Democrats gain as MAGA narratives decay, absent real-world deliverables except pardons/apologies for outlaws
As democracy-busting shifts to high national security menace, President Biden’s emergency call out is a timely offset to the latest shocking MAGA fascism warring against law and order. Never before has the Criminal-in-chief so clearly showed his darkest side. Not only has Trump exposed how little he’s learned – politically, morally or legally – from inciting the D.C. riots, this guiltless/clueless wonder openly brags he’s funding insurrectionists and promising both pardons (what in 2025!) and apologies for the “disgraceful” inconvenience after causing such havoc. Only in degraded times does the former top national law enforcement officer become the reckless, violence-promoting pardoner of mobsters who can’t abide majority elections. Coded message: forget electoral downsides, send $$ to Trump, Inc.
The phrase “mind-boggling” just got mind-boggled. Yep, the bottomless pit of Trump corruption is now covering for relentlessly delusional MAGA hardliners. Having failed as coup conniver, this rogue president augments the inciting of violence to now enshrining anti-democratic criminals as heroic victims – with no let-up in sight. Why should the scandals or outrages stop now? Why not run released D.C.protesters for Congress to impeach any triumphant Trump critic or Never Trumper? What Founders on their worst day conceived of such treachery?
And yet, like many, I think we’re closer to the end of MAGA infamy than any miracle comeback. Politics is still fickle, and no cult is immune from sudden avalanches. Aside from predictable indictments, the Cultist-in-chief is overplaying a weakened hand, accelerating a decline begun during his presidency, widely judged the greatest anti-democratic blunder in our history. Whether or not human stupidity is limitless, the gall and rottenness of the unmasked demagogue keep up. If Trumpism – now firmly set against what passes for decent American values – is somehow returned to power, then majority rule faces a dead end bum’s rush. What stands out is the obviousness of the threat(s).
Suicide anything but painless
On display for positive leftwing interests is the rarest of political events: the national rightwing party committing electoral suicide – all by itself and devoid of escape options. The most potent weapon against MAGA extremism will be effectively wielding the “semi-fascist” bludgeon. Only a dense 2X4 will dent soft-headed delusions about alleged “can’t happen here” exceptionalism, center and right. All but hardcore MAGA voters should be made to confront the legitimate fascist label, evinced as violent, thuggish gangs who defy voters in order to “elect” hand-picked (losing) stooges. Fascism is fully visible; the only challenge is equally potent PR.
A secondary signal of the cult’s demise, more in the weeds, is that Trump the career lawbreaker can only secure embarrassingly feckless lawyers to defend glaringly indefensible crimes. On par with the shock value of a President Trump – here’s a know-it-all, billionaire, mafia-style kingpin can’t “make an offer” competent legal muscle “won’t refuse.” What assures conviction more solidly than being stuck with legal buffoons? How “great again” is America when “really rich guys” are sabotaged by their own woeful defenses – even when the logical consequence of stiffing lawyers, defying good advice, and poisoning chances with reckless media stunts? Shocking for all parties.
Live by narratives, die when they fail
Electrifying narratives won Trump the White House and today their lost leverage impedes new members to his gangster minority. The storylines were transparent hustles but the shock-value novelty suckered the media, whether the crude racism (watch out whites, dark-skins at large), or immigration (lawless hordes are here, more coming), or America is kaput, even doomed (without a savior) and so “I alone can fix everything.” Such fabricated storylines, sufficiently bizarre and over-the-top, opened doors for this never-elected “outsider” into well-seeded grievance wars. Establishment GOP candidates had no offsetting narratives (and shockingly still don’t), just the same boring anti-tax, anti-government, anti-Democrat barrage of propaganda and fear-mongering.
Yet now, these ersatz Trumpist narratives are what’s kaput and doomed, disintegrating as movement drivers after six years. Failed storylines were clearly derailed by mammoth Trump failures: how many say he’s drained the swamp – or wildly amplified it? Where’s any evidence that most or many Americans were better thanks to four miserable years of Trumpism? Only by tossing Trump out (yelling and screaming) could Democrats demonstrate they can sustain job growth and stock prices while also securing safety nets (especially for multitudes ill-treated by Trump), reducing drug costs, fending off pandemics, funding infrastructure, and improving American prestige overseas.
Even for the “free-dumb” brigade, Republicans have dramatically reduced, not advanced human rights, by curbing voting rights, procreation/abortion options and minority mobility, let alone the freedom of teachers and students to learn without cultural reactionaries invading schools. Even without profound Supreme Court shenanigans, violent fascist uprisings, and theft of national intelligence, the Trumpist/Republican storylines speak to losing, not winning better living conditions for ordinary folks.
The 0 for 10 finale for Trump narratives, now forged to wholly defective MAGA candidates, spells mid-term party disaster, at least for the Senate and state houses. What plagues bad MAGA candidates is an impossible double-whammy: if they reject imploding Trumpism, their primary base support dissipates. Yet, if they don’t reject MAGA (let alone abortion curbs or stealing top secrets), they risk going down with Trump’s potential shipwreck. Further, MAGA back-peddling only confuses hard red voters, who may stay home, thus making center and left voters decisive.
Even an expanding cult can’t overcome hypocritical, bad candidates, with dubious resumes and contradictory talking points. In what purple state is the Big Lie by bad liars not a big loser? That’s aside from defending gangster politics and demonizing all government law enforcers on par with mass media slammed as “enemies of the people.” Right, let’s defund the FBI, the DOJ, and the National Archives – what good are they?
Slow suicide is still suicide
Further, as Trumpism splits the non-Democratic voting block, establishment Republicans are not better at solving huge party conundrums than the bad Trump figures causing them. What national Republican, what popular agenda or what talking points compensate for a party riven by self-inflicted dissension? And more woe to come: indictments, more revelations, serial trials and likely convictions define the next months and years. Where’s any good news for the Whiner-in-chief or Republicans or desperate candidates stuck in unresolvable electoral vices?
And now Republicans invite the highly dubious 2024 campaign slogan: elect Trump (or enablers) so your favorite indicted (or convicted) hero won’t face the music – or even get pardoned? Release all MAGA lawbreakers and abject regrets if not compensation. Whether short and long term, can anyone explain how this cornered, backward party isn’t damned if they do dump Trump and damned if they don’t? What Hail Mary pass exists? The country has moved on, disgusted with Trumpist tantrums, ready to act on climate change, tolerant on gay and women’s rights, irate at inhumane abortion obstacles or benighted state politicians who refuse federal health funding, eviscerate voting options, ban books, and encourage theocratic invasions by fundamentalist Christians into government – and beyond.
However divided is the left, Democrats sustain relative power and will offer the newly-angered majority a modest alternative with no fascist underpinnings – a secular, tolerant, women-, voting- and minority-friendly agenda that believes in counting votes (really!) and awarding power to winners committed to help the many, not the few. What “misfit Marxists”!
Hardly geniuses or with great courage, Democrats only have to come across as not dangerous, as not radical, violent, anti-democratic extremists who hardly deserve to have power. It’s probable the Democratic Senate plurality grows and, even if the House is lost, 2024 will likely reverse 2022 losses. Unless wary Democrats make serious, clueless blunders, or Black Swan events intervene, what Republicans once dreamt about – a generation of dominance – appears far more likely for Democrats than disgraced MAGA clowns. Progressives who want systemic reform won’t cheer, but a significant majority in enough key states will favor unthreatening Democrats to any Fascist-in-chief who seizes power by defying elections, skewering human rights and improving very few lives. Tough choice, eh?