Frontpage Commentary - 6 articles

Trump supporters think they're players — but they're still just pawns

Do Donald Trump supporters actually believe the Big Lie?

We know they certainly like telling pollsters they do. The latest polling from Monmouth University shows that 63% of Republican voters continue to insist that Joe Biden only won the 2020 election because of voter fraud. But is this something they really believe, or something they simply say out of tribalist loyalties because they believe that repeating the lie is useful justification for the GOP war on voting?

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Trump's followers are trying to turn Ashli Babbitt into their movement's martyr

Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old QAnon supporter and Trump superfan who was killed in the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, is already far more famous in death than she ever was in life. Her fate reminded me of a famous 1963 episode of "The Twilight Zone," "He's Alive," in which Adolf Hitler's ghost (Curt Conway) returns from the grave to teach a young neo-Nazi named Peter Vollmer (Dennis Hopper) how to manipulate a crowd. Hitler explains that exploiting the death of an obscure follower transforms that individual into a heroic martyr. "This is an act of friendship," says the spectral Führer. "We are allowing him to serve the cause."

This article first appeared in Salon.

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An edition of the Bible aimed at right-wing evangelicals has quietly scrubbed references to slavery and 'the Jews'

Long before Donald Trump made attacks against "political correctness" a key theme of his 2016 election campaign, evangelical leaders like Wayne Grudem, author of "Systematic Theology", have railed against it, particularly when they see it invading their turf — with gender-neutral language in Bible translations, for instance. But a new study by Samuel Perry, co-author of "Taking America Back for God" (I've previously interviewed his co-author, sociologist Andrew Whitehead), finds Grudem himself involved in much the same thing.

"Whitewashing Evangelical Scripture: The Case of Slavery and Antisemitism in the English Standard Version," looks at how successive translations have changed in the English Standard Version of the Bible, for which Grudem serves on the oversight committee.

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Trump transcended class divisions between white people -- but now GOP governors are inflaming them

The idea that the Republicans are the party of the working class is now conventional wisdom among some members of the Washington press corps. That has bothered me for a variety of reasons, but I don't recall reporting the following annoyance. If the Republicans are the party of the working class, what does that mean in terms of class? We don't know, because most of the press corps does not bother asking the question.

Instead, we are left to read between and among the lines. The working class is drawn to the Republicans on account of the Republicans standing against things and people and ideas that the working class stands against. Those "things and people and ideas" have a certain color and a certain gender such that the Republicans are the party of the working class less in terms of class and more in terms of bigotry and prejudice. We are not talking about a working class so much as a whites-only working class. This is what lurks between and among the lines but the press corps never comes out and says it.

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How William Barr is desperately trying to rehab his image as the dirty truth comes out

Former Attorney General Bill Barr's record leading the U.S. Justice Department is coming into clearer light as Merrick Garland takes the reins of the agency, and new revelations are bringing the much-maligned Trump acolyte under new scrutiny. It's now clear that under his watch, DOJ obtained the communication records of multiple journalists, a disturbing use of government power that is supposed to face stringent restrictions. Some argue it should never happen at all. The news was revealed when the new administration contacted the journalists to inform them of what happened.

And the public has also learned that Barr's DOJ sought to force Twitter to unmask an anonymous account critical of California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a close Trump ally. Shortly after Garland was sworn in as attorney general, DOJ dropped the subpoena against Twitter.

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Why the right-wing is turning on Republican Gov. Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was a favorite of attendees at the recent 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, and former President Donald Trump spoke highly of her during the debut episode of Fox News pundit Lisa Boothe's new podcast. But the hard-right Republican governor is feeling the wrath of some social conservatives for her opposition to parts of a South Dakota bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing against the opposite sex in her state.

Joe Sneve, a reporter for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, explains, "Noem's issuance of a formal recommendation for style and form modifications to HB 1217 not only drew criticism from its authors in the (South Dakota) Legislature, who said the changes she wants don't align with the policy they set out to create. And beyond that, GOP leaders like House Speaker Spencer Gosch have questioned whether the governor's use of the style and form veto is legal considering she's recommending what they say are substantive changes, not minor clerical errors."

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HBO's QAnon series 'Q: Into the Storm' is a bewildering attempt to decode a super-conspiracy

Perhaps you're familiar with TV idiom "the crazy wall." Watch any detective drama for a while and you'll encounter one. The phrase describes a large vertical board kept out of sight by a dogged protagonist or freakish suspect who knows exactly what it says about them. Said board or wall is festooned with newspaper clippings, photos, maps, and Post-It Notes with random words like "PROOF???" written on them.

What makes a crazy wall crazy as opposed to an art installation is the tangle of yarn, push pins and creative thinking connecting everything together.

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Devin Nunes received a mysterious package from a known Russian agent -- so why is he on the Intel Committee?

Rep. Devin Nunes of California is the leading Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. And MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is wondering why the far-right congressman still has that position in light of his connection to Andrii Derkach, a Russian agent and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Maddow, during her March 18 broadcast, noted that Derkach is one of the Russian agents named in a National Intelligence Council report on Russian interference in the United States' 2020 presidential election. The MSNBC host pointed out that according to the report, Derkach was "under the purview of Russian President Vladimir Putin" as part of Kremlin efforts to help former President Donald Trump win reelection and defeat now-President Joe Biden.

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After the insurrection: America’s far-right groups are getting more extreme

As the U.S. grapples with domestic extremism in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, warnings about more violence are coming from the FBI Director Chris Wray and others. The Conversation asked Matthew Valasik, a sociologist at Louisiana State University, and Shannon E. Reid, a criminologist at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, to explain what right-wing extremist groups in the U.S. are doing. The scholars are co-authors of "Alt-Right Gangs: A Hazy Shade of White," published in September 2020; they track the activities of far-right groups like the Proud Boys.

What are U.S. extremist groups doing since the Jan. 6 riot?

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