Political Matters – October 2022

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By Mordecai Specktor

SEMI-FASCISTS ON THE BALLOT
This might well be the last installment of “Political Matters” available to readers of The Circle prior to the Nov. 8 midterm elections. The Republican Party of late has established a new take on elections: If a GOP candidate wins, that’s fine; if they lose, the election was “rigged and stolen,” to quote former Pres. Dumbass.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

We are living through a divisive time in the United States. This situation was lucidly explained by authors Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, in the Sept. 22, 2022, issue of The New York Review of Books. Their article, “These Disunited States,” follows several global and domestic events, including Trump’s baseless assertion of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, which provided the impetus for the Jan. 6, 2021, MAGA mob siege of the U.S. Capitol as Congress was in the processing of certifying the Electoral College votes.

(Someone on social media termed the Jan. 6 brawl the “Shitstain Revolution”; and the colorful phrase gets at the reality of the insurrectionary event, which didn’t rise to the level of an attempted coup d’état. In any case, we’re left wondering when criminal charges will be brought against Trump and his co-conspirators for inciting the riot.)

“America is already virtually a binational state, with two sharply opposed national communities comparable in size and political strength that effectively operate as confederations under a single federal government,” Simon and Stevenson wrote. “The Republican Party is mostly white and marginally increasing its Latino membership, the Democratic Party an ethnic and racial mix. Although Democrats occasionally reveal impulses toward reconciliation, Republicans largely do not. Most have put up implacable resistance to Biden’s efforts to bolster the middle class and combat climate change, and, reaching back at least a decade, to Democratic nominations of eminently qualified federal district and appeals court judges as well as Supreme Court justices.”

The red-blue split in the U.S. has resulted in acts of political violence, such as the 2017 “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, “vigilante actions against largely nonviolent Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the January 6 insurrection.”

I would add that there have been a number of mass shootings – Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh (2018), Walmart in El Paso, Texas (2019), Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. (2022), etc. – perpetrated by right-wing individuals with explicitly racist and bigoted motives.

Simon and Stevenson noted that a “far-right effort is underway to introduce violent intimidation into conventional politics, not unlike the fascist campaign to undermine the Weimar Republic [in Germany] a century ago. According to the FBI, most domestic terrorist attacks are carried out by antigovernment and white supremacist militants on the right.”

And the mainstream press has been reporting lately about Trump’s embrace of the QAnon movement, which advances a number of insane conspiracy theories based on message board “drops” by a mysterious insider called “Q” – e.g., John F. Kennedy, Jr. is alive and will run as Trump’s vice presidential contender in 2024. QAnon proponents generally sees the Democrats as a cabal of satan-worshipping pedophiles that soon will face some sort of rough justice – large-scale public executions. I’ve seen a lot of crazy QAnon memes on Truth Social, the Twitter alternative created by Trump and financed by a shell company based in China.

If you’d like to know more about QAnon, I suggest reading the 2021 book by Mike Rothschild, “The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything.”

In short, the GOP, the Republicans, has morphed into the GQP – and in Minnesota, the party has nominated a remarkable assortment of right-wing cranks for state constitutional offices, including Dr. Scott Jensen for governor and Kim Crockett for secretary of state.

Jensen has been in the news for his benighted comparison of public health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of the Nazi regime in the run-up to the Shoah, the destruction of the Jews in Europe. As I mentioned in my column last month, my wife and I visited Berlin in July. I recently realized that in Germany today, where Nazi symbols and the Hitler salute are proscribed by law, Jensen could be prosecuted and imprisoned for his comments equating COVID-19 health measures to the Holocaust.

The Christian fundamentalists are determined to impose their religious ideology on everybody. They have to be stopped, at least in the interest of minimizing harm to marginalized groups in society. DFL elected officials are the blunt instrument we have to use against the MAGA faction. Their policies might not be adequate to deal with the myriad, serious social and environmental problems facing us; but there’s really no other choice, as far as the upcoming elections in November.

Vote Blue.