The Great Unraveling


If, by chance, you have read my blog from time to time, you know that I have long spoken, in metaphorical terms, in an evil experiment in social psychology—an experiment to see just how far you could carry the politics of lying and gaslighting, without losing political support.

I did not foresee that we would come to our present state of affairs. But I would have said that if there ever came a time when the lies and the gaslighting were demonstrably causing massive suffering and loss of life among the intended subjects of the gaslighting, a good many of them would come to their senses.

That appears to be where we are today, Thursday, April 23.

A Massive Split Within the Plutocracy

Check out Politico’s deeply reported story: The Koch network, avatar of the tea party, rejects shutdown protests: The decision reflects changes in the focus and tactics of the Koch-led movement in the Trump era.

A Massive Split Within the Republican Political Class

See, for example, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump’s coronavirus rift with Kemp puts Georgia Republicans in a tough spot.

A Massive Split Among White Folks Without a College Degree

Fox News, for example, reports that Michigan white people without college degrees preferred Trump in 2016 by 31 points. Now, that 31 points has slipped to 8 points.

Swing State Poll

A Massive Split Among Republicans Generally

The same unimpeachable source tells us,

Among Republicans [in Michigan], 31 percent think Whitmer’s order is “about right,” and 23 percent think Trump was too slow to respond.

Trump supports protesting state-issued stay-at-home measures and last week tweeted, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”

A majority, 61 percent, would rather wait to loosen restrictions, even if it prolongs the economic crisis.  That’s far more than the 24 percent who want to open the economy sooner, even if it means the public health crisis lasts longer.

And this today from Aaron Blake at the New York Times: Another big coronavirus miscalculation by Trump: A new poll shows very few people think Trump should encourage the protesters — even among Republicans:

President Trump has made a series of questionable calculations during the course of the coronavirus outbreak. Chief among them were his decision to downplay the threat for nearly two months, and his later decision to play up the promise of an untested drug treatment, hydroxychloroquine, which studies are now calling into serious question. In each case, the evidence caught up to him, and Trump was forced to change course.

And now another very suspect call is also being lain bare.

New polls suggest very few Americans agree with the protests against various anti-coronavirus measures in a handful of states. In a series of tweets last week, Trump offered nebulous but clear support for the idea that the protesters would “LIBERATE” their states, and he has said that some governors have done “too much” in trying to mitigate the coronavirus.

It was the kind of thing we have come to expect from Trump: A subtle attempt to cast doubt on the recommendations of health officials to continue strict mitigation efforts, and a chance to turn the whole thing into a culture war by seizing upon a divisive political issue.

But the issue has now divided Americans overwhelmingly against Trump and the protesters.

A new CBS News/YouGov poll shows just 23 percent of people support the protesters, while 62 percent oppose them. Support is higher among Republicans (43 percent), but even there nearly half of the president’s own party (46 percent) opposes the protests that Trump egged on, despite the participants flouting health officials’ guidance by gathering in public. …

An Associated Press/NORC poll released Wednesday offers yet more evidence that Trump picked the wrong alliance. It didn’t ask specifically about the protests, but it did ask whether people think anti-coronavirus measures have “gone too far” in their areas. Just 12 percent of all adults agreed with that statement, while twice as many (26 percent) said they don’t go far enough and 61 percent said they were “about right.”

Again, even Republicans aren’t on board. Among them, just 22 percent say the measures go too far — about as many as say they don’t go far enough (19 percent). …

As NBC News’ Benjy Sarlin noted Thursday morning, Trump’s poll numbers have been exceedingly consistent during his presidency. But there was a time in which they dipped significantly: During the highly unpopular GOP push to replace Obamacare. When people’s health and livelihoods were suddenly on the line, they weren’t as interested in engaging in the kind of culture wars Trump has otherwise so effectively stoked.

As I said, a lot of the duped are now concluding, there must be an end to understanding, we we have just about had our fill.