Our Most Dangerous Election

Democrats would be thrilled with these results if this was an ordinary election. Defeating an incumbent President is rare in our system. When the votes are all counted on the West Coast, Biden will likely have outperformed every Democratic nominee since Johnson.

Democrats held their House majority while moving within striking distance of Senate control. By winning just one of the two upcoming Senate races in Georgia Democrats could neutralize Mitch McConnell, one of the cleverest political operators of all time and the last lynchpin of sane leadership in the GOP.

But it was not an ordinary election.

Facing the most lethally inept and personally vile President in our history, the race still came down to razor thin margins in a handful of states that could have triggered a dangerous popular vote/Electoral College split. Democrats failed to replace a North Carolina Senator who responded to an early pandemic briefing by committing felony stock fraud. Spineless, doddering Republican Susan Collins easily defeated a well-funded challenge. A referendum on basic human decency produced a disturbingly close result.

The fault line in this election ran through the following factors, in order: race, geography and income. A contest that should have broken us out of politics as usual instead saw a hardening of the same political dynamic that settled over us after the Dixiecrats completed their flight into the GOP. The good guys won a referendum on white nationalism, but it only buys us a little time.

So, what happened? People who depend on a culture of white supremacy for their dignity, their religious identity or their careers, voted Republican. Blacks and Native Americans, who are the prime scapegoats of white supremacy, voted almost unanimously against Trump. Everybody else split based almost entirely on their relationship to race. That’s the 2020 election in a nutshell.

What changed from 2016? Black turnout was modestly higher, just enough to rescue Democrats across the upper Midwest while a big push in Georgia put Biden over the top. Affluent white suburbanites, especially women, broke from the GOP which provided the decisive margin in Arizona. Hispanic voters in places where white supremacist pressure is very high, particularly Texas and Florida, slipped away from Democrats at stunning rates. Turnout on tribal reservations was high, helping seal a Democratic win in Arizona. And Republicans solidified their hold over less educated and rural whites.

Winning margins for Democrats were higher the farther those voters were from states that failed to outlaw slavery prior to Lincoln’s election. Those states include Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky.

The urban/rural split in this election was unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. Republicans lost 48 of America’s 50 largest cities, carrying only Oklahoma City and Tulsa, each by tiny margins. There are lots of traditionally Republican cities in the top 50, including Virginia Beach, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Mesa, Indianapolis and Colorado Springs. Democrats swept them all. Biden was the first Democrat to carry Phoenix’s Maricopa County in 80 years.

This Democratic dominance now extends with few exceptions down through the second 50 largest cities as well, even though many of those “cities” are pure suburbs like Plano, North Las Vegas, Hialeah and Jersey City.

Biden won counties producing well over 70% of America’s GDP while Republicans dominated the nation’s poorest counties, as long as they are overwhelmingly white. Basically, Democrats now win in almost any place that has a lot of black people, on tribal reservations, or where whites are just one among a number of different ethnic groups. Republicans dominate white farm and resource extraction towns like Amarillo or Tulsa, poor white counties, or cities that are very, very white like Boise and Wichita.

White voters were more likely to vote Democratic the higher their education level. On income, whites were split into two tiers. Trump support was highest among the small number of whites at the pinnacle of wealth and the mass of whites at lower income levels, the same coalition that powered the Confederacy and its “Copperhead” allies in the North. Republicans now win Beverly Hills and rural Kentucky. The GOP is literally the Beverly Hillbilly Party.

Down at the precinct level, Republicans often won more than 90% in precincts that are extremely poor and overwhelmingly white, precincts in places like Harlan Co., KY and Rusk Co., TX. Where white people live in small, isolated communities, with limited contact with anyone unlike them, like the white belt of SE New Mexico or eastern Tennessee, Republicans dominated.

Democrats only matched these near-unanimous outcomes in precincts that are overwhelmingly black, on reservations, or in a few racially diverse big city precincts. Though turnout in places like Philadelphia and Milwaukee was anemic, Biden’s numbers in the nearby suburbs were enough to put him over the top.

There have been some lousy takes about deteriorating black support for Democrats. They are derived either from exit polls, or from the highly visible gullibility of a handful of black entertainers like Ice Cube or 50 Cent, who were scammed by the Trump campaign into embarrassing, career-ending endorsements. Exit polls were rendered hilariously useless by the strange dynamics of this election cycle. Not only did record numbers prefer early voting or mail-in, the Trump campaign engineered a strange partisan spin on early voting, hopelessly skewing Election Day exit polls. It’s safe to ignore the exit polls and along with wealthy entertainers who live beyond the feedback loop.

Hispanics became by far the most interesting voting bloc in this election. In places where the pressure to “assimilate,” or in other words “become white,” are the highest, Hispanic voters began peeling away from the Democratic Party at disturbing levels. Meanwhile, Hispanic support for Democrats remained strong in solidly blue places like California, Chicago and the Northeast.

The poorer, less educated and whiter your precinct, the more likely it was to vote Republican. If that precinct is also in a place that failed to outlaw slavery before 1860 (which includes Kentucky, Utah and Arizona by the way), the Republican dominance is often near-unanimous. Democrats are now the Party of Lincoln, with near-unanimous support in black communities and growing support among affluent, educated whites.

While nationalism has always been a powerful force in our politics, but there has never been an election, not even in 1860, where it was more explicitly on the ballot. The supreme role of white culture, status and preferences has always simply been an unchallenged assumption, even during the Civil War. Thanks to Donald Trump and his cult-like Republican following, Americans in 2020, for the first time ever, voted on whether white nationalism should officially be the organizing principle of our republic. The outcome was frighteningly close.

No issues beyond the role of white nationalism moved voters in this election. Republicans didn’t even bother assembling a platform. Polls showed no movement as the President’s disastrous denial of the pandemic piled up economic damage and corpses. On Election Day the unemployment rate was almost double where it was when Trump took office. Trump’s impact on GDP has been worse than GW Bush’s. No issues raised by either candidate moved the needle in the least.

Where referendums placed specific issues on the ballot, like drug legalization and the minimum wage, voters broke against type. Progressive priorities passed in Mississippi, Florida and South Dakota while mostly failing in California. This election wasn’t about issues. It was about Fascism.

On the one hand, it is possible to see this as remarkable progress. Reaching a point where the continuation of white cultural supremacy could be in question took generations of work and bloodshed. To win is even better. But for those who imagined racism was a dying relic of a few hardened bigots, seeing Trump maintain the same level of electoral support as McCain while running on distilled white nationalism is troubling. Worse, the stark geographic split in the outcome raises questions about our capacity to sustain the union.

Our problem is that, just like Nazism, white nationalism is not a negotiable position, subject to political horse-trading or compromise. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Those who insist that white men possess a holy obligation to determine everyone else’s fates aren’t going to be political partners in an otherwise diverse, multi-racial democracy. We’re going to isolate and defeat them, or they’re going to dismantle our democratic system. They won’t be peaceful partners in a culturally diverse government.

Republicans didn’t make any effort to persuade voters, instead investing all their energy in campaigns to instill cult-loyalty in their base and disenfranchise everyone else. You don’t gain an edge against white nationalists by reasoned arguments. It’s transmitted along lines of identity, largely through religion.

Review of a map of the slave states and territories in 1861 Put an asterisk on Kansas, as it didn’t outlaw slavery until secession removed the Southerners from Congress.

