Monday, November 1, 2021

Last Call For The Big Lie

Pew Research has come out with a comprehensive poll measuring a number of culture war subjects, but by far the most disturbing trend is the Big Lie and the near guaranteed violence it will cause in the future.
After the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, the prospect of political violence threatening a peaceful transfer of power has become more than an abstract question. As noted above, nearly one in five Americans (18%) agree with the statement “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” Republicans (30%) are more likely to agree with this than independents (17%) and Democrats (11%). Among Republicans who most trust far-right news sources, agreement increases to 40%, compared to 32% among those who most trust Fox News and 22% among those who most trust mainstream news sources.

White evangelical Protestants (26%) are the religious group most likely to agree that true American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country, while 23% of those who follow non-Christian religions, 22% of Hispanic Catholics, 19% of white Catholics, 19% of other Christians, 17% of white mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants, 16% of Black Protestants, and 13% of religiously unaffiliated Americans agree.

The belief that violence could be an option is stronger among those who support former President Donald Trump and view changing culture as a threat. Among those who think the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, 39% agree that true American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country, compared to only 10% among those who do not think the election was stolen.

Those who agree that things have changed so much they feel like strangers in their own country (29%) are more likely than those who disagree (12%) to agree that violence might be necessary, and those who think American culture has mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s (23%) are more likely than those who think it has changed for the better (14%) to say so.

Christian nationalist sympathies matter, as well: Among those who believe God has granted America a special role in human history, 27% agree that violence might be necessary, compared to 12% among those who do not think God granted America a special role
No matter how you slice it, it represents tens of millions in this country who say that violence is now an option that they support for political power, including nearly 40% of Big Lie Republicans.

Political terrorist violence is inevitable, frankly.

The Disenfranchisement Is The Point

The political leadership of Florida is today gripped by a new “lost cause.” Despite the fact that Donald Trump triumphed in the Sunshine State in 2020, in an election that Governor Ron DeSantis called “the smoothest, most successful election in the country,” the Republican-controlled legislature imposed a series of new voting restrictions in the aftermath of the election. The impetus for these restrictions was the falsehood that Trump had won reelection but had been deprived of victory by “voter fraud.”

Trump, along with his allies in the right-wing media, has inundated conservative voters with ludicrous claims that the election was “rigged.” These claims cannot be proved, because they are false; in fact, the Trump camp has always known that they were false, and that their supporters would believe them nonetheless. The allegations, though, need not be substantiated in any factual sense, because they are fundamentally an expression of the conviction that Trump should have won, not because he actually won the most votes but because the other side’s votes simply should not count. This belief justifies not merely restrictions on the right to vote but the right to simply overturn elections, as Trump supporters attempted to do when they ransacked the Capitol on January 6.

The novel restrictions cannot be a solution to endemic voter fraud, a problem that DeSantis’s boasts implicitly acknowledge does not exist. They are a solution to a different problem: the fact that the other side gets to vote at all.

None of these attempts to restrict the franchise has been as overtly racist or close to as successful as the efforts of the Redeemers. But as long as the risk of competitive elections exists, a party driven by the belief that its rivals are illegitimate will seek to eliminate them. That this effort is today led by the Republican Party, during Reconstruction the defender of Black rights in the South, is one of history’s great and tragic ironies.

Florida’s rule limiting the teaching of this history is not the worst of the state-level efforts at censorship—it states that teachers “may not suppress or distort significant historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction” but also bars them from teaching that “racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.” It is obvious that the former cannot be taught without recognizing the history of the latter, and that under the ambiguous wording of the rule, teachers will fear that doing so will risk professional consequences.

But to acknowledge this history would be to raise uncomfortable questions about its legacy in the present. Rather than doing so, this movement has settled on the belief that its fundamental political rights are threatened when those its members fear exercise their own. In the name of “free speech,” Florida censors its educators; in the name of “democracy,” it disenfranchises its citizens. This is because, as Florida’s so-called Redeemers understood, power does not need to resolve its contradictions when it can simply silence them.
Where we are headed as a nation and as a people is "Democrats don't count". 
That is, Democratic votes don't count, Democratic Congresses and Presidents don't count, Democrat-appointed judges don't count, and Democratic voters' rights and civil rights don't count, because Democrats aren't American, aren't human, aren't permissible.
"Our elections won't be free and fair as long as Democrats are involved!" they scream, and so Democrats will soon no longer be involved.
Just silence them, just cancel them, just punish them enough and they'll get with the winning side, the only side, the MAGA side, the Republican Christian Evangelical Dominionism Patriarchy side. Whatever happens to Democrats, the Enemy, well, they deserved it.

