The Oregon Republican Party Issues a Condemnation (and a Reader Query)

Yves here. I’m running this post on Republican ray cray Trump loyalism in the interest of furthering his inquiry on who participated in the Capitol seizure and what their backgrounds were (residence, profession/employment, age). This one won’t be as scientific but it might still help counter the media stereotyping of Trump supporters as embittered white working class losers from flyover.

You’ll need to read the short post first to read what the beliefs are and then come back to my questions.

1. Do you know anyone personally who harbors some or all of these views? What can you tell us about their education level or other class indicators, profession/employment, age, and where they live?

The one person I know who believes in all sincerity that the election was stolen and Antifa was responsible for the violence at the Capitol seizure (and also sometimes lobs right wing Covid talking points) does not fit the media caricature of Trump fans at all: a professional with an advanced degree from a very well regarded school, high profile in their field, traveled regularly and extensively overseas, and a big fan of the arts (knowledgeable about fine arts, opera, classical music, and often went to theater and music in NYC, London, Vienna, and Italy). Believes in MMT. His friends are mainly NYC liberals so he limits himself to the occasional pointed question about their politics.

2. If any of these individuals is closer to you than a casual acquaintance, how do you deal with them when they go off on political discussions/diatribes that you’d be inclined to rebut if, say, you saw them in the comments section at NC? With my friend, I listen for a bit, since I tell myself I ought to hear the supporting arguments for these views, but after a bit I lose patience and try to find an excuse to change the topic or end the discussion rather than argue (which I sometimes do a bit even though it’s not productive). So I have to confess to not knowing what to do, and perhaps harboring unrealistic expectations about what I should do.

Having said that, Australians are very skilled at speaking across political lines, and they often use humor, but Americans are too earnest for most of us to be adept at that.

By Peter Dorman, professor of economics at The Evergreen State College. Originally published at Econospeak

You have to read it to believe it.  An excerpt:

Whereas history tells us that after George Washington appointed Major General Benedict Arnold to command West Point, Arnold conspired to surrender the fort to the British; and

Whereas the ten Republican House members, by voting to impeach President Trump, repeated history by conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms and liberties….

Whereas there is growing evidence that the violence at the capitol was a “false flag” operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans; this provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933 burning of the German Reichstag….

That we condemn the betrayal by the following ten Republican members of Congress who voted in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi to support a second sham impeachment….


Wow.  Benedict Arnold, the Reichstag Fire: they sure know their history.  And I like the false flag bit: the people who gathered outside the capitol were patriots defending their country against a monstrous conspiracy to undermine democracy and impose tyranny, but the ones who actually went into it were Antifa rabble.

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  1. vlade

    I can’t say about the US, but there’s a plenty of outside of US people, quite a few falling into the category you describe (well off, educated, travelled) who honestly believe Joe Biden is about to instill a communism in the US.

    I’m speechless when I hear that, as even Sanders, who’s way left of Biden would, in his wildest dreams, get it to about European welfare state, and Biden would classify as a firmly right-wing in pretty much all of the Europe.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think that because the US is ground central for much right wing thought, a lot of fairly conservative people outside the US pick up on ideas, memes and CT that are floating around the ether of US circles, but without the cultural/political context. Hence you can talk to someone quite rational and thoughtful in a domestic context who will suddenly come out with some real nonsense. Sometimes of course, its just adopting the ideas that allow you to identify with your political tribe, but often the cultural separation makes for some very odd and contradictory ideas. The same happens in reverse sometimes, of course, just look at how some fairly rational US conservatives believe some really crazy things about European politics.

      To be fair, you get that on the left too, and of course plenty of rational, Guardian reading centrist/centre leftists believe some real nonsense about US politics. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve heard said about Biden by otherwise thoughtful people.

      1. DJG

        PlutoniumKun: Yes, I am definitely seeing this “U S of A as exporter of nonsense” playing out in Italian politics. One can argue that Matteo Renzi (the Bill & Hill of Italian politics) took advantage of the Capitol disorders to foment an Italian political crisis. But closer to your point, it is remarkable how, during Trump’s term, Matteo Salvini and the Lega would pick up a Trump talking point immediately. The day after a Trump tweet, Salvini would be pushing what amounted to an Italian translation.

        Conversely, the left in places like Italy (and France and Greece) is more well established within the country’s general culture. The Italian left has a rather brainy side, too–there are many leftist intellectuals, some quite popular. This makes the left in some countries less likely to pick up U.S. detritus.

        I would imagine that the Irish Greens and Sean Fein are less likely to go American cray-cray, but I defer to you as the expert to explain.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Renzi creating, then withdrawing his vanity party from Conte’s ruling coalition to break it was cray-cray that Bill & Hill probably couldn’t even conceive of. Center-left cray-cray is the craziest cray-cray.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Sinn Fein play the American card very carefully. They get a lot of financial and other types of support from the US, but they are very aware that their Irish American US support base is far more right wing and conservative than the Sinn Fein party or its support (the last old style catholic conservatives in the party split away a few years ago, its now a fairly mainstream populist left wing party). So they will play nice with American visitors (and will no doubt gush over Biden when he visits), but they certainly don’t take their political influences from there. Interestingly, their European partners in the EU Parliament are the Nordic Left Greens, who are a radical splinter from the mainstream greens.

          The Irish Green Party is currently in melt down, with a split between the fairly conservative pragmatic wing (the majority), and its more idealistic left wing side. But they take their politics from northern European Green ideas. Although ironically, the left wing split is far more heavily influenced by US IDPol, so ironically they will probably want to put out the red carpet (organic) for the VP if she comes.

    2. Adam1

      It’s amazing how many Americans have completely lost their bearings on what constitutes the political spectrum. I’ve lost count of the number of friends and acquaintances who’ve remarked that Bernie is a f’ing socialist/communist. They get really deer in the headlights, dumfounded and occasional incredulous when I point out he’s mostly to the right of Richard Nixon.

      1. flora

        an aside: I’ve joked that T’s first pres race in 2016 ended as the dog-that-caught-the-car; he won unexpectedly, even to himself, and didn’t quite know how to handle it. I’m starting to see what’s happening in the US and the EU and in Scotland/UK – the West, if you will – as a case of the billionaires’ Davos club who caught the car – the global finance system and state economies – and don’t know what to do with it… except to hang on to power by dividing democratic countries voters via their funded politicians, via their monopolistic MSM, and by suppressing free speech. (This is probably a stretch in terms of the comparison, but it’s the one I’m working with at the moment. I mean, turning DC into a military garrison until March? wtf. ;) )

      2. bob

        John Mitchell – “This country is going so far to the right you won’t recognize it,”

        Apparently he was correct.

        1. SteveLaudig

          I imagine that someone has suggested parallels to the story line of “The Producers”. Trump was the “surprisest” guy on the planet when he won. There were probably competing plans/goals in the campaign structure, at the very top. Win? Lose? Who cares? we lose we make a living complaining and sell the Trump line of whadevah. We win, uh don’t have specific plan for that but we’ll steal all we can and torch the place on the way out.

          Suppose the Confederate Home Guard “took over the capitol” then what? 1. Chilean-style jet attack? 2. Alamo starve ’em out? 3. Trump has plausible, and that’s his normal, martial law? We almost found out.

          I have two gripes about Trump’s exit. 1. Why not release all the JFK files? 2. What an enormous joke, better than the Biden hang Pence to prove unity, if Donald John Trump had issued a “general pardon for all federal crimes” to ….. to …… to ….. Hillary Clinton. If and when asked why Hillary? Donald John would reply along the lines of “I’ve known she was a criminal for years and years and years and have been telling you so for years and….. Why question the sincerity of my final act as president if it is to magnanimously pardon a political enemy to help with the healing? What crimes you ask? Ask Hillary she was there. Thank you, no more questions.

    3. Panduh

      Outside the US, how much are people voting for a candidate vs. voting against a candidate. Trump had people voting for him. Biden had a large section voting for not Trump. I think this US election was particularity unique, but I’m interested if it occurs in other countries?

  2. jsn

    It does make one despair.

    I think it’s the social heuristics that collapse the adverse trends of corruption and rampant self interest among the elite into a structured narrative with actionable villains. My gun nut brother, who is otherwise profoundly decent and my step father who’s 94 year old arm candy for my mother both fall into this camp.

    I can generally talk to them about official secretes and the iron law of institutions before coming back around to corruption. This has worked buy allowing enough space to see other possibilities than rabid ideologues, particularly discussions about the manipulation of media. The link yesterday about the NYT driving it’s bottom line with “Russia” hysteria is one I’ve added to my quiver.

    Explaining the propaganda of the Dems has helped them to see the degree their own information flows are manipulated and hearing this from an avowed New Deal Liberal helps them to see the alignment of interest outside the elite: there are a lot of decent people on both sides being betrayed by their ostensible leadership.

    I hope that’s of any use to anyone! It’s family so I keep plugging away and we’re on pretty good terms outside politics.

    1. Larry

      I completely agree. I make it about elite party control with neither side really having their interest. The only people like this I know are family, so I plug along but never over the dreaded social media.

    2. tegnost

      I think it’s the social heuristics that collapse the adverse trends of corruption and rampant self interest among the elite into a structured narrative with actionable villains.

      This is a great sentence that distills it all very nicely, thanks.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      The problem us that not many people realize how much they are being manipulated. Case in point.. check out the editing the grey lady Twitter. Sometimes it’s a minor thing, sometimes they change their headline to fit their agenda. This is what happened to the headline:

      It went from : Market workers strike asking for a dollar an hour raise. To: Market workers strike, threatening supply chain

      Not an innocent, unbiased edit. Setting the agenda for their neiliberal readership.

      1. jsn

        Yes, it’s amazing what digital has done to push people without their knowing it.

        I signed up for Netflix after a five year hiatus from TV and was struck by how, every step of the way, the interface speeds things up and pushes things at you. I found myself constantly hitting “pause” or “mute!”

        But most people, I figure, are at this point inured to the perpetual media push and don’t realize how far they’ve been cut out from the familiar and herded off into various feed pens.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Hah.. when Copeland coined the term “veal pens” for the 90’s office environment.. I never thought that it could apply to the little information silos we would eventually self migrate to.

