MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
Our own blue tribe's misleaders: At present, the Republican Party contains a wide array of aggressive Misleaders.
It also contains The Misled.
The rank and file have repeatedly been told, by Donald J. Trump, that the last election was stolen. He has produced no evidence in support of his claim, but he bellows it long and loud.
Consider one result of that endless propaganda campaign, as cited by Charles Blow in last Monday's New York Times:
BLOW (9/5/22): As PolitiFact noted in June, citing a number of polls, roughly 70 percent of Republicans don’t see Biden as the legitimate winner of the presidency.
The PolitiFact essay to which Blow linked can be seen right here. The essay appeared beneath this headline:
Most Republicans still falsely believe Trump’s stolen election claims
Quite plainly, the PolitiFact essay was talking about Republican voters—the Republican rank and file. It wasn't referring to the party's leadership groups, most of whom understand full well that the last election wasn't stolen, that this belief is bogus.
Donald J. Trump and those leadership groups are the Republican party's misleaders. By dint of their tireless efforts, a solid majority of Republican votes have been grossly misled.
Having come this far together, let's get clear on one point:
According to the PolitiFact essay, a solid majority of Republican voters believe the last election was stolen! As a result, those voters are angry and disaffected, as sensible people would sensibly be in the face of some such act.
Those voters don't know that The Steal didn't happen. In this way, a majority of the rank and file have been grossly misled.
The Republican Party contains the misleaders, but it also contains the misled. In our view, this is one of the most obvious distinctions in the known human world.
Our view? We think Joe Biden should have had the decency and the courage to draw this blindingly obvious distinction in his blood-red speech back on September 1.
Sadly, the president made little attempt to draw this distinction. Instead, he may have seemed to be sliming that rank and file when he said such things as this:
BIDEN (9/1/22): I believe it is my duty—my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.
And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people.
They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.
Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to—to destroying American democracy.
According to Biden, MAGA Republicans "refuse to accept the results of a free election."
"They do not recognize the will of the people...They're committed to destroying American democracy," the American president said.
We think it was ugly conduct by Biden which led him to deliver that speech in the way he did. We think it was cowardly conduct by the president which kept him from drawing the bone-simple distinction we've drawn.
Everything which Biden said is true about Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party's leadership cadres. But in what way are the (misled) rank and file "committed to destroying American democracy?"
Because of the ways they've been misled, they think the results of the last election actually have been disregarded! As a result of that (bogus) belief, they're angry and upset, as any citizen would naturally be in the face of a stolen election.
Those voters are angry and upset—and they don't know that their belief is bogus. They're saddled with false belief because of the tireless efforts Trump and his various minions.
This is an easy distinction to make. President Biden refused to make draw the distinction, as did Jamelle Bouie and Blow.
According to an array of experts, a simple story lies behind this conduct:
We humans love to loathe Others en masse. As an example of what we mean, here's Bouie's explanation for Biden's lack of clarity about who he was talking about when he gave his blood-red address:
BOUIE (9/11/22): One view of Biden’s speech...says that Biden should have made a more Lincolnesque appeal to the better angels of MAGA Republican voters, rather than condemn the entire movement as essentially anti-American.
Should Biden have used more conciliatory rhetoric? No. He was divisive—just as he was when he called MAGA Republicans “semi-fascist” the week before—but this is a moment that calls for a perfect contrast between the two parties. If Trump is leading an assault on the institutions of American self-government and if that assault implicates much of the Republican Party, then there’s no way that Biden can make his defense of the constitutional order without dividing people.
There’s no way that Biden could have make his defense? He could have made it by saying this:
"I'm talking about the party's misleaders, not about the misled."
Jamelle Bouie is a good, decent person. That said, he's also a person person—and ever since the dawn of time, we the people have been inclined to loathe Others en masse, or to let our tribe's leadership cadres do so.
Note what Bouie has said. He has said that the rhetoric in Biden's address actually was divisive—but he says that couldn't be helped!
According to Bouie, it couldn't be helped because this is a moment that calls for "a perfect contrast between the two parties."
No such perfect contrast exists. But we blue tribe voters love to massage basic facts to equip our tales with "perfect victims," and now we insist on being pleasured by "perfect contrasts" too.
According to Bouie, there's no way Biden could have "made his defense of constitutional order without dividing people." Presumably, that statement is technically accurate—but New York Times columnist, please!
The president could have had the decency, and the courage, to offer the public the simple truth: Millions of people have been deceived about the results of the last election.
It's Donald J. Trump who has led that deception. And of course, many of Biden's old friends from the Senate are numbered among Trump's enablers.
The president refused to call their names—and Bouie cheers the president on, saying he had to do what he did. In these ways, the leadership cadres of our own blue tribe are now misleading us!
In our view, Biden should have tried telling the truth—telling the truth with something resembling clarity. Millions of people have been misled, and it's easy to name the names of the people and the groups who have agreed to deceive them.
That said, we the humans are wired to loathe—and we love to loathe Others en masse. This is the oldest of all human stories. It eats away at the potential decency of our own (failing) blue tribe.
Biden's old friends have been doing this, but Biden refused to name them. Better to avoid saying, with any real clarity, who he was talking about.
In his column from last Monday, Blow was angry with Biden for the minor concessions to clarity which Biden had actually made. In that column, Blow seemed to be strongly inclined to condemn all Others en masse.
In fairness, this is part of our human inheritance. It's been this way from the very start, all through our succession of wars.
Full disclosure: Your lizard is going to tell you we're wrong.
Blue tribe citizen, please! It's your lizard we're talking about!