Now compare it to the 2020 Electoral Map.

See the problem? With a few exceptions we remain locked in much the same racial and geographical divide that fed the Civil War. Needless to say, this is bad.

A coalition of Americans who want to continue our democratic experiment won this election, but the fight isn’t over. The Fascists only have to win one more time to finish this off. There’s reason to expect they aren’t going to sit around waiting for an election to make their next move. All we won in last week was a chance to fight another day.

57 Comments

  1. You know, I’ve been thinking lately about an essay you wrote way back in either 2017 or 2018, in which you talked about the three most important upcoming elections. Of course, the first was the 2018 midterm, then 2020 and 2022.

    What stands out to me is that you said Democrats need to and should nominate a hardcore progressive whom you strongly disagree with. You wanted the 2020 candidate to have a platform that would “set [your] teeth on edge,” because that would be the only candidate with the will to push through the drastic reforms needed.

    In a separate essay from that time period, you also said that you were most concerned about them nominating a celebrity like Oprah or The Rock, and that the least likely thing they’d do is nominate a “geriatric centrist.”

    The Democrats retook the House in 2018, just like you said they had to. However, I would be interested to know how your assessment of the coming years has changed (if at all) based on Democratic performance in 2020? They really pulled out all the stops to get the aforementioned geriatric centrist nominated, and almost lost the House on the downballot while narrowly winning the swing states they needed in the Electoral College.

    I’ve always enjoyed and relied upon your insight, so a 2020 postmortem and its implications for 2022 would be an excellent read. I understand if you want to wait until Joe has picked a Cabinet, however.

    1. “What stands out to me is that you said Democrats need to and should nominate a hardcore progressive whom you strongly disagree with.”

      Here’s the theory behind that. No matter what a Democrat does they’ll be weighted down with the “socialist” label. Since Democrats are always too timid to offer any of the popular, desirable stuff associated with real socialism, the label activates the racists in the GOP base without creating any countervailing appeal among disenfranchised voters. Also, based on the demonstrated appeal of actual socialist or leftist policies among even hard-R voters, especially at lower income levels. I’m reasoning that you could expect to peel away perhaps as many as 5-7% of 2020 Trump voters if they thought there was something tangible they could gain from voting D.

      And in a year like 2020, you would lose very few Lincoln Project voters, if any, with an appeal centered around the stuff Bernie Sanders was offering. Besides, I think we’ve discovered that the Lincoln Project constituency is not very large, though they are concentrated in some strategically important places.

      Was I right about this? I still think so with one caveat. Having an old white man at the top of the Democratic ticket instead of any woman may have been worth 1-2 pts nationally. Still, Democrats’ poor down-ballot performance strongly suggests they aren’t offering people a product they want to buy. Defeating Trump was more popular than electing, well, anyone.

      The only chance Democrats have to break this stalemate is to do something bold. Embracing policies that are demonstrated to be popular across the board – and doing so in vague, non-specific terms (!!!) seems like the only possible option. Worse, Republicans are going to do it, quickly, if Democrats don’t. Cretins like Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio have figured out that Democratic policies + Republican racism are a ticket to power. They’re going to steal Democrats’ most popular ideas and run on them while promising to close the border and lock up all the scary people from the Mexican Countries. Democrats need to beat them in the race to the candy, or we’ll end up with a popular, successful Fascist.

      Having said all that, Biden is showing some signs that he may surprise us. He’s always been erratic and iconoclastic, much like McCain. Having won, and also promised not to run again, he now has remarkable freedom paired with a lot of power and goodwill. He might seize this chance to do bold things. We’ll see.

      1. A lot of what you say here mirrors my thoughts quite well. How else could Obama have (narrowly) won Indiana of all places in 2008? He just had the vague slogan of “Change We Can Believe in” and hinting at universal healthcare.

        He of course became anything but progressive as he immediately cozied up to the establishment wings of both parties and watered down his healthcare reform into a bureaucratic mess that predominantly benefited insurance companies.

        Meanwhile, this year, the Democratic Party refused to adopt legalizing recreational marijuana on the grounds it was “too controversial,” only for freaking South Dakota to approve it by ballot initiative.

        Dems need to look at which leftist economic policies are broadly popular with most likely Republican voters but that the GOP opposes, and run HARD on them.

      2. >Cretins like Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio have figured out that Democratic policies + Republican racism are a ticket to power.

        Maybe. But it is kinda obvious that as long as McConnell is in power, nothing of that sort can be accomplished. Do you think that such appeal would work?

  2. Also forgot one small thing:
    I never knew the history behind the term copperhead, and never even heard it in a political context before.

    It makes Steve Earle’s song “Copperhead Road” that you linked to a long time ago take on even more symbolic significance.

  3. This response probably belongs in your previous post about weaponizing federalism, but since a few people are talking about it, I’m going to consider it germane 🙂

    I get where you’re coming from Chris, but your goal here is a fantasy, for many reasons.

    Firstly, there is no practical way to block grant many programs, such as Medicare. Medicare is a federal program, paid completely by federal taxes. There is also a delayed component to it, i.e. you pay into the system for 40 years, and then get Medicare back when you retire. If someone works in Illinois for 40 years, paying his Federal taxes there (and not spending that money within Illinois), and then retires to Arizona, for which state does he get counted when allocating the block grant? Should Illinois get the money he paid for those 40 years, even though they won’t be taking care of him? Or should Arizona get it since their hospitals will be caring for him, even though Arizona rejected Medicare and their residents don’t pay the Medicare tax?

    I realize the whole concept of “paying into” some Medicare and SS trust fund is an accounting farce, created by Roosevelt to sell his program and hide its true nature as an intergenerational wealth transfer. But that farce is alive and well and impedes lots of good policy initiatives.

    Medicaid is relatively easy to block grant, because it’s actually a state system. Each state creates its own Medicaid program. The Federal role is to lay out minimum standards that the medicaid program must meet (e.g. eligibility, coverage, etc.) and then pays the state a specific share of the medicaid cost (rich states get a smaller medicaid share, while poor states get a higher share paid by the Feds).

    The incentive for red states to block grant medicaid is that then they can cut the portion that they have to pay from their own coffers, so, for example, if their total medicaid cost is $10bil, and the Feds pay $5bil, if they block grant it and allow states to gut the program, then they can still get the $5bil and cut the total program cost to $5bil (or even $1bil, and pocket the rest).

    Secondly, this would just create a huge race to the bottom. Blue states with generous Medicare coverage (who incidentally tend to have the best hospitals and medical care) will become a haven for sick elderly, even though their block grant won’t go up as a result of the increased burden. Meanwhile, only healthy people will retire to Arizona, which means they get the block grant *and* they don’t have to actually take care of them. Heck, plenty of snowbirds fly back and forth for medical care: get their hip replacement done during the summer in NY, then fly down to Boca Raton to play golf during the winter. How do you account for them (Medicaid is easy: your medicaid is only valid within the state — sometimes the county — in which you’re enrolled).

    Thirdly, don’t discount the ability of Republicans to tailor the block grants to benefit themselves. To take medicare, if they know that sick seniors will stay in blue states and healthy seniors will retire in red states, then they will make sure that the block grant isn’t adjusted for the health of a state’s elderly population. OTOH, if in some other program, it helps red states to adjust the block grant, they’ll fight like hell to do it. Just look at the fact that Trump repealed the federal tax deduction for state taxes. He knew that would hit blue states squarely in the face, and that was the prime reason he pursued that “tax hike”. Yes, Dems could fight this, but given how tenuous their control in DC is, it won’t be an easy to tailor the block grants to “punish” red states. It could easily backfire.

