Opinion

Trump in trouble as the Big Lie threatens to fracture his GOP coalition

There is one thing Republicans are in fierce agreement on: gutting democracy by preventing people from voting — or having their votes counted — and setting the GOP up so that it "wins" elections, even though more Americans want Democrats as leaders. But underneath this agreement are rising tensions over what that push against democracy should look like.

Donald Trump and the more Trumpist wing of the GOP favor a brash approach, based on hyping lies about "stolen" elections, promulgating conspiracy theories about fake ballots and hacked voting machines, and defending the January 6th insurrectionists as martyrs for a just cause. The more institutional Republicans, on the other hand, are becoming warier of this shameless approach.

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The one reason why Donald Trump is guaranteed to run for president

Donald Trump is "telling most anyone who'll listen that he will run again in 2024." That's according to Axios's Mike Allen, who also pointed out this weekend that all of the polling suggests that Republican voters are clamoring for the former president to do it. There is little doubt that he will win the Republican nomination easily. Allen reports that all of the Republicans he's spoken with say "it would take a severe illness, death — or criminal charges sticking — to stop Trump from walking away with the race before it even begins." I have never doubted it. They love him, they really love him.

Trump is reportedly watching any would-be rivals very carefully, particularly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as well as Mike Pence, his former vice president, and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Allen reports that, according to his sources, it's Pence who is Trump's most likely primary opponent — and he is not planning to defer to his former boss, which Allen pointedly says Trump "has noticed." Watching Pence get squashed like a stink bug doesn't seem very sporting, but it's probably all we're going to get.

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How the richest 1% tricks you into thinking climate change is your fault

Africa has 54 countries, more than one-quarter of the 195 nations on the planet today. The continent is also home to roughly 1.3 billion souls, more than one-sixth of the human population. And despite comprising a large chunk of the community of Homo sapiens, however, Africa is responsible for less than four percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump's Big Lie is the new Lost Cause — and it may poison the country for decades

Perhaps the biggest of many imponderables about Donald Trump has always been the question of what playbook was he following? His 2016 campaign didn't have a plan beyond questioning the manhood of his male primary rivals and ceaseless yapping about Hillary Clinton's "emails." His 2020 campaign never found a focus until October, when he seized upon his victory over his own case of COVID-19 as evidence of his manhood. Remember his return from Walter Reed Medical Center to the White House? Trump was ripping off his mask on the Truman balcony! That'll show 'em!

In between campaigns, Trump's presidency seemed aimless, stumbling vaguely forward from one indictment to another until the time came to issue pardons, which we soon learned was his "favorite" presidential power — not being commander in chief, not ordering up Air Force One to fly him off on his many golf weekends, not even being able to pick up his bedside phone in the middle of the night and order a Big Mac and a Diet Coke. The pardon power was it.

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Why does a democratic republic founded in opposition to monarchy tolerate billionaires?

In Thursday's post, I imagined a world in which conservatives placed equality at the center of their sensibilities. It was fun, though hardly realistic. As one reader said, conservatives never do that. If they did, they'd be liberals. But the goal of the exercise was less practical than imaginative. At the root of the many problems we face are thorny questions difficult to answer. But there's also a failure of imagination.

I don't mean to say we need "attitude adjustments." I mean to say we tend to accept conditions as if they were natural rather than what they are, which is constructed. So today, I want to stretch our imaginations by asking a deceptively simple question. Why does our democratic republic, founded in opposition to monarchy, tolerate billionaires?

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Here is why GOP gerrymandering will backfire on Republicans

Ron Watkins, the guy most QAnon experts believe is one-half of the duo — with his father Jim Watkins — to be the infamous Q of QAnon (He denies it) is now running for Congress. Watkins has relocated to Arizona from Japan, where he was believed by most QAnon researchers to have written the "Q drops" — along with his father — by pretending to be a high-placed D.C. official in the Donald Trump administration. He's planning to run as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom O'Halleran.

