(Thread) The GOP wants a Leadership Cult

Mindy asked me these questions about Trump’s Town Hall yesterday⤵️

🔹Her questions assume that the GOP wants the same form of government we want.
🔹Her questions assume that the truth matters to the GOP.

They don't, and it doesn't.
1/ Sociologist Max Weber explains why.

In his essay, Politics as Vocation, he describes three sources of authority.

🔹Traditional (monarchy)
🔹Charismatic leader (fascism)
🔹Rule of law (democracy)

For #2, today we’d say cult leader or demagogue.
2/ Rule of law requires a shared truth (@timothydsnyder uses the word ‘factuality.’)

Fascism or demagoguery is based on myth, and can only exist if it destroys factuality.

So fascism (leadership cult) is always trying to destroy truth.
3/ Here’s the part that is hard for people to grasp: The GOP doesn’t want a democracy. They want fascism. They're trying to destroy truth.

That, of course, explains Fox, Trump, and the GOP. They are actively trying to undermine factuality.

They’re not goofing when they lie.
4/ “But wait!” people say. “Fascism is un-American!"

That depends on how you look at our history.

Yes, the founders set up a democracy based on rule of law. Yes, Hamilton warned against demagogues.

But in the system they created, relatively few white men held all the power.
5/ So you see, we have both in our national DNA.

As democracy has expanded to include minority communities, a lot of people don’t like it. They want to go back to the way things were.

That’s literally what MAGA means. Go backwards.
6/ To go back, they have to destroy dismantle much of the federal government.

Trump promises to do that.

Moreover, democracy is grinding work. A lot of people don’t like it.

Checks and balances and division of power means that change happens slowly.
7/ Democracy requires give and take and compromise. Some people hate that, especially when they are compromising with people they don’t think should be in power in the first place.

An autocrat has a lot of appeal: He can bring about swift changes. He doesn't have to compromise.
8/ Dismantling the federal government put in place since the New Deal (largely to create fairness and to allow democracy to expand) can either be done slowly, or with a wrecking ball.

Trump is a human wrecking ball.
9/ Answering ⤵️

I think they might be embarrassed when he can’t answer a simple question and sounds like a moron, but they won’t speak out because the alternative for them is worse.

If you missed the town hall, the transcript is here:
10/ I don’t think he misunderstood⤵️ He honestly doesn’t think there is a race problem.

In his answer to this question, MAGA people will hear truth.

Barr said the same thing when he said yes, Blacks are treated differently in the criminal justice system, but there is no racism.
11/ Here’s how I understand these comments: Trump and Barr believe in a hierarchy. They believe white men naturally inhabit the top and Blacks are naturally inferior.

So, in their view, if Blacks don’t have it as well, that’s because of nature, not racism.
12/ On the other hand, in their view, anti-discrimination laws are racist because they focus on race.

Affirmative action singles out race, so they think "racism!"

They think it's unfair to whites, infringes "liberty" and tampers with the natural order.
13/ Trump is aware of anti-discrimination laws because he’s gotten in trouble for breaking them.

He avoided talking about making America great "again" for blacks.

Trump essentially answered the question by saying, “Why are Blacks complaining? Look how much better it is now.”
14/ Yeah, I know. 🤦‍♀️ But it makes sense to people who believe nature naturally forms a hierarchy, and white men belong at the top.

This is what the GOP believes, so this town hall will not change their views.
15/ Mindy also asked whether anyone believes Trump's blatant lies. I talked about this earlier when commenting on how Kayleigh McEnany repeated Trump's lie about the existence of a new health plan, so I'll just put the link in the next tweet.
I know, right?

But I have given up thinking anything is going to cause the GOP leadership to jump ship. If Operation Ukraine Shakedown didn't do it, and the response to COVID, didn't do it, I think they are fully committed.

We have to outvote them.
This thread is a blog post, here: terikanefield-blog.com/cults-lies-and…
If we believe the political psychologists, people with an anti-democratic personality will always be with us.