    Even medicaid is more complicated to block grant. The dirty secret about medicaid is that the biggest chunk of its spending is on nursing homes for (formerly) middle class, white elderly people. The amount spent on poor people is actually significantly smaller than the amount spent for seniors in nursing homes. Medicare doesn’t cover long term care, and an entire industry of financial advisors exists to advise rich seniors on how to transfer your assets to your children so that you can qualify for medicaid to pay your nursing home costs when you need it. What this means is that, even if medicaid is block granted, you can be sure that it will be the poor (both black and white) who will bear most of the brunt of the costs, while MAGA-wearing, socialism-hating seniors can still watch Fox News from the comfort of their nursing homes paid for by government. IOW, you won’t be causing them any discomfort by block-granting medicaid.

    Fourthly, we’ve already tried this (unintentionally), and what Trump cultists have shown is that they don’t care. Obamacare had an opt out provision. And states took it. They even opted out of the medicaid expansion, in which Obamacare provides *100%* reimbursement of their extra expenses (that is, any additional medicaid enrollees due to Obamacare’s loosened eligibility requirements would be paid by the Feds at 100% instead of the usual Federal/State cost share). IOW, this was literally free money that would be spent in their state (hospitals are often the largest employers in many towns and states). And they turned it down. Indeed, it was some of the *poorest* states, with the most medicaid enrollees and the most at-risk hospital systems, with the worst budgets, who refused the free money that would have helped all three systems (even the state’s general budget would improve since the money spent in hospitals leads to more hiring, leading to more tax revenue, etc.).

    In many of these states, hospitals were publicly exhorting the politicians to take the money (since they have to take care of these patients anyway, and at least with Obamacare, they’ll get paid something for it). It didn’t matter. Assuming they will still get to vote in the elections, I’m assuming your goal in weaponizing federalism is to have them have a come-to-Jesus moment where they realize the folly of their ways and become Democrats. But that didn’t happen with Obamacare. I don’t see any of these states suddenly turning blue. I don’t see many deathbed conversions from Republicans who are dying from their state’s refusal to accept free money to save their lives. If something as important as health insurance didn’t change their opinions, nothing will.

    So that leaves your second point: even if they don’t change, at least they’ll live and die under their own policies, which is what they want, isn’t it? Yes. But the blowback to the rest of our country will be significant.

    Creigh and I talked at length during your economic posts maybe a year ago, about how much California and NY benefit from having AL/MS within the Union. That the fiscal transfers we make (i.e. the taxes we pay that go to them) in the end get spent in the blue states anyway, so we need them as much as they need us. If AL/MS/TX get poorer, that will hurt the rest of this country. As a proponent of free trade, you should understand this, as it’s the basis for increasing trade.

    Let’s take a different example: Mexico is basically what AL/MS/TX will turn into if we let them free from the Union (either politically or economically). One could argue they’re already there. And we have significant blowback from Mexico being so poor: not just a flood of immigrants, but narco terrorism, drugs, corruption, etc. that flows across our border. It would be far worse if we let the South continue down that destructive path (At least we have actual border restrictions with Mexico). And the answer we’ve always had about Mexico (and Canada, for that matter), has been the same: doing what we can to improve Mexico’s economy and the lives of their people is a net *positive* for Americans, because having a poor neighbor is never a good thing. And letting Mexico degenerate into a narco state with gangland killings 10 miles away from major American cities (El Paso and San Diego) is no good for either country.

    As much as it pains me to say it, the same argument holds for the South. Letting it degenerate into a Christian Afghanistan led by its own Taliban, with every man walking around with an AK-47 having blood feuds with neighbors over the sanctity of their womenfolk will lead to far more problems for the rest of us than spending the money to keep it from facing the consequences of its own mistakes.

    Trust me, I want them to feel the full brunt of the ancient Chinese curse “May all your wishes come true”. But that’s just an emotional appeal to revenge. We’ll regret that course for decades if we ever follow it.

    1. Our health insurance matrix is fantastically complex, but we already have privatized Medicaid providers in several states and in some states private insurance administrators manage Medicare as well. Caresource was one of the leaders in this, merging the administration of Ohio’s Medicare and Medicaid patients, and now branching out to perform the same or similar functions in neighboring (Republican) states. It would be messy, but we’re already on the road to privatized Medicare administration in many places, thanks in part to the new Medicare-ish secondary coverages that came with the Bush “reforms.” This could be done.

      As for the degeneration of the South, thats fait accompli. One of the most striking things about returning home after living in Chicago was realizing that my old home looks just like Mexico. That ride from IAH to downtown Houston looks almost identical to the ramshackle neighborhoods you pass through (as quickly as possible) in some Third World country between your entry point and the nicely manicured “business” or tourist areas.

      1. So since you traveled from the airport to downtown and saw things that looked bad in between those destinations, then you come to the conclusion that it’s bad everywhere and unsalvageable?

        Regionalism of the kind that you espouse is just another form of bigotry, one used by people of privilege to wash their hands of social injustice by pretending that where they live is clean and pristine, free of anything wrong happening with Those People Over There. I’m pretty sure that Chicago has plenty of “ramshackle neighborhoods” as well. The Chicago Tribune had an article in it a couple of months ago about how the city’s storied history of systemic racism is likely at fault for how white people in Chicago are likely to live 9 years longer than black people in Chicago. A storied history of systemic racism that, from the looks of things, doesn’t seem close to being over, just like in countless other American cities. Just like in America in general.

        I’m growing increasingly wary of the apocalyptic tone and casual broad-brush painting in your articles and your comments. Your continued doomsaying about a second Civil War unless we act right now, for one. And your prior article about weaponizing federalism, and this comment right here in particular? They feel like you just giving in to anger and wanting to toss the millions of people that live in red states but vote blue under the bus. There are *millions* of non-white people and LGBTQ+ people (both white and non-white) that would suffer greatly if your Federalism Weaponization scheme were actually adopted and went through as you’d want it to.

        Like… what’s the logic behind it? “To stop Civil War II, we need to give the GOP practically everything they want to where there’d effectively be two separate USA’s anyway, and when that bunch of red states becomes a group of poor, desperate, and likely violent people that turn on each other in the nastiest of ways, *then* people magically switch their minds back to using the democratic process, the red voters unite with the blue voters (if there are still any left alive) and the red states turn blue”? It’s ludicrous.

        I fully recognize the damage that white nationalism has wrought and the dangers that it still poses, but WX Wall is right. The damage that such Federalism Weaponization would do to red states would make the blue states worse off in the long run, too. That’s on top of it already being grossly immoral, for reasons I outlined. We have to do our best to help everyone, even if we have to drag them kicking and screaming, because eventually they’ll find out it’s not so bad. This isn’t me calling for people to compromise and make deals with out-and-out white supremacists. This is me calling for everyone to work to fight past the white supremacists and bring the benefits of various policies to people in red states who haven’t had the Kool-Aid. Because they do exist. If I recall, a week or two ago you retweeted someone’s comments on how the best way to get people to expand their mindset beyond their small town is to get them a college education. So you have to believe that not *everything* about the South is unsalvageable.

