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I run a newsletter called Volts, about clean energy & politics. Subscribe & join the community at https://t.co/mAVggtz6aw!
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May 26 9 tweets 2 min read
Republicans are pushing wildly unpopular abortion policy & wildly unpopular gun policy & wildly unpopular tax policy & wildly unpopular book banning/gay bashing policy ... and they are on track to win the midterm elections by historic margins.

What explains the gap? Quite the diverse array of responses to this question!
May 26 4 tweets 1 min read
Two separate & distinct strategies:
1. Work to find compromise & pass an actual bill that will improve things.
2. Hold a messaging vote on a bill you know won't pass, to put your opponents on record opposing it.

Dems need to pick one or the other instead of half-assing both. If they really want to try No. 1 (I think it's futile, but whatever), then the time to do it probably isn't in the immediate wake of a shooting when everyone's emotions are high & everyone's under maximum pressure to perform partisanship.
May 25 5 tweets 1 min read
One of the most bizarre phenomena on Twitter, which I've never seen adequately explained, is the absolute passion people have for telling you that they knew a bad thing was bad before you did. "Oh, you're just now getting this? Some of us have been saying ..." You see responses like this to almost any & every tweet, whether or not it says anything about the age or source of your opinion. "Ice cream with feces in it is bad." "Oh, you're just now getting this? Some of us have been warning about poop ice cream for years ..."
May 25 7 tweets 2 min read
There's so much fury & heartbreak & will to act in the country (again). But the public will not know to direct those feelings against Republicans -- the people blocking gun control -- unless *Democrats tell them*. Enough "we" don't want this. Enough "Congress" failing to act. Republicans are working as hard as they can to make this a meaner, uglier, more violent, more inequitable, less trusting country. Most voters don't want that. But they won't put the pattern together themselves. We need an opposition party to tell them.
May 24 5 tweets 2 min read
I agree with @danpfeiffer that recent GOP legislation reveals the party isn't actually devoted to "freedom" at all. Where I disagree is, I don't think it will work as a wedge issue because I don't think there's any faction on the right that cares. messagebox.substack.com/p/the-gop-war-… This is a classic example of a larger phenomenon. We hear "freedom," we think of an independent principle that applies to all tribes & factions equally. But that's not how they think of it -- that's never what they meant. For a zero-sum thinking tribalist, "freedom" ...
May 20 11 tweets 3 min read
It is so wild to me that they're holding CPAC in Hungary, openly celebrating Orban's defeat of democracy, openly planning to do the same in the US ... it's just all out in the open now. And still the media can't seem to convey it clearly to the public. This, at least, the US right has understood since Nixon's time. It's too bad the left just stood by with its thumb up its ass while the right built a propaganda machine that now effectively immunizes it from consequences no matter what it does.
May 20 12 tweets 3 min read
I think a lot about Benghazi. It was a bullshit scandal from the beginning -- to this day if you ask 5 RWers, you'll get 5 different stories about what the scandal is -- but they never let it go. Hearing after hearing after hearing. At any point in that years-long process ... ... any political consultant (especially the kind Dems employ) would have told them to drop it. It hasn't turned anything up, it's become a joke, the public is becoming contemptuous, you're only hurting yourselves, etc.
May 19 4 tweets 1 min read
Shockingly, Cawthorn doesn't seem to have responded to defeat with equanimity & grace. If there's one core feature of the reactionary mind, it is an utter inability to accept responsibility or blame, for *anything*. The ego is already too fragile, already requires constant reinforcement & bolstering ... all threat & danger must be externalized.
May 19 5 tweets 2 min read
As @Edsall documents, the RW base is heading in a darker & darker direction. This is, of course, the trajectory it has been on for decades. My questions for you: When will it stop? And what could stop it? nytimes.com/2022/05/18/opi… If there's one political theme that runs throughout my adult life, it's that almost every attempt by the right to push farther, to discard another norm or break another law, to lie more, has worked, or at the very least, hasn't spawned any negative consequences.
May 15 7 tweets 2 min read
It feels like we're in an uneasy transition. On one hand, when another young reactionary man who takes what the right says seriously kills a bunch of people, the usual machine wheezes to life: "it was mental illness, how dare you slander ordinary Rs, don't politicize," etc. On the other hand, the RW base is feeling extremely empowered -- they've got their own giant media machine that no longer needs or wants affirmation from the MSM; they're cruising to sustained political power; opposition is weak & fragmented; etc.
May 14 4 tweets 1 min read
You should bring the same passion to reading @brianbeutler that Democratic leadership brings to ignoring his good advice. us19.campaign-archive.com/?u=8855a23519a… I know you could say this about almost anything in US public life these days, but "conservatives nuked women's right to bodily autonomy & the following week Dem leaders scolded the people who protested it" genuinely sounds like some sort of demented joke or parody.
May 13 16 tweets 3 min read
One of the most baffling features of US intellectual life, to me, is the number of people who are annoyed by someone to their left ... but instead of just being annoyed, they feel obliged to build some grand Theory of Politics around it. People are building entire identities, entire cosmologies, around their annoyance with things lefties say on Twitter.

