Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Majority Of The GOP Voter Base Is Ripe For Proletarian Resistance

outsidevoices |  GOP propaganda still has many conservatives thinking in terms of partisan binaries. Even the dreaded RINO (Republican-In-Name-Only) slur serves the purposes of the party, because it implies that the Democrats represent an irreconcilable opposition. But many Trump supporters see clearly that the Regime is not partisan. They know that the same institutions would have taken opposite sides if it had been a Tulsi Gabbard vs. Jeb Bush election. It’s hard to describe to people on the Left, who are used to thinking of American government as a conspiracy and are weaned on stories about Watergate, COINTELPRO, and Saddam’s WMD, how shocking and disillusioning this was for people who encouraged their sons and daughters to go fight for their country when George W. Bush declared war on Iraq.

They could have managed the shock if it only involved the government. But the behavior of the press is what radicalized them. Trump supporters have more contempt for journalists than they have for any politician or government official, because they feel most betrayed by them. The idea that the corporate press is driven by ratings and sensationalism has become untenable over the last several years. If that were true, there’d be a microphone in the face of every executive branch official demanding to know what the former Secretary of Labor meant when he said that Jeffrey Epstein “belonged to intelligence.” The corporate press is the propaganda arm of the Regime these people are now seeing in outline. Nothing anyone says will ever make them unsee that, period.

This is profoundly disorienting. Again, we’re not talking about pre-2016 Greenwald readers or even Ron Paul libertarians, who swallowed half a bottle of red pills long ago. These are people who attacked Edward Snowden for “betraying his country,” and who only now are beginning to see that they might have been wrong. It’s not because the parties have been reversed, and it’s not because they’re bitter over losing. They just didn’t know. If any country is going to function over the long-term, not everyone can be a revolutionary. Most people have to believe what they’re told and go with the flow most of the time. These were those people. I’m pretty conservative by temperament, but most of my political friends are on the Left. I spend a good deal of our conversations simply trying to convince them that these people are not demons, and that this political moment is pregnant with opportunity. 

Many Trump supporters don’t know for certain whether ballots were faked in November 2020, but they know with apodictic certainty that the press, the FBI, and even the courts would lie to them if they were. They have every reason to believe that, and it’s probably true. They watched the corporate press behave like animals for four years. Tens of millions of people will always see Brett Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, based on an unproven accusation, because of CNN. And CNN seems proud of that. They helped lead a lynch mob against a high school kid. They cheered on the most deadly and destructive riots in decades.

Conservatives have always complained that the media had a liberal bias. Fine, whatever: they still thought the press would admit the truth if they were cornered. They don’t believe that anymore. What they’ve witnessed in recent years has shown them that the corporate press will say anything, do anything, to achieve a political objective, or simply to ruin someone they perceive as an opponent. Since my casual Twitter thread ended up in the mouths of Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump, I’ve received hundreds of messages from people saying that I should prepare to be targeted. Others don’t think that will happen, but even most of them don’t think it’s an irrational concern. We’ve seen an elderly lady receive physical threats after a CNN reporter accosted her at home to accuse her of aiding Kremlin disinformation ops. We’ve seen them threaten to dox someone for making a humorous meme.

Throughout 2020, the corporate press used its platform to excuse and encourage political violence. Time Magazine told us that during the 2020 riots, there were weekly conference calls involving - among others - leaders of the protests, local officials responsible for managing them, and members of the media charged with reporting on the events. They worked together with Silicon Valley to control the messaging about the ongoing crisis for maximum political effect. In case of a Trump victory, the same organization had protesters ready to be activated by text message in 400 cities the day after the election. Every town with a population over 50,000 would have been in for some pre-planned, centrally-controlled mayhem. In other countries we call that a color revolution.

Throughout the summer, establishment governors took advantage of COVID to change voting procedures, often over the protests of the state legislatures. It wasn’t only the mass mailing of live ballots: they also lowered signature matching standards, axed existing voter ID and notarization requirements, and more. Many people reading this might think those were necessary changes, either due to the virus or to prevent potential voter suppression. I won’t argue the point, but the fact is that the US Constitution states plainly that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections... shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” As far as conservatives were concerned, state governors used COVID to unconstitutionally usurp their legislatures’ authority to unilaterally alter voting procedures just months before an election in order to help Biden make up for a massive enthusiasm gap by gaming the mail-in ballot system. Lawyers can argue over the legitimacy of the procedural modifications; the point is that conservatives believe in their bones - and I think they’re probably right - that the cases would have been treated differently, in both the media and in court, if the parties were reversed.

And then came the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Liberals dismiss the incident because, after four years of obsessing over the activities of the Trump children, they insist they’re not interested in the behavior of the candidate’s family members. But this misses the point entirely. Big Tech ran a coordinated censorship campaign against a major American newspaper while the rest of the media spread base propaganda to protect a political candidate. And once again, the campaign crossed institutional boundaries, with dozens of former intelligence officials throwing their weight behind the baseless and now-discredited claim that the laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign. That lie was promoted by Big Tech companies, while the true information being reported by The New York Post about the laptop’s contents was suppressed. That is what happened. 

Even the tech companies themselves now admit it was a “mistake” - Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said it was an error and apologized - but the election is over, Joe Biden has appointed Facebook’s government regulations executive as his ethics arbiter, so who cares, right? It hardly needs saying that if The New York Times had Donald Trump Jr.’s laptop, full of pictures of him smoking crack and engaging in group sex, lots of lurid family drama, and emails with pretty direct discussions of political corruption, the Paper of Record would not have had its accounts suspended for reporting on it. Let’s remember that stories of Trump being pissed on by Russian prostitutes and blackmailed by Putin were promoted as fact across the media spectrum and used as the basis for a multi-year criminal investigation, when the only evidence was a document paid for by his opposition and disavowed by its primary source.

The reaction of Trump supporters to all this was not, “no fair!” That was how they felt about Romney’s “binders of women” in 2012 or Harry Reid’s lie that Romney paid no federal taxes. This is different. Now they were beginning to see, accurately, that the institutions of their country — all of them — had been captured by people prepared to use any means to exclude them from the political process. And yet they showed up in record numbers to vote. Trump got 13 million more votes than in 2016 - 10 million more than Hillary Clinton had gotten.

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