    2. I’m with you. I responded in the last thread that the federalism gambit has binary outcome:

      > State GOP takes the block grants anyway, crows about being right the whole time and finally defeating those obstructionist Dems, Dems lose votes from progressives furious that they sold out their soul to privatize Medicare*.

      > State GOP actually drop the block grants like promised, blame state poverty and budget shortfalls on the taxes those Blue States are sucking up, increasingly impoverished and desperate Red State residents decide it’s time to take the wealth back from Blue State citizens with pitchforks and guns.

      * Not saying that block grants are privatization, but am saying that sort of ‘sell-out’ argument is what progressives will yawk about.

      There’s the tragedy of the commons, but I’m not sure what the term is for the tragedy of having to actively support the lifestyle and livelihoods of the people actively trying to destroy others. Nevertheless, whatever it’s called, it’s what we have.

  4. Meanwhile, the rest of the world moves on, helmed by China who was always playing chess while T was playing checkers. The balance of power has shifted and Ts isolationism (which Republicans have ignored), will create a new world order. One wonders if the dollar will lose its place as the international currency.

    Asia forms world’s biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-11-14/asia-to-form-worlds-biggest-trade-bloc-a-china-backed-group-excluding-us

  5. The vast vast majority of the commentary on this site, while intelligent, and well thought out, is irrelevant.

    The fact is Biden (assuming he even gets in, and that is not settled with the tyrant’s death cult roaming around) is a one-term president. He simply cannot overcome:

    1. An obstructionist Senate on steroids (no, both Georgia seats will not go Dem, and the loser party is not smart enough to go with Chris’ Romney solution). Watch how long it takes just to get a Cabinet approved, let alone a new SCOTUS nominee for Breyer’s seat.

    2. A SCOTUS driven by religious nuts and fascists, backed by above Senate. The litigation alone will end most major initiatives by Biden.

    3. Fox, OAN, Brietbart, Sinclair, plus the inevitable trump TV networks feeding more and more lies to an increasingly extremist fascist base.

    4. It will take his administration precious months to clean up the messes the tyrant would leave behind. There is no law that states the tyrant must work on a transition plan, so he won’t.

    5. Covid will be around for at least another 9 months before a vaccine can be adequately distributed and administered. Given Biden is talking lockdowns, or at least restrictions, the economy will suffer, in the short term. And you know that all the fascist networks start blaming him for the entire Covid mess on the aft of Jan 20th.

    I have said this before: Best case scenario is he walks into the Oval Office with half a dozen grenades on the desk, pins pulled, and Biden’s hands tied behind his back by Senate and Scotus. Worst case scenario is that SCOTUS backs the tyrant and/or the death cult kills Biden.

    So Chris has alluded to this.

    The fascist party, after learning, will run a competent , charismatic psychopath in 4 years, and that is the end of the experiment known as the U.S.

    1. Why the presumption that a “competent, charismatic psychopath” would automatically be as successful as Trump? Republicans from Cruz to Cotton have been trying to emulate the Dear Leader for years now, and it’s just not working. Trumpism isn’t transferable; it’s a one-shot deal for a uniquely awful character that was just defeated.

      That said, perhaps one might retort that it’s simply a matter of time before *someone* figures out how to repackage Trumpism into something that works for them; that although Trump himself can’t be replicated, the underlying message can – Republicans just have to keep trying different ideas until they finally find one that works just as well. It’s not like the Southern Strategy worked right away either, amirite?

      Well, I wouldn’t say that’s *entirely* wrong, but the fundamental problem here’s that that’s not how cults of personality work. It’s a loathsome reality to face, but Trump was able to do something that no Republican in the modern era was able to – he really did bring out low propensity and disaffected voters to vote for him in extraordinary numbers. But just like President Obama, that skill’s unique to him and him alone, and one need only look to years like 2010, 2014, and 2018 to see how well that worked out for their respective parties.

      1. I would counter some of what you said like this:

        No one, and that includes the fascist party, had ANY clue that the tyrant’s combination of fear-mongering, hatred, outright lies, and whatever else how you want to define as the witches’ brew would be so wildly successful. The depth of depravity in much of the electorate has been exposed, and the fascist party will no doubt exploit it.

        If there was a little less idiot in the idiot savant, the conversations today would be far far different. The only reason we are even discussing a potential small victory for democracy, is because of the incompetency of the tyrant and his regime.

        I agree with one thing you said, because I have also said it. There is no doubt the tyrant is a genius in tapping into a level of hatred and ignorance that no else had even begin to plumb the depths of. There have indeed been a handful of people that have risen to that the level of power he has.

        But there is little doubt the fascist party is now actively looking for a Hitler. Not a Trump. If Trump had the competency of Hitler……

        So, is there another Hitler out there that the fascist party can groom into the next cult leader? They will likely need the blessing, or death, of their current cult leader. I think the blessing is unlikely. The death of the tyrant, that is another matter.

        So, can the fascist party find someone the next Hitler within 4 years? I am pretty sure they will find the “right mix”. Such a person does not have to be a perfect match. Just close.

      2. One thing I think we can all agree on is that Trump will never, ever accept that he was legitimately defeated. Whether it’s on Trump TV, OANN or wherever else, he’ll always claim that he was cheated; that Democrats and the FAKE NEWS MEDIA stole the presidency from him.

        To that end though, it’s worth pondering just how much Republicans’ faith in elections has been shattered and what that means going forward. These *are* the people who listened to Trump berate mail voting, said “Sir, yes, sir” and waited to vote until Election Day by the millions. They listen to their Dear Leader.

        So what might we expect as we face years and years of Trump endlessly decrying the election results and ceaselessly pounding the belief into his voters’ minds that elections aren’t to be trusted? If even a modest percentage of them listen (not an unreasonable expectation atm) and don’t feel it’s worth voting anymore, Republicans may well suffer the consequences.

    2. Dins-
      I’m going to point out what’s missing from your prognostications: that you were utterly, completely wrong about this election. You predicted that the election would be cancelled, or at least delayed. And that Trump and Republican voter suppression would work. And that, barring all of that, Trump wouldn’t go peacefully and it’ll be all out war. That all of us pinning our hopes on a peaceful transition of power using the usual measures of organizing, GOTV, campaigning, etc. were fools.

      The fact is, all those things that you’ve spent 4 years decrying as useless, jumping straight into assassinations and violent uprising as the only solution, was wrong. Even after 2016 showed you how wrong you were, you doubled down on your prognostications about Armaggedon in 2020.

      Now of course, no one is happy about the results. We didn’t get the Senate. We came far too close to losing than we should have. Etc, etc. All legitimate problems to address. But how do you explain Georgia aside from Stacy Abrams doing the exact type of hard, unglamorous work that the rest of us say is key to winning elections? IOW, peaceful electioneering worked. Maybe it won’t in 2024, but it worked in 2020, when you said it wouldn’t.

      So when are you going to issue your mea culpa? And why should your predictions carry an ounce of weight given how completely, utterly wrong you were in your central thesis about 2020? I’m not saying no one can be wrong. Chris was wrong about the Blue Wall in 2016 after all, and we all still follow his blog 🙂 But the difference is he accepted the results and changed his thinking as a result. I see no such rational process occurring with you.

