Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Nevilledog's Journal
Nevilledog's Journal
October 12, 2023

The GOP's 'southern strategy' mastermind just died. Here's his legacy.


No paywall

“The whole secret of politics is knowing who hates who.”

That insight was the brainchild of Kevin Phillips, the longtime political analyst who passed away this week at 82 years old. Phillips’s 1969 book, “The Emerging Republican Majority,” provided the blueprint for the “southern strategy” that the Republican Party adopted for decades to win over White voters who were alienated by the Democratic Party’s embrace of civil rights in the 1960s.

Phillips advised Republicans to exploit the racial anxieties of White voters, linking them directly to issues such as crime, federal spending and voting rights. The strategy, beginning with Richard M. Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 presidential race, helped produce GOP majorities for decades.

Though Phillips later reconsidered his fealty to the GOP, updated versions of the “southern strategy” live on in today’s Republican Party, shaping the political world we inhabit today. So I asked historians and political theorists to weigh in on Phillips’s legacy. Their responses have been edited for style and brevity.

Kevin Kruse, historian at Princeton University and co-editor of “Myth America”: Kevin Phillips was a prophet of today’s polarization. He drew a blueprint for a major realignment of American politics that is still with us. For much of the 20th century, Democrats dominated the national scene, because of the reliable support of the “Solid South.”

October 9, 2023

Jay Kuo: Playing Politics with the Gaza Terror Attack


There once was an unspoken tradition in U.S. politics that, in the face of an attack by an enemy, either upon U.S. citizens or those of an ally, the parties would put aside politics for the moment and unite behind the President. It was important, once upon a better time, to present a united rather than a divided front, because otherwise the enemy could exploit our divisions and gain an advantage. There was no precedent for immediately blaming the White House, instead of the terrorists, for an attack like we saw out of Gaza on Saturday.

And yet, we remain in unprecedented times, so attack Joe Biden they did.

A principal line of attack by the GOP concerns Iran. Recently, the Biden Administration granted further access by Iran to $6 billion in oil revenues that had been frozen and held overseas. That move was part of a diplomatic effort to obtain the release of prisoners held by Iran, within the larger context of wanting to restart the nuclear agreements that ex-president Trump had pulled the U.S. out of. But to hear the Republicans put it, Iran took that unfrozen $6 billion and promptly funded Hamas with it, leading directly to the deadliest attack in 50 years on Israel. (This is untrue, for reasons I’ll explain below.)

With U.S. citizens reportedly among those killed or taken hostage, public anger and angst are likely to grow, and we should also expect Republicans to capitalize upon a perceived failure in foreign policy. After all, this is the party that brought us some 10 hearings on Benghazi, and that tragedy was peanuts compared to this. But who bears primary responsibility for a failure to head off the attack?

Finally, and adding to the mix, the U.S. is currently politically weakened by the lack of a Speaker in the House to push through more funding and aid, by the lack of a confirmed U.S. ambassador to Israel, and by a backlog of military promotions caused by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Tuberville has maintained that nothing about the crisis in Gaza will move him off his holds. Our military readiness is directly affected by his political brinksmanship.


October 5, 2023

The Slow Burn Threatening Our Democracy


A woman in Texas left a message on a federal judge’s voicemail saying, among other things, “you are in our sights, we want to kill you.” An Illinois woman sent an email to former President Donald Trump’s youngest son’s school with a message saying she “will shoot [Trump and his son] straight in the face any opportunity I get.” A man in Florida threatened a congressman, saying that he would “bash his…head in with a bat.” Then there’s the Wisconsin man who threatened a prosecutor in phone calls—300 of them. These examples, culled from the federal courts criminal docket, illustrate a bigger problem over time. By our count, over the past 10 years, more than 500 individuals have been arrested for threatening public officials. And the trendline is shooting up.

