Everyone Needs to Be More Furious Right Now

I wish I had an old-timey ear horn, so I could stand atop the high­est moun­tain and yell, ​“This is me strain­ing to hear all of the respectable Repub­li­can offi­cials in Amer­i­ca con­demn­ing a Unit­ed States pres­i­dent who is false­ly declar­ing that he won an elec­tion while ask­ing to shut down an ongo­ing vote count.” Then I would hold the horn to my ear and stand silent­ly, lis­ten­ing to the sounds of silence.

These are the elo­quent, his­toric pres­i­den­tial words that may mark the fatal turn­ing point in the Amer­i­can demo­c­ra­t­ic exper­i­ment: ​“We won states. And all of a sud­den I said, ​‘what’s hap­pened to the elec­tion?’ It’s off. And we have all these announc­ers say­ing ​‘What hap­pened?’ And then they said, ​‘Oooo.’ Because you know what hap­pened? They knew they couldn’t win. So they said, ​‘Let’s go to court.’ And did I pre­dict this, Newt? Did I say this? I’ve been say­ing this from the day I heard they were gonna send out tens of mil­lions of bal­lots. I said exact­ly — because either they were gonna win, or if they didn’t win, they’ll take us to court… This is a fraud on the Amer­i­can pub­lic. This is an embar­rass­ment to our coun­try. We were get­ting ready to win this elec­tion, and frankly, we did win this elec­tion.” The new Get­tys­burg Address, ladies and gen­tle­men. How can the oppo­si­tion par­ty be expect­ed to match such pow­er­ful dex­ter­i­ty of lan­guage and character? 

What­ev­er the out­come of this elec­tion is, when it’s over, I would like to stop treat­ing gang­sters as hon­or­able par­tic­i­pants in civ­il soci­ety.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty is, in aggre­gate, a den of gang­sters cur­rent­ly try­ing to aid and abet the utter­ly cor­rupt theft of a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion by one of the worst peo­ple in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. That is sim­ply a descrip­tion of what’s hap­pen­ing. I know that many of us have had our heads deep in the weeds, obsessed with coun­ty-wide polling aver­ages and what­not, but it’s time to look at the big pic­ture. We do not know how this elec­tion will turn out yet — all I’m ask­ing for is that we dis­cuss it hon­est­ly. If you think that a sin­gle Repub­li­can politi­cian has a gen­uine con­cern about ​“vot­er fraud” not moti­vat­ed by pure self-inter­est and dis­re­gard of pub­lic will, I invite you to bang your head against a wall until you fall down, because your intel­li­gence will not be affect­ed. I do not expect any­thing bet­ter from the Repub­li­can Par­ty, of course, but I do expect every­one who is not part of the Repub­li­can Par­ty to stop pre­tend­ing that some­thing oth­er than this is hap­pen­ing, out of a mis­placed desire to believe in hap­py fairy tales. 

This is worse than cyn­i­cal oper­a­tors rid­ing the coat­tails of a dem­a­gogue in a sin­gle elec­tion. Repub­li­cans are a minor­i­ty par­ty. They can­not win pow­er in a sys­tem with free and fair elec­tions and high vot­er turnout. The state leg­is­la­ture in Flori­da last year enact­ed a de fac­to poll tax that effec­tive­ly kneecapped a bal­lot mea­sure passed in 2018 to restore vot­ing rights to 1.4 mil­lion felons. That sin­gle act of vot­er sup­pres­sion could have pro­vid­ed the mar­gin by which Don­ald Trump just won Flori­da. Vot­er sup­pres­sion, ger­ry­man­der­ing, and out­right lies are now stan­dard parts of the play­book, dis­cussed by pun­dits as if they are just anoth­er shrewd tac­tic. They’re not. They are cor­rup­tion. They are gang­ster behav­ior. This gang­ster ass minor­i­ty par­ty now con­trols the bulk of the courts, and the White House, and is now try­ing quite open­ly to use those courts to steal back con­trol of the White House again, hop­ing to stop count­ing votes that might prove incon­ve­nient. If Trump was real­ly such an out­lier, every Repub­li­can in Con­gress would be lin­ing up to decry this out­rage against democ­ra­cy. They’re not. Remem­ber that. 

We are liv­ing through a use­ful demon­stra­tion of how pre­pos­ter­ous­ly large the gap between pro­pa­gan­da and real­i­ty can get before the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion snaps. Last night, as every­thing hung in the bal­ance, I saw James Carville on MSNBC, dis­miss­ing everyone’s anx­i­ety and jok­ing about the expen­sive whiskey he would be drink­ing very soon when every­thing came in for Biden. I note this anec­do­tal­ly to make the point — like many impor­tant points, one that we already knew, but must be remind­ed of in the most painful way again and again until we fix it — that the class of peo­ple who make up the estab­lish­ment pow­ers of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty are pathet­i­cal­ly unpre­pared for the extrem­i­ty of the polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment we’re liv­ing through. That is why they have been get­ting their ass­es kicked for most of the past five years. (Not lit­er­al­ly — they leave that to the demon­stra­tors in the streets, who they lat­er mock for hav­ing unre­al­is­tic demands, like ​“we would like to live.”) 

Democ­rats and many pun­dits seem to believe that we are all still play­ing chess. Mean­while, Repub­li­cans long ago flipped over the board and start­ed smash­ing it with a sledge­ham­mer. What­ev­er the out­come of this elec­tion is, when it’s over, I would like to stop treat­ing gang­sters as hon­or­able par­tic­i­pants in civ­il soci­ety.

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