Category Archives: To Save Democracy

MAGA & Neo-Confederate Racism, By the Numbers

[The most revealing analysis of the mythic underpinning of the authoritarian upsurge I’ve seen points straight to the “restoration” of a zombie version of white Jim Crow Dixie culture, circa 1920-1950. This survey bolsters that impression. Progressives who want to push back effectively against this drive need to get over the tendency to ignore this history & culture and its stubborn legacy.]

Washington Post — September 28, 2022

Just how racist is the MAGA movement? This survey measures it.




Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

It has long been understood that the MAGA movement is heavily dependent on White grievance and straight-up racism. (Hence Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow racist groups and his statement that there were “very fine people on both sides” in the violent clashes at the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville.)

Now, we have numbers to prove it.

The connection between racism and the right-wing movement is apparent in a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute.

The survey asked respondents about 11 statements designed to probe views on racism. For example: “White Americans today are not responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.”

The pollsters then used their answers to quantify a “structural racism index,” which provides a general score from zero to 1 measuring a person’s attitudes on “white supremacy and racial inequality, the impact of discrimination on African American economic mobility, the treatment of African Americans in the criminal justice system, general perceptions of race, and whether racism is still significant problem today.” Higher scores indicate a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs.

 Continue reading MAGA & Neo-Confederate Racism, By the Numbers

Senate Race in N. Carolina: All-In-MAGA vs. Black Pioneer

Sep 23, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — In competitive races across the U.S., Republican candidates are distancing themselves from their partys most controversial policies and people — namely, abortion and former President Donald Trump — as Election Day approaches.

Not Ted Budd.

Ted Budd

The North Carolina GOP Senate nominee is leaning into support for abortion restrictions and amity with the former Republican president as Democrats fight for an elusive victory in the Southern swing state.

Democratic optimism remains tempered given the states recent red tilt, but Democratic officials believe Budd, a lowprofile congressman who emerged as the GOPs Senate nominee largely because of Trumps backing, gives them a real chance at flipping a seat — and holding the balance of power in Washington — this fall.

Disregarding his critics, Budd appeared alongside Trump at a rally in Wilmington Friday night, where the former president praised the candidate as “a conservative, America First allstar in Congress” and urged his supporters to turn out to vote. Budd, in turn, thanked Trump for returning to the state.

The Budd campaign was eager to welcome Trump when the former presidents team called, according to adviser Jonathan Felts.

“Trump won North Carolina twice, and an inperson rally is helpful, Felts said, suggesting Trump would help drive turnout, especially “with unaffiliated and/or undecided voters concerned about the economy.”

Others arent so sure.

“The more Trump emerges, the more Trump is in the news, the better for Democrats,” said David Holian, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Indeed, Trump remains overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters but is less appealing to the moderates and independents who often decide swingstate elections. Trumps national favorable ratings have been roughly even with, or worse than, President Joe Bidens in recent weeks.

Still, some North Carolina Democrats are far from confident in a state where they have suffered painful losses in recent years.

Democratic skepticism comes despite the apparent strength of their Senate nominee, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley,who has a decided fundraising advantage, a record of outperforming other Democrats in statewide elections and a moderate message. She would be the states first Black senator if elected.

Democrat Cheri Beasley

Yet Beasley is also running against negative perceptions of her party.

Trumps rise has fueled a growing sense among some voters in North Carolina, along with those in many other states, that the national Democratic Party has lost touch with the daily struggles of the working class and similar voting blocs. The Democraticcontrolled Congress focus on climate change, for example, hasnt helped inspire voters like Talmage Layton, a 74yearold farmer from Durham.

Layton said he doesn’t know whether a North Carolina Democrat can make a difference on Capitol Hill in lowering gas prices or pushing back against climate change policies that other Democrats have embraced.

“That’s not anything against Cheri Beasley, Layton said after a recent meeting with Beasley. I’m a registered Democrat, and I would have no problem voting for a Democrat. But they’ve got to think about the little guy here.”

Not long ago, it looked as if the Democratic Party was poised to take over North Carolina politics.

In 2008, Obama carried the state, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1976, and Democrat Kay Hagan upset GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole. Political experts predicted the Democratic Party would step to dominance as a result of increasing urbanization and outofstate liberals moving in for tech jobs in the RaleighDurham and Charlotte regions.

But Republicans took over the state legislature for the first time in over 140 years following the 2010 election and retained it thanks to support from exurban and rural voters and favorably drawn districts. A decade later, Trump became a twotime North Carolina winner, though he won the 2020 election by just 1 percentage point.

While Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper managed to win reelection in 2020, Beasley was one of the party’s casualties. She lost a bid to remain chief justice to a Republican rival by just 401 votes.

Her nearmiss turned her into a rising candidate in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

In one sign of strength, Beasley has consistently raised more money than Budd. And she appears to be generating momentum by seizing on abortion to energize women and independents, relying on the same playbook Democrats have used elsewhere.

Budd, meanwhile, has been outspoken in his opposition to abortion. He cosponsored a House version of a national 15week abortion ban introduced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that even Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell distanced himself from.