With the 2024 presidential election fast approaching, the uptick of threats against public officials may make the idea of another Jan. 6 attack or similar large-scale political violence moment loom large. But the focus on preventing another Jan. 6 may be more distracting than helpful. In practice, the threat of domestic extremism has moved into a new phase, something best referred to as a slowly growing everyday insurgency, where an unprecedented number of disparate individuals motivated by similar underlying grievances seek to intimidate and coerce public officials.

These threats coalesce together, forming a culture which helps normalize the idea of political violence. These threats are most prevalent online but are also transmitted through telephone calls, handwritten letters, videos, and face-to-face confrontations.

Over the past year, we conducted a deep dive into the world of communicated threats directed at public officials in these categories: election and elected, education, healthcare, and law enforcement, to include the judiciary. Our team retrieved and carefully reviewed all federal charges that fit these parameters between 2013 and 2022. We collected and culled thousands of court documents to understand the grievances animating the threats, the way threats were communicated, the targets of these threats, and many other characteristics. We wanted to understand as much as possible about each incident, starting from the alleged offender(s) involved, and the victim(s) targeted. Selecting federal cases with corresponding court documents, which are typically rich in detail, gave us the best chance to do so. Other options would have produced far fewer details about these issues. That said, the federal courts provide just one lens into what is a much bigger problem as the actual prevalence of threats to public officials is higher given some individuals are charged at the state level or are simply not charged at all.

October 2, 2023

The Next Target for the Group That Overturned Roe


No paywall

On March 15, 2023, two conservative Christian lawyers asked a federal judge in Amarillo, Texas, for a ruling that they privately considered an almost impossible long shot. They demanded a nationwide ban on mifepristone, a pill used in half the abortions in America. The drug had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for more than twenty years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. During the pandemic, the agency began allowing prescriptions to be filled by mail, to accommodate social distancing.

But the lawyers, from a group called Alliance Defending Freedom, were on a winning streak. Founded three decades ago as a legal-defense fund for conservative Christian causes, A.D.F. had become that movement’s most influential arm. In the past dozen years, its lawyers had won fourteen Supreme Court victories, including overturning Roe v. Wade; allowing employer-sponsored health insurance to exclude birth control; rolling back limits on government support for religious organizations; protecting the anonymity of donors to advocacy groups; blocking pandemic-related public-health rules; and establishing the right of a baker to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. Capitalizing on its success, A.D.F. had tripled its revenue over that period, to more than a hundred million dollars a year. It now had seventy or so in-house lawyers, including the former solicitors general of Michigan and Nebraska and the former United States Attorney for Missouri. The lawyers sent to Amarillo were Erik Baptist, a former top lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump, and Erin Hawley, a Yale Law graduate who had clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts, advised the Attorney General under President George W. Bush, and worked on the team that overturned Roe. (She is married to Senator Josh Hawley, of Missouri.)

Thanks to the rightward shift of the courts under Trump, A.D.F. lawyers now often find a sympathetic audience on the federal bench. Filing the mifepristone case in Amarillo enabled A.D.F. to argue before Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who had previously worked as the deputy general counsel of First Liberty Institute—a conservative Christian advocacy organization that has received grants from A.D.F. The summer before, Kacsmaryk’s chambers had chosen an intern from an A.D.F. program for law students; an alumnus of the program is clerking for him this fall. (Other alumni clerked last term for Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.)

Many of the sixty-odd members of A.D.F.’s fund-raising department gathered during the hearing to pray for a win, and, in a video conference the next day, Lance Bauslaugh, A.D.F.’s senior vice-president of development, told the staff that Erin Hawley was “super grateful.” Even though the Amarillo judge was “very friendly,” Bauslaugh said, upending a decades-old F.D.A. approval was “a tough thing to do.” He said of the judge, “Maybe he gives us half of what we are seeking”—say, restoring limits on mail-order delivery. That alone would be “huge.” (A left-leaning investigative organization called Documented provided me with leaked recordings of the video conference and other events, along with hundreds of pages of internal documents.)

October 1, 2023

DeSantis' 'communist' school accusation rings hollow, reveals ugly truth


No paywall

Over the past six years, the Orlando Sentinel has spotlighted a slew of publicly funded voucher schools in Florida with disturbing policies and woefully inadequate educational programs.

