Monday, November 7, 2022

When Many Citizens Embrace a Politics of Cruelty and Malice, the Future...

Photo of wounded eagle uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Gillfoto of Juneau, Alaska 

Jamelle Bouie notes that the American system of democratic governance depends on at least the pretense that citizens and leaders care about civic virtue. But one of the nation's two major parties has now given up that pretense, and the Republican party's politics of cruelty and malice is just what many of us applaud and want:

When politicians and other political leaders refuse to play this game — when they drop the pretense of virtue and embrace a politics of cruelty and malice, in which nothing matters but the will to power — voters act accordingly. Some may recoil, but just as many will embrace the chance to live vicariously through leaders who celebrate vice and hold virtue in contempt.

Oliver Willis refuses to let the media off the hook with what's happening to US democracy right now: 

The mainstream media is obsessed with when Trump could announce another bid for the presidency, and it speaks volumes about what the media desires so much: They want him back. ...

Trump is easier for them to cover. They make more money with Trump. Given a choice between phoning it in under Trump or having to do some work with a Democrat like Biden, they would much rather have to work under Trump.

Speaking of the media — social media, that is — Naomi Nix, Jeremy B. Merrill, and Hayden Godfrey report that, in contrast to what happened in 2020, Republican politicians spreading misinformation on Facebook and Twitter have faced no penalties at all as this momentous election nears.

Timothy Snyder thinks that a perilous situation is about to get even more perilous, with this election: 

Two years on, the situation now is perilous, since the lie that Trump told about his electoral defeat has become part of the American system. Should that process continue, should his lie penetrate further into state and national institutions, we are asking for a repeat of January 6 2021 in 2025 or 2029 — but this time with far greater consequences. In these midterm campaigns, the atmospherics are distracting us from the weightiness of the vote. For different reasons, Republicans and Democrats hasten to speak now about other issues than democracy and about the continuity of the United States. So we have reached an odd moment where what is most essential is hardly being discussed at all.

This is about what I think is most essential: taking responsibility with our votes for keeping the country going, and creating a chance for a better democracy in the future. 

Aaron Rupar and Noah Berlatsky are also bracing themselves for what's coming: 

If Tuesday’s outcome is consistent with the polls, an anti-democratic, fascistic party is poised to seize control of Congress, hobbling President Joe Biden’s agenda, blocking any efforts to fight for abortion rights or voting rights, and setting the US on a course for greater authoritarianism and repressive bigotry.

Steven Beschloss writes

Too many remain entranced by the dark vision that would end self-governance, concentrate power in the hands of the few—and usher in a dangerous form of despotism about which George Washington warned in his Farewell Address: “The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual” who will exploit this “elevation on the ruins of public liberty.”

Tomorrow we will begin to learn what nation most Americans—at least those who vote—seek to realize in the months and years ahead.

Finally, here's Jonathan Weiler:

I don’t expect a good night Tuesday night and, yes, I’m sick about the fact that the Party of Trump, Vance, Oz, Lake, MTG, Cruz, Walker and so on - every one of whom is a demagogue and a menace - appears to be paying such a small price for its collective venality, dishonesty and malevolence. 

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