The mistake we made the past 60 years was thinking that the problem of fascism and white supremacy was solved.

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

30 Sep
Biden told the audience to vote, he assured voters that they will decide the next president, and don't worry, if Trump loses the election, he will go.

Trump responded with the craziest monologue I think I've ever heard.
Here's the transcript of that unhinged monologue.

Screenshot #1: Biden tells the audience to vote, their votes will count, if Trump loses, he leaves.

#2: Trump seems to say (among other things) he won't cooperate with a transition because of Hillary's attempted coup. Insane. ImageImage
When he states, before the election, that he will not accept the results because of fraud and that he won't leave willingly if more ballots are cast against him, it may fire up the Proud Boys, but it can't possibly win him new voters.

Read 5 tweets
29 Sep
(Thread) You're the Puppet

People call this projection.

Projection (as a psychological term) is an unconscious process. See:

This is, in fact, a deliberate propaganda technique.

I'll quote an expert in fascism. . .

“Fascists always deny what they are and ascribe their own features and their own totalitarian politics to their enemies.” Prof. Frederico Finchelstein, from ⤵️

h/t @jasonintrator for the quotation.

It's a way of undermining truth by creating confusion.

2/ Image
It overlaps with "whataboutism." As a deliberate way of deflecting from Trump's mental weakness, Rudy accuses Biden of weakness.

Similarly, Trump deflects from his own corruption by calling everyone else corrupt.

Read 5 tweets
29 Sep
There's a core of Trump's supporter that won't care if evidence shows Trump is a fraud and cheat. They like what he stands for. They like what he's trying to do.

But given the state of the race, evidence that Trump is a cheat and a fraud nonetheless hurts him.

To win, Trump needs to expand his support. Bombshells like the NYT tax article makes it harder for Trump to do that.

People have already started voting. Time is running out for Trump to turn this around.

From projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-…

2/ Image
For a sense of what we're up against, see this 2018 thread about why Trump's base is fine with his lawbreaking⤵️

At some point, the strongman facade will crumble, but the tax story is unlikely to do as long as his base thinks he can win.

Read 7 tweets
27 Sep
Trump is weak and wants you to think he’s strong.

He tries to appear strong the same way my 12-pound dog does it. He barks. He thinks his bark is fierce and scary.
It was a totally unfair comparison. JJ is cute.

He also does his job well. He guards our house against skateboarders (he hates skateboarders).

When one approaches, he barks—and it keeps going! We've never been attacked by anything on wheels.
He also barked at the forest fires near our house, but that was not effective.
Read 4 tweets
26 Sep
.@gtconway3d is right

We must distinguish facts from wishful thinking bluster.

I agree he won't concede.

Bluster: He'll mastermind a coup involving courts and state legislatures to keep him in power if—when the votes are counted—he loses.

If we vote him out, he's out.
One theory: I'm "optimistic" for not believing that a farfetched scenario is a foregone conclusion.

Another theory: People who believe that an unlikely scenario is a foregone conclusion are being played.

Let's not become the puppets⤵️
His most powerful weapon (and don't underestimate its power) is disinformation.

If he wins it will be because he has undermined truth and logic.

Put raincoats on the population ⤵️and hold onto truth.

Don't fall for bluster.
Read 4 tweets
25 Sep
See my piece in today's Washington Post⤵️

If you are Donald Trump, and your image is based on the claim that you are a winner, what do you do when every recent national poll has you losing?

How do you stop people from talking about your failed pandemic policies, tapes showing that you lied to the American people, an economy in trouble, and polls showing the Republicans are likely to lose their Senate majority?

You create a fiction: You tell the world that you are not losing, the other side is cheating, and you will not allow it.

When Trump says something like, “we can throw away the ballots and avoid having to transfer power,” he triggers outrage.

Read 28 tweets

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