politicians always do the politically convenient thing pretty much...1
people in general act out of self interest and in line with their community expectations. Republicans are horrible because they're collectively horrible, and their political incentives are all to be horrible. 2
individuals are accountable for their evil, obviously. but Republican incentives and communities actively encourage people to embrace their absolute cruelest and worst impulses, sometimes even over actual self preservation. 3
all of which is to say—the goal of our politics right now is to change those incentives, as much as we can.

the best way to do that is by defeating republicans over and over again until they have to stop being so horrible to win votes.4
but—Cheney and other republicans seeing their incentives shifting is good, and we should encourage that if we can. 5
framing it as "oh their incentives shifted, so it doesn't count if they do good things" seems fundamentally sort of backwards to me? like, we want to shift the incentives so they're less horrible! that's the goal! (or one goal, anyway.) 6
like, Republicans realizing playing footsie with fascism may get them and their loved ones killed and readjusting accordingly to stop fucking with fascists would be really good. 7
or having GOP terrified that their donors will abandon them if they keep fucking with fascism is good. 8
politics isn't generally about individual virtue. it's about incentives and how they line up. GOP has been in a vice spiral for decades. you don't get this evil overnight.
and it'll take a long time to reverse those trends, if they're reversible. but if they are, this would be the first step—where incentives start to align differently and as a result some GOP stop being quite as horrible because they think less horribleness will win.
we shouldn't trust anyone (R *or* D) to do the right thing out of the kindness fo their hearts. we should try to see ways to create incentives so the politically advantageous thing is also the right thing to do.
so, the fact that the GOP can respond to some normal incentives in somewhat normal ways (like, trying to denounce fascism so donors won't leave them) is really good news! because they haven't been doing that!
we'll see what happens, and Cheney sucks, but not because she responds to changing incentives.her and others responding to changing incentives is the first sign in some time that maybe we can steer out of this nightmare at some point.
this isn't a call to be nice to Liz Cheney! nor to expect much from her! just—in general, politics is about incentives, not personal virtue, and it's hard to make good tactical or strategic decisiosn if you don't keep that in mind.

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More from @nberlat

13 Jan
people saying the coup was no big deal (mostly on the right, but a handful of confused people on the left) are looking more and more foolish as this goes on.
revelations today that insurrectionists may have been shown the capitol beforehand by GOP reps. AOC says she was in danger of her life, but can't go into details for security reasons. 2
and of course a guard was bludgeoned to death. we saw that people with zip ties and weapons were in the insurrection. 3
Read 8 tweets
13 Jan
literary fiction has trouble with endings. 1
genre fiction generally has a bunch of expected/acceptable ways to end things, which takes the pressure off. like, you can just end it. it doesn't have to be all that.
literary fiction is all about its own cleverness, and also ambiguity which can be fun!

but you get to the end of the novel adn you are supposed to be incredibly cleverly ambiguous. it's just too much.
Read 6 tweets
13 Jan
if the 160 unknown are same proportion as yes/against, you'd expect around 10 R votes for impeachment? but...1
you'd think (?) that people would speak up pretty quickly if they were all in on trump no matter what. and if you were waiting to see how the wind blows, you'd be leaning against trump I'd think...
like, he didn't apologize, threatened congress again, there's reports of colleagues being directly implicated in insurrection, McConnell's signaling he wants impeachment to go forward, McCarthy isn't whipping, 5 Rs came out for it...
Read 9 tweets
13 Jan
I guess it's obvious, but there are still major revelations about the coup attempt coming daily, or more than daily. and we're not even into official house and senate hearings or FBI/DOJ trials/prosecutions.
this puts GOP in a pretty stark position. tying themselves to trump now means they're onboard for when we find out Trump asked GOP leaders to show his buddies around the capital to reconnaissance (as just one super inflammatory but not implausible possibility.)
even if you're in a red seat, that's going to look pretty bad in an ad. and possibly even worse to donors, who are already bailing because they don't want to be associated with fascist insurrection.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jan
Feinstein's colleagues need to come forward and say she's not competent to govern or run. otherwise she will very likely win the seat again.
like, they should probably expel her.

voters know her name and think she has party support. if the party doesn't make clear she doesn't, they have no way of knowing.
it's all well and good to say primary her, but the state's voters know her and like her, and mostly don't know she's no longer competent. it's up to party leaders to tell them. if they don't, they're effectively lying to voters.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jan
.@MEPFuller reporting on how members of congress are so privileged they either don't understand metal detectors or figure they should be exempt, even at the risk of their lives.
a lot of security theater is bullshit. but congress just was the target of an armed fascist attack, which was aided in ways larger and smaller by some members.
how sure are we Mo Brooks wouldn't pull a gun on someone trying to impeach Trump if he got angry enough? I'm not sure.
Read 7 tweets

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