If there's anything the last 150 years of American history has shown, it's that racists assholes sure do love getting creative with their ways to keep white supremacy the de facto law of the land despite all the efforts to change that.

All of it is tied together, the efforts to disenfranchise Black voters, the efforts to limit executive regulatory power in favor of a gerrymandered House and GOP-centric Senate, the efforts to completely destroy trust in elections so that people won't mind authoritarian measures, all of it is designed to create a permanent white supremacist Christofascist state.

They are exceedingly close to winning what they've wanted for generations: the end of civil rights, voting rights, and of democracy.

Another #MeToo Moment, Con't

Our "friends" over at The Intercept sure told us that 21-year-old Kansas state Democratic Rep. Aaron Coleman was a good egg, despite multiple previous accusations of blackmailing an ex with revenge porn, because he wanted progressive policies like Medicare for all. Turns out that Coleman can add "accusations of sexual assault" to the list now.

Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman, who has a history of alleged abusive behavior, was arrested Saturday night on a charge of domestic battery.

Overland Park police took Coleman into custody at 8:15 p.m. Saturday and he was booked into the Johnson County Jail at 12:45 a.m. Sunday, according to jail records.

Coleman’s arrest on Sunday prompted new calls for his resignation.

The 21-year-old Democratic lawmaker has been accused multiple times of inappropriate behavior, including by a former girlfriend who said he slapped and choked her. The circumstances of Saturday’s arrest weren’t immediately known.

Coleman appeared to remain in custody as of Sunday afternoon, according to jail records. A call to his phone went unanswered. He is set to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The episode led to fresh demands for Coleman’s resignation on Sunday. House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat, called the developments “extremely disturbing news.”

“We are watching closely to make sure we gather all the facts. His constituents and the State of Kansas would be better served if he were to resign and get the help he badly needs,” Sawyer said in a statement. “However, I want to reiterate again that the House Democratic Caucus does not condone this behavior in any way, shape, or form.”

The freshman lawmaker already faced a legislative inquiry earlier this year over allegations of inappropriate behavior, but the investigating committee ultimately issued only an informal letter of warning that amounted to a mild reprimand. At the time, lawmakers involved in the inquiry noted that the alleged behavior had occurred before he was elected.

Just months later, Coleman now faces allegations of criminal behavior while in office.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, said that given what little information is known, “I am concerned for everyone involved.”

“I know that law enforcement will thoroughly investigate and assess the situation so that we can take appropriate action,” Ryckman said in a statement.

Coleman broke into Kansas politics in 2020 with an upset primary defeat of Rep. Stan Frownfelter in Kansas City, Kansas. Allegations of abusive behavior were made public, but Coleman, running in a heavily Democratic district, faced no Republican opponent on the ballot.

He ran as a left-wing candidate, supporting progressive policies that have virtually no chance of advancing in the Republican-controlled Legislature. But since before his election, accusations of personal misconduct and episodes of bizarre behavior have dominated the attention paid to him, turning him into a quasi-outcast in the House.

Earlier in October, the Kansas Department of Labor warned Coleman to stay away from its Topeka headquarters after the agency said he repeatedly tried to gain access to employee-only parts of the building.

But the most serious concerns about Coleman have often centered on his behavior in relationships, in particular his relationships with women. Before Coleman took office in early 2021, seven incoming Democratic legislators -- all women -- called on him to resign. They demanded Coleman face “accountability for violence against women.”

Coleman has previously been under a temporary order not to communicate with the former campaign manager of a political opponent, who had said Coleman sent her harassing messages, came to her home twice and tried to get her evicted. A former staff member in Sawyer’s office has also described threats Coleman made against her and that he had called her and threatened physical violence against Sawyer before the election.

Coleman has previously tweeted that Gov. Laura Kelly would face an “extremely bloody” Democratic primary. “People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it’s real,” he tweeted. He later deleted the tweet.
Nobody in the Kansas House leadership, Democrat or Republican, seems really eager to get rid of this little carbuncle, but I think this might be his ticket out.

And into a cell.


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