Author Archives: ariusaardvark

Trumped Republicans, Indeed

A few days ago, talking head Jim VandeHei of Axios made a point on the Teevee that I hadn’t focused on before. His point related to the contrasting strategies and perceptions of House Republican leadership and Senate Republican leadership. Over in the House, he allowed, the leadership and the majority of the members have decided to exalt Trump and let him lead them to victory in 2022. But over in the Senate, they just hope desperately that Trump will go away and they can go back to blabbing about the Democrats and their Marxist agenda. As far as I can tell, VandeHei is right in his diagnosis of Republican thinking.

I also call your attention to Jennifer Rubin’s thoughts on todays Ipsos poll.

Here are my thoughts.

One. We should begin by adding a few points to the Trumpy side of things, because we are now confident that Trumpy folks are less likely to talk to pollsters than non-Trumpy folks.

Second. The poll claims to show that 55 percent of all Americans think the election was fair, while 25 percent think it was rigged. 55 and 25 add to 80. So, that would mean that 20 percent of the country is out to lunch. Sounds about right to me.

Third. It isn’t surprising that, if 56 percent of Republicans think that the election results came from “illegal voting and election rigging,” then 53 percent would also believe Trump is “the True President.”

But, if only 25 percent of Republicans say the election was fair, then why do 47 percent of them say that Biden is the True President? Maybe a lot of them are just confused, or maybe a lot of them are just pulling our legs—a possibility which Ms. Rubin emphasizes. Or maybe a lot of them have bought into the voter fraud claims but are unwilling to abandon the processes of the constitutional republic that led to Biden’s inauguration—the voter certifications in the various states, the court challenges, etc.  

Four. The House Republicans want to exalt Trump, which means that the 2022 election will be a referendum on whether our constitutional republic will endure.

The Senate Republicans want Trump to go away. But Trump will not go away, nor will he cease and desist from the Big Lie, or from urging the overthrow of the Republic. The Senate Republicans would like to make the 2022 election something other than a referendum on whether the constitutional republic will endure. But they will not succeed.

And a related point: in 2022 Trump authoritarians like asshole Jody Hice will be trying to take over the machinery of election watching, so that can throw away Democratic votes.

And in some places, Trump authoritarians will have control of voting machinery at the county level, and we pretty much know what they will do.

Five. Yes, yes, yes. Overall, Republican attitudes and delusions as shown in the polls are a terrible, very bad, no good thing.

Six. But, from what we know today, we can predict that a clear choice to overturn or not to overturn the constitutional republic will engender a major internal struggle within the Republican base.

In the House of Mirrors That is American Politics Today

It seems that I’m reading a lot these days about how the Republican politicians think they have it made in the shade: Gerrymander the hell out of the House districts. Rev up the MAGA crowd to a fare-thee-well. Scare the pants off the rest of the traditional Republican voters about Socialism! Depress the Democratic vote with voter suppression laws. STFU about the Big Lie. Stuff the January 6 insurrection down the memory hole and give it a good flush. And—last but far from least—bank on enthusiasm among Democrats being tepid.

See, for example

POLITICO Playbook PM: House GOP retreat: Lawmakers giddy about 2022 takeover

Eric Levitz, Democrats’ Odds of Keeping the House Are Slimming Fast

Well, que sera sera. But the Republican empty suits are making a whole bunch of highly questionable assumptions, including:

  • the assumption that a majority of Americans don’t much care about democracy and the constitutional republic,
  • the assumption that you can base your entire strategy on a smorgasbord of easily disprovable lies and not get caught out, and
  • the assumption that you can royally piss of the majority of the population and get away with it.

Jennifer Rubin is not so sure. In Republicans just might be clueless she writes-persuasively IMHO:

Thirty-five House Republicans on Wednesday embarrassed their minority leader, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), in defying his wishes and voting in favor of a Jan. 6 commission. Did he even bother to check just how many votes he would lose before pledging loyalty to the Mar-a-Lago leader of the GOP? Or is it possible that McCarthy, who already seems to be measuring the drapes in the speaker’s office, has no idea what he is doing?

