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.