  3. the suck of sorrow

    I have a wingnut friend. If he fulminates, I listen. Eventually the diatribe ends. At that point I ask what he wants to do with my evil doings carcass. He knows I am a socialist. He realizes that if killing me would be bad, then killing the few others of my ilk would be bad too.
    I find that humor diffuses a lot of tension for both of us.
    He is an excellent dentist and a wonderful friend to me. We both race bicycles which provides plenty for us to talk about amicably. At least for the past three decades.
    Communicate. Calmly.

  4. Kasia

    I have plenty of “liberal” friends who insist that Putin “stole” the 2016 election. They also think “white nationalists” disguised as BLM or Antifa were responsible for all the blue city summer violence and riots. Sometimes they claim the fires were started by police “agents provocateurs”. They also insisted that Trump was a right wing fanatic who was going to create a thousand year reich in the US.

    These liberals tend to be highly educated with well-paid jobs and are very respected in their communities. None are married or have children though. Several drink far too much wine than is good for them.

    There are far more similarities between Putin-tards and Q-tards than is generally admitted.

    1. voteforno6

      That being said, there’s more evidence that the Russians rigged the 2016 election than that he Democrats stole the 2020 election. That’s not a commentary of the strength of Russiagate accusations, by the way.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Facebook ads that might even be linked to a Russian server after the November 2016 election. They are just that crafty. Pelosi bungling the VRA? What was that? If it was important Pelosi would know about it.

          Ultimately, it’s an excuse for cycles of Team Blue poor performance, but Biden is President now. The pageantry is back! And Team Blue fans aren’t worried at all about the House losses.

          1. Edward

            My favorite was the ads featuring Spongebob Squarepants and Pokomon. I think the U.S. anti-Russia hysteria is a big joke in Russia, and some Russians wanted troll Americans into chasing their tales with these ads. If the Russian government wanted to influence Americans, they could surely do better then those weird ads. There was probably another trolling incident when Putin and his defense minister went fishing without wearing shirts, after the U.S. hysteria over the picture of Putin on a horse, without a shirt. The U.S. press ignored the fishing incident, though.

            I never followed “Russiagate” that closely because none of it made any sense, but the alleged interference kept changing over time. There was so little discipline and rigor in the accusations that this “changing of the goalposts” evoked little criticism or comment. We were at war with Eastasia yesterday, but today we are at war with Eurasia, Orwell-style. As I recall, the first accusation was that Trump was a Russian agent, because of a loan or some other financial motivation. Later, there was a “pee-tape” accusation, based on gossip paid for by a Clinton opposition researcher named Steele, who had formerly been an MI6 agent. You don’t get a more unimpeachable, unbiased source of information then that, but the press treated the Steele dossier as the gospel truth, not to be questioned, and the FBI justified their investigation on it. Another “tell” with these accusations is that the Russians are not invited by the U.S. press to respond to them.

            1. Futility

              My favorite was ‘Struggling with addiction to masturbation? Reach out to me and we will beat it together! Jesus’ accompanied by the usual drawing of a white guy with long hair and beard supposedly depicting Jesus. I always imagined the Russian creators of this add to literally die of laughter on account of the ambiguity how Jesus could help them, making it at the same time blasphemous and lewd (the usage of the word ‘beat’ in this context seems intentional to me). And according to liberal orthodoxy every American upon seeing this add immediately ran off to vote for Trump.
              The much more plausible explanation in my opinion for this ‘Russian’ interference is simply a (somewhat stereotypically Russian) money making scheme made possible by the business model of Facebook.

          1. Skip Intro

            So according to this theory, it was the release of undisputed emails from the campaign that ‘rigged the election’? That seems to be the extent of the indictment, which we know lacked actual forensic evidence, and is contradicted by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals’ forensic analysis (somehow missing from the wikipedia entry). Pretty amazing that a story that got virtually no coverage swayed an election where Clinton dropped $1.3billion, and the media gave Trump non-stop coverage.

          2. Kasia

            The only election the release of those emails proves was rigged was the 2016 Democratic Primary election.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Boy, is that incomplete.

            Mueller filed charges assuming no one would contest the charges.

            IIRC two did, promptly and Mueller stopped.

            Notice “indicted” only? Mueller was planning to convict them in absentia and the two that filed oppositions stopped that plan. They’d be convicted by now if there had been no motions of opposition.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember reading that the Mueller Group indicted those Russian military intelligence officers secure in the knowledge that nothing could force them to show up in an American court. So those were Show Indictments.

            I remember reading also that the 12 Russian officers insisted on coming to America and forcing the Mueller Group to submit to “Discovery” proceedings. At which point the Mueller Group immediately dropped the indictments.

      1. Skip Intro

        And there is more evidence of cops doing violence and destruction in the summer than either of those two!

        I am in Blue-MAGA world. I had a friend kick me out of their house during a soiree when I told them Russiagate was BS to cover for Clinton being a horrible candidate. They were in deep conditioning though, even using the giveaway Manchurian-Candidate-phrase ‘whip smart’. That was 2 years ago. I wonder what they believe now. I have had friends go down ‘right-wing’ information holes and their beliefs were changed pretty quickly. I think a huge problem is the fracturing of information sources which has basically broken a certain fundamental consensus about reality. It may be that that consensus was always based on a lie, but now there are dozens of incompatible lies that people believe.

        It is too easy to blame the victims. If media hadn’t been co-opted for propaganda, then abused to the point of Pravda-levels of credibility by lazy low-bid privatized propagandists, the thirst for alternate news would be reduced, he attention-economy polarization phenomenon would have less grip.

      2. Carolinian

        There were Dems before the recent election who said there was no way Trump was going to win and any win by him would automatically be viewed as suspicious and to be resisted. It wasn’t a big secret. They said this and it was so reported.

        That being the case I’d say the Trumpies were perfectly justified to have a skeptical attitude toward the result even if they didn’t make their case in the courts. But then, Trump being Trump, he just couldn’t let it go and refused to do what he ended up doing anyway. Bottom line: we’re better off without Trump. We aren’t better off with Biden. The whole process is a clusterf*ck.

      3. ForeignNational(ist)

        Eh, maybe saying the Russians tried to influence the election through information warfare-gimmicks might be more accurate? “Rigged” sounds like methods used in the rigging will almost guarantee election of desired candidate. The social media gimmicks and spreading of hoaxes that Russia had a hand in doesn’t seem so surefire to me to warrant the “rigged” designation. [shrugs]

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I am really tired of this “Russian election interference” or worse discussion (not that you started this line of thought).

          1. The amounts spent were trivial and more ran after the election than before. If “Russia” was able to exert any influence, it was so effective that every US political operative should be fired and replaced by these guys.

          2. The biggest identified party was a St. Petersburg troll farm. Maybe I missed it, but I have yet to see any proof that these “Russians” were working for the government.

    2. GeoCrackr

      I’ve lost more casual acquaintance/fb-friends who were rabid Hillary/Biden/Pelosi supporters than Trump supporters, most recently a couple of days ago (though that also reflects an initial bias against wingnut conservatism in my circle of friends/acquaintances to begin with). My refusal to play along with whatever the NYT/NPR/MSNBC narrative of the day is, especially Russiagate (or lately that the terrorist attack on the Capitol was not a “failed coup attempt”) has lead to real foaming-at-the-mouth diatribes ending in unfriending or outright blocking on fb (which was already my primary networking medium for keeping in touch even pre-pandemic). Refusing to back down from the seemingly-obvious conclusion that Clinton lost due to corrupt incompetence on the part of both her and the DNC in general, and in the recent election continuously pointing out what a walking dumpster fire Biden is, literally enrages people whose Zen Koan seems to be “But Trump”.
      More to the point of the original post: I’m lucky enough to work at a small company overwhelmingly populated by solid, smart Pacific Northwest liberals, most of whom were shell-shocked when their St. Hillary lost to a reality TV clown. We almost never talk politics at work (and I keep a heavy hand on which “work-friends” I connect to on fb), but occasionally it will come up in more casual conversations. Since I can’t afford to piss off people I work closely with on a daily basis I usually just let them ramble while giving clear signals that I’ve very little interest in whatever they’re going on about, until they eventually lose steam and change the subject. Some are aware, and others can probably guess I think, that I’m in the Bernie/Squad/Antifa camp, but they assume that I’m at least sympathetic to their propaganda narrative, and it’s not worth it in that context to disabuse them of that belief.

  5. cocomaan

    1. I know a fair number of people who believe the election was stolen and that the “swamp” has started acting in earnest to overthrow the will of the people.

    One is blue collar and makes six figures. Another is a small business owner and makes six figures. Both live in upscale neighborhoods and have a lot of money. These are not economically depressed people. Another conservative I know who is all in owns a lot of bitcoin and is independently wealthy. I know a few more who are blue collar and are less intense in their beliefs.

    In fact, the people making more money are more into the conspiracy, which is interesting.

    1. Schofield

      Earning lots of money isn’t necessarily synonymous with being interested in or capable of fact-checking in matters of democracy, economics and politics.

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    A drive-by link dump…germane, I think, to all this.
    In lieu of doomscrolling and obsessing over the news of the world, i’ve been obsessionally kicking my own a$$ on the farm, attempting to wrap up the infrastructure projects in time for February and all the garden stuff that entails.
    I did come across this, because I cannot totally avert my eyes: remarkable that it’s 1. in the NYT, and 2. by Ezra. When the quintessential Centrist Pragmatic Wonkmeister starts sounding like Henry Wallace…or even Huey Long…then you know things are upended, and TINA is perhaps mortally wounded.

    Otherwise, my too-early awakenings, due to incredible arthritis pain, have involved almosr random wanderings.
    Lots of intellectual ferment out there right now.
    Keep in mind that our words are in flux: Right/Left, Center, “conservative”, “Liberal”, and on and on.
    First, from the Center Right…i suppose:

    touches on Codevilla(sp-2), and is loaded with links…which leads us to the horse’ mouth:

    and especially:

    I’m not averse to county level federalism…smaller polities would be a good thing, if everyone could agree that the sky is blue, and that black folks are humans, and that “Freedom of Thought” includes the Freedom to arrive at a New New Deal…or even Socialism.
    That said, the way these people characterise “The Left” is ludicrous….a mirror image of how the Big Center Liberal/PMC sees the “Far Right”, and pretty much everyone outside of their bubbles.
    So many unexamined assumptions about the content and desires of the opposition, as well as the total lack of accountability on the Right, lo, these 50 years, in constructing these competing bubble universes, and the resulting perception that violence is the only remaining remedy.

