Sunday, October 02, 2022


The Washington Post's Yasmeen Abutaleb has published a story with the headline "Apocalypse Now: Democrats Embrace a Dark Midterm Message" -- and yes, the message seems fairly dark:
Democrat Max Frost, running for U.S. Congress in Florida, has said Republicans like Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are trying to build “right-wing fascist power.” Rep. Pat Ryan, a New York Democrat, says America faces “a coordinated domestic attempt to undermine our Constitution.”

And Rep. Chris Pappas, a New Hampshire Democrat facing reelection in a swing district, paints an Orwellian America if his Republican opponent gets her way on abortion: “It wouldn’t be a woman’s choice — it would be the government’s choice.”

With a tough midterm election about six weeks away, many Democrats have largely settled on a campaign message, and it’s not one that simply emphasizes their accomplishments. Instead, it amounts to a stark warning: If Republicans take power, they will establish a dystopia that cripples democracy and eviscerates abortion rights and other freedoms.
How does this compare with the GOP's messaging, according to Abutaleb?
Republicans have adopted their own apocalyptic rhetoric, warning that Biden and the Democrats are taking the country down a path of soaring crime, raging inflation and uncontrolled immigration. That has created a midterm arena marked by dueling dystopias, as the parties vie to outdo each other in describing the hell scape that lies ahead if the other side wins.

But while Republican rhetoric in many ways amounts to a routine political attack, the Democrats’ message reflects the reality that many in the GOP are openly embracing anti-democratic principles and an end to abortion rights, even as some scramble to distance themselves from such positions after previously advocating them.
This makes my brain short-circuit. Abutaleb acknowledges that Democrats' "apocalyptic rhetoric ... reflects the reality" of the Republican agenda, and she acknowledges that Republican rhetoric is also apocalyptic. Nevertheless, Republican rhetoric is just politics as usual. Hunh?

Does Abutaleb think Republicans are merely saying that crime is rising, the border is porous, and the economy is bad? They're saying more than that. They're saying Democrats want to kill Republican voters.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) accused Democrats of murdering Republicans in “killings” that the lawmaker claims are underway. “I am not going to mince words with you all,” Greene said at Donald Trump’s rally in Warren, Michigan, on Saturday night. “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings.” To support her claim, Greene cited a recent North Dakota crime story about an intoxicated man who allegedly “had a political argument with [a] pedestrian,” hit the pedestrian with a car, and then later claimed the pedestrian was “part of a Republican extremist group,” according to court documents. During her speech, Greene added that President Joe Biden “has declared every freedom-loving American an enemy of the state.” “But under Republicans, we will take back our country from the Communists who have stolen it and want us to disappear,” Greene concluded.
They're saying President Biden is a would-be dictator:

In August, Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel published an inflammatory op-ed on the Fox News website that was full of lies about what the federal government is doing:
Look at the big picture. Last October Biden’s Department of Justice labeled parents concerned about their kids’ educations as "domestic terrorists." In May, the Biden administration tried to set up a "Ministry of Truth" to police what Americans read online. Last week, Senate Democrats passed a bill hiring a Rose Bowl Stadium’s worth of new IRS government agents to financially target everyday citizens. And on Monday, the Biden Justice Department unleashed the FBI on a leading political opponent just 92 days ahead of the massively important midterm elections....

This raid on President Trump should be a wake-up call for every American.... If the Democrat establishment can do this to a former president, what can they do to you?
Several right-wing or Republican figures reacted to the search of Mar-a-Lago not only with demands to dismantle the F.B.I., but also with warnings that the action had triggered “war.”

“This just shows everyone what many of us have been saying for a very long time,” Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed House candidate in Washington State, said on a podcast run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief political strategist. “We’re at war.”

Even before the search at Mar-a-Lago ... some of Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters had been casting the political stakes as existential, suggesting that the country was already embroiled in an end-of-times clash between irreconcilable foes.

“This is truly a battle between those who want to save America and those who want to destroy her,” Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for the governor of Arizona, told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas in early August. “That’s where we are at the moment. My question to you is: Are you in this fight with us?”
According to Lake, the conspiracy to destroy America isn't limited to Democrats:
Arizona candidate for governor Kari Lake implicated Cindy McCain in a plot to destroy America with liberal billionaire George Soros.

While appearing on ... Steve Bannon's right-wing podcast, Lake suggested that Republicans fear her more than Democrats.

"It just shows you how dangerous the RINO-class of the Republican Party is," she complained. "I believe they're in cahoots basically with the [George] Soros types on the left. And this is why they stabbed President Trump in the back on the fourth of November and we remember that."

"This is the Cindy McCain branch of the Republican Party," the candidate continued. "They're not Republicans. They're globalists and they want -- I think they want an end to America. They want a globalist agenda, a new world order, whatever you want to call it."

She concluded: "And we want America. We want our Constitution and we want our constitutional rights intact. And that's what they're afraid of."
Republicans sometimes take the "Democrats want to destroy America" rhetoric to absurd levels:

But it doesn't add up to "a routine political attack," unless the point you're making is that it's been routine for Republicans to say that Democrats are trying to destroy the country since at least 1972.

Remember the water parable in David Foster Wallace's 2005 Kenyon College commencement address?
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
That's how mainstream journalists are when they're swimming through ever-present Republican extremism.

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