A Saturday Summing Up


  1. A Grotesque Social Psychology Experiment—and a Dreadful Experimental Finding

The last three years have witnessed a horrid mass experiment, testing how much political support could be garnered by an unvarnished, unabashed appeal to white identity politics and to misogyny, bolstered by hatred, fear, and rhetoric unmoored from reality. (See, among many other examples of the latter, the previous post.)

The answer is much worse than one might have thought. The answer is that these kinds of appeals garner the enthusiastic approval of about 45 percent of us.

  1. An Equal and Opposite Reaction

The vile experiment has engendered an equal and opposite reaction. It is no longer true, in Yeats’ words, that the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Now everybody is full of passionate intensity.

  1. Secession from Fox Nation

The reaction has taken two forms. First, the progressives are energized beyond belief. Second, an important part of the historical Republican coalition—the wealthy suburbs, and especially the proverbial soccer moms—have seceded from Fox Nation. They have got off the Trump train.

For example, I previously wrote about the sixth district of Georgia. Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a deep dive into what happened there. The grotesque experiment actually increased the number of Republican voters in the district. But they were overwhelmed by the increase in progressive activism and the revulsion of a key part of the traditional Republican coalition.

In consequence of all this, Democrats have taken the House decisively, and they are bloody well going to keep it for the foreseeable future.

  1. The Swing States are Gone

In a rather dispiriting Politico report, we learn that once again in 2020 the people who will actually choose the next president will be the voters in the same old same old swing states:  Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Nevada.

But wait, on second thought, that’s probably just fine. Remember, for example, what a fine job the Trumpster did in recent weeks before his ranting mobs in Nevada and Colorado.

  1. Stuff is Happening. Stuff will Happen.

The Politico post I just mentioned appears to be grounded in the tacit assumption that nothing is going to happen that will bring further material changes to our political environment. To me, that assumption seems wildly improbable.

In the next two years, the Trump trade wars will likely bring about significant economic misery.

Our business cycle is growing long in the tooth, and a recession is a real possibility.

Who knows what chaos might break out on the foreign policy front?

And, most importantly, Trump has recognized that he must bring down the Justice Department before the Justice Department brings down Trump.

  1. Republican Pols Have to Try to Put Humpty Dumpty Together Again, or It’s Hasta la Vista for Republican Pols

As things now stand, the House is gone, the presidency is likely gone, and things are not looking so hot in the Senate.

But if, by hook or by crook, they can somehow get Trump to exit stage right, they might, just possibly, by the skin of their teeth, put their coalition back together again.

I have no inside knowledge on these matters, but I have logic. Logic tells me that, even now, the likes of Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo are plotting their course of action. They really have got to get him the hell out of there, or they are dead in the water.