NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

RNC is proof that Trump sees no distinction between the federal government and himself

White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows has brushed off com­plains the Trump cam­paign is vio­lat­ing the Hatch Act with brazen use of pub­lic trea­sures, like the White House and Bal­ti­more’s Fort McHen­ry, to give a 2020 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion boost to a belea­guered incum­bent.

“Nobody out­side the Belt­way real­ly cares,” said Mead­ows.

Mead­ows might be right, in that the coun­try has wit­nessed three and a half years of brazen flout­ing of polit­i­cal norms, often in vio­la­tion of the law.

As cit­i­zens, how­ev­er, we need face facts: We are being used and the public’s hous­es, mon­u­ments and his­toric places are being exploit­ed.

I care, thanks to a day back in the spring­time of the George H.W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion. I took part in an inter­view with Bar­bara Bush, who referred to her fam­i­ly as the “lat­est ten­ants” at 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue.

Mrs. Bush took us through rooms where his­to­ry was made, occa­sion­al­ly tak­ing a dig at Nan­cy and Mau­reen Rea­gan. We were giv­en a quick look at the Rose Gar­den, as designed by Rachel “Bun­ny” Mel­lon and Jack­ie Kennedy.

The crabap­ple trees were in full bloom, and afford­ed shade on a warm day. The gar­den was ablaze with col­ors, which is the way John F. Kennedy had want­ed it.

The trees are gone, removed as part of Mela­nia Trump’s redo of the Rose Gar­den. The trees have been moved to an “off­site loca­tion” and will be replant­ed lat­er.

The new Rose Gar­den was used Tues­day night when Mela­nia Trump deliv­ered a Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion speech there, before a care­ful­ly picked par­ti­san audi­ence that did not prac­tice phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing.

The White House had already been uti­lized for two 2020 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion events. Trump used the premis­es to par­don an Ari­zona bank rob­ber who has become active in reha­bil­i­ta­tion work. And the incum­bent, whose poli­cies have split apart fam­i­lies, swore in five new Amer­i­can cit­i­zens.

Con­sid­er the brazen­ness of this act. Thou­sands are wait­ing to be sworn in so they can vote in the Novem­ber elec­tion. Trump has famous­ly referred to African nations, El Sal­vador and Haiti as “[exple­tive] coun­tries” and asked why the Unit­ed States can’t wel­come more immi­grants from Nor­way.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, with ambi­tions for 2024, inter­rupt­ed an offi­cial trip to Israel to speak to the Con­ven­tion from the roof of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Sure, the cam­era crews were on the Repub­li­can pay­roll.

But Pom­peo was flown to Israel in a plane bear­ing “Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” insignia, and stayed at the King David at gov­ern­ment expense.

Pom­peo deliv­ered a speech to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion despite a recent direc­tive to employ­ees of his own depart­ment: “Sen­ate-con­firmed polit­i­cal employ­ees may not even attend a polit­i­cal con­ven­tion.”

Mean­while, Fort McHen­ry in Mary­land, of Star Span­gled Ban­ner fame, has been closed to the pub­lic due to the pan­dem­ic.

Nev­er mind the exclu­sion of ordi­nary peo­ple… Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence deliv­ered his accep­tance speech on the premis­es tonight.

Think for a moment. The one hun­dred and four year-old Nation­al Park Ser­vice is the least polit­i­cal of agen­cies. Yet, the pres­ence of Pence sug­gests that the NPS sup­ports his renom­i­na­tion and the 2020 Repub­li­can tick­et.

Trump has twice used Park Ser­vice grounds — the pub­lic’s parks — for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es: a Fourth of July inter­view with FNC at the Lin­coln Memo­r­i­al and his cam­paign-style speech at the Mount Rush­more Nation­al Mon­u­ment.

Under the Hatch Act, and rules set down by the Spe­cial Coun­sel, park employ­ees can­not engage in any “activ­i­ty direct­ed at the suc­cess or fail­ure of a polit­i­cal par­ty, par­ti­san polit­i­cal group, or can­di­date for par­ti­san polit­i­cal office.”

The forty-fifth pres­i­dent has made inquiries about get­ting his vis­age on Mount Rush­more. In the mean­time, the Nation­al Park Ser­vice has gone with­out a Sen­ate-con­firmed direc­tor for the entire­ty of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy.

Trump has vir­tu­al­ly wiped out the lines between gov­ern­ing and cam­paign. Oth­er pres­i­dents observed infor­mal rules. For instance, H.W. Bush banned cam­paign strat­e­gy ses­sions from the West Wing, insist­ing they be held at the res­i­dence.

In Trump’s case, he has held forth, using the Rose Gar­den for a fifty-four-minute July mon­logue denounc­ing Joe Biden and the Democ­rats. He will deliv­er his accep­tance speech on Thurs­day night at 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue.

Trump appears to see no dis­tinc­tion between the gov­ern­ment and his per­son.

The Hatch Act can be ignored: It has no enforce­ment mech­a­nism.

Nobody in high posi­tion has dared raise objec­tion to use of the White House.

The rule in this admin­is­tra­tion: Do what the chief does.

And praise him at every turn.

Trump’s accep­tance speech will be fol­lowed by one more appro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic prop­er­ty and an endur­ing nation­al sym­bol: There will be a fire­works dis­play over the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment, the tallest build­ing in D.C.

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Scandals and ethics violations abound as the 2020 Republican National Convention begins

Don­ald Trump flew to Char­lotte on Mon­day morn­ing to greet Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gates, but found an audi­ence and could not resist pour­ing out his mul­ti­ple griev­ances and untruths for near­ly an hour.

The 2020 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion has become an exer­cise of indulging Trump, and talk­ing to and try­ing to hold onto the Trump base.

Non-loy­al­ists need not watch.

Nev­er – ever – has such chaos, so many scan­dals, and so much mock­ery sur­round­ed a man in the Oval Office at such a moment.

As the con­ven­tion began, twen­ty-sev­en for­mer mem­bers of Con­gress and sev­en­ty nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials from Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tions declared their intent to vote for Joe Biden. The list includ­ed arch-con­ser­v­a­tive for­mer Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors Jeff Flake and Gor­don Humphrey, and ex-Vir­ginia Sen­a­tor John Warn­er.

For­mer RNC Chair Michael Steele, now an MSNBC pun­dit, announced on the air that he’s join­ing anti-Trump Repub­li­can activists of The Lin­coln Project.

News came from Cal­i­for­nia: A judge has ordered Trump to pay $44,000 in legal fees to adult film star and for­mer para­mour Storny Daniels.

As morn­ing turned to mid­day, scan­dal was envelop­ing on-leave Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty Pres­i­dent Jer­ry Fal­well Jr., an ear­ly evan­gel­i­cal sup­port­er of the forty-fifth pres­i­dent. The scan­dal involved a Mia­mi hotel pool boy who came to know Mrs. Fal­well – bib­li­cal­ly. The for­mer pool boy claimed that Fal­well liked to watch from a cor­ner.

The day end­ed with Fal­well, Jr., offer­ing his res­ig­na­tion to Lib­er­ty trustees, and then tak­ing it back. He con­firmed his wife’s affair, denied tak­ing part in it, and claimed the ex-pool boy was a black­mail­er.

It is hard to fath­om what hits Trump on a day to day basis, and the lat­est crony to turn on him or be caught up by jus­tice, or let off the hook.

Steve Ban­non was a dark arts influ­ence on the 2016 Trump cam­paign, as strate­gist in the run for the White House and lat­er “chief strate­gist” for Trump.

He was caught — by U.S. Postal Ser­vice inspec­tors no less — skim­ming hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for per­son­al use out of a pri­vate fund designed to help build a wall on the coun­try’s south­ern bor­der. It is a sim­ple case of fraud.

Owing to his great dis­com­fort with being asso­ci­at­ed with peo­ple whose wrong­do­ing has caught up with them, Trump has had to devel­op a hard­ly-knew-him expla­na­tion for one close ex-sub­or­di­nate after anoth­er.

He claimed to have dis­ap­proved of the pri­vate build-the-wall fund, only to have tele­vi­sion net­works unearth a speech by Don­ald Junior endors­ing the scheme.

The day of the con­ven­tion also saw New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James ask a judge to order Eric Trump to tes­ti­fy, and the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion to turn over infor­ma­tion, as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into whether Trump’s busi­ness improp­er­ly inflat­ed assets. Don Jr. spoke Mon­day night to the con­ven­tion.

Eric Trump is on the bill for Tues­day.

This past week­end, pri­or to the begin­ning of the RNC, niece Mary Trump released hours of secret­ly taped con­ver­sa­tions with the forty-fifth’s president’s old­er sis­ter Maryanne Trump Bar­ry, a retired fed­er­al appel­late court judge. “His [exple­tive] tweet and the lying, oh my God,” said Trump Bar­ry. “I’m talk­ing too freely, but you know. The change of sto­ries. The lack of prepa­ra­tion. The lying.”

Judge Berry has rarely spo­ken of her broth­er, but was scathing on the tape, say­ing: “It’s the phoni­ness of it all. It’s the phoni­ness and this cru­el­ty. Don­ald is cru­el Don­ald is out for Don­ald, peri­od.”

It has been twen­ty-four years since a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Sen­a­tor Bob Dole, asked: “Where’s the out­rage in Amer­i­ca?”

He was react­ing to Clin­ton fundrais­ing, notably then Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore attend­ing a fundrais­er with Bud­dhist monks.

The ques­tion rever­ber­ates to 2020. Oppo­nents of Trump end­less­ly spot­light the head­lines on their Face­book pages. Still, a chunk of the elec­torate – approach­ing forty per­cent – stays loy­al to a ser­i­al liar sur­round­ed by crooks.

Don­ald Trump’s job approval rat­ings have stayed pret­ty steady over the past five months. The base is with him. The Repub­li­can Par­ty has become a Trump cult and, if you look at the speak­ers list, a Trump fam­i­ly enter­prise.

And that is what the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion — real­ly the Trump Nation­al Con­ven­tion — is all about. Hold­ing the base and bestow­ing adu­la­tion on the chief.

With mil­lions unem­ployed, and the coro­n­avirus death total approach­ing 180,000, every­thing is about him. Don­ald Trump is a mas­sive­ly self-absorbed human being.

Each of the past week’s scan­dals would have con­sumed anoth­er pres­i­dent.

But we are, in a sick­en­ing way, see­ing this as busi­ness-as-usu­al.

The pres­i­dent as mob boss, the crimes and ripoffs, the fam­i­ly intrigue, the sub­or­di­nates (like Mike Pom­peo and Bill Barr) ready to do any­thing.

If Joe Biden wins, he’ll be charged with res­cu­ing both Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment and Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from a deep ditch… in the midst of a pan­dem­ic.

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Instructive bad reading, Part IV: Dissecting fascism with the help of “Might is Right”

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing ter­ror­ists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four


In the pre­vi­ous install­ment, we explored how the author of Might Is Right was so anti­se­mit­ic and dis­mis­sive of any­thing con­nect­ed to Judaism, he was unaware that his crit­i­cisms of Chris­tian­i­ty were com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant to many Amer­i­can sects, then and now, because plen­ty of Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tions enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly wor­ship pow­er and hier­ar­chy more than a cru­ci­fied Christ.

It’s not clear if this oth­er, unnamed and more mus­cu­lar strain of Chris­tian­i­ty was ever noticed by Anton LaVey when he cribbed so heav­i­ly from Might Is Right to make it the par­tial basis of The Satan­ic Bible. The mock­ery of Chris­tian­i­ty by name seems to have been attrac­tive enough to him to call it blas­phe­my.

With some mys­ti­cism and his own fla­vor of pre­ten­sion, some­times jok­ing­ly sum­ma­rized as “Ayn Rand with can­dles”, LaVey cre­at­ed the Church of Satan, which can be said to be the well­spring of all mod­ern Satanism.

Overt ref­er­ences to Jew­ish con­spir­a­cies and Negro sav­ages are gone, but he liked the parts about smash­ing your ene­mies instead of lov­ing them and he talks about “reli­gion” with a con­fi­dent uni­ver­sal­ism despite it not being espe­cial­ly rec­og­niz­able to a Recon­struc­tion­ist Jew or Quak­er, let alone a Bud­dhist or Shin­to fol­low­er.

LaVey, for his part, does not seem to have been a per­son for whom anti-racism was ever impor­tant. He cul­ti­vat­ed rela­tion­ships with Neo-Nazi occultists like James Madole whose work grew into strains of con­tem­po­rary ter­ror­ism like the Order of the Nine Angels (O9A), and LaVey raised Boyd Rice to a posi­tion of lead­er­ship with­in the Church of Satan despite, or maybe because of, Boyd Rice’s fond­ness for Mein Kampf and Amer­i­can Nazis.

Again, LaVey was born “Lev­ey”, but he grew up in San Fran­cis­co. His idea of rebel­lion and blas­phe­my had a blind spot for what sort of forces were still most pow­er­ful in the Unit­ed States, reli­gious and oth­er­wise.

Writ­ing in the late 1960s, LaVey mused:

A black mass, today, would con­sist of the blas­phem­ing of such “sacred” top­ics as East­ern mys­ti­cism, psy­chi­a­try, the psy­che­del­ic move­ment, ultra-lib­er­al­ism, etc.

Patri­o­tism would be cham­pi­oned, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, acul­tur­al mil­i­tants would be dei­fied, and the deca­dence of eccle­si­as­ti­cal the­olo­gies might even be giv­en a Satan­ic boost.

In oth­er words, LaVey’s con­cep­tion of rebel­lion was to make the same appeals that Richard Nixon’s cam­paign would suc­cess­ful­ly use to gain the pres­i­den­cy two times. This ori­en­ta­tion of pseu­do-rebel­lion has con­tin­ued into the present day.

The Church of Satan’s present leader, Peter H. Gilmore, pro­vid­ed a for­ward to the 2019 “Author­i­ta­tive Edi­tion” of Might Is Right, and else­where explained the polit­i­cal posi­tion of the Church of Satan was open to all, mean­ing fas­cists, too.