    Meanwhile, in polling world: Most People are rather “Progressive”:

    these findings …which I have seen from other sources, as well…fly right into the face of the revolutionary Right’s assumptions about the urban/rural,L/R divides.
    And here’s Tucker, whom, for a while there, was drifting into sounding almost reasonable, ere he course corrected into being a sort of Righty Marat:

    and here’s a few fascinating takes from Historians:

    and finally, a couple of interesting developments on the Third party Front:

    this bunch is adjacent to the Evan McMullen ( wing of the former GOP…again, I’m a New Dealer, with Proudhommian tendencies and an antiauthoritarian streak, and I would much rather deal with this sort of “conservative” than any of the Turtle Brigade …let alone the LARPing Petty Bougie Revolutionaries that stormed the Capitol.

    Sorry for the Link Dump….there’s lots to think about right now…and I wish I had time…as well a less distracting body…to do it justice.
    I am far too scattered at the moment.

    Again, i’ve been embedded with the american right all my life, in mostly rural texas…i consider myself something of an expert on the subject…but the current situation requires much more research, as well as a lot more sitting under the Big Oak, attempting to shoehorn the chaos into some coherent framework.
    i can, however, say with some certainty that there’s a large shift underway…similar in scope to the mid-1800’s.

  7. Dave

    The Democratic Party controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress. Trump is out of public life (for now, maybe). This is all starting to feel like 2009 all over again. I feel as though the focus on understanding Trump voters is to distract away from a lack of a meaningful agenda to actually progress the country forward, or at worst, an excuse as to why nothing meaningful will get done. In 2009, the voters handed the Democratic party a gift to change the system in ways unthinkable and were amenable to such change given the fallout of the credit crisis. It was largely an opportunity squandered. In 2021, I think the focus on Trump is displaced energy whereas the focus should be on what the parties agenda is.

    1. Martin Oline

      That is a good point, Dave, and I think the next Congress will accomplish nothing of importance. The only changes we will see in the next two years will be executive orders that will immediately be tied up in Federal Court. Some have said that McConnell prefers to act as an obstructionist and enjoys a role as the minority leader. I think Schumer, on the other hand, desperately wants to be King. It’s good to be the King!

    2. km

      “I feel as though the focus on understanding Trump voters is to distract away from a lack of a meaningful agenda to actually progress the country forward, or at worst, an excuse as to why nothing meaningful will get done.”

      Of course. In fact, Team D will fight tooth and nail to make sure that nothing of substance gets done that might affect the way the pie is sliced.

      So expect to see lots of hot air debating symbolic issues and the legacy of Trump, because Team D cannot really offer anything else.

  8. Larry

    The Republicans must look upon the democratic party and its control over its subjects with envy. Worship of feckless leaders and delivery for the PMC and Wall Street class. If a state party comes out and says this, how much longer can the Republican party exist as a viable entity without some sort of schism? Granted, Massachusetts GOP was blathering on about unfair elections and their own Republican disavowed him, so perhaps this is more about the minor state parties being home to wing nuts while more reasonable types retire to independent status.

  9. farmboy

    the precinct I live in went 150 to Trump, 50 to Biden. I never talk politics, against war, only vote for someone, try to focus on local issues. Had to suspend my FB account about a year ago, too much vitrol, but kept it active so I could use messenger, cell phone so spotty it’s unreliable. Community school has been open and has been following state mandated protocols, but mask wearing in public evaporated last summer. Church is evangelical. Of my extended family, right wing ideology is active with Rush Limbaugh fans, mix all that together, not pretty.
    When BLM protest began last summer, militia types were showing up at locales ready for busloads of what? Sheriff departments across the region said no threat existed, but they all were talking out of both sides of their mouths. Ideologues driven by federal grazing rights dispute in the Klamath Basin have been down the rabbit hole for some time and the whispers prior to the election were sinister. It seems hopeless to me, but I still have to do business in the community. Most business owners i deal with, if not having an opinion prior to virus lockdowns, are radicalized.
    I feel for those House Republicans who voted to impeach. One of them, Dan Newhouse, was a surprise to me and he will suffer significant blowback for a long time. Even the airy, fairy types who are antivax, antimask are disappointing.
    i dated a Trump Republican prior to the 2016 election. She is a PhD, MBA, a smart, talented politician who got primaried, the office she held went downhill. After that, I felt that voters are dumb, she downplayed her credentials but angered the republican establishment.

  10. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    It’s part & parcel here especially from DUP types who sometimes appear to be living in a fantasy world – Shinners not so much but I imagine that SF dissidents have similar extreme positions & all of this comes from some intelligent & professional people not just the malleable mobs. Meanwhile there is a turf war for the gangster versions of both UVF & UDA hitting the streets in Belfast.

    I recall a few years back reading an account from a British Army general who was familiar with both Northern Ireland & the former Yugoslavia before they blew up, who in both instances was shocked by how people who had for the most part lived happily side by side within a relatively short space of time became sworn enemies. All of that had a religious background with the latter including ethnicity, but to him both sides in both cases spiraled down through negative reactions into extremes, becoming in the end each others sworn enemies.

    Politics & Class have I believe caused the same fractures & after all the successful & presumably intelligent PMC also have their deplorable others that are largely a construction based on generalisations & stereotypes, while sadly peace & reconciliation efforts as far as I can tell always appear to arrive as an epilogue to a very bad book.

    1. vlade

      Yugoslavia definitely didn’t live happily side by side. Its tensions were hidden under Tito, but existed before (cf WW2 Croats vs Serbs, as most visible example), and blew up after, to a great extent because they were so supressed before w/o any reasonable outlet. It might have given a semblance of “happines”, but it wasn’t really there.

      Can’t comment on NI.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was only in Yugoslavia once for about a week in 1982, and you could see what a mess it was in the making. I’m used to Europeans drinking, but Belgrade made em’ look like teetotalers. Add in age old tensions and kaboom!

        One of the biggest hyperinflationary episodes came out of their civil war, only to be eclipsed in the numbers game by Zimbabwe after the turn of the century.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I was going through Yugoslavia by train in 1981 and the one thing that struck me looking out the windows was flags. You had Yugoslavian flags everywhere you looked to the point that it was almost a fetish. It was only years later that I wondered if the point of those flags was to encourage the different groups to think of themselves as Yugoslavians first and foremost.

          1. Robert Gray

            > … flags everywhere you looked to the point that it was almost a fetish.

            Erm … that sounds just like the US of A.

      2. a different chris

        > to a great extent because they were so supressed before w/o any reasonable outlet.

        But this seems to excuse the fighting? If everybody was “suppressed” then why did they kick sideways, rather than up? As I think I said once before, my friend from Serbia would say “I’d be on “my” side of the street and “they” would be shooting at me, and then I’d cross the street and “my” people would be shooting at me”.

        He, like so many nowadays, came to the US not because this was some beacon of hope but because where he lived, a place he loved for many reasons, was that messed up.

        Reading Wikipedia I come across this tiresome sentence: “The Croat quest for independence led to large Serb communities within Croatia rebelling and trying to secede from the Croat republic. Serbs in Croatia would not accept a status of a national minority in a sovereign Croatia, since they would be demoted from the status of a constituent nation of the entirety of Yugoslavia.”

        Croats? Serbs? Like they are fundamentally different species? It’s as bad as the Reconstruction South, but per my example above people didn’t even have different colored skin, heck they were physically indistinguishable. They just wanted…something they themselves couldn’t even describe without foaming at the mouth.

        To be considered above somebody else by birth was what it really was.

        Oh, and another head-banging quote: “the “Croatian Spring” protest in the 1970s was backed by large numbers of Croats who claimed that Yugoslavia remained a Serb hegemony and demanded that Serbia’s powers be reduced….Tito, whose home republic was Croatia,”

        An iron-fisted dictator runs the country, he is from Croatia, yet the country is considered by Croatians to be “Serb hegemony”. Ok whatever, hey it does make more sense than following a normal-height dark-haired dark-eyed man because he says that tall blond-haired blue eyed people are superior. And that was a short-by-American-standards drive away…

        We can give the globe a spin and find the same idiocy in Asia, where “they all look alike” to western eyes but oh boy they slaughter each other just as regularly as we do.

        Ok I’m done ranting. What a plague on the planet this species is.

        1. vlade

          Kicking sideways (or downwards) is always easier than kicking upwards, especially if people were doing it for years.

          Otherwise, you’re just accentuating my point – and I agree with you. It was incredible watching people in pub who were getting on very well until one of them asked where the other was from, and that has changed the whole atmosphere.

        2. Wukchumni

          My cousin from Prague came to America in the late 90’s to live on a genuine ranch for a spell and go on a long roadtrip in search of…

          So he gets pulled over for speeding in a red state and gives the officer his Czech drivers license, and he told me the officer went into a harangue over all the ethnic cleansing that was going on in his country, and how sorry he was about it, and let him off.

          Cousin was torn between telling the copper, nah that’s a few countries over, but went for the victim card instead.

          1. vlade

            Hah, do you know the Western press brain-melt induced by having Slovakia and Slovenia (which, moreover have very similar flags..) in the same World Cup (soccer) 2022 qualification group?

        3. ex-PFC Chuck

          Croats? Serbs? Like they are fundamentally different species?

          Not different species, but different religions; Roman and Orthodox Catholicism, respectively. Think German-speaking Europe during the Thirty Years War.

          1. km

            The irony of course is that, in 1992, Croats for the most part didn’t go to mass, Serbs did go to Liturgy, and Bosniak Muslims thought beer went well with their pork chops.

            Think of it not as a religious war, but a re-hash of WWII.

          2. Synoia

            It is amazing that millions of people have fought and killed each other based on the way their customs of worship differ, yet all worship the same God.

            Jews, Roman Christians, Orthodox Christians, a plethora of Protestant (non Roman and non Orthodox) Christians, and Muslims all worship the same god, and have celebrated their differences for thousands of years by shedding each other’s blood whilst dedicated to the 10 Commandments, One of which clearly states “Thou shalt not kill.”

            It was that observation which resulted in my automatically getting a Detention in Divinity class (Mandatory, No separation of Church and state in the UK) if I so much raised my hand.

            That and my not so soft use of the word “Bullshit.”

        4. jsn

          Diana Johnstones “Fools Crusade” goes into the destabilization efforts made by various EU and Nato entities to precipitate the break up. It’s where the Clintons beta tested the nation breaking tools Bush/Cheney began deploying around the world.