After all, McCarthy, in attempting to corral opposition to the commission, achieved two things: He showed that a significant chunk of his caucus would not go along, but he also forced the other 80 percent to show that they are puppets controlled by the disgraced former president.

This follows other brilliant strategies, such as handing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) a giant megaphone to decry McCarthy’s Trump-dependency; leading a unanimous vote against the overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan; and declaring a red line against raising taxes on corporations (55 of which paid no federal income taxes last year). None of these make sense if the aim is to secure working-class voters and win back some of the women, suburbanites, college-educated, Asian American and young voters that the party lost in November.

Republicans’ support for eviscerating Roe v. Wade does not help them with any of these groups, nor does their resistance to police reform and their blatant attempts to suppress the vote. Opposing free community college is not going to win them plaudits among younger voters, just as blathering on about a “stolen” election goes over like a lead balloon among more educated voters. And in the self-destructive category, few things can top the Republican proposal to pay for an infrastructure bill with a gas tax instead of corporate taxes when the party is trying to win back suburbanites, who often must commute by car.

In case Republicans had not noticed, several of the groups they are busy offending with stunts such as opposition to the Jan. 6 commission and preference for corporate tax scofflaws are the same people turning out in larger numbers than ever before. TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, reports that the youth vote, which remains strongly Democratic, increased in 2020 while “voters age 40-49 and 50-64 dropped by a significant margin.” Meanwhile, the groups Republicans aim to appeal to (at the expense of growing segments of the electorate) are declining. Another political data firm, the Catalist, found that “72% of the electorate was white, down 2 percentage points from 2016. This comes almost entirely from the decline in white voters without a college degree, who continue a steady decline (in percentage terms).” Republicans’ prime target, non-college-educated Whites, were a majority of the electorate in 2008. In 2020, they were down to 44 percent.

The instinct for many is to assume a basic level of competence among Republicans. But that flies in the face of evidence. Remember: They are pledging undying loyalty to the guy who lost them the House, Senate and White House. Their dastardly plots, as infuriating as they might be, are not necessarily working in their favor. Just because, for example, they are creating barriers to voting does not mean that they will improve their chances in 2022. The opposite might be true.

Kowtowing to the MAGA crowd while unconscionably shirking their oaths of office is no brilliant plot guaranteed to deliver victories in 2022 or 2024. No one should confuse mendacity with competence. In other words, never mistake Republicans for very stable geniuses.

When the Tide Goes Out, You Find Out Who’s Skinny-Dipping

Washington Post, House Democrats’ 2020 election autopsy: Bad polling hurt and GOP attacks worked

An attempt to diagnose—with a fair degree of precision—why Democrats didn’t do better in the 2022 House races. I found it very interesting. Takeaways—not all that surprising but useful anyway:

  1. A lot of Trump supporters refused to talk to pollsters. That led to a significant distortion in the polling. (Remember: victory or defeat is often the small difference between two large numbers.) That led Democrats to put their resources in the wrong places.
  2. Too many voters believed Republican bullshit about socialism and defund the police.
  3. Democrats had a lot of money, but they put too much in “old media.”

This from a Democratic political operative:

“We are still overweighted on old media, and we need to invest more in organizing and in digital. I would rather invest in the next Stacey Abrams or a real organizing strategy for the Rio Grande Valley,” Maloney said, referring to the Georgia political figure.

He said the biggest advantage for Democrats next year might just be Trump not being on the ballot, as the House GOP has so far remained fully in Trump’s corner.

“The Republican Party is betting the ranch that they can do Trump’s toxicity without Trump’s turnout. And I think that may end up being a terrible mistake,” he said. “There’s that old saying that when the tide goes out, you find out who’s skinny-dipping. And if this tide of Trump turnout goes out in 2022, the Republicans may end up skinny-dipping.”