It is up to each mem­ber to apply Satanism and deter­mine what polit­i­cal means will reach his/her ends, and they are each sole­ly respon­si­ble for this deci­sion.

While this is sup­pos­ed­ly apo­lit­i­cal, LaVey had and his church still has a strict “no drug use” pol­i­cy, so it’s not as if they had no lim­its.

But when you say, “We’re okay with fas­cists,” the result is that lots of fas­cists will start to show up in droves any­where they’re tol­er­at­ed, mak­ing their tar­gets uncom­fort­able enough to leave until only fas­cists are left. The per­sis­tent lack of Satanists who are Black in the past half-cen­tu­ry may not be so sur­pris­ing, then.

This idea that “Satanism is rebel­lion and rebel­lion is being will­ing to embrace even fas­cism” ties back in to pro­gres­sive Satanist strains as well.

Although it did­n’t end up using The Satan­ic Bible or Might Is Right as a foun­da­tion­al text, The Satan­ic Tem­ple found­ed in 2013 and made famous by the 2019 doc­u­men­tary Hail Satan?  ties back more direct­ly to Might Is Right by two of its for­ma­tive fig­ures: Shane Bug­bee and Doug Mis­icko.

The film­mak­er Bug­bee did his own reprint of the book with orig­i­nal illus­tra­tions by Mis­icko, then going by the pseu­do­nym Doug Mes­ner.

Mis­icko is most famous now as The Satan­ic Tem­ple spokesper­son Lucien Greaves, and has made the pub­lic ori­en­ta­tion of the orga­ni­za­tion oppos­ing white suprema­cy, as in the August 2017 op-ed for the Wash­ing­ton Post, “I’m a founder of The Satan­ic Tem­ple. Don’t blame Satan for white suprema­cy.”

But as part of their col­lab­o­ra­tion on the 2003 re-print­ing, the two men and Bug­bee’s then-fiance Amy Stocky engaged in a twen­ty-four-hour live-stream talk­ing about their appre­ci­a­tion for Might Is Right’s mes­sage.

They also dis­cussed more recent pol­i­tics, like where they dif­fered on the mer­its of white suprema­cist Tim­o­thy McVeigh’s Okla­homa City Bomb­ing and whether killing chil­dren hurt McVeigh’s cause or they were just “cop kids.”

About three hours and twen­ty-eight min­utes in, Bug­bee lists off how his pre­vi­ous edi­tion includ­ed con­tri­bu­tions by white suprema­cist ter­ror­ist David Lane of The Order, George Eric Hawthorne of the band “Racial Holy War (RaHoWa)”, and LaVey, and how that led to oppo­si­tion from some Satanists against Nazis.

This tran­si­tions into a dis­cus­sion between a caller and Bug­bee about how Social Dar­win­ism was ruined by its asso­ci­a­tion to Nazis, which the caller extends to eugen­ics also, prompt­ing Mis­icko to chime in.

“Threw the baby out with the bath­wa­ter, so to speak,” Mis­icko says. “It’s just like, ‘anti­se­mit­ic’ to me isn’t a bad word. It just depends. Like, I think it’s okay to hate Jews if you hate them because they’re Jew­ish and they wear a stu­pid [exple­tive] fris­bee on their head and walk around think­ing they’re God’s cho­sen peo­ple.”

Mis­icko clar­i­fies that it’s not okay to hate non-prac­tic­ing Jews, how­ev­er, lead­ing to Bug­bee and Stocky to dis­agree while mak­ing increas­ing­ly aggres­sive claims about not lik­ing any­one with a drop of Jew­ish blood as well as argu­ing about who actu­al­ly died in the Holo­caust.

When asked if he’s Jew­ish him­self, Mis­ick­o’s retort is, “I’m an Aryan king!”

As late as 2015, Mis­icko was using free­dom of speech to jus­ti­fy pub­licly step­ping away from a speak­ing pan­el in sol­i­dar­i­ty with the neo-Nazi August Sol Invic­tus, and in Jan­u­ary 2017, Mis­icko over­rode a local chap­ter in Cal­i­for­nia to tell the right wing media hate site Bre­it­bart that The Satan­ic Tem­ple opposed counter-protest­ing Milo Yiannopoulus, at least pri­or to Yiannopoulus’s pro-child rape com­ments com­ing out a month lat­er.

This is not to say that Mis­icko is him­self a fas­cist or The Satan­ic Tem­ple is a cryp­to-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion, any more than The Church of Satan was.

Bug­bee left The Satan­ic Tem­ple ear­ly on and the oth­er founder and co-own­er is Cevin Sol­ing, or “Mal­colm Jar­ry”, a self-described “sec­u­lar Jew.”

And yet, hear­ing some­one is opposed to reli­gious tyran­ny sounds a bit dif­fer­ent when they’ve admit­ted they includ­ed peo­ple who wear yarmulkes as being wor­thy of their ire, just as “free speech” ends up being lit­tle more than a euphemism when it’s used to defend white suprema­cists rather than fight non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments or pro­tect union orga­niz­ing.

When, pri­or to found­ing The Satan­ic Tem­ple, Sol­ing went on Rus­sia Today to bemoan how pub­lic schools are more author­i­tar­i­an now and func­tion more like deten­tion cen­ters than edu­ca­tion facil­i­ties, a lot of left-lean­ing peo­ple would agree with that. But when Sol­ing’s expla­na­tion is that schools now have to enforce order on a het­ero­ge­neous pop­u­la­tion rather than a homoge­nous group of stu­dents, your ears ought to perk up a lit­tle.

Often we don’t hear any­thing because white lib­er­als are by some mea­sures more like­ly to jus­ti­fy their sup­port poli­cies result­ing in school seg­re­ga­tion than con­ser­v­a­tives when it involves their own chil­dren.

It is easy to see the racism in black and white pho­tographs of those “gap-toothed racists” in Mis­sis­sip­pi, but it’s much hard­er to rec­og­nize it in our­selves when we’re pay­ing for pri­vate schools, tutors, or mov­ing to school dis­tricts in places that were his­tor­i­cal­ly hos­tile to minori­ties while we vote to keep them that way in the name of “neigh­bor­hood char­ac­ter.”

Whether some­one uses a grotesque­ly racist slur to jus­ti­fy not want­i­ng to send their child to school with Black kids or dress­es it up in the nice pair of shoes of “giv­ing my child the best oppor­tu­ni­ty”, it does­n’t much mat­ter when the result is the same.

It would be nice if there were some uni­fy­ing short­hand for fas­cism and its suc­cubus twin racism, but there isn’t. We must pay close atten­tion.

The book’s ideas are not imme­di­ate­ly iden­ti­fi­able by any sin­gle aes­thet­ic because as much as Satanism is cen­tral to Might Is Right’s his­to­ry per­sist­ing as a spe­cif­ic work, Satanism has no real pow­er in the world.

The preach­er who tells his con­gre­ga­tion to sup­port their “Wolf-King” in the White House is exhibit­ing the same ideas cham­pi­oned by Might Is Right despite the preach­er appeal­ing often to God and label­ing all his ene­mies the tools of Satan.

Again, the best thing that can be said of Might Is Right is that is bad­ly writ­ten. There is no dress­ing up of any­thing, just sheer big­otry shout­ed in the most odi­ous, pre­ten­tious, and art­less way pos­si­ble.

Hav­ing seen the ur-fas­cism of a mediocre late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry white suprema­cist, misog­y­nist, anti­semite and ardent cap­i­tal­ist throw­ing racial epi­thets across sev­er­al hun­dred pages, it becomes much eas­i­er to rec­og­nize when the same argu­ments are being made with more abstract­ness or appar­ent kind­ness.

Might Is Right would argue Ariel Cas­tro — who kid­napped,  sex­u­al­ly assault­ed, and impreg­nat­ed three women for a decade in Cleve­land before one of his vic­tims escaped in 2013 — did noth­ing wrong except be found out, just as the author argued that slavers were right to take their kid­napped women as they would.

Read­ing Might Is Right, you should find it much hard­er to per­form apol­o­gism for the Unit­ed States’ own promi­nent slavers and slave-catch­ers see­ing where that same log­ic springs from and how far it goes.

If you ever attempt to read Might Is Right, its high­est virtue is that it is so unap­peal­ing it makes obvi­ous what sort of soci­ety it’s advo­cat­ing for: the rule of rich white men to do exact­ly as they please and the forcible sub­ju­ga­tion of all oth­er peo­ple in ser­vice to them.

It would be nice if that meant it had no appeal to any­one, but his­to­ry has shown time and again that it does, par­tic­u­lar­ly to young white men.

In that sense, it is dan­ger­ous. How­ev­er, the book is large­ly dan­ger­ous because it’s not received in a vac­u­um; it’s received in the con­text of a world already shaped by its ideas in their sub­tler, qui­eter, politer forms. This is fer­tile ground each time the ideas of hier­ar­chy and con­trol renew them­selves in their true forms with­in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions, neglect­ed sub­cul­tures, and anony­mous Inter­net forums.

A year ago at the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val, eighty miles south of San Fran­cis­co, a nine­teen year old man engaged in a mass shoot­ing, wound­ing sev­en­teen peo­ple, killing three, and result­ing in his own death. One of the last mes­sages he post­ed encour­aged peo­ple to read this awful book while decry­ing the “hordes of mes­ti­zos” and “Sil­i­con Val­ley white twats” that were mov­ing to the area.

We have to under­stand the mes­sage is just as seri­ous when it does­n’t include rude words, when it’s Tuck­er Carl­son decry­ing “diver­si­ty” and “wok­e­ness” to his mil­lions of view­ers while wear­ing a tie.

We have to pay close atten­tion. The real gift of Might Is Right is that it says what it does so bad­ly we have no rea­son to be con­fused by any­one else say­ing it even if they man­age to do it more polite­ly, art­ful­ly, or abstract­ly.​


Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Instructive bad reading, Part III: Dissecting fascism with the help of “Might is Right”

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing ter­ror­ists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four


Might Is Right is will­ing to come right out and say that it does­n’t think all peo­ple count as peo­ple, which resolves the seem­ing con­tra­dic­tions of ide­olo­gies that are more mealy-mouthed about it but ulti­mate­ly feel the same way.

In the pre­vi­ous install­ment, we looked at how that applies to so-called incel or “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” men, who active­ly oppose sex work­ers. It’s not sex they desire so much as they want to remove the sex­u­al agency of women entire­ly.

But an impor­tant con­tra­dic­tion for incels and their cousin fas­cists does remain, even for those as open-eyed as Might Is Right’s author.

Should a believ­er start to think about it too much, the cen­tral para­dox of the fas­cist would then become inescapable:

1) every­thing thought unfair by peo­ple unlike the fas­cist is a result of the immutable nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy of the world, which is good;

yet

2) the fas­cist is moti­vat­ed by a deep intu­ition that the world is unfair to the fas­cist and must be fixed.

In Might Is Right, there is sup­pos­ed­ly no moral­i­ty beyond tak­ing what­ev­er you’re able to take, and still the author can’t help but com­plain some peo­ple have gone about their theft the wrong way, by con­vinc­ing peo­ple instead of forc­ing them.

The prox­i­mate ene­my, then and now, can be many things:

  • lib­er­al Chris­tian­i­ty,
  • com­mu­nism,
  • anar­chism,
  • fem­i­nism,
  • anti-racism — even the bankers in cap­i­tal­ism sup­pos­ed­ly ruin­ing it.

But if you lis­ten to fas­cists long enough, they’ll reveal that the ulti­mate ene­my is the Jews. It is always the Jews.

It’s not obvi­ous why anti­semitism should have this rela­tion­ship to fas­cism. Ital­ian fas­cism was not built on it, though as asso­ci­a­tions with the Ger­man strain became stronger, Mus­solin­i’s fas­cism came to tar­get Jews more explic­it­ly as well.

In R.G. Price’s essay, Under­stand­ing Fas­cism and Anti­semitism, Price writes:

The charges are that Jews pro­mote lib­er­al­ism, equal­i­ty, com­mu­nism, social­ism, sec­u­lar­ism, are anti-patri­ot­ic, greedy, liars, and thieves, who con­trol bank­ing and finance and have cor­rupt­ed cap­i­tal­ism.

Price observes that these are all the things fas­cists oppose, so it might seem to be a nat­ur­al devel­op­ment. But anti­semitism goes back at least to the Greeks of Alexan­der, and even before, accord­ing to the Hebrew Bible’s own sto­ries.

In the sto­ry of Esther, it’s enough that Morde­cai does­n’t bow to Haman and that Morde­cai is of a peo­ple set apart who can be tar­get­ed.

By virtue of being dif­fer­ent in some way, the idea of “the Jew” can be picked out and loaded up with every neg­a­tive attribute as need­ed.

That seems to be why the Unit­ed States’ most notable anti­semite Hen­ry Ford was obsessed with Jew­ish peo­ple. In the 1920s, Ford pop­u­lar­ized the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion as a con­spir­a­cy and pub­lished his 18-month series “The Inter­na­tion­al Jew: The World’s Prob­lem”, which ulti­mate­ly would also influ­ence the Nazis. Ford decid­ed to blame Jew­ish peo­ple for the First World War and for the degen­er­a­cy of his own coun­try. They were the Bol­she­viks as well as bankers.

As Umber­to Eco observes, the util­i­ty of Jews is that the fas­cist can por­tray them as a threat both inside and out­side of soci­ety.

That means any domes­tic or inter­na­tion­al issue can be con­nect­ed as part of a grand plot, a con­spir­a­cy that must be root­ed out at home and fought aggres­sive­ly abroad. Com­mu­nism, in par­tic­u­lar, ful­fills this same role by being inter­na­tion­al and is direct­ly counter to fas­cism by describ­ing his­to­ry as a strug­gle of class­es rather than immutable bio­log­i­cal groups.

New terms like “Social Jus­tice War­riors” (SJWs) or “Post­mod­ern Neo-Marx­ism” will work, too, of course, and if you lis­ten long enough, you’ll hear it’s some­one like George Soros fund­ing all those col­lege pro­test­ers.