          Karl Von Hapsburg and the Pope were both involved in prying the Catholic portions loose from the Yugoslav federation and bringing them back into the Mont Pelerin orbit of the former Habsburg empire.

          The Orthodox regions have been left to the Russians with black markets to everyone’s benefit and the Bosnians given the standard settler/colonial treatment of designated “races.”

          1. vlade

            BS. The Yugoslavia was always a powder keg full of grievances, it didn’t need any “destabilisations”.

            The federation was held together by Tito, and the moment he was gone, it started falling apart, exactly the same way as the Yugoslav kingdom was falling apart before WW2.

            1. jsn

              Thank you for the terse reply!

              I grew up in Texas and got a pretty good education. I thought I knew Texas history until I read “The Half Has Never Been Told.” Then a bunch of things that never made sense started falling into place.

              “Yugoslavia was always a powder keg full of grievances, it didn’t need any “destabilisations”” is a condition with a history and in that history, up to the present much can be found. You might read Johnstones book if you’re interested in that detailed, documented history. It reads a lot like the Skripal affair or the Browder affair in Russia.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I read somewhere that Yugoslavia persisted for several years after Tito’s death. And when the various Yugoslav peoples saw the Iron Curtain rusting away and Soviet-ruled peoples gaining more rights and liberties, they began wanting those same rights and liberties withIN a still-federated Yugoslavia. Is what I read simply wrong?

              When the legacy communist rulers made very clear that they would never permit democratization, Slovenians decided to seccede with Slovenia and the Yugoslav central government made very little effort to stop them. “Let them go, it is so small. We will keep the rest together.” But they couldn’t. Or is that a false memory too?

      3. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Vlade – perhaps I should not have used the word happily but basically neighbours were not killing each other as was also mainly the case in NI, although there were tensions gradually building up in tandem with the Civil Rights movement based on the MLK. model.

        I don’t know what the tipping point was in the Balkans, but in NI it was the treatment received by the marchers & the likes of the Bogside at the hands of the B specials & RUC in Derry which gradually spread elsewhere in mass battles between mobs from both sides & the above armed cops. All of this capped off in 72 by the Provos most successful recruiting campaign courtesy of the Parachute regiment on Bloody Sunday, while about that time around 10,000 Catholic refugees crossed into the Republic.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      If the General thought that people in NI lived happily side by side before the Troubles, then he was sorely misinformed. Tensions were always very strong, although not just religious ones. In Dublin growing up I had neighbours who were Belfast protestants but had been driving out of Belfast because their grandfather was involved in a shipyard trade union and that was sufficient for him to have been labeled as a communist and Taig lover.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Yes happily was the wrong word but in the North outside of the cities there was mixing & occasionally mixed marriages.

        You are very correct in relation to the troubles in the shipyards, which I read a few books about in prep for a statue. Funny thing is that during my 2 stints at the Titanic studios for GoT I was informed by the top man that many of the tradesmen were ex paramilitaries from both sides who managed to work well together for a decade, but in separate teams. That was also tjhe case during the yearly Wraps where they all took full advantage of the free bars but besides a few scuffles, there was never any real trouble.

        A lot of the work would have been carried out in the original paint hall.

      2. vlade

        Oooh.. Reminds me of E.T. Setton’s Two Savages and the difference between “Emmy Grants” and “Passengers”..

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          You have lost me there Vlade ( If you were indeed commenting on my post ) as I don’t know the book, but you have reminded me of one very violent incident on location in Spain between 2 Catholics in a bar. It was due to one of them being a member of another group of savages that plagued Belfast as the other 2 wound down.

          They were called the Hoodies who were part of the huge crime wave that hit Belfast as a consequence of the Troubles. It was cleaned up in Catholic areas over about 7 years under the command of Bobby Storey.

          1. vlade

            It was in response to PK. Two little savages (I got the title a bit wrong) is one of the key books of boy-scout movement that Setton founded. A large part of the book is taking place in one of the 19th century Canada frontier settlements, originally settled by Irish, who have their religious differences (Dogans vs Prattisons, or green vs orange), but on top of those also have “Emmy grants” vs “passengers”.

            The book explains it as that EGs got a government (British) grant to emigrate, while passeners paid for their own passage (in steerage), and “were, in their own opinion, many social worlds above the assisted ones” to quote the book.

            It’s not key to the book, but does play an unmissable role.

  11. Mikerw0

    I highly recommend this in the Atlantic on the topic. It is worth reading through.

    We live in upscale Westchester, NY, just north of Manhattan. Most of our social circles are highly educated, high income earners with advanced degrees — MBAs, lawyers, doctors. Of those that subscribe to these theories our general sense is that it is driven by either —

    1) Anti immigrant sentiment, despite almost all of them being descendants of Jewish immigrants
    2) Anti tax — this is a big driver
    3) Anti government — classic neoliberalists if that is a term of art
    4) They get their news from Fox and or CNBC (which has become a Fox-like spin on things)

    They claim to abhor Trump, are clearly anti populist, very pro Israel (Trump scores major points here) but support all the policies (but they are not anti abortion). Interestingly, as they earn their incomes serving the wealthy donor class they will not risk this and cross them.

    They view Biden and Sanders as being alike, despite any actual facts you cite such as Biden’s work in bankruptcy, think the democrats are anti Israel and pro Palestinian, etc. Much of this dates back to Obama and the claims he was going to transfer all the money to the welfare queens — remember the give them free cell phones.

    Interestingly, they clash heavily with their children (upper teens to 20-somethings) who more align with Sanders and progressives and are very concerned about wealth inequality and climate change.

    One last point, they are as inclined to get their news from Facebook feeds as Fox.

  12. fresno dan

    I’ve mentioned my Trump worshipping friend several times. I met him when we were in the Air Force together back in 1975 (was I even alive than!??! it doesn’t even seem like it was me now…) He is from outside Boston, Ma and still lives there.

    1. He is married (once divorced) and has 3 children (a male and female twin through artificial insemination, and than one accidentally – seems he could have saved himself tens of thousands of dollars) He comes from a working class background (my flat out poor background I think gave us a shared view of politics, i.e., a cynicism about the motives of politicians). He has a Bachelors in business (started his college education at night school while in the Air Force – you can’t fault his work ethic) and works as an accountant (he is not a CPA) but does very well (6 figure salary at least) at a big company. When I met him, he was more “liberal” than me (I was a full blown libertarian back then). As the years have gone by, I’ve gone left and he has gone right.

    2. A good deal of what my friend says I agree with, e.g., Russia!Russia!Russia!!! Most of the media critique of Trump is overwrought and a good deal inaccurate, and he is obsessed with sharing his knowledge. Many of his criticisms of dems could be taken from NC. I’ve mentioned this before, it seems to me once someone becomes a fanatic, they have a compulsion to share the “truth” and become a proselytizer. My friend seems unaware that our “conversations” now a days consists of his speaking being 98% of our get together (by telephone). Part of that I think is do to the fact that he has few people he can frankly share his views with (his children, now graduated from college, are starting to disagree with him). I think trying to refute him has the same likelihood of converting the Pope to being a Muslim – pointless to try. And like I have noted before, it isn’t so much that Trump is doing something that my friend likes so much, as it is that Trump hates democrats* But there used to be in our conversations the understanding that both parties are corrupt and flawed. My friend still believes that, he is no fan of most republicans. But also now believes that Trump is the solution, and is the PERFECT solution. It really is astounding that he views Trump as essentially flawless. He views ANY negative comment about Trump as being a lie propagated by the media.

    *Interestingly, my friend even when I first met him, detested the Kennedys. I think we bonded so strongly because we didn’t buy that the democrats were such good guys (remember, this is 1975 –anti Nixon press was almost as pervasive as anti Trump press). My mother was shocked and dismayed that I would vote repub. My argument was if the dems help the poor SO MUCH, why are we still so poor? My error of course was believing that the “opposition” party was actually in opposition when in fact when it came to being corrupt and doing the bidding of the highest bidder, both parties were vying to be most corrupt…and in fact both parties are in consensus about a whole range of issues, such as warmongering and the security state. Fundamentally, my friend seems to believe that Trump is different from the dems and most repubs. He NOW doesn’t like Bush and Romney, but that is my friend editing his own memory. Basically, my friend believes the country is going to heck in a handbasket, and Trump is the ONLY one ready to stand up to the status quo.

    1. a different chris

      >Basically, my friend believes the country is going to heck in a handbasket, and Trump is the ONLY one ready to stand up to the status quo.

      Maybe ask him if Trump is “standing up” for everybody — or, if the previous 6 decades of Trump’s life actually indicates that his interest in upsetting the status quo is most likely to be to profit off the carcass of a once wealthy nation?

      Shorter me: What makes him think the Trump Tiger has changed its stripes?

      PS: excuse me if you’ve already tried this approach! Nothing seems to work on these people in truth.

      1. fresno dan

        a different chris
        January 27, 2021 at 10:03 am

        So in the 2% of the time I got a word in edgewise, I tried the contradiction of my friend’s once strong Bush and Romney support (I foolishly thought this oblique attack on Trump would be one for which my friend did not have a ready defense) – so just as my friend refuses to see facts that counter his view of Trump, he refuses to retain ANY memories that would show my friend as an apostate to the Trump religion…
        AND in speaking about Bush and Romney my friend stated his displeasure at Bush and Romney being rich, AND in the same paragraph my friend stated that he admired Trump for ….wait for it….Trump’s wealth. I might as well argue with a Christian about the infallibility of God.

  13. The Historian

    I come from a large family and we have just about every political view represented somewhere. Our family reunions have some really interesting political debates. My sister-in-law, a retired vocationally trained RN, who lives in Montana and is very Catholic, is a firm believer that what happened at the Capitol is a ‘false-flag’ and that it was all because of Antifa. She believes every word that Trump has ever said, even though eight years earlier she was just as fanatic about Obama. I have a brother, retired military with a PhD who loves the Cheneys, who has been patiently trying to explain to her that no, Antifa was not involved, but to no avail. If you ever met my sister-in-law, you would love her because she is the sweetest, kindest, and most loving person I have ever met. So most of our family ignores the nuttiness because we love the person.

    Now her son-in-law is another thing. He is a small businessman in a small community in Montana, no college, very LDS, very libertarian, believes everything Trump says, and is the most rigid personality I have ever met. He has absolutely no interest in talking to you if you don’t believe exactly as he does. Needless to say, most of us just avoid him. It would not surprise me at all if he belonged to OathKeepers or one of the other groups. One of my sisters married a guy from the same ward as this person goes to and he is not like that at all, so I don’t think it is the Church that has made my sister-in-law’s son-in-law the way he is.