      1. Yup, I was wrong about voter suppression not working, because the very fear of it triggered a massive surge in voting. There was huge suppression efforts. They were simply overwhelmed by the fear we all saw and read about.

        And as for the violence, seems to me that a certain psychopath who has his hands on all the levers of law enforcement, plus he nuclear codes, has not conceded, and has not told his death cult to stand down.

        When the tyrant is actually out the door, SCOTUS, the Senate, and the fascist party have actually accepted the tyrant lost, yeah, then the threat of war is past. Until then, it is high alert.

      2. Oh, and you want another example why the loser party is the loser party and does what the loser party does, which is lose?

        This is the kind of racism that the fascists are known for. Forget about who is the best person to fill that seat. What color is their skin? This kind of thing will be broadcast on every fascist media platform, to justify their own racism:

        https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article247171506.html

  6. I have long believed that the US has reached the end of its ability to remain one country. We are 330 million people of such a mixture that it is impossible to reach consensus or even compromise in any meaningful, constructive way. Our partisan divides grow deeper and more entrenched than ever, with absolutely no end or solution in site. Throw in the fact that we literally inhabit two completely different realities, and we are heading down a very dark path that ends in violence. So what is wrong with seeking an amicable divorce? Why can’t we be two countries with friendly borders? I understand the complexity on thousands of levels in dividing the US into a Democratic and a Republican version, but isn’t facing those difficulties far preferable to real blood in the streets? Let the GOP have their country ruled by authoritarians, with puritanical laws that oppress women, mandate religion, and glorify the old, white male. They can live without the “socialism” that they claim to hate, with no guaranteed healthcare, no social safety nets, and low taxes for the rich and businesses. Let their public education systems rot in favor of religious schools and their infrastructure crumble. The maps above give a pretty obvious geographic solution of who would go where.

    I have to think that if the Founding Fathers could have seen into the future to where we are today, a lot of their decisions would have been different. Since our system of government is set up to advantage minority rule (Electoral College, the Senate) with little hope of course-correction, we are either going to have to live in a constant state of battle for our most basic rights (to vote!) and the will of the majority, or we are going to need to break free. Sign me up for the latter.

    1. >] So what is wrong with seeking an amicable divorce? Why can’t we be two countries with friendly borders?

      Because a country pushed to the brink to break apart like that is going to have anything *but* an “amicable divorce”.

      Plus, what’s going to happen to Red America if/when Blue America says sayonara? Democratic states wield the overwhelming bulk of the country’s economic power, bar none. It’s not even close. Separating the two throws the backwater states remaining into calamity the likes of which we don’t have an economic vernacular to accurately describe. We’d be sentencing them to destruction.

      Not exactly a scenario open to amicable goodbyes over a cold drink.

  7. Chris:

    This article has real issues.

    1. “Hispanic voters in places where white supremacist pressure is very high, particularly Texas and Florida, slipped away from Democrats at stunning rates.” The Hispanic vote was stronger in AZ and CA than FL or TX. Perhaps it is because AZ and CA Hispanics have seen GOP initiatives like “show me your papers laws” in AZ and Prop 187 in CA. FL and TX Hispanics have been treated better by their states and therefore are more open to voting GOP. Furthermore, the Cuban and Venezuelan communities in FL have a unique aversion to socialism and Trump and the GOP screamed “socialism” at every turn. You see this in Orange County, CA, as well, where Vietnamese Americans voted heavily for Trump based on fears of “socialism”. It’s not about “wanting to be white”.

    2. Economics. Believe it or not, people still vote their pocketbook. And I don’t just mean taxes.

    “In 2016, real median household income was $62,898, just $257 above its level in 1999. Over the next three years it grew almost $6,000, to $68,703.” https://bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-10-30/trump-s-economy-really-was-better-than-obama-s via @bopinion

    Unemployment rates of 3.5% (pre-pandemic) resulted in a tighter labor market and high wages for those on the bottom end of the income spectrum. That describes a lot of Hispanics. Many rewarded Trump for this and believe that the pandemic is sui generis as it relates to the economy and that things will improve soon. Trump successfully weaponized “lockdowns” related to the pandemic and minorities, many of which have small businesses and fear what lockdowns will do, voted GOP as a result. Meanwhile, Biden and the Democrats really did not have a message beyond Trump is bad (and he is), but that will never be enough to get the persuadable to vote for you. But they had somewhat of an excuse – Trump takes the oxygen out of any room making it difficult for Biden to get headlines and of course the pandemic made campaigning this year a lot different than the past. I don;t see either happening in 2024 (Trump is not running again. He may say he is and actually got as far as forming an exploratory committee and PAC to grift his naive base of supporters, but he hates the job and would not want to do it again).

    3. Education. “White voters were more likely to vote Democratic the higher their education level. . . The poorer, less educated and whiter your precinct, the more likely it was to vote Republican.”

    You need to take “white” out of this analysis. It’s the education drive not the race issue that is driving some minorities to the GOP. As Derek Thompson of the Atlantic notes: “Driving both the polarization of place and the depolarization of race is the diploma divide. Non-college-educated Latino and Black Americans are voting a little bit more like non-college-educated white Americans, and these groups are disproportionately concentrated in sparser suburbs and small towns that reliably vote Republican. Meanwhile, low-income, college-educated 20-somethings, many of whom live in urban areas, are voting more like rich, college-educated people who tend to live in the inner suburbs that are moving left.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/2020-election-results-prove-density-destiny/617027/.

    The GOP is the party of the white, white supremacy and racism. No doubt. But education (or the lack thereof) has a lot to do with their growth with people of color.

    Joe Biden is going to face real challenges including climate change, the pandemic, a corrupt and ideological judiciary, Mitch McConnell and the GOP in the Senate, and gerrymandering to name a few. But once we get to the other side of the pandemic, I expect the Biden economy to be very very good. And then I look forward to your post-2024 election result discussing why Hispanics voted for Democrats overwhelmingly again.

    1. If there’s anything we all should be able to agree on after these four years, it’s that ignoring reality produces very bad outcomes.

      Here’s a fun little exercise. Take your theories about the electorate and try to find evidence for them in precinct data. Then come back.

      Strip away race, geography and education level and none of these other theories find any support in actual precinct-level results.

      Did an economic boom produce a shift among impacted voters toward Trump? No. Without factoring in race and education levels, relative local improvement or decline in economic outcomes predicted nothing.

      Trump’s winning margins actually expanded in counties where economic conditions worsened between ’16 and ’19, as long as those places are overwhelmingly white, like Trumbull County OH and Garfield County OK. Counties that have prospered the most split based on race, geography and education level. Trump was trounced in the most prosperous places in the country, except for super-wealthy enclaves, as long as those places were outside the South, where margins were closer.

      The more “middle-wealthy” a place was, the more Democratic it became, except among white voters. Places at the far end of the wealth spectrum moved toward Trump. All of those places are overwhelmingly white.

      And yes, the Hispanic vote was more solidly Democratic in places where white supremacy matters less in daily life, like California and the big cities of the Northeast. Hispanic slippage was greatest in places like Texas and Florida where the pressure to conform is highest.

      The “socialist heritage” stuff is a smokescreen. Asians, including Vietnamese, vote solidly Democratic outside the Jim Crow South. Want to know what’s driving Cuban and Vietnamese votes for Trump? Ask them what they think about Black Lives Matter.

