Monday, November 28, 2022


In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Will Bunch writes:
It’s clear that America is having a moment right now, and a deeply troubling one at that. Never in my lifetime — and I watched the tumultuous 1960s, albeit through the eyes of a child — has the hate speech been so open and so over the top, nor has the threat of political bloodshed felt so palpable. Yet it’s important we understand what is really happening ... and why it’s happening now.

The antisemitism, the homophobia, the violence ... this isn’t the American right flexing its muscles out of strength. Quite the opposite. The forces of 400 years of white supremacy culture are like a wounded bear right now — lashing out, and extremely dangerous because its proponents know they are a seriously endangered species.

Is it any wonder that things have gotten so much crazier since Nov. 8, the date of the midterm elections? That was the day that the folks I dubbed in a recent column as “the Biden coalition” — college students who lined up hours to vote, suburban college grads who cared more about democracy than inflation, Black and brown voters who see the racism that still lurks behind the GOP’s pitch to the working class — held together to give Democrats the upper hand in the 2022 midterms. It’s that stunning defeat that’s making the far right so batty....
But the right isn't losing everywhere. Republicans control the Supreme Court. They'll soon run the House of Representatives, and they could easily win back the Senate and the White House in 2024. They still have the majority of governorships. They control the governments of the second- and third-largest states, Texas and Florida. Abortion is banned in twelve states. Their side controls national gun policy, while gun laws are being loosened in state after state (and a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year seems likely to force loosening in blue states as well). They've made police reform politically radioactive and they're well on their way to doing the same for bail reform. They beat back all public health measures intended to limit the spread of COVID, even in blue America. They intimidated Disney. And one of their own just bought Twitter and is working hard to turn it into a haven for conspiratorialism and right-wing intimdation.

But yes, our side has had a number of ballot-box victories since Donald Trump's election. Democracy lives, for now. And the normie culture in America is more accepting and empathetic than the right would like it to be. But our wins are partial and tentative.

Right-wingers aren't enraged because they know they're losing. They're enraged because they think they should have won a total victory by now.

For years they've been told that liberals are a weird, freakish minority limited to cities and college towns -- all real Americans are right-wing. Long before Donald Trump entered politics, they were told that we cheat in every election, hence the need for voter ID laws. (Hugh Hewitt's book If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat was published in 2004.) More recently they were told that all elite Democrats are cannibal pedophiles, and now they're told that we're all "groomers." Doesn't a decent society lock people like that up, or worse? And even the ones who don't believe this literally believe that our electoral cheating is on a massive scale -- there's just no way 81 million people voted for Sleepy Joe Biden! He never had any boat parades! -- and that cheating is aided and abetted by Facebook, George Soros, the Chinese government, and whoever turns up in Hunter Biden's laptop.

So in a way they're angry because they're losing, but only in the sense that they define "losing" as having to live in a country where we have any say at all in how society is run.

They've been told for so long that we're weird, pathetic, Marxist, evil, and satanic that our continued ability to exercise the rights of citizenship seems like a monstrous injustice. If that doesn't change soon, somebody's going to get hurt.

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