Jews are the ene­my not just because they exist but because the ide­olo­gies sup­pos­ed­ly ema­nat­ing from them have the pow­er of turn­ing strength against itself, infect­ing our good white chil­dren. To the fas­cist, every­thing is the way it is sup­posed to be and could be no oth­er way, but it is in con­stant dan­ger of all falling apart, and the rea­son for that is ulti­mate­ly the Jews.

For Might Is Right, this extends even to Chris­tian­i­ty.

I said ear­li­er that Might Is Right does not ever end up say­ing any­thing brave, says noth­ing real­ly sur­pris­ing, and goes along sid­ing with the pow­er­ful at every turn.

There is one excep­tion to this, or at least it would seem so at first.

That appar­ent excep­tion is the author’s hatred of reli­gion, which for the author is indis­tin­guish­able from a hatred of Chris­tian­i­ty.

For the author, Chris­tian­i­ty, too, is indis­tin­guish­able from his hatred of Jews and their con­quest of Roman strength with Jew­ish ideas.

Why it is as child­play to the hys­teric Idol­a­try of to-day — the deifi­ca­tion of a Jew. The ‘Divine Demo­c­rat’ was exe­cut­ed upon a gov­ern­ment gib­bet, because the Rulers of Impe­r­i­al Rome were more pow­er­ful men than he was.

His strength, and that of his fol­low­ers, was not equal to theirs.

He died an abysmal fail­ure — a Redeemer who did not redeem — a Sav­iour who did not save — a Mes­si­ah whipped like a calf — a slave-agi­ta­tor deserved­ly destroyed for preach­ing a False­hood — the mon­strous gospel of Love, Broth­er­hood, Equal­i­ty.

Else­where, the author says:

Both ancient and mod­ern Chris­tian­ism and all that has its root there­in, is the nega­tion of every­thing grand, noble, gen­er­ous, hero­ic, and the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of every­thing fee­ble, atro­cious, dis­hon­or­able, das­tard­ly. The cross is now, and ever has been, an escutcheon of shame. It rep­re­sents a gal­lows, and a Semi­te slave swing­ing there­on.

You don’t real­ly hear this sort of mock­ery of Chris­tian­i­ty in Amer­i­can soci­ety, but note the sort of Chris­tian­i­ty being mocked.

The author of Might Is Right is only both­ered by the ver­sion of Chris­tian­i­ty he views as weak, demo­c­ra­t­ic, over­ly con­cerned with char­i­ty and equi­ty.

He’s not talk­ing about the Chris­tian­i­ty of Mar­tin Luther who encour­aged Ger­man princes to strike down rebel­lious peas­ants or Chris­tians to burn, loot, and mur­der all Jews. This isn’t the Chris­tian­i­ty of John Calvin that ruled Gene­va by bru­tal force and jus­ti­fied suc­cess as being a sign of God that per­son was of the elect.

Cer­tain­ly today, the “Pros­per­i­ty Gospel” that cel­e­brates the rich for the exis­tence of their wealth, the white evan­gel­i­cals who wor­ship pow­er to jus­ti­fy their sup­port of venal men, and the domin­ion­ists such as Wash­ing­ton State’s own Matt Shea would not be mis­tak­en for those who turn the oth­er cheek or fail to ground their claims of author­i­ty in tem­po­ral pow­er as well.

The direct­ly vio­lent white suprema­cist Chris­tian­i­ty Iden­ti­ty move­ment, strongest in rur­al Ida­ho, and the respectable polit­i­cal gov­er­nance of Washin­gon, D.C.‘s The Fam­i­ly on C‑Street, share a sim­i­lar fetishiza­tion pow­er and hier­ar­chy despite pur­su­ing dif­fer­ent means to achieve it.

The lat­ter orga­ni­za­tion, behind the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, actu­al­ly start­ed with busi­ness­men in Seat­tle hor­ri­fied by the West Coast Gen­er­al Strike of 1934.

What they saw they need­ed was “total­i­tar­i­an­ism for Christ.”

More gen­er­al­ly, Pacif­ic North­west jour­nal­ist David Nei­w­ert, a good friend of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, iden­ti­fied in 2003 the rela­tion­ship between fun­da­men­tal­ism and pseu­do-fas­cism as one of George W. Bush’s core con­stituen­cies, and in a revi­sion of the same mate­r­i­al in 2005, Nei­w­ert con­clud­ed:

The con­ser­v­a­tive movement’s straight­for­ward appeal to a dual­ist and apoc­a­lyp­tic mind­set is, in fact, the cor­ner­stone of its dri­ve to cre­ate a one-par­ty state – because nur­tur­ing such a mind­set among the mass­es is absolute­ly essen­tial to estab­lish­ing that kind of total­i­tar­i­an polit­i­cal con­trol.

That fla­vor of Chris­tian­i­ty has nev­er been the only one extant in Amer­i­ca, but per­haps if Might Is Right’s author had been from the U.S., he may have rec­og­nized that his own love of slav­ery paired well with a belief that claimed moral­i­ty came from God while still allow­ing the pow­er­ful to intu­it who God cared most about.

In the final install­ment of this series, which will be pub­lished tomor­row, we’re going to look at the endur­ing influ­ence of Might Is Right and how its direct influ­ence is alive today on spe­cif­ic orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als.


Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Mary Fairhurst honored with Lynn Allen Award at NPI’s Summer Anniversary Picnic

Yes­ter­day evening, at our Sev­en­teenth Anniver­sary Pic­nic, we induct­ed our sev­enth Lynn Allen Award Hon­oree: Retired Supreme Court Jus­tice Mary Fairhurst.

Named for our late sis­ter Lynn Allen, a found­ing board­mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, these awards rec­og­nize peo­ple who have made indis­pens­able con­tri­bu­tions to pro­gres­sive caus­es for a decade or more.

We lost Lynn to ovar­i­an can­cer in 2011, but her spir­it has remained with us. (And so have her pub­lished works, pre­served by NPI at Rebuild­ing Democ­ra­cy.)

Lynn emphat­i­cal­ly believed in the impor­tant work of orga­niz­ing rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and act­ing on issues of con­cern to peo­ple liv­ing far away from our big cities and urban areas. She preached and prac­ticed the pol­i­tics of inclu­sion.

As com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor of the Insti­tute for Washington’s Future, she trav­eled reg­u­lar­ly to Washington’s rur­al coun­ties and small towns, cham­pi­oning sus­tain­able busi­ness and agri­cul­tur­al prac­tices.

A skilled facil­i­ta­tor and gift­ed lis­ten­er, Lynn under­stood the impor­tance of and need for effec­tive activism. Not a day goes by when we don’t miss her.

We estab­lished the Lynn Allen Awards as part of our con­tin­u­ing effort to ensure that Lynn’s good works will be remem­bered and her lega­cy appre­ci­at­ed.

Each year, we hon­or two out­stand­ing indi­vid­u­als with a Lynn Allen Award.

In 2017, we pre­sent­ed the very first Lynn Allen Awards to Joni Earl and Paul Lawrence. In 2018, Major Gen­er­al Paul Eaton (Retired) and Alex Hen­drick­son became our third and fourth hon­orees. In 2019, Estela Orte­ga and Al Gar­man became our fifth and sixth hon­orees. Last night, the leg­endary Jus­tice Mary Fairhurst become the sev­enth Lynn Allen Award recip­i­ent.

State Supreme Justice Mary Fairhurst

Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court Jus­tice Mary Fairhurst lis­tens to oral argu­ment in the McCleary case (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

Mary’s award com­men­da­tion is as fol­lows:

An excep­tion­al and wide­ly respect­ed jurist, Mary Fairhurst served the peo­ple as an Asso­ciate Jus­tice and Chief Jus­tice of the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court for sev­en­teen years after work­ing in the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office in many roles, includ­ing as divi­sion chief. While on the Court, she authored the major­i­ty opin­ion in Gre­go­ry that struck down the death penal­ty in Wash­ing­ton State, as well as the lead­ing dis­sent in the Ander­son case, which sought an affir­ma­tion that laws against mar­riage equal­i­ty were incom­pat­i­ble with the Con­sti­tu­tion. In anoth­er notable case, League of Edu­ca­tion Vot­ers, she helped pro­tect Wash­ing­ton’s cher­ished tra­di­tion of major­i­ty rule in the Leg­is­la­ture. Her work eth­ic and sta­mi­na in the face of repeat­ed can­cer diag­noses demon­strate her pro­fes­sion­al­ism and pas­sion for jus­tice.

This KING5 sto­ry by Drew Mikkelsen goes into more detail about Mary’s bat­tle with can­cer and is worth watch­ing. Mary’s oth­er hon­ors include:

  • Amer­i­can Inns of Court Pro­fes­sion­al­ism Award for the Ninth Cir­cuit
  • Charles A. Gold­mark Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award from the Legal Foun­da­tion of Wash­ing­ton Board of Trustees
  • WSBA Award of Mer­it
  • Stew­ard of Jus­tice Award from then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Chris­tine Gre­goire
  • The Coun­cil for Pub­lic Legal Education’s Flame of Democ­ra­cy Award
  • William Nevins Award for dis­tin­guished ser­vice in pub­lic legal edu­ca­tion

Press play below to watch Mary’s accep­tance speech.

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Mary, and thank you for your tremen­dous ser­vice to the peo­ple of the State of Wash­ing­ton. Your con­tri­bu­tions tru­ly have been indis­pens­able.

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (August 17th-22nd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sat­ur­day, August 22nd, NPI’s sev­en­teenth anniver­sary. (Leg­isla­tive weeks ordi­nar­i­ly end on Fri­days, but the House held a extra­or­di­nary Sat­ur­day ses­sion yes­ter­day.)

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

SHORING UP POSTAL SERVICE: Vot­ing 257 for and 150 against, the House on August 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 8015) that would pro­hib­it the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice (USPS) from reduc­ing ser­vice below lev­els in effect at the start of the year and require it to treat offi­cial elec­tion envelopes as first-class mail in this fal­l’s bal­lot­ing. In addi­tion, the bill would pro­vide $25 bil­lion request­ed by USPS for cop­ing with the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in the bud­get year start­ing on Octo­ber 1st.

Until the pan­dem­ic has run its course, the bill would pro­hib­it the USPS from:

  • Delay­ing deliv­er­ies or increas­ing the vol­ume of unde­liv­ered mail;
  • Clos­ing or con­sol­i­dat­ing any post office or reduc­ing the busi­ness hours;
  • Deny­ing over­time pay to USPS employ­ees;
  • Water­ing down mea­sure­ments of whether ser­vice stan­dards are being achieved;
  • Low­er­ing nation­wide or region­al ser­vice stan­dards.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said the bill is need­ed because “we have a pres­i­dent who does not want every vote count­ed in the upcom­ing elec­tion because he believes if we do count every vote, he will lose. We’re in the mid­dle of a pan­dem­ic. More and more peo­ple will be vot­ing by mail.… The cur­rent post­mas­ter gen­er­al is not inter­est­ed in reform­ing the post office, he’s inter­est­ed in dis­man­tling it.…”

Deb­bie Lesko, R‑Arizona., called the bill “pho­ny polit­i­cal the­ater to once again bash Pres­i­dent Trump just in time for the Sun­day talk shows and the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. And just like all the oth­er times, the media will lap it up. Would­n’t it be nice if we were… vot­ing on a nego­ti­at­ed COVID relief pack­age to help the Amer­i­can peo­ple that could actu­al­ly be signed into law.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 4 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

CRIMINALIZING POSTAL WORKER INTERFERENCE: Vot­ing 182 for and 223 against, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on August 22nd defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion to H.R. 8015 (above) stip­u­lat­ing it is a fed­er­al crime for any postal work­er to tam­per with elec­tion mail. The mea­sure also sought to allo­cate fund­ing in the bill to pri­or­i­tize the deliv­ery of pre­scrip­tion drugs, equip­ping mail per­son­nel with pro­tec­tive gear and pro­cess­ing elec­tion bal­lots.

James Com­er, R‑Kentucky, said: “This upcom­ing elec­tion will put mil­lions, pos­si­bly hun­dreds of mil­lions, of votes in the lit­er­al hands of postal ser­vice work­ers who we must trust to deliv­er bal­lots safe­ly and on time.”

Bren­da Lawrence, D‑Michigan, said vot­ing fraud already is a fed­er­al crime and not­ed that “every postal employ­ee takes an oath that they will adhere to the Con­sti­tu­tion.…”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 5 aye votes, 11 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

Key votes ahead

Con­gress is in recess until late Sep­tem­ber.

Unless Con­gress returns to vote on a coro­n­avirus relief pack­age or oth­er leg­is­la­tion, Last Week In Con­gress will be on hia­tus for about a month.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Instructive bad reading, Part II: Dissecting fascism with the help of “Might is Right”

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing ter­ror­ists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four


In Might Is Right, the author asserts that those who have things deserve them; those with­out deserve noth­ing. In the pre­vi­ous install­ment of this series, I said that Anton LaVey only hint­ed at the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ego­ism and mis­treat­ment of oth­ers in his adap­tion for The Satan­ic Bible; in the orig­i­nal, the explic­it rea­son oth­ers deserve noth­ing is that they are sub­hu­man.

In fact, whole class­es of peo­ple are found fun­da­men­tal­ly want­i­ng; the book is quite trans­par­ent about this. Some are this way from birth such as all women, all Black, East Asian, South Asian, and Jew­ish peo­ple.

Peo­ple can be degrad­ed fur­ther, such as women get­ting divorced, but the taint can claim even Anglo-Sax­on white men if they believe in encour­ag­ing equal­i­ty or empa­thy in pol­i­tics or reli­gion; or they become over­ly learned; or they seek solu­tions on a basis oth­er than naked force.

With the pos­si­ble excep­tion of white teenage boys and their equiv­a­lents of emo­tion­al intel­li­gence, a mod­ern per­son will imme­di­ate­ly notice the absolute dis­dain the author has for any­one who is not a rich, white, non-Jew­ish man.

“Are all men real­ly brethren? — Negro and Indi­an, Black­fel­low, Kalmuck, and Coolie?” asks the author of Might Is Right. This is ulti­mate­ly more hon­est than what we got out of the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence or out of the phi­los­o­phy that is foun­da­tion­al to the Enlight­en­ment but elid­ed now.