      As for Thompson, he’s finding the outcomes he wants. The narrative that minority voters are trending Republican is a concept looking for data. Find precincts that voted overwhelmingly Democrat or Republican, and you’ll find yourself looking at white precincts and black precincts. Find precincts where Republicans were remotely competitive among Hispanic voters (it’s almost impossible to find such precincts anymore in Asian neighborhoods) and you end up with precincts in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley. That’s pretty much it.

      You can detect a tiny slippage of Democratic dominance in some minority neighborhoods, but a movement from 94% dominance to 92% dominance is not a trend. It’s static.

      Democrats have assembled a coalition that contains a variety political and economic interests. Republicans are running on a solid block of white racial grievance. That’s it. That’s the only part of their appeal that landed with the electorate. It gave them a competitive popular vote outcome along with control of the Senate.

      Don’t imagine for a moment that Democrats can survive without understanding what this means.

      1. “Democrats have assembled a coalition that contains a variety political and economic interests. Republicans are running on a solid block of white racial grievance. That’s it. That’s the only part of their appeal that landed with the electorate. It gave them a competitive popular vote outcome along with control of the Senate.”

        I agree with you on this. Where we disagree is on why non-whites voted in higher proportions than in 2016 with Trump. The answer is education and not a desire “to be white”. And it’s not just in this country. You see the split between how the educated and non-educated voted in countries like Britain (take Brexit for example) where racial issues are not at play. But if you won’t listen to me, maybe David Shor will convince you:

        “There’s a pretty consistent trend: In almost every country in the Western world, the gap between college-educated voters and non-college-educated voters has been steadily increasing for basically the last 60-70 years. There are very strong social currents pushing this change — that as the college-educated share of the population increases, this should naturally incentivize politicians to create cleavages by education.

        Politics is fundamentally about splitting the country in half. And if college-educated white people are 4 percent of the electorate, like they were in the immediate post-World War II era, you can’t do that. But if they are 38 or 40 percent, suddenly you can. So, it’s unsurprising that as the education share has gone up, we’ve seen this happen.”

        https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/11/12/2020-election-analysis-democrats-future-david-shor-interview-436334

      2. That education-level thesis doesn’t fit well with voting patterns for minority populations in the US. America is different from the other major democracies, and the difference is our unique disease of race.

        Submitted for consideration: The college/non-college polarization that Shor has discussed quite a bit this year is not a root issue, but a consequence of something else. Navigating by that pole will produce consistent frustration. How do smart, sharp analysts like Shor keep making this mistake? White people live in their own universe and it is very difficult to get our heads out of that world. It’s as if there were forces from a parallel realm moving the ball on the field.

        There is absolutely no measurable gap in voting behavior of college and non-college blacks. Black Americans vote Democratic at such near-unanimous rates that you can almost analyze Black Republicans through individual interviews. They fit no pattern other than being oddballs and outcasts. Individual Black Democrats express a wide variety of opinions on specific issues without breaking their party orthodoxy. Their individual issue positions tend to line up with preferences expressed by their white counterparts, but there are consistent differences, like the level of interest and emphasis on abortion and their opinions about government economic support. But they stay almost unanimously Democratic.

        I think it’s critical for Democrats to recognize that the root issue is voters’ relative attachment to a white identity. A college education influences that, but doesn’t dictate it as reliably as racial background.

        Democrats are finding themselves alienated from white working class voters and oddly and awkwardly attached to white college graduates because educated whites are the ones with the least relative attachment to whiteness. The “why” is important.

        Racial attachment declines among whites (somewhat unevenly) with educational level, partly because the concept of white supremacy is a laughable myth which disintegrates under intelligent scrutiny, but perhaps more importantly because the more wealth and security one acquires, the less that myth is necessary. In fact, as one tries to make a way in this knowledge driven economy, anything not closely attached to reality (this includes conservative religion along with racism) becomes an expensive burden.

        Keep this in mind though. College educated whites in the South are still solidly Republican, especially the men. Education isn’t enough to undo identity.

        Interestingly, it’s hard to find any evidence that educational achievement correlates with decreased attachment to white supremacy among immigrants. It appears to chart like a bell curve.

        In fact, when you go looking for Hispanic or Asian Republicans outside the white nationalist pressure cookers like FL or TX, you’re much more likely to find a Republican (and a racist) among modestly educated middle income suburban folks. At very high levels of education, or elite education, this dynamic appears to melt away. But among those who feel both the opportunity and the pressure to assimilate (those in the middle), the attraction to whiteness appears pretty strong. And keep in mind, we’re still talking about small cohorts. Even in this election it looks like Democrats drew around 70% of Hispanic & Asian voters nationally.

        Why is this important? If I’m right about this it means Democrats can’t fix their problems with white working class voters by crafting a different agenda – unless that agenda includes a wholesale repudiation of everything that threatens their sense of white nationalism. Stand for the flag. Let cops murder whoever they want as long as they aren’t black. Apply strict and arbitrary immigration restrictions to preserve the country’s white character. Let evangelical white religion dictate culture to everyone else.

        Democrats didn’t create this problem. The Dixiecrats who came flooding into the GOP took Republicans in the direction of an explicit, thoroughly Fascist appeal and it’s working. We can’t fight this until we see it.

      3. I think I am going to leave it here. While I absolutely agree with you that the GOP is the party of white grievance, white superiority, whiteness and so forth, I do not believe that this is the only reason the working class (white and increasingly non-white) are voting GOP.

        I believe that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As those with college and graduate degrees continue to vote more Democratic, you are going to see those without such degrees (white and non-white) vote Republican. As the GOP continues to focus on imposing theocracy on this country to placate its base of Evangelical voters, athiests, agnostics and those loosely tied to religion are going to vote for Democrats in greater numbers. If the GOP succeeds in getting the corrupt and ideological Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, more women will vote Democratic. And, yes, as those who are white supremacists and focused on white dominance vote GOP in higher numbers, those who believe in equality for all and BLM, will vote Democratic. But they will pick and choose which issue (religion, race, abortion, education, etc.) is most important to them from the menu as the basis for their decision. Race may be the dominant one but it is not the overwhelming one, particularly for non-whites.

        “Democrats didn’t create this problem. The Dixiecrats who came flooding into the GOP took Republicans in the direction of an explicit, thoroughly Fascist appeal and it’s working. We can’t fight this until we see it.”

        No they did not. And we should continue to fight it. But you should also be aware of what you are up against in order to wage the necessary battleplans. White supremacy is at the core of this country and was in place way before the Founding Fathers. The colonies of Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were all founded on slavery and white supremacy and the fascism that accompanies it. So this is an evil deeply embedded in the American psyche which will be near impossible to root out (unfortunately) because its embedded in the culture of the South.

      4. Sorry to drag this out, but there’s a really important detail in that last sentence that I think deserves more attention. Yes, white supremacy is this country’s founding ethic and it’s been with us in both (all) parties. Then something changed.

        When the Dixiecrats switched sides it created a dynamic that has never existed in our party system. There was one party, the GOP, now completely dominated by our most committed racial Fascists, and the other one found itself suddenly possessing every incentive to push back against racism, a position that Democrats haven’t exactly welcomed and still don’t know what to do with.

