The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Still Living Rent-Free in Their Heads

Posted on | November 11, 2023 | Comments Off on Still Living Rent-Free in Their Heads

Just scrolling around and saw this headline:

A lot of Americans embrace
Trump’s authoritarianism

What is this? “Authoritarianism”? Words have meanings, but to liberals in the throes of Trump Derangement Syndrome, definitions are distorted to such an extent that words like “authoritarianism” and “fascism” get tossed around haphazardly, reflecting the emotional trauma of people who still haven’t recovered from that night in November 2016 when the unthinkable happened: Hillary Clinton lost the election!

Does the name Kevin Allred ring a bell? Not long after Hillary lost the election, NYPD had to take Allred to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after he went on a bizarre Twitter rant.


At the time, Allred was employed as an adjunct lecturer at Rutgers University. A few months later, in August 2017, Allred was teaching at Montclair State University, when he got fired for a Twitter rant suggesting that Trump should be assassinated.

The problem with people like this — I mean, other than the fact that they’re crazy — is that they take politics too seriously.

For some people, politics is a sort of religion, and the defeat of their favorite candidate is an unbearable blow to their sense of identity. They actually believe all the overblown rhetoric of political campaigns, so that when you tell someone like Kevin Allred that the Republican candidate is “literally Hitler,” they behave as if this were really true.

During the recent election campaign in Virginia, the local TV airwaves were saturated with ads accusing Republicans — “MAGA extremists”! — of conspiring to deprive women of their rights. As I watched these commercials, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Does anyone really believe this stuff?” But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter whether the well-informed citizen is deceived by such rhetoric. It’s not aimed at us. Instead, such wild-eyed claims are intended (a) to alarm the party’s “base,” thus motivating them to turn out to vote, and (b) to persuade just enough clueless dimwits to make a marginal difference in close races. If a state Senate race is a 50-50 tossup, and a scary TV ad convinces 5% of women to vote Democrat instead of Republican (or ote Democrat when they might otherwise have not bothered to vote), this could prove decisive. And this is as good an explanation as any of happened in Virginia.

What happens, however, when the candidate demonized as a dangerous extremist actually wins the election? Such is the story of the past seven years, when many hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters believed their party’s campaign rhetoric: “TRUMP IS HITLER! DEMOCRACY IS IMPERILED! RUSSIAN COLLUSION! JOIN THE ‘RESISTANCE’!”

Well, some Trump supporters are now in federal prison because they got a little overwrought about the 2020 election. How many anti-Trump protesters got thrown in federal prison? Can you name even one? Explain to me again, please, how it is that Republicans are the party of “authoritianism,” when it’s Democrats who are sending their political opponents to prison. But here’s how Philip Bump begins his column in The Washington Post:

With every hour that passes, Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination grows tighter. Every day in which his opponents aren’t gaining ground on his position is a day in which he gets nearer to appearing on the ballot next November and nearer to possibly being inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2025.
To many observers, there’s an incongruity to this. After all, recent days have also brought new awareness of Trump’s plans should he be inaugurated on that day, plans that are often unvarnished embraces of an authoritarian use of power. Trump plans to root out disloyal bureaucrats and install ideologically sympathetic ones. He’s speaking openly of using the Justice Department to target his opponents, including to hobble possible political opponents. . . .

Does this man have any self-awareness at all? Is he inside some kind of cocoon that insulates him from any information about, e.g., everything the Justice Department (and the FBI in particular) has done since 2016?

But this kind of bizarre counterfactual rhetoric is everywhere now, e.g., Noah Berlatsky warning of “The Christofascism of Mike Johnson,” at a time when violent Hamas supporters are endangering Jews everywhere.

What part of “calm the fuck down” do I need to explain here? These campus Hamas mobs are the crazy tip of a vast iceberg of people who have lost their minds because they’re tuned into too closely to the 24/7 Political Noise Machine that is our national media establishment. Somebody needs to tell these people: “Put down your phones! Stop reading the messages on your social media! And for God’s sake, don’t watch cable news! You obviously can’t deal with it!”

Who’s threatening Jews on campus at MIT? (Hint: Not Trump voters.) Anyone in the media promoting the message that the great danger to America is Republicans — “MAGA extremists” like Mike Johnson and his “Christofascism” — is being grossly irresponsible. But no responsible person would ever write for the Washington Post, a discredited organization that employs Taylor Lorenz.



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