  14. Wukchumni

    We were walking the planks around the periphery of a large cruise ship in 2011 en route to Alaskan glaciers, when my somewhat normal brother in law exclaimed that Donald Trump would make a really good President, and part of me wanted to listen to his reasoning, and part of me wanted to go back to our room and tell my better half just what went down on the poop deck.

    Yeah, he’d turned into a Fox News gathering galoot along with my other B-I-L who swings so far right there’s a permanent lean to him. These are 2 fellows i’ve known since they married my sisters in the 70’s & 80’s, and neither of them gave 2 shits about politics before say, the turn of the century.

    Fast forward to Trump winning, and for one B-I-L it was tantamount to cashing a 66-1 longshot in his prescience, while the other one was seen sometimes licking his chops in ripe anticipation of accosting liberal values, oh happy day.

    Both of them haven’t mentioned 1/6 on our family Zoom jam sessions since the deal went down. I think i’ll bring it up tomorrow, see what they say.

  15. John G

    Six kids here, (55 – 45 years of age): three Trump supporters, one Pelosi supporter, two think politics is silly to talk about. Have had yelling arguments with two oldest (one Trump: college B/A/ IT , one Pelosi: insurance adjuster). We end up hugging and promising not to talk politics again. In three book clubs,the great majority Pelosi fans willing to espouse their condemnation of Russia, Trump, etc., while Trump fans say very little about politics, but I can tell they are seething. Golfing buddies are about evenly split: no arguments.
    Both groups state their ‘facts’, ‘science’ and ‘belief’ sincerely and cannot believe the other does not ‘see’ the ‘truth’.
    I’m afraid hate and fear have pierced American’s hearts with media pushing both and a pandemic that heightens the latter. Hopefully “time heals all”.

  16. Alex Morfesis

    Uncle Fa…Anyone who mentions they are worried about auntie fa…or auntie Fa did this or that…moi just blurts out…well she just makes noise and to call me when uncle Fa gets involved…as to lost elections…or stolen ones…just remind folks Reagan got more actual votes in 1968 going into the convention than Nixon but the notion of members of the political parties actually getting a vote, let alone a voice in the choice is a fairly new phenomenon… Historically the local party bosses at the convention openly negotiated who would be “their” candidate…this election cycle was somewhat unique in how close the vote was to remove a sitting President after only one term…but as a friend once suggested…in 1960 Nixon stormed into the oval office demanding Ike investigate the anomalies of the voting and the vote counts…”someone” stole some votes to win a state…and as told to me…Ike leaned back and said…he was thinking about investigating some strange voting patterns….since he couldn’t figure out how Nixon had won California and Hawaii…at which point, the story goes…Nixon put his head down and walked out quietly… His story vs Her Facts…as to the rest of the bond James bond q stuff… usually ask someone to consider…if they really believe…the story is a cover story for a real story…replace political cabal with the giant drug Lord’s/kingpin crime syndicates and realize those organizations do in fact target children as victims for their drug dealing and how those organizations can in fact bleed into using blackmail against politicians and bureaucracies to get what they want…and as to the soccer game tailgate party at the Capitol…suggest they go ask the googoylemonstyr to rustle up some videos of futball games in Europe or South America and see the noise and destruction which occurs on a fairly regula basis…or ask them if they have ever been to Yankee stadium after a red Sox game and had to dance their way out to avoid the rumbles and beatings…meh…as to the self guided tours of the Capitol…get better pretorean guards…

  17. ex-PFC Chuck

    I have not been in touch with the one hard-core Trumpster I know since before the pandemic, but I’ll be surprised if I eventually learn he has not bought into the stolen election meme. I first encountered his political views not long after I’d first met him, 15+ years ago, and he harangued me at a social gathering about the fact that climate change was a scam perpetrated by the scientists to garner more grant money.
    He is a graduate of the U of MN law school and practiced tax law for a decade or two before buying an apartment building, and then another. Soon he gave up the law practice to manage his mini but growing property management empire full time.
    Not long after I was straightened out by him on the climate change issue his wife told me that about the time he made the career change was when he began going around the hard right bend. She said he was freaked out by the late ‘80s push for a simplified tax code, which threatened the prospects of his “rent toll booth (my choice of phrase, not hers), and that’s what drove both his political and career pivots. John is closing in on 85, if not there already, and shortly before the pandemic blew up I learned he had recently been diagnosed with gradual onset dementia.
    Like almost everyone else in my social circle John’s wife is life-long Democrat, and many of them have fallen deep into TDS. Thus the comments of Kasia and others up-thread resonate with me. This includes the members of a group I’ve belonged to for several years that calls itself the Critical Thinking Club. Although we have not met in person since early last year, we’ve kept in touch by email and more recently held Zoom meetings and it’s apparent the “Critical Thinking” part is off the table when Democratic Party is on it.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Generally, people that feel the need to boast of their critical thinking faculties flatter themselves (with the exception of our gracious hosts here when they have to straighten out the commentariat! They very much walk the, uh, thought?).

      One doesn’t talk about being a critical thinker; one simply gets on with it, or doesn’t.

      1. Dr Sloper Waz Robbed

        Yeah but maybe the club has a silent colon, so it’s really the”Critical: Thinking” Club. You know like Lionel Hutz from the Simpsons who didn’t mean to put up an ad up that said ‘No Money Down”; he wanted it to say “No! Money Down”.

  18. Gregory Etchason

    Many in the “mob” are libertarians feeling the crushing boot of “monopoly”. Knowing the government has been captured by the same forces. I predict the “status quo” will survive
    any idealist myth either libertarian or collective. The end game is to reduce all independent economic activity to employment.

  19. Wyoming

    My wife and I know too many people like this to count. The rarity among our acquaintances is those who don’t harbor any of the craziness. And some, of course, are a mixture.

    Their educational levels run the full gamut from advanced degrees (including MD’s and PhD’s) to just HS diplomas. Many are quite wealthy (to me that means 5 million and up) and most of the rest would qualify as solid middle class with 6 figure incomes and 7 figure net worth. And there are plenty of lower middle class and working class incomes as well.

    I don’t deal well with them at all and try hard not to talk to them about anything related to politics, economics, history, science, religion – pretty much anything beyond the weather or sports – as they have in my opinion no ability what-so-ever to think rationally or logically.

    The wife can actually talk to them and even though she has the same private opinion of them that I do she stays on decent relations with them (once I realize they are lunatics I won’t talk to them) but does not refrain from pointing out in clever ways how wrong they are. Which they sometimes admit to her she is right but they go right back to it the next day – so I almost always count my approach as more sensible.

    There is zero chance of solving this situation imho.

    1. Sue in SoCal

      I don’t know what to think anymore about intelligent people who do not believe in science or fact. In these cases, it seems little to do with personal economics. I tried, after 2016, to ask Trump supporters to convince me of their views, but no longer. The CTs begot a cult of insanity in my opinion. I don’t see many people anymore, and hardly any since Covid. None of the people in my immediate legal, educational or family circles, thank goodness, are crazy.

      However, I have a lifelong friend who worked on the hill for many years, then retired to Southern CA. Family members were firmly to the right of Birchers; Newt was not right wing enough, but my educated friend, so far as I knew, did not hold the family’s world views. Somehow, this brilliant person spiraled into paranoia in the last year and in a weird flip became one of the fringe right’s unwitting cheerleaders. I can’t for the life of me explain it, but I do believe in this instance, whatever is going on is partially seriously clinical. This is a person rooting for a super power to move in and plant its flag, not that that couldn’t happen, I suppose, but because Trumpism will “win anyway.” Though I am anything but optimistic, I simply couldn’t deal with the never ending doom that was launched at me 24/7 from someone who claimed to be “appalled.” (Final straw: “Why doesn’t [Trump] just slaughter them all at the inauguration and get it over with.”) I’m not kidding or making this up. End of life long friendship.

      As for the perfectly sane and intelligent people I knew that are rabidly cray cray now, they are no longer in my life for my health’s sake. (The few that come to mind are in AZ.) All of this feels like people with ergot poisoning.

  20. James P.

    “Do you know anyone personally who harbors some or all of these views?”

    I know 4 people very well who hold these views. All have college degrees, all are either professionals (one lawyer, one airline pilot) or retired professionals (corporate retail executive). All are white, 2 males and 2 females, 2 70+ year olds, 2 50+ year olds. I’ve been able to mostly avoid them lately. When the CT subjects come up I try to change the subject or exit as quickly as possible. I initially tried counter arguments but that proved impossible. They are stuck solidly in their worldview and are firm believers in the wildest CTs. And I never thought of these people as stupid or gullible until Trumpism came along. The world changed.

  21. LAS

    1. Do you know anyone personally who harbors some or all of these views? What can you tell us about their education level or other class indicators, profession/employment, age, and where they live?

    Yes, a female widower, whose husband was a stock broker. I figure her as someone in a comfortably arranged financial retirement situation but not wealthy enough to be without anxiety … concerned that someone might take her moderate wealth and asset cushion — those socialists, you know. Gotta be vigilant.

  22. DJG

    I think that Yves Smith diagnoses it with this sentence: “Having said that, Australians are very skilled at speaking across political lines, and they often use humor, but Americans are too earnest for most of us to be adept at that.”

    I’m not sure that Americans are earnest. I think that it has more to do with the requirement the everyone have religious beliefs–and talk about it. You just gotta believe. Well, now, people believe anything.

    Many Europeans have commented on the showy religious aspects of the Inauguration. Joe Biden had to go to church? Further, the insistence on belief had to be reinforced by one more intonation of Amazing Grace, which is an identity-politics signal if there ever was one.

    Years ago, I was in a restaurant in Rome, and the waiter was chatting with his various charges at his tables. Something about religion came up. “Non sono credente,’ said the waiter. Translation: I’m not a believer (I don’t belong to the Church). I’m not sure that Americans could ever be earnest in that way.

    Imagine a waiter in the U S of A offering his religious ideas in a casual conversation. Politics and religion are highly guarded and coded in the U S of A. Now we are finding out that the aqua party and the mauve party are cults, and their adherents will believe anything.

    1. Walter

      I take it you’d think references to the ‘sacred’ Capitol building – the Temple of Democracy – during the Trumpian riot were maybe just a tad religious? You’d be correct.