I really feel like we all should have learned by now that our personal instincts/predilections/pet peeves are not a reliable guide to macro cultural trends.
May 10 5 tweets 1 min read
OMG I've been screaming this point at clouds for years. A casual news consumer will hear more about what Dem activists are saying *via the denunciations of centrist Dems & conservatives* than they ever will directly. Do centrist Ds think this improves the party's image? I suppose there's no way to prove this, but I would bet substantial money that the average normie low-info news consumer heard about "defund the police" in the context of Dems shitting on it FAR more than they ever heard Dems directly expressing it.
May 9 4 tweets 2 min read
This is odd. Is anyone else seeing this? The first post missing? Weirder & weirder!
May 9 4 tweets 1 min read
Can you guess (without googling!) the top three cities in the US for installed solar power *per capita*? Top three cities in the US for per-capita solar:
1. Honolulu, HI
2. Las Vegas, NV
3. San Diego, CA

Now ... can you guess the top three for *total* installed solar?
May 7 5 tweets 2 min read
Finally waded through the NYT pieces about Cucker Tarlson. To me the skeleton key to the whole thing is: a mother who provided no maternal affection; a distant, emotionally closed-off father. The rest seems inevitable. nytimes.com/2022/04/30/us/… There's a certain sort of emotionally illiterate adolescent boy (I'm sure we've all met/know one) who seems to have decided that he can't be lovable - that he isn't worthy of love - & since masculinity doesn't allow him to be sad or vulnerable, he responds with resentment & rage.
May 7 6 tweets 2 min read
Conservatives saw 9/11 as a way to advance their larger political program & thus poured all their propaganda power into hyping the threat & terrifying Americans as much as possible. And of course the limpdick Dem Party ran along behind, "us too, us too!" Still makes me mad. Remember the color-coded terror alerts? Literally just, "here's how scared you should be today." Cons know on a brainstem level that fear serves their purposes -- it suppresses critical thought & makes people yearn for a strongman to reimpose order/safety.
May 7 4 tweets 1 min read
"In the Court’s religious-freedom decisions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and in its choice last year to allow Texas to nullify the right to an abortion, you can see the outlines of this new legal regime: ..." theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… "... On the grounds that it constitutes a form of religious discrimination, conservatives will be able to claim an exemption from any generally applicable rule they do not wish to follow, while imposing their own religious and ideological views on those who do not share them."
May 7 9 tweets 2 min read
How a groups of morons, cut off from all of society's legitimate knowledge-producing & -vetting institutions, convinced themselves, en masse, that US elementary schools are putting litter boxes in bathrooms for kids who identify as cats.
garbageday.email/p/the-furry-da… The thing with episodes like this☝️-- of which there are copious examples going back decades -- is that none of the dipshits involved will feel any embarrassment at all. Nor will they hesitate when the next dumbass urban myth comes along.
May 6 8 tweets 3 min read
Local US police forces are becoming more & more uniformly reactionary, authoritarian, & violent. reuters.com/investigates/s… Related: this is a great episode of the Endless Thread podcast about a long-time LEO and why he eventually resigned. (Spoiler: police around him getting more & more explicitly racist & authoritarian.) wbur.org/endlessthread/…
May 6 4 tweets 1 min read
Putting road signs all over the place warning drivers about going fast & trumpeting the number of accidents & otherwise trying to jolt/scare drivers into slowing down ... ends up distracting drivers & increasing accidents. science.org/doi/10.1126/sc… One of the very basic truths of traffic engineering: all roads have a "design speed," i.e., a speed that feels comfortable given the road's width & features. People are generally going to drive that speed, no matter what the speed-limit signs say.