Don’t frame this as “oh, the pandemic is so politicized…”

What’s on display here is the radicalization of the Republican Party. There is no equivalent on the “Left” to an official GOP account propagating vaccine misinformation, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands.
The tweet has since been deleted - but there’s not going to be an apology or any kind of substantive retraction, of course, because Republicans either actually believe this nonsense or consider this type of bad-faith propaganda a legitimate tactic in the war against the Left.
Is there a line? Anything that’s *not* permitted? Anything that’s so extreme, so dangerous that it’s not justified in defense against what they see as the radically Un-American leftist threat? Republicans are giving us their answer every day - and that should terrify us.
And since it’s apparently still considered controversial to point out that the radicalization of the Republican Party is not just threatening democracy, but is killing people: Around 250,000 deaths since vaccination became available for everyone, vast majority unvaccinated.
And there is a strong correlation between Trump vote share and vaccination rate / death rate. How many people unnecessarily lost their lives because of the exact type of Covid misinformation that the Republican Party endorses or, at least, condones?…
For the record: There is plenty to be criticized about the way the Biden administration and Democrats on all levels have handled the pandemic. Plenty! But that can’t blind us to the fact that the accelerating radicalization of the American Right is an acute threat to the polity.

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More from @tzimmer_history

30 Dec 21
I get the impulse to just ignore Marjorie Taylor Greene. And if what’s on display here were just the extremist nonsense of a fringe figure, it’d be best to do exactly that. This, however, isn’t just Greene’s extremism - it is increasingly that of the Republican Party itself.
The fact that the Republican Party embraces and elevates Greene and other extremists like her constitutes an acute danger to democracy. We can’t allow ourselves to become numb to how bizarre, how radical, how dangerous these developments are.
And let’s not be lulled into a false sense of security by the clownishness, the ridiculousness of it all. Some of history’s most successful authoritarians were considered goons and buffoons by their contemporaries - until they became goons and buffoons in power.
Read 4 tweets
29 Dec 21
“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
28 Dec 21
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.
Read 6 tweets
27 Dec 21
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 21
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 21
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

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