRT, DEI, ESG ... the list is endless. That's what you hear from Republican politicians. That's what you hear from Fox News. For Republican voters, grievance is entertainment.

What if many of them don't even care if they win anymore? What if grievance is such a great drug that they're in no hurry to be weaned off it?

That might be a lot to hope for. But maybe it's happening.

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