We’ve found schools that flat-out refuse to serve children with disabilities — with written policies saying that they simply won’t accept kids in wheelchairs or who have conditions like autism.

Also schools that refuse to admit students who are gay or even have gay parents. Again, we’re talking about written policies that explicitly say students can be expelled or rejected for saying the words: “I am gay.” We even interviewed a mom whose kids were admitted at one Florida voucher school — until she started dating another woman, an Air Force veteran. Then her kids were denied admission.

We’ve also found schools that had high-school dropouts working as “teachers,” that operated out of rundown strip malls and that taught children all sorts of fictional nonsense.

In each and every one of those cases, GOP lawmakers have said: Well, that’s how school choice works. Parents get to choose.


September 29, 2023

Whistleblower: GOP Investigators Didn't Want to Hear Allegations of Russian Influence Over Rudy


House Republicans really don’t want to hear from Rudy Giuliani.

Though their impeachment crusade grew out of the former New York City mayor’s anti-Biden machinations, the GOP-led House Oversight Committee spent much of Thursday’s impeachment inquiry hearing voting down repeated efforts by Democrats to subpoena Giuliani and Lev Parnas, his former sidekick.

But Republican attempts to limit what they hear about Giuliani’s activities apparently go further than a few committee votes, according to an FBI whistleblower. In a memo obtained by Mother Jones, Johnathan Buma—an FBI agent who says he conducted foreign influence investigations— alleges that investigators working for House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told him in June that they were not interested in what he knew about Giuliani potentially being “compromised” by Russian intelligence while working as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

The memo suggests that Republican investigators privately imposed the same fact-finding limitations Democrats highlighted on Thursday: GOP lawmakers say they want to investigate allegations about Joe Biden, but they appear reluctant to scrutinize the origin of their own probe or turn up details that undermine their preferred narrative. Judiciary Committee staff dispute Buma’s allegations, telling Mother Jones that his account of his interactions with House investigators isn’t accurate. (The Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees are working on the Biden investigation with the House Oversight Committee, which held Thursday’s hearing.)

As Insider, the New Yorker and others have previously reported, Buma—who originally filed a whistleblower complaint with the FBI last year—submitted a statement to the House Judiciary Committee in April 2023. He sent another statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July. (Here is Buma’s full statement to the House committee, which recently became public.)


September 19, 2023

Jay Kuo: Conspiracy Theories and the MAGA GOP


There are three modern political conspiracies that a good number of the American public have bought into, more or less fully.

The first we are familiar with: the Big Lie about a stolen election. This theory posits, in a nutshell, that the Democrats managed to pull off electoral fraud on a massive scale across numerous states, enough to tip the election to Joe Biden and rob Trump of his rightful win.

The second concerns the so-called “Biden Crime Family,” which takes the true narrative that Hunter Biden was profiting off of his father’s position to falsely assert that the entire Biden “family” (meaning, his father) is corrupt. This conspiracy is complicated, as many are, because it is intertwined with Russian propaganda about Ukrainian corruption. It is also now the driving factor behind an evidence-free impeachment inquiry in the House.

The third conspiracy is of “election interference,” a drum Trump and his acolytes like to beat nearly daily, which claims that federal and state prosecutors are in a coordinated effort to take Trump down in order to keep him from regaining the Oval Office. They make this assertion even though there is an independent Special Counsel in charge of both federal prosecutions and there are independent local prosecutors bringing the state charges.

These three conspiracies are all fairly easily disproved based on the facts. But facts and the truth have never stopped a conspiracy from spreading. They follow a very familiar course for modern conspiracies, and in a normal world, the public would lump them in with 9/11 truthers and Pizzagate.


September 19, 2023

How Copaganda Works: The Media Helps Police Amplify Misleading Narratives Around Crime


What do successful alternatives to policing, prosecution, and prison actually look like? And how would they work? A group of Chicago’s leading public safety, health, and justice innovators gathered at the DePaul Art Museum last summer to provide much-needed clarity on these crucial questions.

