On the fifth of January, a runoff election will be held in the State of Georgia. The assumption going in was that at least one, if not two, Republicans would prevail. After all, this is Georgia. Then came the right wing’s craziest voices, inexplicably loved for their willingness to give their careers, fortunes and perhaps even their lives for the cause.
Here's Lin Wood telling Georgia Republicans NOT to vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue next month.
"They have not earned your vote. Don't you give it to them. Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election for god's sake! Fix it! You gotta fix it!" pic.twitter.com/Uvj1QIpqFL
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 2, 2020
Whether this will have an impact is unclear, but what is clear is that telling people not to vote, and not to vote for a party’s candidates, is generally not a good idea if they want to win. It may turn out to not have any impact, but if it draws enough voters away, it could affect the outcome.
The purpose, apparently, is to compel Loeffler and Perdue to come out and support the claims that the election was rigged against Trump, or else. The “or else” is that the Democrats become the 50-50 plus Kamala Harris majority of the Senate. While that may end up the outcome no matter what, or not, the point is that there are two lawyers who have inexplicably captured the conspiratorial delusions of a not insignificant group of right wing voters, despite the calls to the contrary of established and not insane Republicans like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, whom Wood contends is a Chinese agent, telling these voters to burn it all down for Trump, despite the impossibility and basic wrongfulness of their quest.
On the flip side, President Obama criticized the “snappy” slogan, “defund the police,” during an interview.
Former President Obama said political candidates lose support when using “snappy” slogans like “defund the police,” in an interview scheduled to be released Wednesday.
Obama told Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show “Good Luck America,” that those who use the slogan could jeopardize their goals of enacting meaningful reforms for police.
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.”
The Squad, inter alia, went nuts.
“We lose people in the hands of police,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., shot back. “It’s not a slogan but a policy demand.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said she’s “out of patience” with criticism of the language that activists used.
“The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific,” she tweeted. “Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists. Whatever a grieving family says is their truth. And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.”
Obama wasn’t challenging the need for reform, but the slogan and the simplistic policy cries behind it. On the one hand, the slogan that appeals so deeply to the detail-disoriented progressive left doesn’t resonate well with much of anyone else. Some argue that it’s because it sends the wrong message, when the “real” meaning of Defund Police is to shift resources away from law enforcement to education, housing and mental health. Others argue it means exactly what it says.
It’s not as if there’s any “real” definition to the notion, as it’s awash in empty rhetoric and devoid of functional detail. Even one-time progressives like Matt Yglesias were attacked for acknowledging that it was a dumb yet meaningless slogan.
We've spent far too much time arguing about the word "defund." There are a few things only police can do. But there are many, many things we ask the police do that they shouldn't be doing. We should spend more time talking about the second set of things. https://t.co/Y7j2FW3J3W
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) December 2, 2020
What’s astounding about all of this is that both tribes are doing everything possible to destroy their own credibility, viability and support by pandering to the worst elements of their most extreme, and fundamentally stupid but loudest, cohorts.
The right wing is going to persist in pushing not only the “rigged election” claim, but not voting in an election that will determine the majority of the Senate and put a check on Democratic control of two branches of government.
The left wing is going to persist in pushing absurd and vapid grandiose “policy” changes for which there is no support outside their echo chamber, and for which they don’t even approach a cogent idea of what they’re talking about beyond screaming empty, often false, grievances.
As I argued with Radley Balko following his twit challenging Yglesias:
We’ve spent far too much time reducing an extremely complex problem into a simplistic solution to fit into this shallow medium for passionate people with 8 second attention spans.
But the question remains whether there is any alternative at the moment. Yet again, the fight seems to be limited to the crazies of the right and the crazies of the left, both of whom are so bent on their most outrageous beliefs that they will self-destruct rather than give an inch or concede that maybe they’re wrong.
Joe Biden was elected president not because he was anyone’s favorite, per se, but because he wasn’t Trump and he wasn’t Bernie or Liz. He was elected to bring us back to normal, to return to sanity. I had my doubts that he was up to the task, and thus far he hasn’t demonstrated otherwise. Notably, his name doesn’t really come up in these discussions, as if he’s not relevant to any of these political outrages either way. Maybe he was taking a nap and missed it.
On the other hand, President Trump seized the opportunity to make clear to his fans and detractors alike that he’s just as crazy as ever.
Statement by Donald J. Trump, The President of the United States
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
It appears that the left and right are doing everything possible to fail, to lose, to conclusively prove to those who aren’t dedicated the most extreme and idiotic fringes of their sides that they are the people who least should be in power, who least deserve to govern this country.
And there does not appear to be anyone standing up for the rational middle to call bullshit on either side’s crazies. Has the majority lost a nation to its worst, loudest and most unhinged edges? It’s increasingly looking that way, as both sides do everything possible to seize defeat from each other and make their tribe the one America least favors.