In writ­ing, “He who is with­out wealth amidst unlim­it­ed quan­ti­ties of it, is either a cow­ard, a born slave or a lunatic,” the author pro­vides direct jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for set­tler colo­nial­ism as well as con­tem­po­rary cap­i­tal­ism. “If you have seized it and no one can seize it back, it is yours.” The rich cer­tain­ly believe it’s their virtue that jus­ti­fies their hoard, and they finance an unbe­liev­able amount of media to con­vince us to ignore our lying eyes, rot­ting teeth, and depres­sion.

“A woman is two-thirds womb. The oth­er third is a net­work of nerves and sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty,” the author declares else­where.

Con­tem­po­rary “gen­der essen­tial­ism” and oppo­si­tion to the Equal Rights Amend­ment are ful­ly sum­ma­rized with con­ci­sion in those two sen­tences.

In Might Is Right, our author has a clear audi­ence; his “you” only applies to white male read­ers, just as his use of “man” and male pro­nouns are not arti­facts of an old­er gram­mar but mean exact­ly what they say.

The book prob­a­bly is not writ­ten for peo­ple who actu­al­ly are wealthy but cer­tain­ly for peo­ple who imag­ine they one day might be and whose class inter­ests align accord­ing to their future fan­tasies rather than their present cir­cum­stances.

Now, because lib­er­als and left­ists share a deep desire to be cor­rect, because we have a deep need to be intel­lec­tu­al­ly coher­ent often at the expense of more use­ful mate­r­i­al results, we there­fore can be dis­tract­ed into think­ing this is an effec­tive line of attack against con­ser­v­a­tives, Repub­li­cans, and the right.

It is not.

In part this is because they’re valu­ing nat­ur­al instinct and sense; that is, “gut play­ers” in the George W. Bush mold. Or “Let estab­lished sophisms be dethroned, root­ed out, burnt and destroyed, for they are a stand­ing men­ace to all true nobil­i­ty of thought and action,” as the author of Might Is Right says.

“A cult of action for action’s sake,” as Umber­to Eco would diag­nose.

But main­ly it’s because peo­ple with right wing pol­i­tics aren’t real­ly prac­tic­ing any hypocrisy; you can take them at their word once you decode their mean­ing by get­ting away from the euphemisms back to the roots.

Their world­view is whol­ly coher­ent so long as you real­ize only some of us count as peo­ple. The rest are sub­hu­man.

At first glance, this can sound over­ly harsh as if this is an expla­na­tion unfair­ly demo­niz­ing a group of peo­ple you sin­cere­ly dis­agree with on some fun­da­men­tal issues but have oth­er areas of agree­ment, too.

“My con­ser­v­a­tive friend just has a dif­fer­ent view on for­eign pol­i­cy than I do”; “my lib­er­tar­i­an cowork­er has a dif­fer­ent idea on fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty”; “my evan­gel­i­cal neigh­bor has a good heart, we just can’t see eye-to-eye on reli­gious issues.”

And to be clear, not every per­son on the right is a fas­cist.

But when you talk to such peo­ple and probe for the con­tra­dic­tions in their rhetoric, often stem­ming from their use of euphemism, what you’ll find is that at some point, they set aside whole groups of peo­ple as not count­ing ful­ly as peo­ple.

You will be con­fused about why armed, mask­less white men and women scream­ing at cops over hair­cuts was okay, but that peo­ple choked to death on the street, or shot in the head with maim­ing rounds protest­ing peo­ple being choked to death on the street, had it com­ing.

You will find it curi­ous Ruby Ridge and Waco are bywords for gov­ern­ment over­reach among so-called patri­ots but not the assas­si­na­tion of Fred Hamp­ton by Chica­go police and MOVE bomb­ing in Philadel­phia.

It is not hypocrisy; they are just count­ing peo­ple and injuries done to them dif­fer­ent­ly from those they don’t con­sid­er peo­ple.

This is why Patrick Hen­ry, a slaver who traf­ficked chil­dren in chains, felt no shame in say­ing, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be pur­chased at the price of chains and slav­ery?” Those chil­dren did not count as peo­ple.

Hen­ry was aware of them, sup­pos­ed­ly ago­nized over them in pri­vate moments, but they did not count in the equa­tion of lib­er­ty.

They were, how­ev­er, a reminder of what the Found­ing slavers feared the most.

Though not from the Unit­ed States, the author of Might Is Right is obsessed with slav­ery; he blends the poet­ic hyper­bole into the lit­er­al ante­bel­lum expe­ri­ence so often it’s not clear if that dis­tinc­tion actu­al­ly holds any mean­ing for him.

He is obsessed with hier­ar­chy. The world exists to him only in terms of peo­ple who can abuse oth­ers with­out con­se­quences and those who are help­less to stop abuse, so in a very sin­cere way, if you ain’t first, you’re last.

In the video essay, “There’s Always A Big­ger Fish” from Ian Dan­skin’s Alt-Right Play­book series, Dan­skin lands on the core dis­tin­guish­ing issue of the right that makes oth­er­wise cen­trist con­ser­v­a­tives so will­ing to hold their nose and work with fas­cists over even ano­dyne Social Democ­rats.

When you view soci­ety as a pyra­mid, improve­ments for those at the bot­tom is ter­ri­fy­ing because you can only see it hap­pen­ing by anoth­er group — yours —replac­ing them there. As the title of Dan­skin’s essay alludes, their fun­da­men­tal belief is that no improve­ment in inequal­i­ty is pos­si­ble, just a replace­ment of who is the big­ger fish and ben­e­fits more.

“What­ev­er the Marx­ists, the Social­ists, the Black Lives Mat­ter activists, or Democ­rats say when they talk about greater equal­i­ty, they mean they will be mas­ters and you the slave.” This is how peo­ple on the right hear such mes­sages.

It’s the same rea­son why the Unit­ed States was able to work with Fran­co’s Spain and South Kore­a’s Japan­ese col­lab­o­ra­tors after the Sec­ond World War, or push Pinochet to remove Sal­vador Allende from elect­ed office in a coup.

And this why see­ing a Black pres­i­dent deeply fright­ened so many white Amer­i­cans, and why most could sup­port Trump in 2016.

The author of Might Is Right says:

Social­ism, Chris­tian­ism, Democ­ra­tism, Equal­i­ty­ism, are real­ly the whin­ing yelp­ings of base-bred mon­grel-mul­ti­tudes. They howl aloud for State inter­ven­tion — “pro­tec­tion for suf­fer­ing human­i­ty”

Any­thing that mix­es up the, as they see it, inher­ent, nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy of peo­ple is anath­e­ma. For a fas­cist, force is para­mount but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ideas have the poten­tial to upset the nat­ur­al order and must be stamped out.

Note that word “mon­grel”: the most dan­ger­ous chal­lenge is around breed­ing, puri­ty of stock, sanc­ti­ty of blood.

White fragili­ty isn’t just about indi­vid­u­als respond­ing to prob­lems, it’s also the con­cept of white­ness, which in Louisiana at the time Might Is Right was pub­lished, all the way until 1983, defined a per­son as Black if their ances­try was 1/32nd so. Homer Plessy of the famous 1896 Supreme Court seg­re­ga­tion case had only one non-white great-grand­par­ent. Yet this was enough.

The author reduces wom­an­hood to breed­ing poten­tial, and the dan­ger of let­ting a per­son who can become preg­nant choose their own part­ner is that they might choose wrong and give birth to off­spring with bad, non-white genes.

The Nazis picked up their eugen­ics pro­gram from extant ones in the Unit­ed States, par­tic­u­lar­ly Cal­i­for­nia. We forcibly ster­il­ized those who were insti­tu­tion­al­ized and oth­er­wise “unde­sir­able”, which in the Unit­ed States meant tar­get­ing non­white peo­ple who could become preg­nant.

Today, white suprema­cists have a four­teen-word slo­gan based entire­ly around this obses­sion with breed­ing and puri­ty, and for that, those they view as women have a cen­tral role. Usu­al­ly, it’s dressed up in kinder lan­guage of dis­tinct but equal spheres of influ­ence and the like.

Might Is Right does not even attempt such pleas­antries at any moment.

It has such sim­ple views on gen­der that sug­gest the author had few con­ver­sa­tions with women that involved him lis­ten­ing to them. But his writ­ing demon­strates how patri­archy is inex­tri­ca­bly wound around white suprema­cy, even as sub­or­di­nate white women are inte­gral to sup­port­ing white suprema­cy.

For the wel­fare of the breed, and the secu­ri­ty of descent, [women] must be held in thor­ough sub­jec­tion. … Woe unto him, woe unto them, and woe unto our Race, if ever these lov­able crea­tures should break loose from mas­ter­ship, and become the rulers or equals of Man. (But that is impos­si­ble.)

The best fight­ers are the best race-pro­duc­ers. This is the ver­dict of Biol­o­gy and the instinc­tive belief of the whole Fem­i­nine world in gen­er­al.

The author specif­i­cal­ly ref­er­ences French women in 1871 throw­ing them­selves at what he describes clear­ly phys­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or, less cul­tur­al­ly effete spec­i­mens of con­quer­ing Ger­mans. This is indis­tin­guish­able from sim­i­lar rants today by Cana­di­an Neo-Nazi Felix Lace claim­ing that French women in the Sec­ond World War threw them­selves at con­quer­ing Ger­mans.

So the ide­ol­o­gy will simul­ta­ne­ous­ly argue that women are drawn toward the nat­u­ral­ly supe­ri­or traits of strong white men but also the puri­ty of blood is in con­stant­ly in dan­ger from too much race-mix­ing. Ide­olo­gies of “free love” and repro­duc­tive auton­o­my for women endan­ger the future secu­ri­ty of the white race.

This mix­ing up of hier­ar­chy is as much an anx­i­ety in Might Is Right as with Lace.

How­ev­er, more respectable white suprema­cists like Ste­fan Molyneaux or more dis­tant fas­cist-laun­der­ers like Jor­dan Peter­son will make the same argu­ments about “enforced monogamy” so that lib­er­al insti­tu­tions like The New York Times will hear them out.

The basis of the incel (“invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate”) reac­tionary cul­ture and its result­ing ter­ror­is­tic vio­lence is not that these men are upset they can­not have sex.

It’s not even that they’re upset they’re unable to have sex with the women who meet their stan­dard of attrac­tive­ness.

They will in fact go out of their way to sab­o­tage sex work­ers who could pro­vide that for them. They do this because they are not frus­trat­ed by their own lack of sex­u­al grat­i­fi­ca­tion; they’re frus­trat­ed by the self-mas­tery of women.

More than a cen­tu­ry before, Might Is Right expressed the exact same impulse but more pre­ten­tious­ly:

Pros­ti­tu­tion (for hire) is also the direct out­come of unnat­ur­al con­di­tions… If our mod­ern Sodoms were all razed to the ground, how Nature in all her peren­ni­al puri­ty would rejoice exul­tant­ly?

Incels are upset that women are not forced to have sex with them because, for them, that is what the nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy is sup­posed to be. The con­tra­dic­tion between what their ide­ol­o­gy tells them they should expect and what the world actu­al­ly is can only be resolved by vio­lence and destruc­tion, not intro­spec­tion.

In the next install­ment of this series, which will be pub­lished tomor­row, we’ll look at why con­spir­a­cy, specif­i­cal­ly anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy, is the cor­ner­stone of fas­cis­m’s belief sys­tem to avoid that intro­spec­tion.


Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Friday, August 21st, 2020

Instructive bad reading, Part I: Dissecting fascism with the help of “Might is Right”

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing ter­ror­ists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four


… Racism may wear a new dress, buy a new pair of boots, but nei­ther it nor its suc­cubus twin fas­cism is new or can make any­thing new.

— Toni Mor­ri­son, nov­el­ist and schol­ar (1995)

You start out in 1954 by say­ing, “N—–, n—–, n—–.” By 1968 you can’t say “n—–” — that hurts you, back­fires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced bus­ing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re get­ting so abstract. Now, you’re talk­ing about cut­ting tax­es, and all these things you’re talk­ing about are total­ly eco­nom­ic things and a byprod­uct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the bus­ing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N—–, n—–.”

— Lee Atwa­ter, Repub­li­can cam­paign oper­a­tive (1981)

In 2018, the video essay­ist Har­ry Brewis put for­ward the idea that cer­tain works of media are use­ful­ly illu­mi­nat­ing because they are bad art.

That is, because their cre­ators are so art­less, the works insuf­fi­cient­ly seduce and dis­tract from what mes­sage the authors are real­ly say­ing.

Thus a film like The Room, writ­ten, direct­ed by, and star­ring the incom­pe­tent Tom­my Wiseau, is far more use­ful to under­stand­ing how abu­sive men make movies about their failed rela­tion­ships than, say, a gift­ed screen­writer like Char­lie Kauf­man who can hide it much bet­ter.

Sim­i­lar­ly, in 2015, the Bal­ti­more-based video essay­ist Natal­ie Wynn had an insight in the wake of protests about the death of Fred­die Gray in police cus­tody: the sort of vio­lent, vir­u­lent­ly racist state­ments peo­ple were mak­ing anony­mous­ly online in response to the cov­er­age was­n’t sep­a­rate from the rest of their lives.

“I thought that if peo­ple are leav­ing these com­ments, they’re think­ing these thoughts all the time,” she told Vice.

She real­ized they would go on to vote and march and kill accord­ing to those same thoughts. Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist George Will is less impor­tant to under­stand­ing what moti­vates con­ser­v­a­tives than is SSJ4Teen88_Pepe.

The memes, the “jokes”, the irony and exag­ger­a­tions are, in fact, height­ened expres­sions of their ide­ol­o­gy and need to be reck­oned with, not laughed off.

Peo­ple are more than capa­ble of being dead­ly seri­ous about what oth­ers would assume to be absurd, and the ama­teurs may be more awk­ward than the pro­fes­sion­als, but they’re all play­ing the same game.

