Two dysfunctional systems

Since the start of the year, much of the world?s attention was focused on two trials on opposite sides of the world. In one, a brave truth-teller was persecuted by a vengeful administration after stirring up his patriotic followers in protest against tyranny. In the other, Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

The QAnoners aren’t as dumb as we’d like to think

From the New Republic: “There were plenty of graduates and good students in the mob that day. Plenty of dropouts and poor students looked on in horror. And as much as the right’s critics might prefer an understanding of what’s happened to our politics that flatters their intelligence, the challenge we’re facing isn’t that millions of hapless and benighted yokels have been bamboozled by disinformation. It’s that millions of otherwise ordinary people from many walks of life—including many who went to and even excelled in college—have a material or ideological interest in keeping the Democratic Party and its voters from power by any means possible. And those means include the utilization of narratives, including conspiracy theories, that delegitimize Democrats and offer hope of their eventual comeuppance. …

“Democrats should try campaigning on the truth: The Republican Party is controlled by intelligent, college-educated, and affluent elites who concoct dangerous nonsense to paper over a bigoted, plutocratic agenda and to justify attacks on the democratic process. That agenda and those attacks are supported by millions of reasonably intelligent voters who will believe or claim to believe anything that furthers the objective of keeping conservatives in control of this country forever. Simply pointing to figures like Greene and hoping the indignation of college graduates will do the rest is a mistake. Instead, Democrats should present voters with a material choice between a party that has nothing to offer the majority of Americans but abuse and conspiratorial flimflam and a party committed to building a democracy and an economy that work for all. If they don’t, the lizard people who run the GOP will be running the government again in no time.”

Their belief that this surreal conspiracy has arisen because of the poor education of its adherents is based in classism, not reality.

The bogeyman of socialism

“[H]ere’s what Republicans are failing to realize. As families suffer and Americans die because the Trump administration refused to lead during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to sell the idea that we need less government. In a pandemic — must it even be said? — competent government is essential.

“And yet the notion that Democrats are taking this country down a scary path — to socialism or perhaps hell — continues to resonate with conservatives.”

My own take is that the word socialism has too many meanings and causes more confusion than enlightenment such that we would be better off if we simply dropped the word from our discourse.

As Americans die because the Trump administration refused to lead during the pandemic, it's hard to sell the idea that we need less government.

How to avoid disaster in the midterms

“The trick, says Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, will be lowering the expectations of an impatient Democratic base that is eager to press the party’s slim advantage by forcing votes on issues like Medicare for All or by making structural changes that could secure the party’s power. Booker says there aren’t enough votes to pass statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico right now, nor for expanding the Supreme Court. He’s taking his own lesson from the early Obama years.”

History suggests that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to have a tough two years and a disaster in the midterms. Here?s their plan to avoid that.