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andym

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Member since: Fri Sep 26, 2003, 09:31 PM
Number of posts: 4,716

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The Republican party has lost its way since Watergate and 1974

In the modern era, since the 1920s, the Republican Party has traditionally been focused on self-interest-- lower taxes, less government, individual liberty, etc, so it's not surprising that GOP Senators of today act in THEIR own perceived self-interest, not the interests of the country. That was not always the case though. In 1974, it was his loss of support from GOP Senators that forced Nixon to resign. Of course, the country then itself was more supportive of American political traditions and wary of would-be autocrats.

There is no doubt that GOP Senators would have voted to convict him in an impeachment trial in 1974 forcing Nixon's resignation. His resignation ended his political career in disgrace. Trump's career should have ended in disgrace with a conviction in the Senate for inciting an insurrection against the country whose Constitution he had sworn to uphold, but thanks to craven, self-interested GOP Senators, he could easily run again in 2024. He will even claim vindication by not being convicted.

Why the difference between then and now? The quality of character of those elected to Congress (many had fought in wars like WWII against authoritarian regimes), and the culture of party-first created by a right-wing propaganda machine perfected first by Nixon's trainees, like Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater. Ailes' Fox News and their propaganda-spewing ilk coupled with social media of today, basically have created a party ripe for a man with authoritarian impulses like Trump. their Frankenstein monster, to take control. As a footnote, Ailes himself started Fox News so that another Nixon, a corrupt GOP President, would never be forced from office again, and he has indeed prevailed, though no longer alive to celebrate.

Our country faces a very uncertain future because our system favors a two-party system to ensure stability by balancing political power and one of the parties, the GOP, has now been completely corrupted by a manipulative self-reinforcing propaganda system that will lead to authoritarian leaders and the inevitable loss of American freedoms gained over more than 200 years.

Sociologist embedded in Stop the Steal rallies insights into Trumpers

An Asian woman sociology graduate student at Princeton embedded herself at Trump "Stop the Steal" rallies in Florida to learn more about what their beliefs were. Her conclusions are that the they all are united by distrust in the mainstream media, after that their motivations diverge, although love of Trump (strong leader) and believing him to be a truth-teller are other beliefs held by the protesters. Resentment of black people was mentioned by one participant and resentment of students having their loans forgiven was mentioned by another. A visceral hatred of "socialism" was mentioned by several. Belonging to a "group" who shared their beliefs was a source of pride and unifying force among them. This is a very interesting article that may one day be followed up by a book.

"I Embedded With Trump-Supporting ‘Stop The Steal’ Protesters. Here’s What I Learned."
Megan Kang
Huffington Post
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stop-steal-protest-trump-supporters_n_60047b38c5b62c0057bdec7b?guccounter=1
....
"But each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, this intersection transforms into a political battleground. Since July, a group of Republicans have gathered there with signs supporting Donald Trump, flags, music, and attire. The demonstrators are met with honking, waving, swearing, flicking off, fist pumping, and occasionally, they get into shouting matches with the drivers passing by. Months after the presidential election resulted in a victory for Joe Biden in November 2020, this group of demonstrators continues to show up every Saturday in support of Trump and his claims that the election was stolen from him.

Their efforts are a part of a larger social movement known as “Stop the Steal,” which swept the country in the final months of 2020. It became one of the fastest growing groups on Facebook in early November, amassing 320,000 users in its first 22 hours before Facebook shut it down for trying to incite violence. Despite this, the slogan caught on like wildfire as testimonials alleging voter fraud made their way across social media and onto right-wing sites. The message was fueled by President Trump himself, who claimed the election was stolen on Twitter and official White House platforms. As of early December, one poll found that three out of four registered Republicans said they did not trust the 2020 election outcomes. By that time, “Stop the Steal” demonstrations were taking place on the steps of state capitols, outside of elected officials’ homes, and on local street intersections. On Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes, “Stop the Steal” followers and other Trump supporters staged an armed insurrection at the country’s Capitol. As a result of the attack, five people died and many more were injured. Footage of rioters destroying parts of the building, sitting inside the Senate chambers, and defacing legislators’ offices offered a shocking display of how far the movement had come.

