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Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Baiting the hook

by Tom Sullivan

Texas police have seized a political lawn sign that showed a GOP elephant with its trunk up a girl’s dress and the message: “Your Vote Matters.”- Huffington Post

Post-Kavanaugh, now would be the time to press hard with boots-on-the-ground Democratic campaigning rather than anti-Trump messaging. One good argument for that is it is clear the sitting president and his party are trying to provoke the left into behaving like the imaginary "angry mobs" of their recent rhetoric.

I was not about to watch the sitting president's ceremonial swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh. Trump meant to show off his prize for his base and rub it in the faces of his opponents to de-focus their attention. With less than a month to go before the November election and just days before the start of early voting in many states, the party of Trump needs to keep its base angry. It's their only play. The GOP tax break is not selling and the trickle down is still not trickling down.

No matter that they have their conservative court majority. No matter that they control all three branches of government. The barbarians are at the gates!

"It's about outcomes for our friends on the left," Sen. Lindsey Graham told Sean Hannity. "There's nothing they won't do to maintain power."

To which Charlie Pierce quipped, "What power are the [sic] maintaining, Huckleberry?"

Matt Viser and Robert Costa write at the Washington Post about the "angry mob" strategy:

The characterization evokes fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people, and it taps into grievances about the nation’s fast-moving cultural and demographic shifts that Republicans say are working against them. With its emphasis on the impact on traditional values and white voters, particularly men, it strikes the same notes as earlier Trump-fanned attention to immigrants, MS-13 gang members and African American football players protesting police treatment of young black men.
Angry, leftist, elitist, radical-feminist immigrants with no political power — plus Michael Avenatti, George Soros, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) — are comin' on one knee to impeach ya. Hide yer white men!
“It’s aimed at firing up Fox viewers and the more strident elements of Trump’s base; it’s fearmongering,” said John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist who is a frequent Trump critic. “I’m sure there is some little old lady in Iowa who now keeps her doors locked because she thinks there’s going to be some anarchist mob coming through Davenport.”
The GOP may have control of all three branches of government, but needs the base to feel beset on all sides by foes as implacable as Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, only from the opposing party. One after another in recent weeks, Republican pols have invoked "mob rule" to frighten the easily frightened heavily-armed.

Joel Mathis of The Week explains how a party in demographic decline uses "the mob" to smear the disapproving majority of the country:
This nickname is part of a broader conservative strategy to convince Americans that the Constitution's countermajoritarian features — meant to restrain the majority of the country from unduly oppressing minority factions — are actually antimajoritarian features meant to let those minority factions rule. In other words, they're trying to persuade Americans to stop believing in democracy.
As if they ever really believed in it.

Outside Washington, D.C., voters are concerned about health care and jobs and pay and reducing gun violence.

Stay focused.

[h/t CK]

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.