  23. William Hunter Duncan

    While I have seen no evidence that would support in any way the idea that this election was stolen from Trump:

    Seeing some of the videos of Capital Police standing down as the “protestors” entered the Capital, I have been inclined to believe they were told to stand down. That there was apparently much less security than would be typical for any large gathering in DC makes me inclined to believe this was a “false flag” of sorts, a gambit by the “deep state” to finally be rid of Trump, a coup de grace’ as it were, and to establish a Patriot Act 2.0 to protect Washington and Wall Street from any future possibility of dissidence/insurgency/Trumpian Charismatic.

    As for this being a “leftist” takeover, I find that laughable, as I see instead the Democratic establishment hijacking the “woke” agenda of Race equity, to make a ruling class and PMC of many colors, while otherwise eliminating any possibility of improving the conditions for the working class or poor of all races. That is a corporatist/internationalist agenda, not leftist in the least.

    The political narratives of Republicans and Democrats at this point take a bit of truth and turn it into authoritarian gibberish. Meanwhile it seems the “leftist” war profiteers in this Administration are already angling for a color revolution in Russia – that crown jewel in neocon, regime change, nation building ideology. So surely those Republicans in the Oregon Legislature with their personal investments in Raytheon etc are merely antagonizing the Dems to improve their stock in military contractors, just like Blinken and Austin et al.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wokenizzum was never about racial equalacy. The only thing it was ever about was racial-humiliation vengeance and grievance for some, and moral superiority stuff-strutting for others. And preventing any cross-racial solidarity from ever emerging along shared class lines.

  24. JustAnotherVolunteer

    Oregon Context

    I live in western Oregon in what is considered a liberal college town but I know a lot of people across the spectrum who are unhappy with government.

    Although Oregon is characterized as a blue state the dominate voters are concentrated in a very small set of cities in the western half of the state leaving most of the rest of the population under represented and over regulated by the more liberal urban agendas. Much of the anger here comes from folks who have no say but feel are they are being told what to do and how to live. There are a few small projects that attempt to find common ground and common cause but “you’re not the boss of me” runs deep in many of the logging/ranching/farming counties.

    Excuse the large link dump but the current flap has a long history –

    Recent State House action –

    11 Oregon GOP senators flee to avoid climate change vote. They may be hiding in Idaho Read more here:


    Rep. Mike Nearman stripped of responsibilities, faces fine for allowing Capitol breach

    Malhuer and the Bundy Family

    Bundyville is a must read –

    And still is relevant now:
    The Washington, D.C., siege has Western roots and consequences

    But this was not central Oregon’s first Rodeo – Rajneeshpuram

    Reconfiguring borders to gain agency –

    A little history from the under represented State of Jefferson:

    “We the people of the 23 counties of Northern California, hereafter known as Jefferson, formally demand an immediate Article 4, Section 3, (U.S.) state split. We declare the State of California is in open rebellion and insurrection against the government of the United States.”

    Under representation in the west and venue shopping:

    Join the movement to relocate the Oregon/Idaho border to make both states better.

    Current movements in surrounding states:

    1. lordkoos

      Rural Oregon is similar politically to eastern Washington state where I live, although from my own experience there are parts of rural OR that are even more extreme-right than in eastern WA. Many areas were settled by very conservative pioneers and the legacy is still there. In the 2000s rural OR was one of the worst areas in the country for meth use which I witnessed first-hand a couple of times.

  25. NotTimothyGeithner

    I saw a lecture that started with framing about conspiracy theories in American society from the arrival of English colonists through the Iraq War, it was a wild time, and this stuff is fairly routine. I think the current crisis is less the beliefs than the standards and recruitment policies of the police and other outfits.

    We’ve had Birtherism (thanks David Brock and HRC), the pee tapes, and now Q. With the conspiracy theories, they offer a sense of control without demanding citizen accountability.

    Who remembers the claims the Clinton Administration took all the W’s off the keyboards in 2001? I wonder what happened to the money appropriated for repairs.

    1. Carolinian

      Right. People demand an explanation even when there isn’t enough evidence to provide one. Kinda explains religion not to mention the Grassy Knoll theories that were more common awhile back.

    2. flora

      The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

      H. L. Mencken

      1. flora

        The full Menken quote:

        “Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury.”

        ― H.L. Mencken, In Defense Of Women

        1. fresno dan

          January 27, 2021 at 11:01 am

          “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”
          I remember the very first time I read that – I thought it was a made up internet meme. When I determined that it was in fact true, it was “of course.”

      2. Robert Gray

        A perhaps more well-known Mencken:

        “No one in this world, so far as I know – and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me – has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

  26. peonista

    Most of my friends and family identify as Democrats, most of my neighbors and acquaintances as Republicans, but the classic “flyover” former union Dem type.
    I find I can have more nuanced political discussions with the Republican group than the Democrats. I can criticize Trump and Trump policies and political appointments. I cannot criticize Biden, his past policies and current appointments with my Democratic friends.
    I can question core Republican social ideas, welfare, homophobia, anti-abortion. I cannot question core Democratic social ideas, immigration, identity politics, trans ideology, or I will be “cancelled”.
    By far and away my so called liberal friends are terrified of Russia and endorse whatever interference in Venezuela’s, Bolivia’s, Ecuador’s, Syria’s, etc politics, governance and autonomy that the US government wants without question. My Republican neighbors are more critical and you can talk about your criticism with them.

    1. Walter

      I think you need to judge that more in context. Those ‘liberal’ reactions may actually be the most rational. Consider: what is the level of threat that the ‘other’ side poses to each view? The lib/Dem side may threaten a more ‘socialistic’ government but the Trump side actually did try to end democratic election.
      Now, which is more extreme? And which, therefore, would prompt a more extreme reaction?

      1. MK

        “but the Trump side actually did try to end democratic election.”

        peonista’s entire post verified by your TDS.

      2. Massinissa

        ‘The.lib dem side may threaten socialistic government’

        Wait, where did this mention of socialism even come from? Peonista never mentioned socialism at all. Maybe you’re new here, but nobody here dislikes Democrats because they might be socialists, mostly because Democrats AREN’T socialist.

        “Consider: what is the level of threat that the other side poses to each view?” Uh, not much, because the two threats you mention are mostly unsubstantiated.

    2. Gumbo

      I have a similar experience. On the farm in rural Illinois the discussions are amicable even though I’m Bernie and they know it. In Seattle any criticism of national D orthodoxy makes for uncomfortable conversations.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      In my limited experience, the Democrats I interacted with ( at political display booths) were already like this before Trump even ran for the nomination. The Republicans at their political display booths were interesting or at least non-boring people. The Democrats at their booths were deeply boring and deeply repellent as people.

  27. Richard Hershberger

    Last summer, when I noticed people fulminating about BLM being “socialist” or “communist” or whatever, I started responding by asking my fellow interlocutor to give me a brief definition of “socialism” or “communism.” So far the perfect record of responses stands. These are not being used as words having semantic content. They are boogeymen. It would be interesting to ask this of your educated, cultured friend.

      1. Richard Hershberger

        Implying that one of them does not. What can we conclude from this about the organization and its aims?

        1. Kasia

          Let’s imagine that two out of the three founders of the Proud Boys self-identified as Fascists. What would you conclude about that organization?

          1. witters

            I’d be rather surprised at the self-identification. (Seems to me the example depends on ascribing them such an identity, but that is a rather different idea of ‘self-identify’ from the usual one, is it not?)

          2. ForeignNational(ist)

            Personally, I’d conclude from your hypothetical information about the founders that the Proud Boys sound like it might be fascist. Intrigued, I would hypothetically look into what the organization and its members do and say to make a proper determination whether or not it is fascist. (This is hypothetical – I’m not a fascist, despite what my webhandle might suggest.)

            After applying similar treatment to BLM, I wouldn’t conclude outright that the movement as a whole is Marxist. Some (prominent) people in the movement might be self-professed Marxists who wish to dismantle capitalism and see capitalism as it presently operates as something that benefits a white upper class in the stratosphere at the expense of minorities. Many others aren’t there for that – they were drawn to the movement because of its antiracist message. Having been to a local BLM protest and having heard about friends who went to others, I did not get the impression that our local BLM activists were Marxist – they focused on antiracism and police brutality. Granted, this is my personal experience, and yours may differ.

            I do want to point out that one of the reasons why Marxism as implemented in your typical communist dictatorship (USSR, for instance) is bad is because it often relies on a Leninist party system where most people are part of a cell or some other political unit, everyone in the cell has to toe the blasted party line set by the people at the top (the politburo standing committee, for instance), and there are political commissars in the cell who enforce this party line. Totalitarian, authoritarian, less room for dissent, more brittle, more brutal, etc, (one may argue that Maxism has problems in and of itself, but I digress). BLM is quite different from all that – it’s decentralized (even if there is a website), and its members advocate for diverse policies and viewpoints under the racial justice umbrella. There isn’t the top-down centralized party apparatus pushing a party line seen in the typical Marxist organizations we don’t like (communist parties!). Likewise, even if there are Marxists inside BLM, I’d like to think the movement’s loose structure means we need not worry about them.

            1. Kasia

              I appreciate your applying the rules of engagement in labelling both BLM and the Proud Boys.

              Communism was prophesized to be the culmination of the capitalist mode of production. It was never meant to occur in backwards, retrograde lands like Russia, China, or Cuba. Marx himself said that the aftermath of a revolution in such places would strongly resemble capitalism. He had the utmost respect for capitalists and never imagined government bureaucrats could outperform them. In fact Stalin did a damn good job trying!

              Lenin was well aware of the problematic nature of revolution only in Russia and instigated a revolution in Germany, creating briefly the Bavarian Soviet Republic. It failed and triggered quite a strong reaction…

              So capitalism was meant to develop to such an extent that abundance could be assumed. The proletariat in the process would become nearly universal, globally. At the end, in a millennialist fantasy, some bourgeois ideologues would switch sides and the promised land of abundant communism dawn. Thus the cycle from primitive communism (savagery and barbarism) through class division (ancient slavery, feudalism, capitalism) would lead to a brief transition period of socialism to be followed by the end of history in a communism of abundance. The proletariat were to play a strange combined role of Jesus and the Chosen People, only in this case they were to become universal.

