Clear and convincing evidence
I have a theory that many grassroots Republicans don’t want to win elections anymore.
Well … maybe that’s too far. I think they’re generally indifferent about winning elections, let’s say, and for the same reason Jim DeMint was. Their commitment to their ideology is tribal more so than it is political. You can compromise when you view politics as a means to some policy end that you favor. But when, like faith, politics defines who you are, there can be no compromising on that. It’s an end in itself.
Winning elections is nice but not at the price of tolerating heretics.
If you could prove to populists that doubling down on the alleged innocence of January 6 protesters and Trump’s many other grievances and conspiracy theories would certainly cost them the 2024 election, I don’t know that it would rally them against him. The possibility that he’s an electoral drag on the party is relatively uncontroversial postmidterm, after all. He’s leading in primary polling anyway.
You don’t abandon your faith just because it’s unpopular. Better 30 Marco Rubios or Marjorie Taylor Greenes than 60 Arlen Specters or Mitt Romneys.
If the populist right believed its own nonsense about “Flight 93 elections,” the 2024 primary would already be decided. Trump and his political baggage would be unceremoniously tossed out of the rear of the plane and a more electable populist like DeSantis would be escorted to the cockpit. Instead, in primary polling thus far, Trump remains at the controls.
I think populists ultimately care less about defeating the libs than about owning them. And no one antagonizes liberals quite like Trump does.
Frankly, they might even quietly prefer minority status in government. The minority in Congress spends its time blaming the majority for all of the country’s woes, with no obligation to produce a policy agenda of its own. That’s populism all over.
Nick Catoggio, Learning From Mistakes
I can think of no theory that explains more 2023 Republican facts than this does. It is so perfect that if I had any sense, I’d stop writing about politics until Trump loses the 2024 primary battle or the general election.
I don’t often solicit feedback, but what evidence, dear readers, can you muster against Catoggio’s theory?
Fox News: A Safe Space for Conservative Snowflakes
If you search for “safe space” on Fox News’ website you’ll get over 46,000 results. Not all of them are about those woke snowflakes who need trigger warnings and cry rooms. But a whole lot of them are.
For instance, in 2017, shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Tucker Carlson grilled a college professor about a student who came into her classroom crying about the election. “As the adult shouldn’t you say, ‘You know, it was an election, and it was democratic, and nobody got cancer, nobody died, and maybe you should toughen up a little?’”
Would that Carlson and the rest of Fox’s leadership had a similar attitude toward their own audience, the average age of which is 56. > > “A little more than a week after television networks called the 2020 presidential election for Joseph R. Biden Jr.,” the New York Times’ Peter Baker reported, “top executives and anchors at Fox News held an after-action meeting to figure out how they had messed up.”
The primary mess-up was the network’s decision to call Arizona for Joe Biden at 11:20 p.m. on Election Night. The call infuriated the Trump campaign and viewers alike.
Save for Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, who also served on the “Decision Desk” that made the call, attendees at the meeting believed the Arizona announcement hurt Fox’s “brand” – not because they got it wrong, or even because they got it right. It hurt the brand because it hurt peoples’ feelings.
Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.
You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.