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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, December 4th, 2022

2022 Republican electoral losses and Trump legal defeats spur ultra MAGA infighting

In an autumn-long fil­i­buster on FNC shows, ex-House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich pre­dict­ed a red tsuna­mi in the 2022 elec­tion, an ultra MAGA Repub­li­can wave so great it would even sweep away such secure Democ­rats as Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray. “We want that seat,” agreed Fox host Sean Hannity.

What a dif­fer­ence a month makes. With Democ­rats hold­ing onto the Sen­ate and gain­ing gov­er­nor­ships, wit­ness this week’s screed in which “Newt­sie” warns, “Repub­li­cans must learn to quit under­es­ti­mat­ing Joe Biden.”

The hard right has tak­en a hard drub­bing of late. Its elec­tion deniers were denied wins from seats in leg­is­la­tures, to sec­re­tary of state races, to con­tests for the Sen­ate. Joe Kent and Matt Larkin lost House races in our 3rd and 8th Dis­tricts, although Kent is now hit­ting up donors to pay for a recount.

Nor have the right’s claims that Biden is “destroy­ing America’s econ­o­my” been borne out. The econ­o­my added 263,000 jobs last month with unem­ploy­ment hold­ing steady at 3.7 per­cent, infla­tion slow­ing and gas prices com­ing down.

Twit­ter may be tank­ing, with half the major adver­tis­ers bail­ing or hit­ting the pause but­ton since Elon Musk took con­trol, but the over­all econ­o­my is hold­ing together.

When Don­ald Trump has faced finan­cial and legal trou­bles, his strat­e­gy has been summed up in words of lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen: “Delay, delay, delay, delay.”

But jus­tice is catch­ing up with those who threat­en it, and work­ing upwards.

A pair of Oath Keep­ers, Stew­art Rhodes and Kel­ly Meg­gs, stand con­vict­ed of sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy over their role in the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion Trump incited.

For­mer Trump White House Coun­sel Pat Cipol­lone and his deputy tes­ti­fied before a fed­er­al grand jury Friday.

The South Car­oli­na Supreme Court has ordered ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows to appear before an Atlanta grand jury prob­ing Don­ald Trump’s attempt to over­turn results of the 2020 elec­tion in Georgia.

“We have reviewed the argu­ments raised by (Mead­ows) and find them man­i­fest­ly with­out mer­it,” the jus­tices ruled.

The income tax records that Trump has long con­cealed are head­ed to the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee – and, hope­ful­ly, pub­lic dis­clo­sure — after the right-dom­i­nat­ed Supreme Court refused Trump’s appeals to keep them hidden.

The U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Cir­cuit has removed the spe­cial mas­ter review­ing doc­u­ments seized by the FBI in August from Mar-a-Lago. Its rul­ing clears the way for a Jus­tice Depart­ment crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion of whether Trump ille­gal­ly too nation­al secu­ri­ty records when he left the White House.

Regres­sive forces have tak­en to feud­ing with each oth­er. Extreme right  wing pun­dits, the likes of Tuck­er Carl­son and Lau­ra Ingra­ham, are cry­ing for the head of Sen­ate Repub­li­can Leader Mitch McConnell. They won’t get it. House Repub­li­can Leader Kevin McCarthy is lick­ing the jack boots of Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene & Co. in a des­per­ate effort to secure the Speaker’s chair.

The Trump 2024 cam­paign is going to extremes. Wit­ness not only the Trump-host­ed din­ner with anti-Semi­tes Kanye West and white suprema­cist Nic Fuentes, but his fundrais­ing let­ter for the Patri­ot Free­dom Project, rais­ing resources for fam­i­lies of those who assault­ed the U.S. Capi­tol. The coun­try “is going com­mu­nist,” Trump warns. “Peo­ple have been treat­ed uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly, in my opin­ion, and very very unfair­ly, and we’re going to get to the bot­tom of it.”

