It Can Happen Here…And We’re Watching It Happen

Not specifically spotlighting T. Carlson, but he’s one of the higher profile cheerleaders; also too, will go meta to cite Paul Campos, who says it better than I can

This Thomas Edsall piece, in which he interviews a bunch of fancy academics about their estimates regarding how far down the road toward ethno-nationalist authoritarianism the Republican party has gone, and what the Democratic party should do about it, has a lot of interesting stuff in it.

Here’s a quote from Jennifer Hochschild, a professor government at Harvard:

The Democratic Party over the past few decades has gotten into the position of appearing to oppose and scorn widely cherished institutions — conventional nuclear family, religion, patriotism, capitalism, wealth, norms of masculinity and femininity, then saying “vote for me.” Doesn’t sound like a winning strategy to me, especially given the evident failure to find a solution to growing inequality and the hollowing out of a lot of rural and small-town communities. 

Note that this quote in the Paper of Record is from a self-identified liberal at a top university, not Some Poster On a Blog Somewhere.

I note this because the quote is, if taken as a literal description of the Democratic party, just completely delusional. I would love to ask Hochschild (maybe I will) if she can point to a single prominent Democratic party figure who “opposes” and “scorns” the nuclear family, religion, patriotism, capitalism, wealth [for crissakes], or norms of masculinity and femininity.

I mean the closest thing I can come up with is that Bernie Sanders says lots of very mean and hurtful things about unregulated capitalism, but even in his case, as soon as you look past the democratic socialism rhetoric, you find somebody who votes and acts very much like a classic New Deal Democrat. I take it that Prof. Hochschild would disagree with the view that the New Deal was anti-capitalist, given that that view is the political science equivalent of a flat Earth theory.

I’m pretty sure that Hochschild’s response to this — OK I really am going to ask her and report back — is that yeah of course it’s absurd as an empirical descriptive matter to ascribe opposition and scorn on the part of the Democratic party or any of its significant figures toward any these things, but nevertheless there’s a “perception” that’s, as the late Cokie Roberts would have said, “out there” that Democrats oppose Traditional American Values.

There sure is! And where exactly does that perception come from? The obvious answer is that it comes from the Right Wing Scream Machine, but the more nuanced answer is that it very much ALSO comes from people like Jennifer Hochschild echoing and thereby spreading complete bullshit right wing propaganda when she talks to Thomas Edsall in the New York Times.

Cokie’s Law lives.

There’s also an asymmetry that the same elites reinforce daily — Democrats are hamstrung by laws or traditions that the GOP ignores or flouts with zero consequences (Meadows, Bannon, etc.), while the elite press can’t bother with actual journalism but instead plays gossip games (e.g., Carlson is one of their go-to contacts when an insider source is needed).

The Overton Window’s been pushed so far to the right that a former Senator from Delaware, Inc., is portrayed by the wingers as a personification of scary socialism or a commie stooge (even more ironic given their fawning over Vlad the Great).

Oh, and let’s blame progressives, since, well, all the hippies that could possibly be punched have been punched, while libruls suck (and Kamala Harris’s earbuds…W.T.F???)

Meanwhile, the GOP is part personality cult, part deranged performance art, with a side order of viciousness and ugliness combining White Christianism, nativism (irony intentional), overt racism, and more than a dollop of fascism, that, combined with 18th Century checks on small d democracy, create an actual existential danger of cementing permanent minority rule, with significant and VERY negative consequences.

To repeat something I’ve said before, it might not be a whole lot of fun to do actual journalism on this topic (and awww, might lose the elite/insider access–and perks), but actual journalism might well be on the chopping block if/when…

But hey, both sides, right?

Or “but her emails.”