Artists, survivors of violence, entrepreneurs and business leaders, public defenders, policy experts, restorative justice practitioners, and system-impacted people sat down for a series of conversations while exploring Remaking the Exceptional, a groundbreaking exhibition on torture and incarceration.

The conversations expose common myths about crime and punishment and explain a range of critical issues and innovations, including restorative justice, violence interruption, copaganda, pretrial detention, and the criminalization of survivors, among others.

The following short film — the fourth in a series named after the exhibition and produced by Zealous, Truthout, and Teen Vogue — focuses on the concept of “copaganda,” or police-centered media coverage and propaganda. It explains how journalists and media outlets — sometimes inadvertently — help police and prosecutors amplify misleading narratives around crime and violence at the expense of community health and safety.

September 18, 2023

John Solomon inadvertently detonated the House impeachment case


The right-wing scandal machine relies on confusing the public with references to an obscure cast of characters and a plethora of minute details which they claim prove their political foes engaged in nefarious deeds. But when you dig through the labyrinthine particulars they rail about, you often find that the core of their story is total nonsense. Here is one such case.

The right-wing conspiracy theory that Joe Biden, as vice president, pushed for Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor in order to aid his son Hunter’s business dealings is a pillar of House Republicans’ push to impeach him. Even some GOP members of Congress have pointed out there is “no evidence” to support this long-debunked narrative. But the hypothesis is further demolished by a document published last month by — of all people — the fabulist John Solomon, which indisputably confirms that at the time of that meeting, it was the policy of the U.S. government to seek that prosecutor’s removal.

The right has baselessly claimed for years that when Biden told Ukraine’s leaders during a December 2015 visit that the U.S. would not release $1 billion in loan guarantees unless they fired Viktor Shokin, the country’s prosecutor general, he was acting to benefit Hunter by halting Shokin’s purported probe of Burisma Holdings, on whose board Hunter served. Solomon, a former Fox News contributor and Washington Times editor, played a key role in concocting this pseudoscandal, alongside Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and others, as they sought to damage Biden’s 2020 presidential run.

Their allegations were nonsense: Biden was carrying out U.S. policy, Shokin had been widely faulted by Western governments for failing to prosecute corruption, and his Burisma probe had stalled, as detailed in contemporaneous news reports and sworn testimony during then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment. But House Republicans have revived the conspiracy theory as the core of their Biden impeachment plan.


September 7, 2023

Project 2025: "Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise"


Most people aren’t aware of Project 2025, or its playbook, “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise”—but you need to be. In stark terms, Project 2025 reveals the conservatives’ plan to enact a sweeping “Don’t Say Gay” policy that will effectively blot out all LGBTQ content on the internet as well as any published material with LGBTQ content, no matter how benign.

Project 2025 is a coalition of prominent conservative organizations that includes the Claremont Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, Hillsdale College, Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, American Legislative Exchange Council, American Principles Project, and dozens of others. The organization’s goal is to lay out a “first 180 days” agenda for the next administration, and to recruit conservatives to fill positions within the federal government appointed by the executive branch.

“The Mandate for Leadership” is a 920-page document that details how the next Republican administration will implement radical and sweeping changes to the entirety of government. This blueprint assumes that the next president will be able to rule by fiat under the unitary executive theory (which posits that the president has the power to control the entire federal executive branch). It is also based on the premise that the next president will implement Schedule F, which allows the president to fire any federal employee who has policy-making authority, and replace them with a presidential appointee who is not voted on in the Senate.

The document is basically a wish list for social conservatives and mega corporations. The business wish list calls for eliminating federal agencies, stripping those that remain of regulatory power, and deregulating industries. The president would directly manage and influence Department of Justice and FBI cases, which would allow him to pursue criminal cases against political enemies. Environmental law would be gutted, and states would be prevented from enforcing their own environmental laws.


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Member since: Fri Jan 14, 2005, 10:36 PM
Number of posts: 48,971

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»Nevilledog's Journal