The extrem­ists of the House, to whom McCarthy is pan­der­ing, want to inves­ti­gate the inves­ti­ga­tors of the Jan­u­ary 6 com­mit­tee as well as Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci, the FBI, and the Biden fam­i­ly. Screech­ing Repub­li­can Jim Jor­dan will chair the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Schiff will be boot­ed off the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee which he now chairs while Tay­lor Greene, who har­bors Q‑Anon fan­tasies, will have her com­mit­tee assign­ments restored and upgraded.

It’s a vast over­reach. The Amer­i­can peo­ple have a his­to­ry of react­ing to excess, reject­ing dem­a­gogues and putting down those who would impose their ide­o­log­i­cal, racial or reli­gious agen­da on the coun­try. Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries fly for a while – wit­ness Joe McCarthy at the zenith of the 1950s Red Scare – but run up against a bul­wark of lev­el-head­ed prin­ci­pled people.

The ultra MAGA move­ment remains very dan­ger­ous, not only in pur­suit of pow­er but in the vio­lence that the fringe of the fringe has spawned.

The killers at a super­mar­ket in Buf­fa­lo, a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh, a church in Charleston, a Wal­Mart in El Paso and an LGBTQ night­club in Col­orado Springs have been nur­tured by con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and Inter­net hate.

But the push­back is not auto­mat­ic. The assump­tion of too many pro­gres­sives has been that the job is done when the elec­tion is won.

Not so when right-wing mon­ey and media can mobi­lize the extrem­ist ele­ments in Amer­i­can soci­ety. The Tea Par­ty move­ment of the Oba­ma years is exhib­it A.

Or look at the behav­ior of Repub­li­can lead­ers after the Kanye West-Nick Fuentes repast. Some­thing had to be said, par­tic­u­lar­ly after the duo went on Alex Jones’ pro­gram Infowars, and the rap­per (going by the name of Ye) declared: “Hitler has a lot of redeem­ing qual­i­ties” and added: “We got to stop diss­ing Nazis all the time.”

Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and RNC Chair Ron­na McDaniel all declared that anti-Semi­tism and big­otry have no place in the Repub­li­can Party.

Note, how­ev­er, that they did not men­tion let alone denounce Trump.

They fear his lock on the par­ty base. They remem­ber his debate advice to the Proud Boys: “Stand back and stand by.”

Absent are the likes of Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mar­garet Chase Smith of Maine, who deliv­ered a dec­la­ra­tion of con­science against Joe McCarthy on the Sen­ate floor, or Sen­ate Repub­li­can Leader Hugh Scott, repulsed by Nixon’s White House tapes. Repub­li­can lead­ers in Con­gress went to the White House and told the 37th pres­i­dent it was time to go or get thrown out.

The Democ­rats have shown “array” in pain­less­ly pick­ing a new House lead­er­ship to counter the fum­bling, gut­less McCarthy and the extrem­ists he will enable. Two of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic attor­neys gen­er­al who sued Trump, Josh Shapiro in Penn­syl­va­nia and Mau­ra Healey in Mass­a­chu­setts, have just been elect­ed gov­er­nors of their states. Once-con­ser­v­a­tive Ari­zona will soon have a Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor, sec­re­tary of state, attor­ney gen­er­al and two U.S. Senators.

The essen­tial resis­tance, how­ev­er, comes from the net­roots and boots on the ground. The cit­i­zen reac­tion to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs deci­sion, which over­turned Roe vs. Wade, is an ear­ly mod­el. Who could have envi­sioned Kansas and Ken­tucky vot­ing for abor­tion rights? Or the vast vol­un­teer effort, cen­tered with Black and young vot­ers, that has giv­en Geor­gia two Demo­c­ra­t­ic senators.

Or the move­ments that per­suad­ed vot­ers to give Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton the strongest gun safe­ty laws in the country.

A famous entry from the James McHen­ry Jour­nal, dat­ed Sep­tem­ber 18th, 1787: “A lady asked Dr. (Ben­jamin) Franklin, ‘Well, doc­tor, what have we got, a repub­lic or a monar­chy? A repub­lic, replied the doc­tor – ‘if you can keep it.’”

A repub­lic requires per­ma­nent defenders.

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