In effort to try to understand those who are sympathetic to Trump’s efforts to undo the election results, I decided to join them. As a sociology graduate student, my lessons in ethnography have taught me to unravel problems by standing in or near other people’s shoes in the hope of explaining something seemingly inexplicable. Unlike those who study people’s beliefs or behaviors without this context, ethnographers try to capture people within their natural setting by participating in their lives. This is how I found myself spending my last four Saturday mornings at this intersection alongside these protesters. I wanted to get as close as I could to observe and learn how these individuals view themselves and the world they were fighting for, as well as uncover more about their beliefs and motivations.
...
In addition to the misinformation they believed and their allegiance to Trump that brought them together, the camaraderie and pride they shared also kept these individuals coming back to the intersection each week. “Trump supporters know how to have a good time!” Madeline told me. “Once we had five ladies in wheelchairs here. We were all having so much fun.” Each time a car honked in support of the protesters, everyone raised their flags a bit higher, smiles appeared, and a feeling of unity swept over the group. Even I found myself returning smiles to those who honked and waved at me and I felt the elation that my compatriots felt beside me. It was contagious.... "
----
More at the link above.

Trashing political norms ended the Roman Republic: Trump's unrepudiated insurrection leads US astray

I've updated this post.
Today's impeachment vote (Feb 13) is another nail in the coffin of the American republic.
American Senators even 40 years ago would have voted to convict Trump, just as they forced Nixon from office.
The bloated self-interest of the GOP, their tolerance for lies, and love of authority will be the downfall of our republic.

The Trump-catalyzed insurrection cannot be allowed to stand unpunished, but it has. His minions were just following his incitement. Yet the Senate acquitted him.


Below is documentation of a historical example of what happens to a republic when the violation of political (democratic) norms becomes acceptable:

Trump may be our destructive catalyst, as he disregards our political norms-- from impeding the transition to the winning President-elect's government to even more serious lies about election fraud and then finally encouraging an insurrection against Congress that turned violent. He has already damaged our Republic with his lies and divisory actions and it looks like there's more to come, especially if he and his enablers go unpunished as he now has.

See:
How Rome Destroyed Its Own Republic:
Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.
https://www.history.com/news/rome-republic-augustus-dictator

"imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control.

Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. The republic that had existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever."
------

Also take a look at this article:
Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lessons-decline-democracy-from-ruined-roman-republic-180970711/

'The U.S. Constitution owes a huge debt to ancient Rome. The Founding Fathers were well-versed in Greek and Roman History. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison read the historian Polybius, who laid out one of the clearest descriptions of the Roman Republic’s constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. It’s not surprising that in the United States’ nascent years, comparisons to ancient Rome were common. And to this day, Rome, whose 482-year-long Republic, bookended by several hundred years of monarchy and 1,500 years of imperial rule, is still the longest the world has seen.

Aspects of our modern politics reminded University of California San Diego historian Edward Watts of the last century of the Roman Republic, roughly 130 B.C. to 27 B.C. That’s why he took a fresh look at the period in his new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Watts chronicles the ways the republic, with a population once devoted to national service and personal honor, was torn to shreds by growing wealth inequality, partisan gridlock, political violence and pandering politicians, and argues that the people of Rome chose to let their democracy die by not protecting their political institutions, eventually turning to the perceived stability of an emperor instead of facing the continued violence of an unstable and degraded republic. Political messaging during the 2018 midterm elections hinged on many of these exact topics."
---------
We have a choice, try to restore norms against the prevailing trend of unenlightened selfishness and self-interest from Trump-supporting Republicans and their fellow travelers or face fascism in America.

Trump needed an excuse for martial law

And his supporters are giving him one. Imagine that.

What to expect: Trump will soon be calling himself the "Real President" from the sidelines

After the majority of GOP House Reps support Trump in his quixotic bid to steal the election, with the outcome that Trump loses again, what will Trump do?

I think he will call himself the "real President Trump" from the sidelines and order his GOP minions not to cooperate with President Biden. He will be the GOP's Simple Simon, calling the shots. Most of the cowards in the GOP will follow his every whim. He will then run for his "third term" in 2024-- too bad for the GOP hopefuls like Senator Hawley. Expect lots of rallies from the "real Airforce One"-- a replica that will have to be created by his rich billionaire friends.

I wonder if he will go as far as to have the real State of the Union Address etc. ? Probably.

Why? His huge ego demands that he be the "leader" and that means he will never, ever admit he lost.

The consequences? Expect MANY filibusters in the Senate, if Democrats manage to seize control. If the GOP retains control, then almost no votes will be held and there will be few compromises to be had. Mitch will see to this no matter what Trump does, but Trump will make things worse.

