Considered “alarmist” or, at the very least, highly unlikely by most observers even just a year ago.

America’s descent into authoritarianism has progressed at a much more rapid pace than almost anyone anticipated. We need to adjust our expectations accordingly. It is happening.
We need to grapple honestly with the fact that the Republican Party’s radicalization has outpaced what even most critical observers imagined, and we need to acknowledge that the reactionary counter-mobilization against democracy has actually accelerated in 2021.
Every time someone says “Nah, that’s not gonna happen - easy with the alarmism!” remind them of the many things that were deemed “alarmist” over the past few years, only to become reality soon thereafter - starting, of course, with the fact that Donald Trump did become president.
By the way, “How did you not see this coming?!” is not a very productive reaction to people professing that they were shocked by the events of January 6. Even if something is well in line with what should have been clear to see, it can still be shocking when it actually happens.
My mantra has been for quite some time that the Right considers Democratic governance as fundamentally illegitimate, and the Democratic Party as an “Un-American” faction that must not be allowed to rule. That’s the ideology underlying January 6. And yet, I was absolutely shocked.
There were those who raised the alarm in the weeks leading up to the attack, and they deserve lots of credit - we should seek them out and amplify their voices. But let’s not resort to cynicism and smugness: It’s actually good to react with shock and horror to fascism’s rise.

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More from @tzimmer_history

29 Dec
“Parents,” “working class,” “Christians” - in the American political discourse, whenever such categories are used without any qualifier, they basically just mean “white.” Because “white” is still widely seen as normal, as the norm: as what really counts and defines the nation.
People are not necessarily doing it deliberately. When called out, Todd immediately concedes the point. But that only reinforces how pervasive this idea of “normal” America as *white America* still is in the collective imaginary: It just comes naturally to Chuck Todd.
This is important because it fundamentally structures the conversation. Just like @nhannahjones says, Todd’s framing privileges the interests and sensibilities of *white* parents by elevating them to the status of “regular” (read: justified, legitimate) parental concerns.
Read 13 tweets
27 Dec
A horrible thing indeed.

But it’s worth being specific: The forces that have come to dominate the GOP haven’t changed their mind about anything. Their acceptance of democracy was always conditional: “As long as it keeps people like us in power, fine; otherwise, it has to go.”
The distinction matters greatly. At the core of modern conservatism is a vision that is steadfastly opposed to multiracial, pluralistic democracy and committed to the order that was the historical norm in this country until quite recently: Democracy for white Christian men only.
Too many observers and pundits tend to base their analysis of the current situation on the assumption that the country used to be a functioning liberal democracy, with an electorate of (small-d) democratic voters, and that this has somehow changed just very recently.
Read 11 tweets
26 Dec
This is utter nonsense, of course, if you read it as an empirical claim about America’s past or present.

But as an ideological statement of Christian nationalism and white supremacy, it is perfect. And absolutely terrifying.
Just ignoring this won’t work, because it’s not coming from some rightwing troll, but a Republican elected official - and it’s impossible to adequately understand American politics without grappling in earnest with why her radicalism is widely seen as justified on the Right.
No use making fun of it either. This should be read as a statement of intent: “America belongs to us white Christians, we have a right to dominate this country, and we are determined to keep it that way by whatever means necessary.” Nothing funny about that.
Read 10 tweets
25 Dec
Completely agree - but due to the pervasive pathologies of journalistic and political culture, when they do take a look in the mirror, they’re likely to tell themselves “You are doing a great job by not giving in to ‘partisanship,’ and by staying ‘neutral’ and above the fray!”
…and considering the existing incentive structures in journalism and politics, they’re also likely looking at someone who - strictly in terms of advancing their own careers - is doing everything right. That needs to change.
The “neutrality” dogma demands this kind of coverage: As defined by too many journalists and political observers, it means keeping equidistance from #BothSides. But with the GOP rapidly radicalizing, the “neutral” position provides cover for extremism and leads to distortions.
Read 7 tweets
24 Dec
Calling Crenshaw a “stalwart conservative” is actually fine - because the type of disdain for democracy Crenshaw has displayed is well in line with the long-standing anti-democratic impulses and tendencies that have always defined modern U.S. conservatism.
This Politico piece is, of course, not at all interested in informing the audience about these anti-democratic traditions, and how Trump fits right in, and why Crenshaw doesn’t have to be a “Trump loyalist” to be on board with the authoritarian onslaught on democracy.
It does the exact opposite: Politico wants to cling to the myth of “respectable” conservatism so bad that they are happy to legitimize the sort of anti-democratic tendencies Crenshaw embodies. This kind of constant normalization in centrist media is a massive problem.
Read 5 tweets
22 Dec
As 2021 comes to an end, what is the state of American democracy?

The reactionary counter-mobilization against democracy has accelerated. It’s happening on so many fronts simultaneously that it’s easy to lose sight of how things are connected. Thoughts on the big picture: 1/
So many things are happening at the federal, state, and local levels all around the country that are directly tied to the broader struggle over whether or not America should finally realize the promise of multiracial, pluralistic democracy. That’s the defining conflict. 2/
In Washington, Republicans have adopted a position of total obstruction (what else is new?), very much including the obstruction of any attempt to investigate a violent attack on the Capitol. But it’s the state level where the reactionary project has accelerated most. 3/
Read 22 tweets

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