Here we go again.
“American democracy is in peril and nearly everyone paying attention is trying to find the best way to say so. Should we in the intellectual classes position our warnings in satire, in jeremiads, in social scientific data, in historical analogy, in philosophical wisdom we glean from so many who have instructed us about the violence and authoritarianism of the 20th century? Or should we just scream after our holiday naps? …
The lies have now crept into a Trumpian Lost Cause ideology, building its monuments in ludicrous stories that millions believe, and codifying them in laws to make the next elections easier to pilfer. If you repeat the terms “voter fraud” and “election integrity” enough times on the right networks you have a movement. And “replacement theory” works well alongside a thousand repetitions of “critical race theory”, both disembodied of definition or meaning, but both scary. Liberals sometimes invite scorn with their devotion to diversity training and insistence on fighting over words rather than genuine inequality. But it is time to see the real enemy – a long-brewing American-style neo-fascist authoritarianism, beguilingly useful to the grievances of the disaffected, and threatening to steal our microphones midway through our odes to joy. …
And if and when it is 1861 again, the new secessionists, namely the Republican party, will have a dysfunctional constitution to exploit. The ridiculously undemocratic US Senate, now 50/50 between the two parties, but where Democrats represent 56.5% of the population and Republicans 43.5%, augurs well for those determined to thwart majoritarian democracy. …”
Here is our checklist:
- Civil War and Reconstruction scholar
- Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Winner of Frederick Douglass Prize
- Yale University professor
- Brahmin Left
- Lives on East Coast
Whereas Timothy Snyder sees “fascism” and “authoritarianism” in literally everything because it is always Hitler in the 1930s, David W. Blight sees the “Big Lie” as a new “Lost Cause” myth and Dump and the GOP as the new secessionists. Maybe it is 1861 in America again?
This analogy strikes me as particularly absurd. Lincoln won the 1860 election with only 39.8% of the vote. He won because the Democrats were so badly split over squatter sovereignty. The Trump presidency was turbulent, but it wasn’t like Hitler’s Germany or the War Between the States. This is another ludicrous exaggeration and says more about the deranged mindset of the person making the comparison.
Dump barely lost the 2020 election. It came down to a few thousand votes in a handful of swing states. Independents swung against him. He barely lost in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century. He expanded his support with women, rural voters, conservatives and the “Latinx” community. Several million more people voted for him in 2020 than in 2016. He barely lost the election.
How is this like the downfall of the Confederacy? The Confederacy was vanquished for good. Republicans dominated the country until the Great Depression. The South wasn’t in any position to mount a comeback after the War Between the States. Dump only lost a close, but contentious election due to bad luck. This isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination. Surely, he is going to run again in 2024 when he appears to be in a stronger position than ever both in the polls and within his own party.
If Joe Biden is still the guy standing in the breach in 2024, you are doomed.