It’s with that util­i­ty in mind that I rec­om­mend the turn of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry pro­to-fas­cist work Might Is Right by the pseu­do­ny­mous Rag­nar Red­beard.

It is as boor­ish as it is pre­ten­tious; it is as bor­ing as its struc­ture is dif­fi­cult to fol­low. The author hates all art that isn’t Shake­speare, but to call the poet­ry he writes “dog­ger­el” is to heap undue praise on it. It’s also grotesque­ly and unapolo­get­i­cal­ly big­ot­ed in vir­tu­al­ly every way at every turn.

This book’s val­ue comes from its ter­ri­ble­ness in craft as well as sub­stance.

Despite being writ­ten one hun­dred and twen­ty-five years ago, Might Is Right makes plain how old and per­va­sive the roots of fas­cism are in our own coun­try.

In the process, it shows — with­out mean­ing to — why ideas like white suprema­cy, patri­archy, con­ser­v­a­tivism, and cap­i­tal­ism have such intrin­sic har­mo­ny even today.

That’s the thing about dog-whis­tles: just because you can’t hear the fre­quen­cy does­n’t mean they aren’t still just as loud.

Might is Right was pub­lished in 1896 in Chica­go under the orig­i­nal title “Sur­vival of the Fittest: Phi­los­o­phy of Pow­er”. Its author was Arthur Desmond, an Australian/New Zealan­der white suprema­cist who’d been a jour­nal­ist and failed also-ran local politi­cian before being forced to flee both coun­tries.

But “Rag­nar Red­beard” fit the writ­ing itself bet­ter than “Arthur.”

Per­haps not sur­pris­ing­ly for a per­son clear­ly obsessed with wealth, suc­cess, and force, Desmond was poor, had lit­tle suc­cess him­self, and accom­plished noth­ing by force. He’s such a minor fig­ure in his­to­ry, many aspects of his biog­ra­phy includ­ing his death aren’t pinned down. We’re not sure of his birth name because he is of so lit­tle con­se­quence as a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure out­side of this one book.

Yet Desmond was con­vinced his book was some­thing laud­ably spe­cial.

With supreme con­fi­dence he sent a copy to Russ­ian writer Leo Tol­stoy, who appar­ent­ly did read it, includ­ing Desmond’s shots at him.

Tol­stoy men­tioned it in his own book “What Is Art?”, but Tol­stoy says noth­ing com­pli­men­ta­ry. He uses Desmond’s book as an easy exam­ple of what’s fun­da­men­tal­ly wrong with the artists of his own time.

Tol­stoy sum­ma­rizes the book’s mes­sage thus:

Right is not the off­spring of doc­trine but of pow­er. All laws, com­mand­ments, or doc­trines as to not doing to anoth­er what you do not wish done to you, have no inher­ent author­i­ty what­ev­er, but receive it only from the club, the gal­lows, and the sword. A man tru­ly free is under no oblig­a­tion to obey any injunc­tion, human or divine. Obe­di­ence is the sign of the degen­er­ate.

“The author has evi­dent­ly by him­self, inde­pen­dent­ly of Niet­zsche, come to the same con­clu­sions which are pro­fessed by the new artists,” Tol­stoy goes on to con­clude, per­haps unchar­i­ta­bly toward the oth­er artists.

Oth­er­wise, Might Is Right most­ly lan­guished after its ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion, rid­ing on the coat­tails of Niet­zsche as oth­ers described it as the same phi­los­o­phy as Niet­zsche but with an “Amer­i­can expres­sion.” That may just be a euphemistic way to say it enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly hat­ed Jews and non-whites. Its Social Dar­win­ism was pop­u­lar but not excep­tion­al and cer­tain­ly not rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

The book like­ly would have been for­got­ten com­plete­ly if the eth­ni­cal­ly Jew­ish Howard Lev­ey had­n’t picked it up, seen the need to laun­der it of its most odi­ous anti­semitism and slurs, then re-pack­aged sec­tions of it as his own under the name “Anton Szan­dor LaVey” to become the first sec­tion of The Satan­ic Bible.

We’ll return to this, but LaVey res­cued from the dust­bin of his­to­ry a nine­teenth cen­tu­ry book that had essen­tial­ly said “take what you want by what­ev­er force nec­es­sary because you’re an indi­vid­ual and you’re free” — but he excised the explic­it basis on which you base that free­dom to mere­ly imply it.

The ideas remained the same, but LaVey had moved them from lit­er­al­ly using the n‑word into “forced bus­ing” ter­ri­to­ry. After his appro­pri­a­tion of Might Is Right was rec­og­nized in 1987, LaVey con­tin­ued to praise the book pub­licly.

What I saw should not have been in print. It was more than inflam­ma­to­ry. It was sheer blas­phe­my. As I turned the pages, more blas­phe­my met my eyes. Crazy as it was, I found myself charged at the words. Peo­ple just did­n’t write that way.

For­ward to “Might Is Right”, Anton Szan­dor LaVey (Octo­ber 1996)

Between the under­ly­ing ideas and that sort of endorse­ment, it’s no sur­prise that flocks of rugged indi­vid­u­al­ists would want to read for them­selves the same pure work that had inspired their hero. Since it had been long enough to fall out of pro­tect­ed copy­right sta­tus, mul­ti­ple small pub­lish­ers were able to reprint the book and it’s dis­sem­i­nat­ed wide­ly on the Inter­net now.

In com­ment­ing on it, Might Is Right’s boost­ers will often describe the book and its prose as “out­ra­geous”, “rad­i­cal”, or “elec­tri­fy­ing”, but it real­ly is the lazi­est form of reac­tionary pol­i­tics in every way, down to “there are too many divorces these days.” It is a defense of the struc­tures and hier­ar­chies of the sta­tus quo, defend­ing inequal­i­ties as they are because, by exist­ing, they prove they’re the nat­ur­al ones that should exist. It wor­ships vio­lence as not just a legit­i­mate source of author­i­ty but the only source of author­i­ty.

Human rights and wrongs are not deter­mined by Jus­tice, but by Might. Dis­guise it as you may, the naked sword is still king-mak­er and king-break­er, as of yore. All oth­er the­o­ries are lies and — lures.

The sci­ence fic­tion author Robert Hein­lein wrote some­thing sim­i­lar in his 1959 nov­el Star­ship Troop­ers; he put it in the mouth of an author-sur­ro­gate high school teacher and intend­ed it to be tak­en as seri­ous wis­dom.

When adapt­ed for a movie, Dutch-born direc­tor Paul Ver­ho­even, whose for­ma­tive years were under the Nazi occu­pa­tion, decid­ed to uti­lize the same speech but with­in the con­text of a satire of fas­cist pro­pa­gan­da.

Hein­lein’s polit­i­cal writ­ing need­ed no mod­i­fi­ca­tion to work as self-par­o­dy.

This is inter­est­ing because, at the time, review­ers had to won­der whether a name so over-the-top as “Rag­nar Red­beard” with con­tent so obvi­ous­ly absurd was­n’t intend­ed as reduc­tio ad absur­dum.

“We have been a lit­tle puz­zled, it must be con­fessed, to know whether Dr. Red­beard’s work is to be tak­en quite seri­ous­ly,” The Humane Review won­dered in 1900, an exam­ple of Poe’s Law near­ly a cen­tu­ry before the Inter­net. But Desmond was dead­ly seri­ous, and more impor­tant­ly, mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions of angry young men have tak­en him dead­ly seri­ous­ly as they take their inspi­ra­tion from it.

If you’re a lib­er­al who under­stands that the best way to fight bad ideas is to pro­vide greater expo­sure to them, this should be good news, espe­cial­ly giv­en how poor­ly writ­ten and obvi­ous­ly grotesque the work is. Sun­light is the best dis­in­fec­tant, robust debate in the mar­ket­place of ideas, and so on.

A year ago this month, a 19-year-old mass shoot­er attacked the Gilroy Gar­lic Fes­ti­val in Cal­i­for­nia, killing three as well as him­self, and injur­ing 17 more while stream­ing it. As he did, he told his audi­ence to read Might Is Right.

Our pop­u­lar his­to­ry edu­ca­tion, from pub­lic school cur­ricu­lum to enter­tain­ment, is not going to be ful­ly accu­rate on any sub­ject, but fas­cism is a par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult myth for us to han­dle in the Unit­ed States.

His­to­ry class­es are lin­ear and often don’t get much past the Sec­ond World War before it’s time for all the fund­ing-deter­min­ing test­ing to take place. Stu­dents get left with an under­stand­ing of “Amer­i­ca good, Nazis (and Sovi­ets) bad.”

Our com­mon knowl­edge reduces fas­cism to be entire­ly equiv­a­lent to Nazi Ger­many, embod­ied whol­ly and per­son­al­ly in Adolf Hitler. We’ve come to let him rep­re­sent tran­scen­dent, inhu­man evil as com­plete­ly as Euro­pean Chris­tian­i­ty let Jesus Christ do the same for the con­cept of good­ness.

Though intend­ing crit­i­cism, seri­ous peo­ple today still unin­ten­tion­al­ly ele­vate the pro­pa­gan­da of Leni Riefen­stahl’s images and Joseph Goebbels’ rhetoric with the result that we view the Third Reich as more tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced than all oth­er gov­ern­ments of their day, uber-effi­cient in indus­try, and supreme­ly capa­ble in war rather than the cor­rupt, inco­her­ent, and self-sab­o­tag­ing klep­toc­ra­cy it was.

There is a ten­den­cy, for some rea­son, for many to believe that morals and empa­thy are arti­fi­cial con­straints hold­ing humans back from their full, awful poten­tial, and they are drawn to that con­cept as like a for­bid­den spell.

Hitler and the Nazis thus become an almost super­nat­ur­al aber­ra­tion, out­side of and a break from all human his­to­ry before and since. They are meant to be scary but to have noth­ing to do with us beyond being fright­en­ing antag­o­nists.

For that rea­son, to take events con­tem­po­rary to us or take actions of our own ances­tors and com­pare them with Hitler, the Nazis, and fas­cism risks the imme­di­ate response that you’ve engaged in an insult­ing hyper­bole.

The phrase “con­cen­tra­tion camp” has already been swept into one, tiny cor­ner of all his­to­ry and equat­ed with “exter­mi­na­tion camp” at the expense of all sim­i­lar ver­sions, before and after. But the Holo­caust was an end, not the begin­ning, and the Nazis do not stand as the only fas­cists in his­to­ry, or even the first.

Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni took a com­mon sort of Ital­ian orga­ni­za­tion and turned it into some­thing else, giv­ing us the last­ing name for a com­mon kind of polit­i­cal move­ment: Fas­cism.

Many sim­i­lar move­ments exist­ed through­out Europe before and after the Sec­ond World War. When the Nazis rolled their tanks into Aus­tria, they pushed out the Catholic nation­al­ist “Father­land Front” to replace Aus­tro-Fas­cism with their own pan-Ger­man Fas­cism. Roma­nia had the Nation­al Chris­t­ian Par­ty as well as the Iron Guard. Hun­gary and Yugoslavia had their Fas­cist polit­i­cal fronts, but so also did France, Great Britain, and yes, the Unit­ed States.

Umber­to Eco’s 1995 essay “Ur-Fas­cism” famous­ly tries to make a coher­ent bun­dle of all these dis­parate groups, start­ing from his own expe­ri­ence as a boy in Italy dur­ing the war and know­ing noth­ing but Fas­cism.

Eco comes up with four­teen fea­tures that func­tion as some­thing of a clus­ter for genre, like selec­tive pop­ulism and cult of tra­di­tion.

Eco deter­mines:

“Fas­cism became an all-pur­pose term because one can elim­i­nate from a fas­cist regime one or more fea­tures, and it will still be rec­og­niz­able as fas­cist.”

It turns out, one can even elim­i­nate regimes and a pop­u­lar fol­low­ing to find exam­ples of it. In the next install­ment of this series, we’ll exam­ine what fas­cist rea­son­ing (plain­ly stat­ed) looks like, and why under­stand­ing it is cru­cial to rec­og­niz­ing why the so-called hypocrisy Amer­i­can lib­er­als are fond of point­ing out among con­ser­v­a­tives actu­al­ly is entire­ly self-con­sis­tent.


Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Joe Biden dwells among us: He’s not just from the people or for the people, but of the people

America’s past lead­ers have told us that they are from the peo­ple and for the peo­ple. 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden added a dimen­sion in his Thurs­day night accep­tance speech. Biden is of the peo­ple.

He has been in pub­lic office for a very long peri­od of time — since he was thir­ty years old — but still comes across as a per­son who needs to show­er when he gets home from work, or at least iden­ti­fies with those who do.

Fam­i­ly mem­bers still call him by a nick­name giv­en by his father – Joey.

“Joe goes right to the mid­dle,” for­mer Oba­ma cam­paign man­ag­er Jim Messi­na tweet­ed last night. The accep­tance speech was geared to folks described as “deplorables” by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s 2016 nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton, and with under­stand­ing toward those who have fall­en behind and are angry.

“Eas­i­ly the best and most affect­ing speech Biden has ever deliv­ered,” opined pres­i­den­tial his­to­ri­an Michael Bechloss.

If the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion hon­ors the best per­for­mance in a sup­port­ing role, the nod must go to a thir­teen-year-old New Hamp­shire boy named Bray­den Har­ring­ton. Har­ring­ton stut­ters, as the nation learned on Thurs­day night. So did a young Joe Biden grow­ing up in Scran­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia.

Har­ring­ton met Joe Biden on the cam­paign trail, and found that a can­di­date can be a men­tor. “With­out Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be talk­ing to you today,” he said.

“I’m just a reg­u­lar kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more con­fi­dent about some­thing that’s both­ered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.”

Any­body who has cov­ered Biden has such sto­ries to tell. He com­forts those who have endured per­son­al tragedy, bond­ing with his own tragedies. Peo­ple who stut­ter are giv­en Biden’s pri­vate cell phone num­ber, and asked to call him.

The guy can be long wind­ed, although not tonight.

He found five hun­dred peo­ple wait­ing at the Ames, Iowa, library in clos­ing days of the 2008 cau­cus cam­paign. He did not let them go for near­ly two hours, and only then after Jill Biden had gen­tly tugged on her husband’s coat.