“My opponent has been in Congress for six years, and every opportunity he’s had to vote for North Carolina, he’s voted against us,” Beasley charged after meeting with farmers at a produce market in Durham before Graham’s bill introduction.

Meanwhile, Republicans in competitive elections in states like Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Arizona have distanced themselves from their rigid antiabortion stances in recent weeks. Others have stripped their websites of references to Trump or his favorite talking points.

In Virginia, a Republican House candidate removed a Trump reference from her Twitter bio. In New Hampshire, Republican Senate nominee Don Bolduc abruptly reversed himself last week when asked about Trumps false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. After spending much of the last year echoing Trumps lies, Bolduc told Fox News he had done more research and concluded, “The election was not stolen.”

Meanwhile, Budds campaign refused this week to say whether he would accept the 2022 election results, having already voted to block certification of the 2020 election.

Such positions will almost certainly appeal to Trumps base, but political operatives say Budd needs sizable support from moderate, independent voters to be successful. Unaffiliated voters this year surpassed Democrats to become the largest bloc of registered voters in the state.

“Regardless of what your faith background is, you’re dealing with skyrocketing energy prices. You’re dealing with high grocery costs. You’re dealing with high crime. You’re dealing with economic uncertainty,” Budd said after speaking to pastors recently in Greenville. “And so I want to make life better for all North Carolinians and people in our country by the things that I support.”

As Budd has struggled to keep pace with Beasleys fundraising, outside groups have come to his aid.

The McConnellaligned Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent $17.3 million combined on advertising opposing Beasley, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic candidates, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have spent close to $4 million in North Carolina while investing far more in highprofile contests in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona.

“We’re committed to making sure voters continue seeing and hearing the truth about Ted Budd,” Senate Majority PAC spokesperson Veronica Yoo said.

An arm of the proabortionrights EMILYs List announced this month spending $2.7 million to criticize Budd on abortion as well.

During a recent stop at Perkins Orchard in Durham, Beasley chatted with farmers who gathered around picnic tables and near fresh pumpkins for sale. Some said afterward they were glad to see her interest in their plight.

Jason Lindsay, 34, a firstgeneration Black farmer from Rocky Mount, said he’s been frustrated with the divisive political environment but is encouraged by Beasley.

“Her temperament here today gave me the first sign of hope that I’ve had in a long time, he said.

David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

NBC News, Sept. 18, 2022 – The GOP’s American psychosis didn’t start with Trump. It won’t end with him, either.

A line runs from the 1964 Republican National Convention to Trump’s Jan. 6 riot. It has zigged and zagged over the years. But there is a path.

By David Corn, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Mother Jones
This piece has been adapted from “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy,” by David Corn:

Nelson Rockefeller stared into a sea of hate.

Standing at the podium of the Republican National Convention of 1964, the 56-year-old patrician politician who symbolized dynastic American power and wealth was enveloped by waves of anger emanating from the party faithful. Delegates and activists assembled in the Cow Palace on the outskirts of San Francisco hurled boos and catcalls at the New York governor.

David Corn

He was the enemy. His crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins. First, in the aftermath of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, these turncoat, weak-kneed Republicans had dared to acknowledge the need for big government programs to address the problems and challenges of an industrialized and urbanized United States. Second, they had accepted the reality that the Cold War of the new nuclear age demanded a nuanced national security policy predicated on a carefully measured combination of confrontation and negotiation.

Rockefeller’s crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins.

Worse, Rockefeller had tried to thwart the hero of the moment: Barry Goldwater, the archconservative senator from Arizona, the libertarian decrier of government, the tough-talking scolder of America’s moral rot, and the hawkish proponent of military might who had advocated the limited use of nuclear arms. Continue reading David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

Power close at hand for hard-right populist party as Italy’s snap election draws near

Gwynne Dyer – Sept. 20, 2022

There’s an election in Italy next Sunday, almost exactly 100 years after Benito Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts’ marched on Rome and brought the first fascist dictator to power.

Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right populist politician who is likely to win that election, rejects any comparison with that ugly past. The party she leads, Brothers of Italy, has some nostalgic neo-fascists in its ranks, but she prefers to compare it to Britain’s post-Brexit Conservative Party or the U.S. Republican Party as rebranded by Donald Trump.

She shares her hostility to the European Union with Britain’s Conservatives, her hatred of immigrants, gays and Muslims with the U.S. Republicans and her truculent nationalism with both those parties. She is also militantly Christian and she dabbles in Great Replacement paranoia. And just like them, she wages a non-stop culture war. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

On the Brink of Autumn: Quote of the Season

 

Joe Biden, 09/15/2022, United We Stand Summit, at the White House:

George Floyd mural, Minneapolis

“Too much hate that’s fueled extremist violence [has] been allowed to fester and grow.

Heather Heyer, spontaneous memorial, Charlottesville

You know, as a result, our very own intelligence agencies — our own intelligence agencies in the United States of America, have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.

I’ve been around a while.I never thought I’d hear that or say that.

Enough.”