Watkins didn't pick Arizona's 1st district out of any real connection to the area, or even the state. The district has become a hot commodity because, after a robust bout of gerrymandering by the GOP-controlled state legislature, it's believed that the congressional seat will likely turn over to a Republican. Subsequently, the race is a magnet for a lot of Republicans with congressional dreams and a better base of donors than the denies-he-is-Q guy.

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Steve Bannon's contempt case: Could the coverup lead to the truth of the crime?

On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 229 to 202, with nine Republicans joining all the Democrats to hold podcaster and former White House adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to testify before the committee investigating the insurrection of January 6th and events leading up to it. The order was sent to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who will evaluate it and will likely put it before a Grand Jury to determine if Bannon should be prosecuted for criminal contempt, a crime which carries a possible fine of $100,000 and a year in jail.

It's not uncommon for congressional committees to threaten contempt of congress when they don't get the cooperation they believe they deserve and the committees even vote to take the case to the floor of the House from time to time. It's usually a sort of game to get the parties to the table to work out an agreement — which they usually do. Or, they will instead file a civil action, where the case slowly wends its way through the courts. And sometimes, the Department of Justice just says no and that's the end of that.

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Trump has a big problem as he attempts to hide potentially embarrassing or incriminating documents from Congress

The National Archives is the United States' memory, a repository of artifacts that includes everything from half-forgotten correspondence to the paper trails that document the days of the country's life. The National Archives contains such items as bureaucratic correspondence, patents and captured German records. It holds Eva Braun's diary and photographs of child labor conditions at the turn of the 19th century.

Most of the time, the National Archives goes on with its work with little attention. But right now it is at the center of a political fight about the public's access to the papers of former President Donald Trump.

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Two North Carolina lawmakers linked to Oath Keepers -- is this who Republicans want to be?

North Carolina Republicans tried to distance themselves from the type of radical extremism that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But a leaked membership roster reveals that at least two state lawmakers are affiliated with the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militant group whose members are among those charged in connection to the Capitol insurrection. North Carolina Reps. Mike Clampitt, a Republican from Bryson City, and Keith Kidwell, a Republican from coastal Beaufort County, are both listed as members of the group, according to ProPublica. Clampitt was elected to the state legi...

Why are Democrats afraid to use their power? American democracy depends on it

There is no point in having political power if you don't use it. This is one of the first lessons of realpolitik.

Donald Trump is a political gangster who has learned this lesson well.

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The seedy history behind gerrymandering and the fight to preserve white power

Maps are being redrawn all over the country in response to last year's census. Unfortunately, the process currently leaves a lot of room for partisan gerrymandering. It is the first time since the passage of the Voting Rights Act that district maps will be drawn without the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act for many states.

A 2019 Supreme Court case also makes it impossible to bring gerrymander cases to federal courts on the basis of partisanship. Luckily some states have passed redistricting reforms since the last census. Others have divided legislatures where partisan abuse is less likely. But there are states that will attempt to draw maps in blatantly partisan ways, particularly to protect Republican political power.

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America is growing skeptical of the Gospel of Big Business

My mother is a firm believer in Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. When she receives an unexpected windfall, or a report of good health from her doctor, she says she's been blessed. When things are not going well, it is God testing her faith in Him. Never, absolutely never, does she question decisions by her personal Lord and Savior.

This is the relationship many Americans have with business.

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Abortion, guns, and religion: How to think about creating a counter-conservatism

Yesterday, I said the Republican Party isn't conservative in the way it defined the term for 50 years. With exceptions, it meant opposition to "state intervention" in the economy, business, or civil affairs. These days, however, Republican voters want elected officials to use the power of the state to ensure the superiority of white people. You can call that conservative, too. But that's not how the GOP defined it. Until very recently, the party at least paid lip-service to political equality.

What about the Democrats? Well, they are more liberal than they have ever been in my lifetime. But the fact remains the party is very big — on account of Donald Trump chasing away people who really did believe in conservatism as defined for half a century, with privilege for private property, private enterprise and individual liberty. Those voters have to go somewhere, even if they call themselves independents. This is one reason the Democrats are now fighting among themselves.

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