Joe Biden greets Maria Cantwell

2020 pres­i­den­tial Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Joe Biden greets Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell at a cam­paign event in Octo­ber 2014 (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

He made lots of friends dur­ing thir­ty-six years in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, some of them the wrong kind. Old Bull seg­re­ga­tion­ists from the Deep South still held sway in the ear­ly 1970s; Delaware was an anti-bus­ing state.

Biden went along a lit­tle too much, seek­ing to get along.

Still, this is the guy who authored the orig­i­nal Vio­lence Against Women Act (VAWA) and was an ear­ly cham­pi­on of gun respon­si­bil­i­ty in the Sen­ate.

Even for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Robert Gates, a stern crit­ic of Biden’s coun­sel on Iraq and Afghanistan, has praised him as one of the nicest peo­ple in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. (Gates served in both the George W. Bush and Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tions.)

Don­ald Trump is very much not of the peo­ple. He has the deep­est streak of per­son­al cru­el­ty ever wit­nessed in the Oval Office. He loves to demean peo­ple when they are down, whether in TV rat­ings or in los­ing an elec­tion.

It’s a turnoff. Polls show that more than six­ty per­cent of Amer­i­cans wish the incum­bent would stop tweet­ing. In sur­vey after sur­vey, the 45th pres­i­dent flunks the ques­tion of whether he is “con­cerned with the prob­lems of peo­ple like me.”

Biden is made of dif­fer­ent stuff.

Wit­ness a pow­er­ful line from the accep­tance speech: “We’re going to do more than praise our essen­tial work­ers… We’re final­ly going to pay them.”

The polit­i­cal right is clear­ly flum­moxed.

Biden is clear­ly not a guy of the extreme left. He’s reg­u­lar, not rad­i­cal.

But he’s cer­tain­ly will­ing to engage with the left.

Joe Biden stud­ies the audi­ence at Net­roots Nation 2014 in Detroit dur­ing his after­noon keynote. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The speech Thurs­day night was force­ful, pow­er­ful and emo­tion­al.

Jill Biden is obvi­ous­ly a biased source, but accu­rate when she told an inter­view­er: “He will make a very com­pe­tent pres­i­dent.”

The can­di­date has also sensed the fact that Amer­i­ca is tired of strife.

The response in Biden’s speech was pitch per­fect:

“This is not a par­ti­san moment. This is an Amer­i­can moment.”

He chal­lenged the nation to be bet­ter “than what divides us.”

The best moments of the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion — cap­stone events, if you will — are like­ly to be embed­ded in Don­ald Trump’s head.

Like that strik­ing line from Sen­a­tor Tam­my Duck­worth of Illi­nois: “We have a cow­ard-in-chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin.”

Or the sight of Bray­den Har­ring­ton, con­quer­ing his stut­ter before an audi­ence of mil­lions. I think a lot of Amer­i­can par­ents were cry­ing.

The bot­tom line: In Biden, we will get a Pres­i­dent who will launch the decade of the com­mon man – and woman. He has an enor­mous amount of repair work to do, but will bring empa­thy and under­stand­ing to the task.

He under­stands that he is a tran­si­tion­al fig­ure in a rest­less Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

The expe­ri­ence of a wid­ow­er rid­ing Amtrak home to Delaware each night, to be with his boys. The belief… in redemp­tion and and prac­tice of his Catholic faith (pic­ture Biden’s smudged fore­head on Ash Wednes­day)… the hap­py sec­ond mar­riage to an edu­ca­tor who taught com­mu­ni­ty col­lege while he was Vice Pres­i­dent… the heavy lifts giv­en to him by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma.

All of this will make for a humane and com­pe­tent pres­i­dent.

There will sure­ly be impa­tience on the left. Biden will not quash ide­o­log­i­cal argu­ments that his plat­form isn’t bold enough, or that he lacks the polit­i­cal will to stand up to Wall Street and Amer­i­ca’s oli­garchs.

Still, our nation’s recov­ery from the chaos of Trump­ism will be helped immea­sur­ably by hav­ing a pres­i­dent who is from, for, and of the peo­ple.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Republican Noise Machine aimlessly flings mud as Democrats rally behind Joe Biden

The morn­ing hosts on Rupert Mur­doch’s FNC had fixed on a minor detail to den­i­grate the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Convention’s vir­tu­al first night, chortling that tele­vi­sion rat­ings were down from four years ago.

It wasn’t quite so. CNN Dig­i­tal had wel­comed near­ly thir­ty-one mil­lion unique vis­i­tors on the first night. The Democ­rats’ open­ing night in 2016 drew an audi­ence of twen­ty-six mil­lion, the Repub­li­cans twen­ty-three mil­lion.

But the rat­ings cel­e­bra­tion had an inter­rup­tion.

Don­ald Trump was live and stick­ing his foot in it. He was ridi­cul­ing Michelle Oba­ma for tap­ing her speech ahead of time, and for under­stat­ing at 150,000 the num­ber of U.S. casu­al­ties from the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Trump was too self-absorbed to real­ize what he was doing, name­ly dri­ving home a cen­tral theme of Obama’s speech. Ego and a total lack of empa­thy are the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of the forty-fifth pres­i­dent.

In Obama’s words: “That’s not just dis­ap­point­ing, it’s down­right infu­ri­at­ing.”

The snip­ing con­tin­ued Tues­day, with Tuck­er Carl­son sneer­ing that Oba­ma had taped her talk at Martha’s Vine­yard. He denounced her speech as a “total lie, a cal­cu­lat­ed lie,” a lie designed to make Amer­i­ca more fear­ful.”

Michelle Oba­ma wants “domin­ion over you,” he charged.

Low ball was fol­lowed by low ball by anoth­er mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Fox host… Sean Han­ni­ty, who sneered that Bernie Sanders has three hous­es.

Don’t these peo­ple have any fresh mate­r­i­al? Can’t they stop Trump from the habit, while look­ing out for num­ber one, of con­stant­ly step­ping in num­ber two?

The right wing mis­in­for­ma­tion machine in Amer­i­ca is for­mi­da­ble.

Usu­al­ly, it is able to coor­di­nate themes across the coun­try, for instance, mov­ing from one city to anoth­er to sug­gest that streets are ruled by thugs.

A blovi­at­ing Rudy Giu­liani was sug­gest­ing Mon­day on FNC that Black Lives Mat­ter should be clas­si­fied by the Attor­ney Gen­er­al as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion.

But these shout­ing guys can’t get their acts straight.

The 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic tick­et has them flum­moxed.

Trump has denounced run­ning mate Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris as the most “far left” mem­ber of the Sen­ate. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee has decried her for being too harsh as a pros­e­cu­tor. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic tick­et is “the most far left” in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, Han­ni­ty declared on Tues­day.

An hour ear­li­er, Tuck­er Carl­son had described Har­ris as a tool of Wall Street.

It’s awful­ly hard to be all of these things.

The far-right media is dri­ving home its theme of urban vio­lence, and I’ve become used to KTTH host Jason Rantz slan­der­ing my city. But they’re run into gen­uine pub­lic out­rage over slash­ing the post office, dis­con­tent borne of vital tasks per­formed by the Postal Ser­vice apart from deliv­er­ing bal­lots.

“Democ­rats should be deeply embar­rassed that their lead­er­ship has embraced con­spir­a­to­r­i­al claims about the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice,” Mol­lie Hem­ing­way, senior edi­tor at The Fed­er­al­ist, tweet­ed Tues­day.

Huh? Amer­i­cans of all ide­o­log­i­cal stripes, not just Democ­rats, began to sus­pect some­thing fishy with delays in mail ser­vice, sus­pi­cions root­ed in appoint­ment of a Repub­li­can megadonor (Louis DeJoy) as the Post­mas­ter Gen­er­al.

The Democ­rats’ tick­et is pre­sent­ing a basic, very big prob­lem for right wing media. The pub­lic is com­fort­able with Joe Biden.

By con­trast, Don­ald Trump has giv­en us more than three years of West Wing and exec­u­tive branch chaos, with the chaos spread­ing over to his cam­paign.

Kamala Har­ris is an immi­grant suc­cess sto­ry. The low­est dwellers in right wing media have tried to besmirch her char­ac­ter. What has Rush Lim­baugh called the tick­et? “Joe and the ‘Ho”. Carl­son has con­demned Har­ris for join­ing the tick­et of a man accused (in a con­stant­ly evolv­ing sto­ry) of unwant­ed touch­ing.

The pro­pa­gan­da machine will get its act togeth­er, even if Trump doesn’t.

As if to remind us of this, one­time George W. Bush polit­i­cal aide and Repub­li­can dirty trick­ster Karl Rove was ubiq­ui­tous Tues­day on Fox.

So were junior press aides to Trump, claim­ing the poten­tial for “mas­sive fraud” in mail in vot­ing, offer­ing no sup­port­ing evi­dence.

Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham is all over the place, show­ing that long­time friend­ship with Joe Biden means noth­ing when you are Trump’s strum­pet.

Dinesh D’Souza, the pun­dit who ped­dled he’s real­ly from Kenya non­sense against Barack Oba­ma, sneered at Michelle Oba­ma, writ­ing: “With its vac­u­ous plat­i­tudes and emp­ty mor­al­iz­ing, Michelle Obama’s speech was per­fect­ly designed to appeal to shal­low peo­ple for whom the dis­play of virtue sub­sti­tutes for virtue itself.”

No won­der he had the nick­name “Dis­tort D’Newsa” at Dart­mouth.

Lis­ten­ers loved the Michelle Oba­ma speech. Her auto­bi­og­ra­phy, Becom­ing, has set­tled on the most-read list for more than a year.

She is nobody for a snot­ty extrem­ist to mess with.

The over­all impres­sion, look­ing at reac­tion since Har­ris was named: Right wing media is seri­ous­ly out of touch with the coun­try.

All the shout­ing is direct­ed at a core group of those Lim­baugh refers to as “dit­to­heads” — a dull, sus­pi­cious, defi­ant­ly uni­formed minor­i­ty.

Fear can be used to arouse such folk, wit­ness the non­stop images (some pho­to­shopped) of Seat­tle, Port­land, New York and Bal­ti­more.

But the coun­try has pro­gressed in its views on racial jus­tice, and Trump seems tone deaf with his appeal to “sub­ur­ban house­wives.”

Still: it’s a dirty game, but some­body has to play it.

If they know what’s good for them, nev­er again will Democ­rats fall into the trap of think­ing or say­ing: “The Amer­i­can peo­ple will nev­er believe false­hoods being thrown at our can­di­date. They are too intel­li­gent for that.”

The pres­ence of Karl Rove on Fox should serve as a warn­ing.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

States launch lawsuits against Trump/DeJoy as USPS says it’s pausing “service changes”

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of states are head­ing to court to seek injunc­tive relief to pro­tect the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice just as ris­ing nation­al fury against the Trump regime’s efforts to destroy the USPS from with­in appears to have prompt­ed Post­mas­ter Gen­er­al and Don­ald Trump crony Louis DeJoy to pull back from the cam­paign of sab­o­tage that was already under­way.

Locked mailboxes in Burbank

Locked mail­box­es in Bur­bank (Pho­to: Rex Chap­man)

Attor­neys Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son of Wash­ing­ton and Josh Shapiro of Penn­syl­va­nia held a news con­fer­ence via tele­phone this morn­ing to announce they’re fil­ing a set of law­suits against Don­ald Trump, Louis DeJoy, and the Postal Ser­vice to pro­tect vote at home and the integri­ty of the nation’s mail sys­tem.

Thir­teen states will be join­ing Wash­ing­ton’s suit, which is being filed now.

The venue for the State of Wash­ing­ton’s action is the East­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son said.

The fil­ing is “immi­nent” and expect­ed with­in the next two hours or so. The case being brought con­cerns *all* of the recent ser­vice changes, we under­stand.

Wis­con­sin, Neva­da, Min­neso­ta, and Michi­gan are among the states join­ing the action. Two sep­a­rate law­suits being filed — Wash­ing­ton’s and Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s. How­ev­er, the two actions are being coor­di­nat­ed as part of a joint strat­e­gy.

Shapiro thinks there may be around twen­ty states in Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s action. States still have around twen­ty-four hours or so to sign on. Cal­i­for­nia, Delaware, Mass­a­chu­setts, and Maine will def­i­nite­ly be part of the Penn­syl­va­nia action.

As the AGs were unveil­ing their law­suits, the Postal Ser­vice pub­licly announced that it will be paus­ing the “ser­vice changes” (mean­ing, sab­o­tage) that Louis DeJoy and his under­lings had pre­vi­ous­ly ordered, at least for the time being.

“I came to the Postal Ser­vice to make changes to secure the suc­cess of this orga­ni­za­tion and its long-term sus­tain­abil­i­ty,” DeJoy said in a state­ment.

“I believe sig­nif­i­cant reforms are essen­tial to that objec­tive, and work toward those reforms will com­mence after the elec­tion.”

“In the mean­time, there are some long­stand­ing oper­a­tional ini­tia­tives — efforts that pre­date my arrival at the Postal Ser­vice — that have been raised as areas of con­cern as the nation pre­pares to hold an elec­tion in the midst of a dev­as­tat­ing pan­dem­ic. To avoid even the appear­ance of any impact on elec­tion mail, I am sus­pend­ing these ini­tia­tives until after the elec­tion is con­clud­ed.”

“I want to assure all Amer­i­cans of the fol­low­ing: Retail hours at Post Offices will not change. Mail pro­cess­ing equip­ment and blue col­lec­tion box­es will remain where they are. No mail pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties will be closed. And we reassert that over­time has, and will con­tin­ue to be, approved as need­ed.”

“In addi­tion, effec­tive Octo­ber 1st, we will engage stand­by resources in all areas of our oper­a­tions, includ­ing trans­porta­tion, to sat­is­fy any unfore­seen demand.”