              Lenin and Mussolini (who up to WW1 was a well known and orthodox Marxist) devised the vangaurd party structure as they lost patience in capitalism fulfilling Marx’s Messianic prophesies. After the disaster of WW1, the obvious flaw in Marxism of denigrating the national phenomenon led Mussolini to go his own way. Humans grouping into communities (us vs. them) far predates class struggle — all though the savagery and barbarism stages humans were organized into competing “national” tribes.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Really? I had thought they identified as trans-lesbians or some such.

        Marxists? Would Marx himself recognize them as such?

        1. Kasia

          To be honest it was, let’s say, a politically less sophisticated friend of mine who informed me that BLM was a Marxist organization. I haughtily chuckled at his simplicity of not realizing that BLM was simply a clown-car corporate virtue signaling operation and that if it actually was Marxist, that would make it fairly cool. But I checked myself and did some research and sure enough, one of the founders would get what is my admittedly arrogant stamp of approval of actually being knowledgeable enough about Marxism to deserve the title. The other founder who labelled herself a “trained Marxist” is a bit cringe in my book. But who I am to deny them their self declared political identity? If they declared themselves men, I would have to acquiesce: neither Marx nor I have standing to deny them the Marxist label. And as far as I understand, being trans-lesbian does not disqualify one from being a Marxist!

          But there is a rich history of black Marxism, if such an appellation is not an outright heresy. W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Assata Shakur (who BLM founder Alicia Garza is inspired by), and C. L. R. James to name just a few. Obviously the “nationalities question” has haunted Marxist thought throughout its history as Marx attempted to downplay the importance of nations in an attempt to universalize the proletariat. But even he and more so Engels divided the working class by attacking the “aristocracy of labour” which were a portion of the working class who were thriving under capitalism. Just like how in Christianity, the goal is NOT to save Jesus from the cross, in Marxism the proles have to serve their world-historical mission by suffering. This unfortunate and controversial splitting of the working class led directly to Trotsky denouncing the white American working class as racist and then to the fanatical rise of “privilege theory” where real, actual Marxists were declaring white workers overpaid and and demanding they renounce their standards of living. Never has a more ruling class friendly idea been pronounced than privilege theory! But many other, let’s say more orthodox Marxists, denounce privilege theory as an attempt to transfer worker wealth back to the capitalist power structure.

  28. Keith Newman

    Here is what helps me understand:
    1-We are great apes, 95% non-rational, with a thin veneer of rationality. We crave hierarchy.
    2-Life is becoming increasingly difficult materially and emotionally for many many people.
    3-Media-promoted division is very profitable, and our rulers want us divided and weak, so division is sown endlessly.
    4-We are immersed in propaganda and live in a literally Orwellian world (forever wars with interchangeable enemies, total surveillance all the time, internal enemies neutralised). So false flags, grotesque fabrications, relentless repetition of obvious falsehoods and contradictory stories, are commonplace.
    What I do:
    I live within the progressive side of things where the 4 points above abound – especially Trump derangement syndrome and extreme identity politics. With people I almost never see or don’t care if I never do again, I challenge them (respond with comments along the lines of points 3 and 4).
    With people in my close world I am much more careful and usually quite restrained. I determine how resilient I think the person is. How much challenge they can absorb. I keep in mind Caitlin Johnson’s point that, once programmed, people will only change their mind if their understanding of the world becomes untenable. I know my few comments will not achieve that. Re Russia-gate I say the hard evidence seems very weak to me and the story barely believable. Re Trump vs democracy I say the democracy train left the station a long time ago, now it’s mostly theatre. Re general Trump derangement syndrome say I policy-wise he is a standard Republican, but personally a jack-ass. Re Biden being the saviour I say I hold little hope because in the past he has been a total supporter of forever war and Wall Street and I see little to indicate he has changed. Then I let it go. Well, I try…

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      Once programmed, people will only change their mind if their understanding of the world becomes untenable

      That one is a keeper, I will borrow it myself in the future. Your number 2 is also very important, I think. People are really suffering from neo-liberalism, and suffering people tend to complain and lash out at the wrong targets sometimes.

    2. fresno dan

      Keith Newman
      January 27, 2021 at 10:50 am

      agree completely – very well said. I always try to remember what I used to believe but no longer do. I believed it than, and I don’t think I had less respect for the truth than – I was just wrong. I could be wrong now.
      I was reading a post in Ritzholtz about studies of cognitive dissonance. It was about the people who believed a spaceship would come and save them before the earth was destroyed. One point that was made that I think gets overlooked is that these people had jobs, relationships, they fully understood how the world worked 99.999 percent of the time. They were wrong about 1 major thing. I try to remember that I can’t be right in everything either, and if I am wrong, how do I know it?

  29. David

    Interestingly enough, my very liberal neighbor considers me a Trumpist who harbors these views simply because I’m not a Biden supporter (you’re with us or against us, somehow Biden is labeled as good). I’ve tried to explain that I would have voted for a Dem if Tulsi had been allowed to run, but once the DNC deemed her unwelcome, so to did they deem me unworthy. Of course my failure to place Obama on the throne of divinity shreds any remaining moral values I may have. It would seem as though any position short of hard left justifies the label of deplorable. I find I have adopted the strategy of many I know, just keep it to yourself, dare you temp team cancel.

    1. Jason

      Of course my failure to place Obama on the throne of divinity shreds any remaining moral values I may have. It would seem as though any position short of hard left justifies the label of deplorable.

      These two sentences epitomize the mass confusion. Obama is not in fact “hard left.” He governed to the right of Ronald Reagan, and proudly so, as he himself admitted on more than one occasion.

  30. Donald

    I think a big part of the problem is that it is sometimes genuinely hard to tell the difference between crackpot conspiracy theories and, well, true conspiracy theories. And as most of us know, the mainstream press can’t always be trusted.

    So here are two examples. What the heck was going on with Epstein? Not just his death, but his whole life? I won’t go into any of the various conspiracy theories because I don’t have evidence, but I strongly suspect there was some intelligence agency or agencies involved. But anyway, that story has vanished and as far as I know, nobody really knows what was going on.

    Second, I follow Aaron Mate and tentatively believe he is right— the OPCW is probably corrupt and lied about the evidence regarding what happened in Douma. If so, that is a gigantic scandal, made worse by the fact that the press has largely chosen to ignore it. More generally, I think we got a hugely one- sided and distorted view of the Syrian War. I don’t doubt that Assad is a war criminal, but I think the war crimes of the people we supported ( and our own crimes in the bombing of Raqqa and of Mosul in Iraq) were mostly downplayed or ignored. In the mainstream US press I think Robert Worth is probably the best reporter. He doesn’t downplay anybody’s crimes. But most of the coverage isn’t like that.

    One could go on and on. I gave up trying to figure out what parts of Russiagate were true. But my attitude is that even if the Russians did steal the emails, releasing them was a public service, and for Americans to get hysterical about Russian interference given what we do all the time is nothing more than a joke.

    So anyway, Qanon aside, I don’t feel always blame people who believe false conspiracy theories because it really is hard sometimes to figure out what is true when our mainstream sources are often unreliable. The NYT has a lot of resources. Imagine what they could be doing if they really were interested in following a story no matter where it led. But I suppose if they were like that they probably wouldn’t have gotten to be such a powerful institution in the first place.

    1. Reality Bites

      I think you are quite correct. I know a number of people that are Trumpists. Only one of them fits the standard stereotype pushed by the media (no college education, rural, poor, white male). The rest are all PMC types that are very pro-gun and and anti-tax. One was all about blue lives matter until Babbitt was killed. He was perplexed when I was not angered she was killed while storming the capitol building. I tried to explain but nuance is simply not done.

      The bigger issue is, as you say, not whether you believe in conspiracy theories but which ones. Russiagate is a block of swiss cheese as hole-filled as Pizzagate. However, simply blowing it off as a conspiracy theory is not easy when stories like Epstein cannot be explained away. There is probably near-universal disgust of the current ruling class but it is all being craftily misdirected so as to prevent change. But that sounds curiously conspiratorial…

      1. Samuel Conner

        > But that sounds curiously conspiratorial…

        “Class consciousness” means never having to “breathe together”.

  31. Huey Long

    NYC unionized blue collar building engineer here.

    I have several guys on my crew that are die-hard trumpers albeit less than diehard Qanon guys. They barely graduated high school and are white.

    Being that they work for me, I have to talk to them quite a bit and yes, politics comes up. I stick to my version of the Socratic Method, where I ask lots of questions about whatever it is they’re droning on about in an effort to make them see the inherent ridiculousness in their positions while at the same time trying to tease out their true gripes.

  32. km

    I know a lot of full-on Kool Aid chugging Trump cultists, but two case studies come to mind.

    One a friend of my wife. An educated and successful professional. Several kids, one with severe disabilities. Sweet lady. She doesn’t bring it up, but from her conversations, she says things that can be diagnosed as clear signs of Q Anon.

    The other is an old friend of mine, one of my best friends. Humanities PhD, albeit largely self-educated. Grew up poor, black and in a Southern ghetto. Well read, speaks several languages. Refuses to go along to get along – he drives a truck rather than continue in academia. Very doctrinaire Team R supporter. I try to avoid discussing politics, even though I am not a leftist or whatever, but I avoid identifying with any tribe.

    Then there is my mother. My mother is extremely well-read, extremely intelligent, and extremely argumentative. Every year, the Bar Association sends her a “Thank You” card to express their gratitude to her for having never gone to law school, as the thought of her actually getting paid money to argue with people would make her impossible to be around. She is the best text editor that I know, and musically talented, to boot. She is also a full-on Team D Tribalist, and will go out of her way to pick fights with anyone who does not subscribe* to every tittle, iota and jot of the latest Team D talking points. Very few friends.

    If Trump and Barron were to unveil a cure for cancer, Mom would complain about all the hard-working Team D medical doctors who would be out of a job.

    *”Subscribe” the way Al Qaeda members “subscribed” to the principal tenets of the Muslim religion, or the way Kamikaze pilots supported Emperor Hirohito quite fervently.

  33. ChrisFromGeorgia

    I will “open the kimono” a bit as an occasional comment-provider to assist with your exercise in anthropology.

    I had an exchange with a very progressive/liberal friend after the Capitol seizure (I like how you put it in such neutral language) when he reached out and asked if I would be interested in a “truth and reconciliation” initiative. This would apparently involve some sort of local meetings with both conservatives and progressives, where we would proclaim the “truth” that the election was valid and there was no fraud, and such accusations of fraud or the election having been “stolen” effectively disenfranchised minorities and other groups. Such a unity statement would be for the purpose of “healing.” Listening to opposing views was supposed to be part of such an exercise, or so I thought.

