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. Heres What I Learned."
"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 countrys 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 Trumps 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 peoples shoes in the hope of explaining something seemingly inexplicable. Unlike those who study peoples 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.
How Rome Destroyed Its Own Republic:
Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.
"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 autocrats 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 couldnt overcome. Rome itself wouldnt 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
'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 Republics constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. Its 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. Thats 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.
And his supporters are giving him one. Imagine that.
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.
The Hill used the headline:
"Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt announces he's registering Democrat"
"Democratic. Its the Democratic Party. Its the oldest in the world. This headline should read registering Democratic. Its an important enough institution in this country that it is entitled to its proper name."
Welcome to the Democratic Party, Steve.
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.
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.
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.
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 theres no way in hell Trump lost
Brad Brooks, Nathan Layne and Tim Reid
Fri, November 20, 2020, 4:07 AM PST
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 masters degree, in organic chemistry. He attends Southcrest Baptist Church in nearby Lubbock. Fryar didnt much like Donald Trump at first, during the U.S. presidents 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 towns mayor, another Patriots member - that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election fairly. They believe Trumps stream of election-fraud allegations and say theyre 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 Trumps baseless fraud narrative...."
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.
I wanted to find a way to quantify how much support a candidate achieves to compare support across elections while accounting for an increased number of voters each succeeding election cycle. Why? To understand if a candidate's support has expanded or decreased if running twice, and to compare what percentage of the country actually supported a candidate. Increased turnout over and above the mere increase in eligible voters for that year is an indication of enthusiasm for or against a candidate, and should correlate with their support levels. Normalizing the absolute number to the electorate size provides the desired measure.
By this metric, Joe Biden already has 32.68% and will achieve a level of support of 34.52% of eligible voters (% Voting Eligible Population=%VEP) if he wins 52% of the popular vote as expected, greater than anyone has achieved (including Reagan and Obama) since eligible voter records (not registered voters, not all voters of age) are available. This level suggests that a combination of support for Joe and anti-Trump sentiment is at record highs. To compare, Hillary Clinton only achieved 28.52% in winning the popular vote in 2016. Biden has seen an increase in support in 6% of %VEP over Hillary.
The bad news is that Trump has achieved a 30.42% VEP, with a 31.2% %VEP predicted at the end suggesting Trump has greatly expanded his support from the 2016 level of 27.24% %VEP, an increase of 4% MAGAs, suggesting just how dangerous Trump is, especially since his supporters often are cultish and enthusiastic in trying to spread their beliefs. His final level of %VEP will only be exceeded by Obama in 2008, Reagan in 1984, and Biden this year. This number helps explain why Democrats did not achieve a blue wave-- Trump induced an almost corresponding red wave of enthusiasm, cancelling out much of Biden's large blue wave.
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