Dismantled mail sorting machines in a parking lot

Dis­man­tled mail sort­ing machines in a park­ing lot, filmed by WOOD TV, a tele­vi­sion sta­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan

“The #Savethe­P­ostOf­fice fight is mak­ing a huge impact,” tweet­ed the Amer­i­can Postal Work­ers Union in response to DeJoy’s announce­ment. “We wel­come the sus­pen­sion of USPS ser­vice cuts that delay the mail. But our fight to fix the dam­age to the Post Office is far from done and the USPS urgent­ly needs $25 bil­lion COVID aid from Con­gress to ensure top ser­vice in Novem­ber and beyond.”​

Polling shows that the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice is a beloved insti­tu­tion that huge majori­ties of vot­ers want to pro­tect from sab­o­tage and destruc­tion.

In response to ques­tions from reporters gath­ered on their con­fer­ence call, Fer­gu­son and Shapiro said that announce­ment will have no bear­ing on their law­suits and that they will pro­ceed ahead at full speed. Nev­er­the­less, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­neys Gen­er­al Asso­ci­a­tion took a vic­to­ry lap, with co-chairs Mau­ra Healey (of Mass­a­chu­setts) and Ellen Rosen­blum (of Ore­gon) declar­ing:

“We put Trump and his hand-picked Post­mas­ter Gen­er­al on notice, and it worked. It’s no coin­ci­dence that DeJoy backed down just as Demo­c­ra­t­ic AGs announced law­suits. When Dem AGs team up, the Admin­is­tra­tion pays atten­tion.”

“But we won’t believe it until we see it. With­out con­crete action by DeJoy to undo the dam­age already done and pre­vent future prob­lems, we are mov­ing for­ward to hold the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion account­able.”

“And here’s our mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple: Use your vote. Vote ear­ly; whether in per­son or by mail. How­ev­er you choose to vote, Demo­c­ra­t­ic state attor­neys gen­er­al are stand­ing up to make sure every sin­gle vote is count­ed.”

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be return­ing ear­ly from its planned August recess to address the dam­age being caused to the Postal Ser­vice by DeJoy’s direc­tives, Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi announced on the eve of the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion. A vote is planned on leg­is­la­tion that would force DeJoy’s regime to stop its cam­paign of destruc­tion at the Postal Ser­vice.

DeJoy has agreed to appear before an emer­gency meet­ing of the House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Reform next Mon­day, August 24th. The com­mit­tee’s mem­bers include ris­ing stars Katie Porter and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, who are sure to give DeJoy the fierce grilling that he deserves.

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Prami­la Jaya­pal and Den­ny Heck appeared yes­ter­day with NPI’s Gael Tar­leton at a press con­fer­ence in Seat­tle to denounce the dis­man­tling of the Postal Ser­vice and call for pro­tec­tive mea­sures to be pur­sued to ensure the integri­ty of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, like adding more drop box­es and push­ing back the date when the elec­tion would nor­mal­ly be cer­ti­fied.

Monday, August 17th, 2020

Stalwart Republicans urge U.S. to abandon Trump and unify behind Biden at 2020 DNC

For­mer Repub­li­can office­hold­ers, from Wash­ing­ton to Wash­ing­ton, are improb­a­bly join­ing front ranks of the oppo­si­tion to Repub­li­can incum­bent Don­ald Trump.

With for­mer Ohio Gov­er­nor John Kasich in the lead, they were dis­played Mon­day night at the decen­tral­ized 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion.

“Sol­id Kasich job – Amaz­ing times,” tweet­ed Mike Mur­phy, the for­mer John McCain strate­gist. “GOP gov­er­nor of Ohio bat­ting hard for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date.”

As long ago as the spring of 2019, two Repub­li­can lumi­nar­ies in this Wash­ing­ton – for­mer three-term Gov­er­nor Dan Evans and ex‑U.S. Sen­a­tor Slade Gor­ton – said they would not be sup­port­ing Trump’s 2020 reelec­tion effort. Both were Kasich sup­port­ers when the Ohio gov­er­nor ran for pres­i­dent in 2016.

The errat­ic behav­ior of Trump, Trump’s vengeance, and loss of America’s posi­tion in the world seem seem to have moti­vat­ed the Repub­li­cans’ blue-bloods. What influ­ence they can still exer­cise in the par­ty of Lin­coln is high­ly ques­tion­able.

The par­ty of Lin­coln has become the par­ty of Trump. The nar­cis­sis­tic tele­vi­sion per­former spoke the truth in 2016 when he said: “I could stand in the mid­dle of Fifth Avenue and shoot some­body and wouldn’t lose any vot­ers, okay?

“It’s, like, incred­i­ble,” Trump added.

No dis­sent is per­mit­ted in the par­ty of Trump.

Con­ser­v­a­tive Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake of Ari­zona was hound­ed into retire­ment after dar­ing to dis­sent from the boss. Ex-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jeff Ses­sions was nev­er for­giv­en for appoint­ing a spe­cial coun­sel in the Rus­sia probe, and was doomed by Trump when he tried to win his old Sen­ate seat back.

Trump has con­tin­ued to denounce Sen­a­tor John McCain after the wide­ly respect­ed sen­a­tor died. He has belit­tled Sen­a­tor and for­mer pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney, and called Sen. Ben Sasse, R‑Nebraska, a “RINO” (Repub­li­can in Name Only” after Sasse ques­tioned the pres­i­den­tial order sus­pend­ing the pay­roll tax.

Hence, it took con­sid­er­able courage for Kasich to declare: “I’m a life­long Repub­li­can but that attach­ment takes sec­ond place to my respon­si­bil­i­ty to my coun­try.”

Kasich has been a state leg­is­la­tor, chair of the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee, Gov­er­nor of Ohio and can­di­date for Pres­i­dent. As House Bud­get Chair in the 1990s, he pro­vid­ed impor­tant sup­port for removal of two salmon-killing dams on the Elwha Riv­er, tak­ing a look at the Olympic stream and say­ing this was a con­ser­va­tion project that con­ser­v­a­tives could sup­port.”

Defec­tors have not influ­enced recent pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

Sen­a­tor Joe Lieber­man, D‑Connecticut, Al Gore’s 2000 run­ning mate, lined up behind McCain in 2008 and cam­paigned for even McCain in Seat­tle.

Though the Bush del­e­gates loved him, nobody else paid much atten­tion when Sen­a­tor Zell Miller, D‑Georgia, spoke for George W. in 2004.

For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Collin Pow­ell may be the excep­tion, with an Oba­ma endorse­ment and this year’s state­ment that he will vote for Joe Biden.

But the list of Repub­li­can blue bloods going “red” is impres­sive and includes peo­ple with vast expe­ri­ence in gov­ern­ing.

For­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush did not endorse in 2016, and friends say he will not vote for Trump. Sen­a­tor Rom­ney wrote in the name of wife Ann in 2016, and has said he won’t vote for Trump this year.

Ex-New Jer­sey Gov­er­nor Chris­tine Todd Whit­man also spoke to Democ­rats on Mon­day night. So did Quibi CEO Meg Whit­man, who spent “$140 mil­lion as Repub­li­can can­di­date for Gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, run­ning against Jer­ry Brown.

Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki, R‑Alaska, said in June: “I am strug­gling with it [a Trump vote]. I have strug­gled with it for a long time.”

Ex-South Car­oli­na Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark San­ford, defeat­ed in a pri­ma­ry after a nasty Trump tweet, will not vote for Repub­li­can incum­bent.

One group of dis­si­dents has repeat­ed­ly raised Trump’s ire.

The Lin­coln Project, a ven­ture formed by sev­er­al savvy Repub­li­can strate­gists, has run scorched earth TV spots. The TV ads have also gone after such Repub­li­can sen­a­tors as Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gard­ner of Col­orado.

Trump blew up at a spot that mir­rored the famous 1984 “Morn­ing in Amer­i­ca” spot by the Rea­gan cam­paign, only sug­gest­ing that Amer­i­ca has become “weak­er, and sick­er, and poor­er” under his regime.

Trump wrote that the Lin­coln Project was “a dis­grace to hon­est Abe,” called  cam­paign strate­gist Rick Wil­son “crazed,” and abused George Con­way, spouse of pres­i­den­tial coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way. “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to her deranged los­er of a hus­band, but it must have been real­ly bad.”

Few Amer­i­can vot­ers are unde­cid­ed this year, but those who are live main­ly in the sub­urbs. The defect­ing Repub­li­cans are aim­ing to secure con­verts in just the right places, main­ly in the upper Mid­west.

Hav­ing burned bridges, they are also hav­ing fun at their job.

Of course, there is prin­ci­ple involved. Said Kasich: “We are being tak­en down the wrong road by a pres­i­dent who has pit­ted one of us against the oth­er.”

In a gal­va­niz­ing 1940 con­ven­tion speech, as Europe was falling to the Nazis, Eleanor Roo­sevelt stead­ied a balky con­ven­tion by urg­ing Democ­rats to respect the judg­ment of her hus­band, pro­claim­ing: “These are no ordi­nary times.”

The Kasich mes­sage on Mon­day night: “These are not nor­mal times.”

Monday, August 17th, 2020

2020 DNC Day One: Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders kick off fully distributed convention

Every four years, for almost two cen­turies, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of the Unit­ed States has gath­ered in one of the coun­try’s major cities to nom­i­nate can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent. It’s an event that brings togeth­er tens of thou­sands of del­e­gates, jour­nal­ists, and office­hold­ers from around the world.

This year, for the first time in his­to­ry, no such assem­bly is tak­ing place.

Instead, due to the nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, the par­ty is gath­er­ing remote­ly and hold­ing the world’s first ful­ly dis­trib­uted nation­al par­ty con­ven­tion, with speak­ers appear­ing from across Amer­i­ca in a mix of live and taped seg­ments.

Tonight was the first night of the most uncon­ven­tion­al nation­al polit­i­cal con­ven­tion the coun­try has ever seen. There was no are­na packed with cheer­ing, sign-wav­ing del­e­gates, no net­work tele­vi­sion sky­box­es with bright lights, and no con­stel­la­tion of satel­lite events at Mil­wau­kee’s finest venues.

The 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion was orig­i­nal­ly sup­posed to be on held on Amer­i­ca’s fresh coast, on the shores of Lake Michi­gan, in Wis­con­sin’s largest city. Those plans had to be scrapped in the inter­est of peo­ple’s health and safe­ty.

Bit by bit, the con­ven­tion was scaled down until all that was left was a stage in a con­ven­tion cen­ter and an appa­ra­tus for man­ag­ing the feeds being dis­trib­uted to tele­vi­sion net­works. Not even Joe Biden is mak­ing the trek to Mil­wau­kee.

Repub­li­cans have been forced to adopt a sim­i­lar for­mat for their con­ven­tion next week. But where­as they tried to delude them­selves into think­ing that a tra­di­tion­al con­ven­tion would still be pos­si­ble up until ear­ly this month, Democ­rats con­clud­ed weeks ago that they need­ed to plan for and pull off a ful­ly dis­trib­uted con­ven­tion.

Tonight was the moment of truth for con­ven­tion offi­cials, who had the respon­si­bil­i­ty of deliv­er­ing their first two hours of prime­time pro­gram­ming.

For Day One, the DNCC adopt­ed a theme of “We the Peo­ple”.

Actress Eva Lon­go­ria served as the evening’s mas­ter of cer­e­monies, pro­vid­ing an intro­duc­tion to each major new seg­ment from a tele­vi­sion stu­dio.

Leon Bridges, Mag­gie Rogers, Bil­ly Porter, and Steven Stills per­formed.

(Porter and Stills’ per­for­mance was unfor­tu­nate­ly cut off by PBS, CNN, and MSNBC in their rush to put their own per­son­al­i­ties back up on screen, but it did air on C‑SPAN and on the con­ven­tion’s offi­cial video feed.)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ben­nie Thomp­son, Gwen Moore, Jim Clyburn, and Cedric Rich­mond offered remarks, as did Gov­er­nors Andrew Cuo­mo (New York) and Gretchen Whit­mer (Michi­gan). Many of Joe Biden’s for­mer cam­paign rivals (includ­ing our own Jay Inslee) appeared in a video to to pro­mote his can­di­da­cy.

A group of Repub­li­cans head­lined by John Kasich appeared to declare their sup­port for Joe Biden’s can­di­da­cy from across the aisle.

And, in the final half hour, Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders and for­mer First Lady Michelle Oba­ma deliv­ered a pair of pow­er­ful speech­es for Biden.

Sanders, Biden’s last remain­ing rival in the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nat­ing con­test, gave one of his best speech­es ever. He denounced Trump’s big­otry and thug­gery, as expect­ed, but also took the trou­ble of explain­ing what he and Joe Biden have in com­mon with respect to pol­i­cy. (It’s more than many peo­ple might think.)

As exam­ples, Sanders cit­ed Biden’s sup­port for a min­i­mum wage of fif­teen dol­lars an hour, low­er­ing the eli­gi­bil­i­ty age of Medicare from six­ty-five to six­ty, cre­ate twelve weeks of paid fam­i­ly leave, end­ing pri­vate pris­ons and cash bail, and launch­ing a tran­si­tion to one hun­dred per­cent clean ener­gy.

Sanders also neat­ly tucked a dev­as­tat­ing one-lin­er into the mid­dle of the speech.

“Nero fid­dled while Rome burned. Trump golfs,” Sanders dead­panned.

“My friends, I say to you, to every­one who sup­port­ed oth­er can­di­dates in the pri­ma­ry and to those who may have vot­ed for Don­ald Trump in the last elec­tion: The future of our democ­ra­cy is at stake. The future of our econ­o­my is at stake. The future of our plan­et is at stake,” said Sanders. “We must come togeth­er, defeat Don­ald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris as our next pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent. My friends, the price of fail­ure is just too great to imag­ine.”

Then it was Michelle Oba­ma’s turn.

The for­mer First Lady is one of the nation’s most admired Amer­i­cans, and she demon­strat­ed why she is wide­ly revered by deliv­er­ing a speech that may well be ref­er­enced in his­to­ry texts a hun­dred years from now.

“I am one of a hand­ful of peo­ple liv­ing today who have seen first­hand the immense weight and awe­some pow­er of the pres­i­den­cy,” Oba­ma said.