    I replied back that I would be happy to participate, with a few conditions. One being that claims of election fraud be referred to as “unproven” as we simply don’t know what went on in states like GA, where the margin was close enough (around 11k votes) that large scale absentee ballot fraud could have made a difference. I pointed out that I found it unlikely that this was the case but enough troubling anecdotes and circumstantial evidence were present to merit a look. Also I did not mention this specifically, but the way the election was carried out (not the counting part) here involved a mysterious deal between the Republican SoS and Stacey Abrams who had filed a lawsuit back in March. This deal apparently resulted in the state legal requirement for absentee ballot signatures to be verified in a certain way to be ignored at the County level. This may have broken the law, but was never really tested in the courts.

    My second suggestion was that there be an acknowledgement that the 2016 election was also legitimate and that the claims that Russia somehow stole it be refuted along with the claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

    I got back a response of “no deal” since I would not unequivocally endorse his point of view. I chuckled & have yet to reply back to him as I think he missed the point.

    I know several folks who feel as I do that there was likely some malfeasance in Georgia in the way the election was carried out. I don’t know of anyone who seriously believes that the Capitol seizure was a false flag or Antifa was involved in any material way, including myself.

    Most of my Trump supporting friends are higher up the economic ladder, not wealthy but own their own homes, have comfortable income and have not been hurt by the recession to the degree that the lower income folks have.

  34. skippy

    Once suspension of disbelief has been achieved … you can fill peoples heads with just about anything you want.

    Imagine taking the cognitive process of seeking patterns in ones – local environment – as a survival mechanism and expanding it to outside ones immediate location through media. Now imagine that media becomes a *market place of ideas* where truth[tm] is gained through *market share* and the riches it awards its owners[tm] and the promises of it too the faithful[tm].

    Made manifold by computational advances, concentration of media, multi device interface, and absolutely little or zero quiet time for the brain to reflect …. whack on some Templen behavioral herd management in a bipolar political market share survival of the fittest paradigm … and watch those around you go pop ….

    Environment is everything … as someone that was subject to an others mental condition for 25 years, I can attest to the dramatic change after ending contact. As someone on this blog has noted in private – I should embrace the mental health holiday, it has been profound, too say the least.

  35. CarlH

    Amongst my friends, I have found a connection between level of education and class and whether or not they believe in all the MSNBC, CNN, and NYT obsurd consensus, like Russiagate. The higher the education and income level the more apt they are to believe it all. I have a contingent of friends whom I met at Stanford (I worked there, whereas they all were grad students. I do not have a college degree). I would count these as among my closest friends and each has an intellect and degree of success I can only aspire to, but down to a one, they all sound like NPR, NYT, MSNBC, and CNN talking point machines when politics comes up. In any other arena of thought they would slice and dice the inconsistencies and logical falllacies that our media is a fountain of. It is fascinating to me, but also troubling.
    My veteran friends, almost all high school graduates, tops (if that) tend to be more even keeled. Half of them fall for conspiracies and MSM narratives, while the other half thinks the whole show is rotten from top to bottom and tends to trust information less the more “expert” the source. I don’t know what to make of any of this. I fear for our future.

  36. KD

    I think what people do not seem to understand is a lot of these “false beliefs” are code.

    To use an old one, the Obama birth certificate “controversy.” Obama is not American = Obama mixed race son of an African immigrant is not a member of my ingroup (My ingroup = Americans). Sometimes its race but it might be for some that Colin Powell is okay but Obama is too much. You can’t “disprove” that Obama is a not an American citizen because its really a coded way to signal something that is true (that guy isn’t in my ingroup, and I identify my ingroup with the real America).

    The idiocy in 2016 was top down. Obviously, either Hillary and her team were incompetent, and completely out of touch and got clobbered by an orange clown who can’t utter a coherent sentence, or there must be some nefarious foreign conspiracy which magically threw the election through a $4,500 buy in Facebook ads. Given the pathological narcissism and sociopathy of our American ruling class, they are constitutionally incapable of the kind of introspection the first hypothesis would force, so it was Russians under the bed all the way baby!

    I think 2020 Qanon and the rest of it is the same kind of bottom up stuff that the Birther business touched on. R’ahl ‘Umarikhans have been displaced in their own country by the evil nefarious elites and will never be able to elect another R’ahl ‘Umarikhan again. Obviously, the arc of justice is that R’ahl ‘Umarikhans rule ‘Umarikhanistan, so it can only be diabolical forces aligned with Hollywood pedo rings that prevented justice. All code for status anxiety for continued power and existence of their ingroup, which won’t go away no matter how many bar graphs you show them.

    It far more important to figure out what people really mean, and address those anxieties, fears, or other issues than focusing on refuting what people say. There are a lot of people in this country in a world of hurt, with basically no representation whatsoever, they aren’t going away, their fears, pains and concerns aren’t going away, and the kind of smug bourgeois media trust fund narrative isn’t constructive.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I hate to tell you but my friend is not in a “world of hurt” and lives a life most people would envy. And he also believes the Obama birth certificate was fake. This is not “downwardly mobile believing in bogisity”. My friend works in a technically very difficult profession and is recognized as a top player. There’s no status, financial, or intellectual deficiency here.

      You see the same sort clinging to false beliefs with the Russiagate crowd, yet no one suggests we listen to their pain, which I hate to tell you is another elite trope, just less openly superior.

      1. KD

        These are obviously complex questions. Elites manufacture the narratives and the counter-narratives. However, my experience in Trumpistan has been primarily with petite bourgeois tradesmen, small business people, cops, retired post men and veterans, etc., probably not getting dinner invitations from your friend, and they regurgitate the same tropes. Many are pissed off for reasonable reasons, whether at the end of the day those grievances should remain standing or not. Outside of Trumpistan, I also hear a lot of Biden voters and Trump haters expressing Trumpian themes on immigration restriction, so we are kidding ourselves that the two “camps” aren’t artificial.

        I think most people in the 99% have a lot of reasons to be pissed off at their elites, and whatever foolishness they spout (from the perspective of an outsider), I don’t think we achieve “unity” by shutting people down on Twitter and by more PMC moral preening in the public square. Trump is the symptom and my prediction is that Trump will seem tame when the next Great Beast emerges. The great wind stops blowing, and then the lion struts out licking his paws. On one hand, I shudder, but then part of me thinks, well, we haven’t seen a group of elites this out-of-touch and corrupt since the Bourbons.

  37. Dr Sloper Waz Robbed

    Yep, I sure do know some people who believe lots of this stuff and don’t fit the most common media narratives…my parents! Dad: recently retired from a career that ended in a pretty elite sector of the federal government; a former linguist; Bachelors was in the liberal arts. Mom:1st Gen immigrant from an ethnic minority; fine arts lover.
    Tbf they are both v much from a working-class background, and dad is orig from flyover country-to the stereotype. But parents have since lived either in the major cities or somewhere around the world for work.

    They seem to believe the election was stolen. They def did until recently at least. The Chi-coms together with the socialists and the establishment Rs all worked together, I think. They felt at the time right after the Jan 6 that those who stormed Capitol had no other recourse. They feel that any R who votes to impeach is a traitor. They felt Barr must have been in on the conspiracy when he ‘flipped’ and said the election wasn’t stolen. I don’t know what they feel about ‘antifa false flag’ being the best way to understand the riot. I am to understand they have started watching some OAN and newsmax. Until maybe 4? years ago they didnt even watch fox, let alone listen to right wing radio.

    They have been lifelong Rs, but they were HUGE on Ross Perot. They also felt that Pat Buchanan was a bit much-they did not agree w Buchanan’s whole ‘thing’. They had a love-hate relationship with media like The National Review, and The Economist, and even WaPo when I was growing up. Reading stuff like that for them is now in the DISTANT PAST. They live on another plane now. I stopped even talking politics to them years ago. Covid2020 put us in close quarters for months again. I couldn’t put my finger on how/when the change happened if I tried. One guess is that at the end of the day, they still relate to (and are related to) and identify with people that are more like them than the Bobos in paradise that must have been the banes of their professional and personal lives. But then again, Biden is the sort of person with a past like theirs…..They were always tribal, and that is fine. But this is a whole new level of nihilistic. Is it just boredom in retirement? LARPing against the evil libs? I have no answers. I will say that there is something that comes natural to maybe some people who are not wholly ‘white’ that some people don’t think instinctively-idiots can be all colors tho.

  38. False Solace

    1. My dad is a QAnon “Trump was robbed” guy. I guarantee he’ll happily agree Antifa was behind everything the moment his favorite right wing personalities start saying that. He’s a comfortable, retired blue collar public servant with a safe six figure pension, 2 year degree, not super educated. Lived in the upper midwest then retired to FL. He tells my sister and I that he has time to “research” (the stolen election) because he’s retired. Both my sister and I are Bernie leftists. In my opinion, both of us are much more reality-connected than my “researcher” dad.

    2. When my dad starts sharing his theories, I focus on areas of agreement. I agree with him that Trump was unfairly impeached (I believed he should have been impeached on different charges… I believe all former presidents deserve to be in prison…). I agree the intelligence community sided against Trump because Trump refused to follow their agenda. I agree the Democrats are terrible (although I think Republicans are also terrible).

    I know better than to try to change his mind on anything. He’s immune to logic, facts, or reason. What occasionally works is personal testimony from me or people I know.

    Where I have trouble is with my mom, who used to be a Clinton Democrat but is now a Fox News Republican. She has a master’s degree and is (was?) highly intelligent. Every conversation I have with her gets derailed into a rant about immigrants. She hates the idea of a living wage because it would “cause inflation”…. I’ve lost so much respect for her that I end up becoming really disagreeable. I try to avoid discussing any political subject with her but haven’t been very successful so far. I end up avoiding speaking to her at all.

    I remind myself that neither of us have any influence over politics or power in any sense. This means our political opinions are functionally meaningless. It would be foolish and self-destructive to ruin a valuable personal relationship over something as irrelevant to daily life as one’s favorite color being green vs purple. I guess it’s possible they might donate money to slimy reptiles, but my sister and I offset them, shrug.

  39. NullandVoid

    I hear it every day from the person sitting across the room from me. I don’t know if it’s true or not, so I just listen.

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