Friday, September 02, 2022


Last night, Joe Biden called out Donald Trump and his followers in a fiery speech. He was quite specific about the targets of his criticism:
Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

Now, I want to be very clear — (applause) — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.

I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.

But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
Ballotpedia tells us that in the states that allow voters to register with a party affiliation, 29.2% registered as Republicans in 2021. The rest were Democrats, independents, or members of minor parties.

So Biden is talking about less than half of less than a third of the country -- not even 15% of American voters, by his reckoning. And even if you think he's referring to Trump's 2020 voters, remember than Trump got 46.8% of the vote. Less than half of that is a bit more than 20% of America.

But here are typical Republican responses:

They know that Biden didn't criticize "half the country" -- but they constructed their propaganda on the assumption that their target market didn't watch the speech and doesn't know this. And there are no "grown-ups," no "mainstream Republicans" (to use Biden's phrase), who acknowledge what Biden actually said, just as there are none who'll acknowledge that the IRS isn't really hiring 87,000 armed agents prepared to use deadly force, and just as there are none who'll admit that the Justice Department didn't label parents "domestic terrorists" merely for speaking out at school board meetings.

Of course, six years ago Hillary Clinton said half of Trump supporters were "deplorables," which became, in the Republican retelling, an attack on all of them. Nothing changes. GOP messaging routinely rewrites reality, and Republicans nearly always get away with it.

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