        It’s not that there weren’t any racists in the GOP until the Dixiecrats’ switch, it’s that the most violently committed racists never completely dominated one of our parties before. They had been all over the party system. Our power blocs have never before been aligned in a way that would expose the relative commitment to white supremacy of each side, not even as recently as the 90’s, maybe not entirely until the Obama years. That’s why we’re so close to a war, and why I think race now sits at the crux of our politics.

        Anyway, this is an interesting discussion. Lots to think about here.

      5. Chris-
        I don’t disagree with what you say, but isn’t there both a carrot and stick approach at work here?

        That is, you’re stating that Hispanics in high-pressure states like FL and TX are assimilating, while the pressure is lower in CA/NY/etc. so they’re staying Democratic. But that’s only looking at the stick part. What about the carrot? If you present Hispanics with a better way to improve their life than tying their fortunes to white supremacy, then they’re more likely to take it. And I think the data might show that:

        I agree with you about CA, NY, etc. There’s not much pressure to assimilate, and thanks to the dominant party being Democrats, choosing to stay Hispanic doesn’t punish you (much…). That’s the low-stick. But also, due to better policies such as education, less racial discrimination, etc., you can better yourself without going the racial route. That’s offering them a better carrot.

        I disagree slightly about TX and FL. While the pressure to assimilate is high because it’s the only path to improving your life, it’s not super-high because the Republican party there, as batshit crazy as it is, is actually pretty welcoming for Hispanics. Cubans have always been a big part of the Republican party in FL and enjoy power within it. And Republicans in both states proudly speak Spanish (and have Hispanic wives aka Jeb Bush) and in many other ways embrace Hispanics. How do they manage this? I’d say by emphasizing and praising shared culture, such as conservative religious views, anti-abortion, even things like Rodeos and cowboys in Texas which is also a big part of Mexican culture (plus also probably some shared racism against Blacks). So even here, yes, the stick is high, pushing Hispanics to assimilate, but Republican arms are open to welcome them in a way that they aren’t in the national scene.

        I’d be interested to see how Hispanics did in places like Alabama and Mississippi. Here, the pressure to assimilate is probably suffocatingly high, much higher than TX or FL, but the Republicans there want nothing to do with them. So there’s very little carrot dangled out to get Hispanics to change. Are they changing anyway? If they are, then it proves your point (that the only thing that matters is pressure to assimilate racially). But if they’re not changing there, then something else must be going on.

        At any rate, my point is, you’re only looking at negative incentives that are pushing Hispanics to join Republicans. Meanwhile Michael is looking at positive incentives in blue states keeping them within the Democratic fold. I’d expand the analysis to look at positive incentives in red states like TX / FL. Along with the (I’m assuming) lack of such incentives in other red states like AL/MS. My thesis would be this: if you’re right that the only thing incentivizing Hispanics to move to Republicans in TX / FL is a push to assimilate or die, then the same thing should be happening in other deep-red states. But if this is only a phenomenon that is occurring in TX / FL, then that means Hispanics are also looking at positive inducements to change, in which case, Democrats might be able to make a case to them on such positive inducements, and not just a focus on the negative inducements. Does that make sense?

      6. WX – If there’s a “carrot” for Hispanics to participate in the Texas GOP, apart from the slight bump up on their road to whiteness, it’s pretty much just Border Patrol jobs. That’s it.

        Texas Republicans’ treatment of Hispanic Republicans is absolutely embarrassing.

        You might notice that there’s not a single Hispanic in statewide office in Texas except for a guy named “Bush” and two Supreme Court Justices who were appointed by the Governor. This is not an accident.

        It’s nearly impossible for someone with a Hispanic surname to win a Republican primary outside a Hispanic district. There was a pretty awful case back in ’10 when a Hispanic Republican Railroad Commissioner originally appointed by Perry lost his primary to some random nutjob with the nice, white last name “David Porter.” Porter didn’t even campaign. For weeks after the election reporters were scrambling to find a reliable bio for him. He didn’t run again in ’16.

        Hispanic Republicans don’t get the same marquee treatment the party grants to the handful of Uncle Tom Blacks who decide to collaborate with them. Allen West gets to be state party chairman because he’s one of the dozen or so Black Republicans and he helps blunt charges of racism. But back in ’17 an outgoing state chairman chose a Hispanic to replace him. That guy, Rick Figueroa, drew a challenge from the crackers and lost. Hispanics just get shuttled to the back of the photo op, and the back of the seniority chain. It’s ugly.

        Thing is, it doesn’t matter that much, because almost all of the Hispanics who run as Republicans and haven’t shorted their name from Roberto to Robert, or from Juan to Jason, are running the Rio Grande Valley, which is a state unto itself. Running on the GOP ticket for an office down there is a way to execute an end-run around the very corrupt local Democratic machine and locals understand this. Being a Hispanic Republican elected official in the Valley doesn’t mean you’d be a Republican in Katy or Plano, and they sure as hell wouldn’t want to get pulled over in Louie Gohmert’s district.

        Not sure about the carrot.

      7. But doesn’t that kinda prove my point? The major loss of Hispanics for TX Dems in this election was in the Rio Grande border region. I don’t know about the other areas, but this was the biggest loss. If assimilation pressure is even throughout the state (admittedly a big assumption), then you should see similar rates of declines all over, since it’s not like the Republican party is any more sane or less racist away from the border areas (correct me if I’m wrong about that).

        You point out that in the Rio Grande, lots of Hispanics run as Republicans to get around the corrupt Dem machine. And in this polarized environment, it’s not unexpected that ticket splitting has declined and people as a result are voting (R) straight ticket. Isn’t that a carrot then? Repubs offering the potential for better governance and reducing corruption? If the Dems actually governed better in those areas, then they could ostensibly keep Hispanics in these areas within the fold, and that would probably reap dividends in state and federal elections, all without resorting to white supremacy themselves.

  8. I read somewhere once that the reason that the Renaissance got started in Italy was because the Black Death wiped out a something like a third of the population. The population loss cut strain on resources needed to keep the population fed and sheltered. At the same time, the Catholic Church and Christian faith were shown the inability to protect people from evil shattering the Church’s hold on society. I’m beginning to wonder if America could see a Covid initiated renaissance with so many of one group refusing to take safety precautions at the same time that Christian churches are in scandal for various reasons and loosing a generation of adherents.

    1. Interesting theory. We have the pandemic to assist in the purge but it is very class conscious in mortality vulnerability. Unfortunately, our best shot at a contemporary Renaissance was lost in the survival of potus.

      I don’t know how this irrational tyranny ends but it is going to savage many good norms and institutions on its way out. It’s not enough that we have to suffer the T sycophants – all 70M of them – but the nationalist fringe is now joined by the outrageous Q-Anon believers. I almost feel sorry for Joe Biden. This is going to be hard.

      https://www.nola.com/opinions/james_gill/article_0b199084-2537-11eb-bf4b-93a9d8056b29.html m

  9. The importance of the GA Senate races cannot be understated. Balance in our judiciary is a critical guardrail for democracy. Think of how many times our federal courts have blocked, overturned or modified egregious executive actions and agency decisions.

    I am so pleased with this ruling and note it was rendered by a Bill Clinton court appointee. It gives one hope in the midst of so much disappointment.

    Federal judge rules acting DHS head unlawfully appointed, invalidates DACA suspension

  10. I’m curious about the gain in T support by white women. To begin, as a white woman, I fail to see the attraction. Novelty? Higher voter turnout explains some of the 3% increase over his 2016 numbers, but getting to 52% was frankly appalling and incomprehensible to me.