“And let me once again tell you this: the job is hard. It requires clear-head­ed judg­ment, a mas­tery of com­plex and com­pet­ing issues, a devo­tion to facts and his­to­ry, a moral com­pass, and an abil­i­ty to lis­ten — and an abid­ing belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this coun­try has mean­ing and worth.”

Oba­ma — who has a gift for fram­ing and explain­ing what pro­gres­sive val­ues look like in action — made empa­thy a major theme of her speech. Along with mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, it is one of the val­ues that most defines pro­gres­sivism.

“Empa­thy: that’s some­thing I’ve been think­ing a lot about late­ly,” she said. “The abil­i­ty to walk in some­one else’s shoes; the recog­ni­tion that some­one else’s expe­ri­ence has val­ue, too. Most of us prac­tice this with­out a sec­ond thought. If we see some­one suf­fer­ing or strug­gling, we don’t stand in judg­ment.”

“We reach out because, ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’ It is not a hard con­cept to grasp. It’s what we teach our chil­dren.”

Empa­thy is both a val­ue and an abil­i­ty. It may not be hard con­cept for pro­gres­sives and bicon­cep­tu­als to grasp, but it is not a val­ue that Trump’s cult believes in. They have con­vinced them­selves that empa­thy is a bad thing, and the poi­son that right wing per­son­al­i­ties spew on their talk shows is proof of that.

How­ev­er, empa­thy is in truth one of our finest tra­di­tion­al val­ues. It is as Amer­i­can as base­ball and apple pie. The best Amer­i­cans in every era of our his­to­ry have been peo­ple who cher­ished and prac­ticed empa­thy.

“Like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foun­da­tion to car­ry for­ward the val­ues that our par­ents and grand­par­ents poured into us. But right now, kids in this coun­try are see­ing what hap­pens when we stop requir­ing empa­thy of one anoth­er,” Oba­ma said.

“They’re look­ing around won­der­ing if we’ve been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we tru­ly val­ue.”

We may be at a low point, but we are not doomed, she stressed.

Elab­o­rat­ing on her pre­vi­ous con­ven­tion speech­es, she argued that Democ­rats can only win by going high. But that does­n’t mean tol­er­at­ing evil and injus­tice.

“Going high does not mean putting on a smile and say­ing nice things when con­front­ed by vicious­ness and cru­el­ty. Going high means tak­ing the hard­er path. It means scrap­ing and claw­ing our way to that moun­tain top,” Oba­ma said.

We have to go high because Amer­i­ca can­not afford to stay low, she reit­er­at­ed.

“Don­ald Trump is the wrong pres­i­dent for our coun­try. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clear­ly in over his head. He can­not meet this moment. He sim­ply can­not be who we need him to be for us.”

“If you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things can­not pos­si­bly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this elec­tion,” she warned. “If we have any hope of end­ing this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

She’s absolute­ly cor­rect. If 2020 has taught us any­thing, it’s that things can get worse. Much worse. Each of the past few years has been worse than the last. The elec­tion is per­haps the coun­try’s last chance to escape the col­laps­ing pit it’s in.

Giv­en the events of the past few years, Michelle Oba­ma’s speech struck a very dif­fer­ent tone than her 2012 and 2016 speech­es. It was raw and steely and pas­sion­ate. It fit the moment, per­fect­ly, as did Sanders’ speech.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists and del­e­gates from the Pacif­ic North­west were pleased with the open­ing night pro­gram, with many telling NPI it res­onat­ed with them.

“Great speech­es, con­cise and to the point,” said Joan Tier­ney of Seat­tle. “Michelle Oba­ma was utter­ly amaz­ing and reached the hearts of vot­ers. Bernie was a uniter and appre­ci­at­ed. John Kasich and Meg Whit­man took a brave stance. I real­ly enjoyed every speech and the chil­dren singing touched my heart.”

“I thought they did a good job of using the per­son­al sto­ry angle to real­ly high­light the mas­sive dif­fer­ence in char­ac­ter between 45 and Biden,” said Zen­da Boss-Hall.

“I was skep­ti­cal about Kasich but I think his talk, along with the numer­ous life-long Repub­li­cans was a good touch. (I hope it works.) I would have loved if they had been even more spe­cif­ic about the decades long war on the Post Office (although the Democ­rats are guilty on that front to some degree) and men­tioned the sev­en­ty-five years of pre­pay­ments imposed for future retire­ment ben­e­fits, as well as the con­flicts of inter­est with Mike Dun­can and Louis DeJoy.”

“Over­all, I think it was bet­ter than watch­ing a typ­i­cal con­ven­tion.”

“I loved how Michelle point­ed out the exam­ple we are set­ting for our chil­dren if Trump is reelect­ed,” said Chris McCul­lough. “The exam­ple he shows them every day. Is this what we want our chil­dren to believe our coun­try is?!”

“I’ve thought that for three years. She put it into words!”

The 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion con­tin­ues tomor­row with appear­ances by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez.

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Netroots Nation brings back Elizabeth Warren and Pramila Jayapal for 2020 Friday keynote

The world­wide coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has meant a lot of changes for the 2020 edi­tion of Net­roots Nation. The sum­mer con­fer­ence — Amer­i­ca’s largest annu­al gath­er­ing of pro­gres­sives — is tak­ing place entire­ly online rather in Den­ver as orig­i­nal­ly planned, with talks streamed via YouTube, net­work­ing via app, and the Pub Quiz done with peo­ple imbib­ing from their own glass­es at home on Zoom.

But Dai­ly Kos Elec­tions’ “Sea Org” team still won the Chair­man Emer­i­tus’ Pub Quiz for the umpteenth time to its usu­al cho­rus of boos, and Mass­a­chu­setts’ Eliz­a­beth War­ren appeared for the ninth time, on this occa­sion with Heather McGhee.

In addi­tion to direct­ly polit­i­cal con­cerns, like mak­ing sure the next admin­is­tra­tion’s Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment is head­ed by some­one actu­al­ly com­mit­ted to edu­cat­ing stu­dents, War­ren spoke dur­ing the Fri­day keynote about the deeply per­son­al expe­ri­ence of los­ing her old­est broth­er, Don­ald Reed Her­ring, to COVID-19.

“None of us could be there with him,” War­ren said, describ­ing how it was­n’t safe for any of his fam­i­ly to vis­it him after he was tak­en to the hos­pi­tal before dying in April. “I don’t know what it was like at the end.”

“And I did­n’t get to tell him that I loved him.”

War­ren con­nect­ed that expe­ri­ence to the more than 160,000 Amer­i­cans whose fam­i­lies have felt the same pain, most of them unnec­es­sar­i­ly.

“It did­n’t have to be like this. It did not have to be this bad,” War­ren said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation 2019

Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren par­tic­i­pates in last year’s Net­roots Nation 2019 pres­i­den­tial forum (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute)

War­ren said Don­ald Trump has to be held account­able for his regime’s incom­pe­tence and his indif­fer­ence to the deaths of tens of thou­sands of peo­ple in this coun­try. “The way I get through this is to say, I’d best hon­or my broth­er by get­ting up every day and say­ing, ‘There’s going to be some account­abil­i­ty in this coun­try.’ And in a democ­ra­cy, account­abil­i­ty is what hap­pens on elec­tion day.”

But in the pan­el por­tion pre­ced­ing War­ren’s keynote speech-inter­view, three House mem­bers of the Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus talked about the chal­lenges already appar­ent for pro­gres­sive vot­ers giv­en Trump’s admis­sion that a stick­ing point in the recent pan­dem­ic relief nego­ti­a­tions was the Democ­rats’ desire to fund the U.S. Postal Ser­vice to be capa­ble of han­dling the increase in mail-in bal­lots asso­ci­at­ed with Novem­ber’s vote. By being will­ing to not fund the mail ser­vice prop­er­ly, Repub­li­cans have made it less like­ly Trump will leave office.

Netroots Nation 2020 Friday keynote speakers

Net­roots Nation 2020 Fri­day keynote speak­ers: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Katie Porter, Prami­la Jaya­pal, and Bar­bara Lee, with mod­er­a­tor Zer­li­na Maxwell (Cour­tesy of Net­roots Nation)

“This is an attack on our democ­ra­cy,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Katie Porter (D‑California) said. “And sad­ly it won’t be the last one before we are done with him.”

“If you feel like our democ­ra­cy is under attack, I would tell you, yes, hon­or that feel­ing, and ask your­self, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ ”

Porter sug­gest­ed focus­ing on what’s going on at the coun­ty lev­el to pro­tect elec­tion integri­ty, such as sign­ing up to be a poll work­er, because a solu­tion at the nation­al lev­el is unlike­ly to come.

“We’re going to do what we’ve long had to do, which is orga­nize per­son by per­son, com­mu­ni­ty by com­mu­ni­ty,” Porter said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bar­bara Lee (D‑California) con­nect­ed the recent doc­u­ment­ed cas­es of remov­ing mail­box­es from urban areas to oth­er activ­i­ties aimed at dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impact­ing Black, Indige­nous, and Peo­ple of Col­or (BIPOC).

“It absolute­ly is racist vot­er sup­pres­sion,” Lee said. “It’s also anoth­er form of a poll tax. It also is anoth­er form of try­ing to make sure that peo­ple, espe­cial­ly peo­ple of col­or, are so frus­trat­ed that they just won’t go vote.”

Lee described her expe­ri­ence in 2018’s Geor­gia guber­na­to­r­i­al race where Black vot­ers were made to stand in line for hours after tak­ing a day off from work only to find when they got there their name was­n’t on the rolls any­more.

“In addi­tion to vot­er sup­pres­sion, we know that there’s for­eign inter­fer­ence,” Lee said, which are also tar­get­ing Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties to turn com­mu­ni­ties against each oth­er. Lee preached skep­ti­cism when read­ing things online, par­tic­u­lar­ly when a mes­sage was espe­cial­ly divi­sive, and start from the assump­tion that some­one say­ing it was a bot.

Our own Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (D‑Washington) fol­lowed up by claim­ing that sim­i­lar activ­i­ty was hap­pen­ing in the phys­i­cal world.

“We already know that there were poseurs brought in to the Black Lives Mat­ter protests in Min­neapo­lis and that some of those peo­ple were paid to come in by con­ser­v­a­tive groups,” Jaya­pal said, mir­ror­ing the more famil­iar right wing talk­ing point about paid left-wing agi­ta­tors being respon­si­ble for move­ment, though in both cas­es, it was­n’t clear where the claim was com­ing from.

All three rep­re­sen­ta­tives, along with inter­view­er Zer­li­na Maxwell, author of “The End of White Pol­i­tics”, expressed opti­mism for pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s selec­tion of Cal­i­for­ni­a’s junior Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris, with Maxwell tak­ing a point to dis­agree with those who regard­ed the selec­tion of a Black woman of South Asian her­itage as being a “safe” choice rather than some­thing rad­i­cal and inspir­ing hope.

“In what world is pick­ing a Black woman for your pres­i­den­tial tick­et in a coun­ty where we’ve nev­er had any women win the vice pres­i­den­cy — or the pres­i­den­cy?” Maxwell said. “That’s not the safe choice; that’s the bold choice.”

Lee men­tioned that Har­ris was actu­al­ly born in Lee’s dis­trict in Oak­land, so she knew the sen­a­tor well and helped stump for Har­ris in 2020 Har­ris’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry run, but for Lee, the moment of suc­cess­ful­ly Har­ris join­ing the tick­et con­nect­ed all the way back to Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shirley Chisholm’s run for pres­i­dent in 1972… a cam­paign which con­vinced Lee to get involved in Chisolm’s cam­paign and ulti­mate­ly into elec­toral pol­i­tics itself.

“I thought then, that was the begin­ning of the end of white pol­i­tics,” Lee said.

Porter focused on Har­ris’s capac­i­ty for growth on pro­gres­sive issues and look­ing for­ward to work­ing with her as a part­ner in the exec­u­tive branch based on Porter’s work with Har­ris while Har­ris was Cal­i­for­ni­a’s attor­ney gen­er­al.

“We all have a role, every one of us, in shap­ing the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion,” Porter said.

Jaya­pal was elect­ed as the House­’s first Indi­an Amer­i­can woman the same year Har­ris was elect­ed as the sec­ond Black woman and first Indi­an Amer­i­can to the Sen­ate. Jaya­pal detailed how she worked on the plat­form devel­oped by Biden and his major pri­ma­ry rival Ver­mon­t’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders.

“We got sig­nif­i­cant foun­da­tion­al pieces of Medicare For All into this plat­form includ­ing that… any pub­lic option would not be admin­is­tered by pri­vate insur­ance com­pa­nies but would be admin­is­tered by Medicare,” Jaya­pal said, also cit­ing poli­cies like auto­mat­ic enroll­ment into the sys­tem if a per­son lost their job.

For Jaya­pal, the argu­ment was not that most of the Net­roots Nation audi­ence had like­ly con­sid­ered Biden their first choice, or that Har­ris’s track record as pro­gres­sive was espe­cial­ly per­sua­sive, but that they were peo­ple who could be worked with and brought along, as with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic plat­form.

Like War­ren, the mes­sage was one of being left with a bina­ry choice, and both tried to tamp down expec­ta­tions by remind­ing the audi­ence that being a pro­gres­sive by def­i­n­i­tion means being out ahead of most oth­er peo­ple on some issues.

The speak­ers all men­tioned that they’re sup­port­ing Biden, but the focus of all the con­ver­sa­tion was remov­ing the cur­rent block­age in the White House so that all of the oth­er nec­es­sary work of chang­ing sys­tems to ben­e­fit the major­i­ty of peo­ple could actu­al­ly begin, inside and out­side of pol­i­tics.

In War­ren’s words: “big, struc­tur­al, change.”

“It is not enough to win the White House,” War­ren said. “We also have to hold the House, we have to take back the Sen­ate, we need to win in states all around this coun­try. We need to put peo­ple at the local lev­el who are pro­gres­sives. We need to put peo­ple in posi­tions where they can enact big, struc­tur­al change.”

Net­roots Nation 2020 con­cludes tomor­row.