Thursday, December 08, 2022


Amanda Marcotte has a theory about why there's been no serious violence or unrest in response to the midterm results, even in Arizona, where Kari Lake coninues to insist that she was the rightful winner of the governor's race.
... I suspect the real reason the Big Lie is failing to incite fascist violence around midterm elections is that few, if any, Republicans actually believed the Big Lie in the first place. It was always a pretext for what its proponents really want, which is a movement to replace the process by which we choose American presidents with a dictatorship, ideally led by Donald Trump himself. Installing a bunch of mini-Trumps in state offices, even for the purpose of supposedly setting Trump up to steal the 2024 election, doesn't have the emotional power of an actual, no-BS, top-down fascist revolution.

... "Election deniers" implies that the conspiracy theory of stolen elections is the primary motivation of Trump's insurrectionist movement. But really, the conspiracy theory is just a paper-thin excuse, one which Trump and his minions barely even try to establish as a functioning narrative. Fascists, as John Ganz writes in his most recent newsletter, "believe things have gotten so bad that only a radical move to break the present regime can save the nation."
I don't buy this. I think much of the rank-and-file right genuinely believes that the 2020 election was rigged, as is any election in a red or purple state or district that's won by a Democrat.

And yes, we know that thought leaders on the right -- Nick Fuentes, Curtis Yarvin -- are fed up with democracy and would prefer a dictatorship. But do most rank-and-file right-wingers really think in these categories? It seems to me that they just want what they want: they'd like their side to win all the time. They seem to believe that they'd win every election if the electoral system changed: no early voting, no mail voting, no dropboxes, no (to them) suspiciously complex and time-consuming ballot counting in large cities and counties, no mainstream media and Big Tech rigging of elections (i.e., ordinary editorial judgment about what their publications and sites publish). I don't think they're against democracy, for the most part. They think democracy would work fine if it were rigged in their favor. (They'd say "unrigged.")

I can think of a few reasons why there's been no electoral violence this year:

* Donald Trump and his allies aren't leading the rebellion. Trump doesn't care that many of his endorsees lost -- even Lake, who was seen as a favorite of his and a possible 2024 running mate. Trump cares only about himself. He was never going to put any effort into statewide coups.

* The prosecution of January 6 insurrections is having an impact. Shockingly to them, January 6 is being prosecuted as a crime. That means any exercise of violence to overturn the results of an election could be treated the same way! No fair! No ordinary right-winger wants to get sent to what they call the "American Gulag."

* These days, they believe that any demonstration will lead to Deep State entrapment. The ones who don't think all the violence on January 6 was the work of disguised Antifa operatives think all the violence on January 6 was instigated by disguised FBI provocateurs. Now they think any announcement of a right-wing demonstration is a similar plot to entrap True Patriots.

* Once again, they're waiting for the scales to fall from America's eyes. When I go to Gateway Pundit, I see prominent headlines such as "BREAKING: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer Colluded With Federal Agency, CISA, To Censor Election Critics" and "'We Are Going To Be Filing A Lawsuit THIS FRIDAY' – Kari Lake Guest Hosts America First With Sebastian Gorka (VIDEO)." The next lawsuit or documentary will be the one that finally makes the rest of America see the light!

* They're too busy terrorizing drag performers and school librarians. Marcotte notes that right-wing anger
has more recenlty been rerouted into more direct expressions of right-wing cultural resentments, which is why we're seeing attacks on Pride events and hysteria about "wokeness" or "critical race theory." Having a tantrum, or staging a riot, over Kari Lake losing her bid to be governor of Arizona simply doesn't have the same emotional resonance.
Marcotte thinks this is because they want nothing less than to topple democracy altogether -- but if so, why would they bother attacking some local drag show or library? I think she's right that they'd rather fight to overturn a presidential election than a gubernatorial election, and it's probably also the case that fighting for Daddy Trump is more satisfying than fighting for a woman. (Trump's unsuccessful male endorsees seem to have meekly accepted their defeats.) But I think this is less about having strong opinions regarding America's ideal system of government and more about wanting to fight so someone they regard as the most alpha of males can be restored to his rightful place in the most alpha of jobs. Meanwhile, anger about sex and race are primal, which is the evil genius of the ginned-up crusades against critical race theory and trans people, and the reason they've struck such a deep chord on the right.

I just don't think it's as simple as "they want fascism and will accept no substitute." It's complicated.

No comments: