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You still don’t realize what you’re dealing with


Donald Trump is the joke about fascism coming to America that became serious, except lots of people are still in plenty of denial about that.

Trump is the culmination of what should be now be the undeniable fact that for a half century one of America’s two major parties, starting with Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign and thrown into hyperdrive by the Reagan revolution, has been trending toward authoritarian ethno-nationalism.

My friend Steve:

This is all so shameful and horrifying.

This [the Wayne County canvasser board fiasco] Lindsey’s rolling attempts to throw out votes, Nevada attempts to override the electors, Rudy in Pennsylvania…

2020 is currently 5.7M votes, 3.6%, still inching upward. That allowed a 306 EV win, or three midsized swing states. That is now just about the required margin for Dems to squeak by with a victory. One or two states and you’d have to give even odds that they’d flip it by throwing out a city.

At this late date there’s still a reluctance to take Trump seriously. Which is understandable! He’s such a buffoon. It’s hard not to minimize his attempts at a coup given the incompetence. “President Trump today said that the entire vote of the city of Detroit should be disqualified, handing him the state of Michigan.” You want to add a but to that sentence. “But legal experts say this is not remotely likely to succeed.”

Maybe we take the president and 2024 GOP frontrunner seriously for once. He is trying to overthrow the election by disenfranchising as many Black voters as he can get away with.

We all laugh at the red maps Trump clings to to show how overwhelming his support is. We can explain how misleading they are, given the density divide and where people, Americans with supposedly equal rights, Americans for whom this government exists as a representative democracy, where those people actually live. But I don’t think we grasp how fully *true* those maps feel to Republicans. It feels *unjust* that those tiny little blue dots in the corners of their states can override their vast real America. Just because they’re teeming with weird people who vote in a bloc.

This try won’t work. There will be other tries, on narrower margins, led by more competent lawyers.

This is where we are now. The entire electoral system is in fact rigged — rigged structurally and perfectly legally in favor of Republicans, because of that sea of red on the maps surrounding the little dots of blue (where the actual people live).

But it’s not enough for them. They need to rig it illegally, because John Calvin plus Ayn Rand is actually a very unpopular ideology in America if you’re not a white religious reactionary or a plutocrat, actual or aspiring. But there are still a lot of those people. Plus there are enough other people at the margins who are naive enough to be taken in by the nonsensical claims of American exceptionalism and capitalist bootstrap fantasies (start the next Facebook!). Or they’re just drunk on the depraved celebrity culture that makes Donald Trump look to them like somebody who maybe we should give a chance to “drain the swamp.”

When you add it all up it turns out that Donald Trump gets 74 million votes — five million more than Obama ever got! — even after four years of him making it perfectly clear that he was going to do exactly what he’s doing right now, which is to try to destroy America as a liberal democracy, and replace it with an authoritarian ethno-state.

Even if he fails, and it’s far from clear that he will — at a minimum he’s likely to be back in 2024, and if he is he will win the Republican nomination — it’s hard to see how this country moves on from this in the long run.

On the other hand there’s what Keynes said about the long run, which feels especially true this morning.

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