Wednesday, November 16, 2022

In News: Win for Democracy; Role of Media; Kari Lake's Election Denialists; Abortion; Herschel Walker; Russian Genocide in Ukraine

Tim Miller, "Democracy was on the ballot. And attempts to end it were met with universal scorn," insists, pace pundits who want to downplay the role concern about embattled democracy played in the recent U.S. elections, democracy was, indeed, on the ballot — and it performed well: 

There were seven Republican gubernatorial candidates who would not commit to certify Biden’s 2020 win. They went 0-7 in the midterm. (Or 0-8 if you toss in David Perdue’s pathetic primary performance against Brian Kemp).  Eight blue or purple state GOP Secretary of State candidates would not commit to certifying the election if the Democrat won. They went 0-8 last Tuesday. (Or 0-10 if you count the Tina Peters faceplant in the Colorado GOP primary, and Saint Brad Raffensperger crushing all comers). Two swing district election deniers successfully primaried Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Joe Kent and John Gibbs. Both got schlonged. ...

As it turns out democracy was on the ballot this fall, in a big, big way. Joe Biden was right to use the final days of the campaign to call attention to the threat and the pundits were wrong to dismiss the salience of his case. (Again). 

The result in Arizona makes this abundantly clear. 

"The pundits were wrong" — again — Tim Miller notes. Parker Molloy concurs: in "The clear message of the midterms: the press is out of touch with the public" he is unsparing in his criticism of mainstream media that helped Trump win in 2016 and have done everything short of standing on their hands to handicap races in favor of Republicans and against Democrats:

What’s even more frustrating about the lurch to the right that happened following Trump’s 2016 win is that it ignored the role the press played in giving him that win. It was a media environment that helped him win, and the response to his victory was to make it even more favorable. ...

Looking at the way the 2022 midterms were covered, it’s clear that the press is less in touch with the public than it was in 2016. It’s time they course correct (but they won’t). ...

Mainstream media outlets want Republicans to win, and they’re very upset that they weren’t able to will the likes of Blake Masters and Kari Lake into elected office. As I write this, there’s an expectation that Trump, a man who tried to use the various levers of government to overturn an election he lost in a plot that was described by a federal judge as obviously illegal, is going to announce another run for president, perhaps even today. Politics reporters are absolutely giddy. Just watch as they inevitably treat Trump’s announcement as a totally normal political event and not itself a threat to American democracy (again, keep in mind that he tried to illegally seize power after “joking” for years that maybe he’d just be president for life). Why? Because they love it. They want Trump pointing at them and saying, “YOU are fake news!” even as the outlets he calls “fake” work overtime to help him.

The mainstream media has been consistently moving to the right. If outlets like NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, and NPR don’t take deliberate steps to correct the right-wing bias they introduced following Trump’s 2016 win (and reinforced after 2018 and 2020), then they will have indisputably ceased to be news organizations at all and will instead function simply as corporate infotainment vectors — more than they already are, that is.

In "Kari Lake’s far-right denialists set to erupt in Arizona, even after losing every battleground race," David Neiwert looks at the role that election denialism is likely to continue playing in Arizona and elsewhere — because: 

Denialists gotta deny. It’s what they do. 

On the continued role of a certain kind of (rancid and toxic) Christianity in fueling the denialism and calls for subversion of democracy, see the video at the head of the posting.

Regarding the abortion issue and Republican attempt to impose a national ban on abortion, which will not go away, see Kavitha Surana "'We Need to Defend This Law': Inside an Anti-Abortion Meeting With Tennessee’s GOP Lawmakers":

On Oct. 27, the Tennessee affiliate of National Right to Life held a webinar to encourage GOP legislators to hold the line. The anti-abortion organization helped write and lobby for so-called trigger bans — laws that outlawed abortion in anticipation of Roe being overturned — in Republican-majority statehouses across the country.

ProPublica reviewed a recording of the call. It provides the clearest examples yet of the strategy that the law’s architects are pursuing to influence legislators and the public amid growing national concerns that abortion bans endanger women’s health care and lives.

Elie Mystal, "Democrats Should Use This Moment to Codify Roe v. Wade, thinks the Democrats owe it to their voters who strongly repudiated the GOP abortion strategy in the recent elections to keep pushing hard against that strategy, though the right-wing religious cabal on the Supreme Court is likely to block what the Democratrs try to do on this front:

I think Democrats should use maximal power to enshrine abortion rights, including getting rid of the filibuster if need be. It’s the right move both in terms of policy (reproductive rights should trump states’ rights) and in terms of politics.

But people should operate without any illusions: If the Democrats somehow pass a national law codifying Roe v. Wade, the conservative justices will use the emergency “shadow docket” to prevent it from taking effect and then strike it down later, when it is electorally convenient for them to do so.

The idea that the conservative Supreme Court would respect an act of Congress that they don’t like is a fantasy invented by Republican strategists eager to mask the true nature of our extremist court. It is pushed by mainstream media folks and court insiders in D.C. who are desperate to portray Chief Justice John Roberts as a good guy so they don’t sound too “partisan.” It is untethered from reality: There is simply no evidence that this court would allow national abortion protections to hold. ...

If the GOP were a functional political party, it would jump at this chance to appear reasonable; Republicans in Congress would release their vulnerable colleagues to support Roe v. Wade; McConnell would muster up nine or 10 votes in the Senate to obviate calls to end the filibuster; and Roberts would find some way to make it all work.

But they won’t do these things, because conservatives are not in a political party; they’re in an ideological cult. Understanding this is key to understanding why the Supreme Court will never allow a law protecting abortion rights to exist, so long as conservatives hold the balance of power.

Democrats should force the issue anyway. The more people see what this extremist court does, the more people will be willing to stop them.

On another topic altogeether, in "Herschel Walker's Vile Campaign Is An Insult To Black People Everywhere," Oliver Willis argues the following:

[The choice of Republicans to run Herschel Walker as a candidate] is such an openly racist display of the utter contempt that white conservatives have for Black people.

Another shift of topic: in "Help stop a genocide," noted historian Timothy Snyder of Yale and author of the acclaimed On Tyranny, says that he has been asked by Ukranian President Zelens'kyi’s United24 Foundation to raise money for a cause of his choice.

He has consulted with Ukranians about their most immediate needs right now, and they tell him that the nation needs money to build a system to defend itself against the drones the Russians are using to destroy the nation's power grid as winter approaches, and to target civilians — drones being used as weapons of terror.

We can stop Russian genocide of Ukrainians by giving to this cause, he maintains. The link to make a donation is here.

The last word in today's post-election commentary goes to Greg Dworkin in his abbreviated pundit roundup today at Daily Kos: Greg Dworkin 

So was it abortion, Trump or Jan 6 that hurt Republicans? The answer is yes.

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