    What am I missing? Educated, affluent white women with daughters are marching in the streets for this man when they never have for any other president.

    I think this is an important metric to study and understand. Black and Latino women are much more simple and honest in their voting choices. Privileged white women? I just don’t get it.

  11. After kind of being perplexed about your block grant post — one area where the American insurance state works pretty well is for old people — I’m looking at Florida and am thinking, it’s not as though the old are not voting. They should be able to defend their interests were we to block-grant things. Already a lot of the damage inflicted by bad government is done in failure to administer Medicaid equitably, or take advantage of expansion.

    The payoff would have to be very good, but maybe Democrats should consider it. I wonder what that payoff ought to be? Allowing Democratic states to implement transfers more freely seems like too small a payoff in exchange for fragmenting a functional part of American Social Insurance.

    I’m also a bit confused how block granting would work as it comes to Americans moving about. It seems there would have to be some equalization here.

    1. It’s strategic. Force Republicans to defend their agenda on their home territory while the rest of the country is allowed to move beyond their reach. Position the compromises around things deep in the delusional Republican fantasy-land, like the superiority of block grants, so they won’t recognize the trap.

      How awesome would it be to go into a 2024 Election where Republicans are defending their decision in Texas to fully privatize Medicare and Medicaid while everyone in California, New York, every other Democratic state and probably three or four red states now have affordable access to Medicare?

      Make them defend their dumbest, most unpopular positions.

      1. This of course misses the obvious. If the Dems win either 0 or 1 of the GA Senate races, Mitch McConnell and the GOP control the Senate and none of these bills (which would have to clear the slimmest of Democratic House majorities anyway) will see the light of day.

        Dems win both GA seats and Chuck Schumer is Senate majority leader. But in that case the Senate filibuster comes into play and since Joe Manchin has already said he will not support getting rid of it, these bills never see the light of day in that circumstance either.

      2. If you offer Republicans the chance to block-grant Medicare, they’d agree to place a statue of Joe Stalin in front of the Pentagon. There are things you can offer Republicans that they’d never ever refuse.

      3. I will humor you. Let’s say the Republicans are offered to block-grant Medicare, they agree to it, and the red states follow through. Is your conclusion that this will permanently alter American politics as we know it where all senior citizens remember what the GOP did and now vote Democratic permanently? Or, does the GOP pay the price in one or perhaps two election cycles, decide to repeal the block-granting of Medicare, and watch the senior citizens come rushing back because, like all Americans, they only have the ability to remember what happened in the last week? Because I believe it will be the latter.

      4. I did see an interview with a Trump, Republican voter that couldn’t believe that Trump and/or Republicans wanted to end pre-existing condition non-discrimination in the insurance pool, because, quote: “no one would vote for them!”

        Well.

      5. “Is your conclusion that this will permanently alter American politics as we know it where all senior citizens remember what the GOP did and now vote Democratic permanently?”

        I don’t know. I do know that it would allow Americans in a majority of the country to start living in the 21st century. It would also provide a release valve for some of the bitterness on both sides. And it’s likely the only path that could allow the union to survive the next decade.

        My suspicion, based on polling and on the real world results from referendums, is that almost everyone voting Republican right now is moved by fantasy narratives. They’re voting to stop the phantoms of Antifa. They are voting to stop the spread of “Socialism” while guaranteeing that nice white folks are guaranteed a job, and healthcare, and trade protections, and cheap education, and everything else that an actual socialist government would promise. They feel confident that their votes will never effect their lives, one of the nice things about being white, so they’re able to live in a political cosplay.

        Chances are people in red states, especially the reddest states which are universally poor and heavily dependent on government aid, will react with intense displeasure when they have to live under the government the Republican donor class demands. It is likely that this would unravel the GOP as we know it.

        But maybe they won’t. Frankly, isn’t it their right in a democracy to influence the way their own lives play out? Our federal system makes this pretty easy. It would solve a lot of problems. Those choices may be stupid, but do those stupid preferences have to become the common denominator for everyone?

    2. Say these proposals pass and Republicans outside of Alabamistan do a spit take and think to themselves, ‘Holy shit, the friggin’ Democrats actually DID it!? The f*** are we supposed to do???’

      Of course any Republican with half a brain (don’t laugh) outside of UBER red turf is going to take one look at actually block granting Medicare and run in the opposite direction. It’s like abortion; a wedge issue that the GOP loves to exploit, but would sooner chop off their right arm than actually force it to a head.

      What, then, is the point of doing this? It’s because *some* Republicans, even if it’s only in 2 or 3 states, actually will be dumb enough to do it, and that’s all Democrats need, assuming they’re competent enough to exploit it (fingers crossed!). Furthermore, block granting Medicare’s the political equivalent of the dog chasing the car for the GOP. It’s all they’ve got and they won’t know what to do when they actually get it.

      If Dems want to put a proverbial gun to America’s Fascist Party, they have to be willing to get a little bloodthirsty about it.

  12. Is there a more optimistic way to look at this? Trump’s base of white protestants continues to rapidly shrink even as some latino communities are starting to convert. Georgia is proof that Trump’s coalition is still not enough to make up for demographic changes forever. Many see Trump as their last real chance to “save American culture.” I listened to Info Wars for a bit on the Thursday after the election just to see what they thought about Trump’s dwindling chance of victory. One of the things they said that stuck with me was “Trump is our last hero. This is it.” Lets say the tables were flipped and you were the neo-confederate watching Trump lose. Would you be optimistic about holding federal power in the future?

    1. This is all absolutely on target. 2020 was definitely a win for the good guys. There’s just one caveat. What happens next?

      Can the republic survive without white nationalism? Do we have any path to a stable future that doesn’t include some form of low-grade civil war?

      And what happens when Republicans run this program again with a competent Fascist?

      1. Not to diminish the idea itself, but what would a competent Trump-esque character even look like? And, honestly, would someone like that be guaranteed to be as successful as Trump himself was? I have my doubts.

        The man’s a festering wart on America’s backside, no doubt, but Donald Trump’s a unique character unto himself. He’s the anti-Obama, but they’re similar in that people like them just don’t come around all that often. From Cruz to Cotton, Republicans keep trying to co-opt Trumpism and it just doesn’t work. It’s not transferable.

        To be clear, I’m not diminishing the threat we’re facing, but I’d really like to hear someone try to explain what a Trump successor would look like.

      2. Cotton has the intelligence, but all the charisma of a sun-soaked spud. He’s what you get from Republicans as a ‘compromise’ between the Romney-esque wing and the Marjorie Taylor/Louie Gohmert wing that think the government’s spiking the water supply with nanobots to control the public mind and induce more abortions.

        Tom Cotton would be a horror, but he just doesn’t have it. Someone like Josh Hawley is much more of a concern to me.

  13. An interesting phenomenon for me about this election is seeing where I grew up (Waukesha County, WI), which is very much a predominantly Republican county, and how much of it is “Trump’s base”. In 2012, Romney & Ryan won 66%. in 2016 and in 2020, that Republican support dropped, but only to slightly under 60%. And that figure is good for both 2016 *AND* 2020.

    I’m extra curious how many instances of multiple phenomena you describe above affect the county? I can think of a few beyond the obvious, but I left decades ago.

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