Steve Schmidt criticizes the Hill for headline using "Democrat" Party instead of "Democratic" Party

The Hill used the headline:
"Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt announces he's registering Democrat"

Steve objected:

https://twitter.com/SteveSchmidtSES/status/1339070117519519746
"Democratic. It’s the Democratic Party. It’s the oldest in the world. This headline should read “registering Democratic”. It’s an important enough institution in this country that it is entitled to its’ proper name."

---
Welcome to the Democratic Party, Steve.

What to expect when Congress meets: their playbook is Tilden vs Hayes in 1876

Trump will order his "troops" (GOP senators and representatives into action). Why? He can't stand to lose, and he has the "what do you have to lose" mindset. This is why they are forming faux alternate slates of electors.

Their playbook is obsolete, not applicable to the current situation and will lose, but it's instructive to understand it:

The Election of 1876
Democrat Tilden, the NY governor, won a majority of the vote (50.9%) and seemed to win the electoral college until charges of fraudulent elections in 4 contested states. The GOP controlled the SC and Senate while the Democrats controlled the House-- just like today. There were two slates of electors from each of the contested states, each certified by different officials. An electoral commission eventually awarded all of the disputed states to Hayes making him the winner.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1876_United_States_presidential_election

The difference is that there wasn't real fraud this time, so there is NO justification as well as the reforms from the Electoral Count Act in 1887. There are also no alternate slates of electors certified by any state officials. I'm pretty sure they will try to dispute this on January 6 to try to cheat their way in. They need their alternate slates of electors should the disputes ever get that far. But they won't, thanks to greater clarity in the law and the lack of any evidential fraud with more than 50 court cases to back up the conclusion of a clean election.

The mininum is that Trump should be called a "Sore Loser" loudly by at least some prominent people

And it should be repeated in public by regular folks like they did to Gore during the Florida recounts. That could be followed up by stating he is trying to cheat his way into office after losing which is significantly worse-- anti-democratic and Anti-American. The latter should be used frequently.

Trump as Simple Simon for deluded cultists which number in the millions

and enthralls weak GOP politicians who are either directly controlled by Simple Simon or are afraid of his voters.

I just read this article which provides evidence for this claim:
If Simon (Donald) says go to civil war, they will, no matter how educated they are and no matter the complete lack of evidence.

Why Republican voters say there’s ‘no way in hell’ Trump lost
Brad Brooks, Nathan Layne and Tim Reid
Fri, November 20, 2020, 4:07 AM PST
https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-republican-voters-no-way-120755031.html

SUNDOWN, Texas (Reuters) - Brett Fryar is a middle-class Republican. A 50-year-old chiropractor in this west Texas town, he owns a small business. He has two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree, in organic chemistry. He attends Southcrest Baptist Church in nearby Lubbock. Fryar didn’t much like Donald Trump at first, during the U.S. president’s 2016 campaign. He voted for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries.

Now, Fryar says he would go to war for Trump. He has joined the newly formed South Plains Patriots, a group of a few hundred members that includes a “reactionary” force of about three dozen - including Fryar and his son, Caleb - who conduct firearms training. Nothing will convince Fryar and many others here in Sundown - including the town’s mayor, another Patriots member - that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election fairly. They believe Trump’s stream of election-fraud allegations and say they’re preparing for the possibility of a “civil war” with the American political left.

"If President Trump comes out and says: 'Guys, I have irrefutable proof of fraud, the courts won't listen, and I'm now calling on Americans to take up arms,' we would go," said Fryar, wearing a button-down shirt, pressed slacks and a paisley tie during a recent interview at his office.

The unshakable trust in Trump in this town of about 1,400 residents reflects a national phenomenon among many Republicans, despite the absence of evidence in a barrage of post-election lawsuits by the president and his allies. About half of Republicans polled by Reuters/Ipsos said Trump “rightfully won” the election but had it stolen from him in systemic fraud favoring Biden, according to a survey conducted between Nov. 13 and 17. Just 29% of Republicans said Biden rightfully won. Other polls since the election have reported that an even higher proportion - up to 80% - of Republicans trust Trump’s baseless fraud narrative...."

How can Trump inspire such loyalty in the GOP?

Nixon would not have resigned if Republicans of his day were more loyal to him than the nation. Something has happened to the GOP since then. Many of that era fought in WWII, perhaps that is the difference. Modern-day Republicans identify more strongly as Republicans than Americans.
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