The reason I find all the vocab-scolding around "coup" and "fascism" irritating is because the consequences of exaggerating the threat of an explicitly anti-democratic political party are minor compared to downplaying it.
Most moral panics cast marginalized groups as more evil, monolithic and powerful than they are. The Jews are plotting to steal your babies, the gays are recruiting your kids, Black teens are members of street gangs, etc.
Exaggerating those threats reinforces existing, often centuries-long narratives about societal outgroups. They result in worse medical care, more police harassment, an uptick in employment discrimination etc.
Describing Trump as a fascist dictator or the GOP as pro-white supremacy doesn't do any of those things. Republicans (despite their desperation to be) aren't victims of discrimination. There's no pre-programmed narrative of marginalization we're at risk of entrenching.
The risks of exaggerating the threat of Trump's GOP are basically just ... consequences for their actions. If news organizations started describing what happened last wednesday as a coup it would make it easier to arrest the people involved and eject the politicians who abetted.
It would also make it harder for them to win future elections—which is fine. They should. Political parties that lie constantly and foment violence should be marginalized. We would celebrate this if it happened in another country. Stupid games stupid prizes etc.
I'm not being prescriptive here. If you don't want to call Trump a fascist that's fine. I've actually found the debates among academics about what "coup" means super interesting. People should use the words they're comfortable using.
But scolding people who use stronger language is just a weird and dumb way to spend this period. Most people aren't historians and the meaning of political terms shifts over time. Defeating Republicans is more important than upholding the dignity of Merriam-Webster.

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More from @RottenInDenmark

14 Jan
"These are among the fastest-growing districts in the country. ... Almost all of this growth has been among non-white groups."
Tale as old as time: Diversifying population sparks backlash among old white people whose high turnout gives them control over election outcomes.

This explains like 80% of politics in the developed world right now.
Also notable that the white backlash is driven by people who have largely benefited from the growing population. As homeowners, they're living in a rapidly appreciating asset.
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
The firsthand statements of Republican officials always seem striking because the media has spent the last four years downplaying how unhinged the entire party has become.
"Violent socialist destruction of our cities" like what the FUCK are you talking about. If your plumber talked like this you'd fire them on the spot.
This statement is absolutely going to turn up in an AP briefing like, "Using bold language, Mr. Freed expressed his opposition to the impeachment effort as well as his concerns about urban safety."
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
Indistinguishable from Breitbart
I cannot think of a *less* challenging idea than keeping Shakespeare in schools. This is the opposite of a provocative argument. This is intellectual anti-matter.
HOW WOULD YOU KNOW YOU DIDN'T INTERVIEW ANYONE FOR THIS PIECE AS USUAL
Read 7 tweets
11 Jan
Five days after an authoritarian coup attempt, Persuasion reminds us to focus on the true threat to democracy: Too-liberal history departments.
Classic reactionary centrist framing. Take a near-unanimous belief ("war is an important component of history") and describe it as under attack. Cite tangential or irrelevant evidence in support of your claim.
I have a nosebleed
Read 5 tweets
10 Jan
People fretting about Twitter banning Trump are so fucking embarrassing. Any slippery-slope argument that starts with *a head of state who foments a violent coup attempt* is fundamentally absurd.
The big five tech companies absolutely have too much power and there are good reasons to worry about who gets censored on social media platforms, but Trump is not a grey area or edge case.

If Trump can't get banned then no one can and that's just not a credible argument.
There's sex workers and other members of marginalized groups on here who I would totally hear out if they expressed concerns. But 99% of the people complaining on here have no understanding of or interest in actual free speech issues.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
Seeing a lot of empty hypocrisy takes along the lines of, "I guess libs only like protests when they're for causes they agree with" and, um, yes.
It's actually fine to have different standards of decorum for protests against fascism and protests defending it. No one has procedural or tactical beliefs that are entirely independent of their goals and it's absurd to pretend otherwise.
I didn't see any pundits fretting about vandalism or violence at the Belarusian protests last year. That's because it's a movement against authoritarianism and they would like it to succeed. Who cares if some windows got broken?
Read 6 tweets

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