Monthly Archives: July 2021

Today’s Recommended Read: White Evangelicals, in Severe Decline, Lash Out in Paranoid Frenzy

Michelle Goldberg, The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It

Those of us who have come to value Ms. Goldberg’s work know that she regularly makes trenchant observations, and pulls no punches in telling us what’s going on. In today’s column, she outdoes herself.

Key takeaway point: the proportion of people identifying as white evangelicals has dropped precipitously, from 23 percent in 2006 to 14.5 percent as of 2020.

Result: a descent into political nihilism and millenarian conspiratology. If they can’t own the country, then they will damn well take the country down.

Ms. Goldberg concludes by observing that the white evangelicals are more dangerous in decline than they were two decades ago, when they thought they were in the ascendency. I don’t agree.

l think the precipitous decline of our political adversaries is a development worth celebrating.

Today’s Read: What the Political Scientists are Telling Us About the Trump Base

Thomas Edsall, Trump’s Cult of Animosity Shows No Sign of Letting Up

Mr. Edsall provides a fairly extensive review of recent political science analysis of the Trump phenomenon. Well worth a read, IMHO.

Spoiler alert: 6 letters. Begins with “r.”

Other than that, I won’t try to summarize, because summarizing a summary is always problematic. But I will add just a few points.

  1. These are the same people who have been calling biologists stupid for the last 200 years, because biologists espouse the theory of evolution. No wonder they don’t want to believe stupid biologists when they talk of illness and vaccines.
  2. These are the same people who believe that “I AM GOING TO HEAVEN AND YOU, MOST DEFINITELY, ARE GOING TO HELL.” No wonder that they show “hostility to outgroups.” Hostility to outgroups is what their preachers have been preaching for centuries.
  3. The article asserts—correctly, as far as I can tell—that the hard core trump base comprises up to one third of our population. But the article does not address the significant variations in attitude and belief within this one third of our population. I know from experience that you can have a semi-reasonable conversation with some of these folks, some of the time, whereas others are impervious to all reason, all of the time.
  4. According to the article—and, again, it’s correct in my view—up to one third of the population year to impose a dictatorship over the remaining two thirds of the population.

Not happening, folks.

Maybe their actions will bring about the end of democracy and make the United States a failed state. But that failed state won’t be a dictatorship. Because the rest of us aren’t going to let it happen.

Every Day, the Line in the Sand Looks More and More Like an Insurmountable Moat, Arkansas governor ponders future in GOP turned Trumpian

Washington Post, In ramp-up to 2022 midterms, Republican candidates center pitches on Trump’s false election claims

Washington Post, Post-ABC poll: Biden earns high marks for handling the pandemic, but many Republicans resist vaccination

I particularly call your attention to the second article cited above. There, the Washington Post extensively documents how Big Lie supporters are winning Republican primaries, and how the remaining semi-sensible people identifying as Republicans are being driven from the party. Viz. Asa Hutchinson, per the first of the three articles above.

Come 2022, the most backward portions of the remaining Republicans will have been softened up by massive loss of life in the coming delta variant renewed pandemic.

Those who survive will insist on making the midterm election a referendum on the Big Lie.

This will be a successful strategy, but only in the most rural parts of our country.

Ever since our ancestors climbed down from the trees in Africa, those who rationally understood reality and grasped the consequences of their actions tended to survive. Those lacking these skills tended to die.