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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

White Right

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.  GOP conservatism is in intellectual decline.

At New York, Ben Jacobs notes that CPAC has abandoned libertarian policy debate in favor of culture-war red meat.  The GOP and the conservative movement have a dark European flavor.

Another sign of the Europeanization of the American conservatism was the growing presence of the international far right at the conference — and even the looming specter of white nationalism. There were recorded video messages from Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, as well as hard-right politicians in Spain and Croatia. During breaks in the conference, a video from “samurai futurologist” Gemki Fuji repeatedly played proclaiming Trump to be “a real American samurai” while a right-wing South Korean politician claimed his country saw left-wing voter fraud too.

 Perhaps most unsettling was the appearance of Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona on Saturday. Gosar, a hard right-wing backbencher who touted false claims of voter fraud before the assault on the Capitol on January 6, appeared on a panel on immigration less than 12 hours after appearing at a parallel but separate white-nationalist event sponsored by those who found CPAC full of squishy sellouts.

At that gathering, the six-term Arizona Republican’s speech was followed by remarks from a Holocaust denier who said America needed to protect its “white demographic core” and called the attack on the Capitol “awesome.” While onstage at CPAC, Gosar’s first remarks, without prompting, were “I want to tell you, I denounce . . . white racism” before shifting to the topic at hand.


 The party of Lincoln is looking more and more like the party of Le Pen.

Charles Sykes at The Bulwark:
This piece actually appears in the uber-Trumpy American Greatness, a journal with intellectual pretensions, and numerous connections to TrumpWorld.

The author, Alexander Zubatov, opens with a dystopian scene of New York City.
It is evening, very late evening. I am walking in the remains of what once was New York City. Broken trash bags and discarded clothing, furniture and debris line the sidewalks, spilling out onto the streets, the bags’ black plastic jerking and lurching as though some near-suffocated life within were struggling to break free of confinement.
But his loathing — his unalloyed contempt — is reserved for the people he encounters. He simply cannot accept their humanity.
The first higher species of being I come across is only a shadow of any such description—a teetering, drooling zombie barely maintaining the accustomed vertical orientation of humanity—its head, neck, and back doubling over further and further, heavy eyelids drooping down time and again on the remaining vestiges of any consciousness to which it only weakly clings. I hear a dead moan as I pass.
His language is not veiled or ambiguous. He refers to people as “it” and “specimens.” They are ”lazy leeches, slugs, thugs” who claim to be the victims of white people. He describes “two brown bums,” who dance “like ungainly insects,” and encounters a “sunken-cheeked Arab”. Everyone is described by the color of their skin or their ethnicity.

“I navigate around one such specimen transecting the middle of the sidewalk, with the telltale final bottle capping off its drunken stupor still clasped in its gnarled fingers.”

It would be alarming, but not shocking, if this appeared in a marginal publication deep in the fever swamps of the white nationalist Alt Right. If we found it, for example, on Stormfront, it would barely merit mention.

But this racist rant about human scum and whips appears in a publication whose contributors include such right-wing luminaries as Victor David Hanson, Roger Kimball, Conrad Black, Salena Zito, Josh Hammer (who is also Newsweek’s opinion editor), Michael Anton, Ned Ryun, and Dennis Prager.

In other words, it is smack in the middle of the Trumpian Right.

And this is not a one-off. Some years back, American Greatness published something called “Cuck Elegy,” which was accurately described by the Washington Examiner as “an alt-right piece of literotica masquerading as a poem.”

It was also raw, undiluted racism:
This is the Capitalist Pentecost
Submit to the modernist’s spirit of avarice
Defer now to the mocha-skinned Lazarus


Exit take: Yes, the right has a white supremacy problem. But there are few signs that it will take Cheney’s warning seriously.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Incumbent Reelection in State Legislative Elections

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state legislative elections.

From Ballotpedia:

Two-hundred and twenty seven incumbent state legislators lost re-election in general elections on Nov. 3, 2020. This represents 4.7% of all state legislative incumbents who ran in general elections

Friday, February 26, 2021

Trump Base v. the Emerging America

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

 Olivia Beavers at Politico reports on a confrontation between Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) and  for Trump aide Stephen Miller.

Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) has a message for her party: “I am a brown girl from the ‘hood, who is a Republican, who is coming to tell my party that it’s time to wake up and smell the votes.”

“It's time for us to be sending the right message to the largest minority in the country. We are 20 percent of the population. We are 60 million people ...We are 30 million votes available,” Salazar told your Huddle host in an exclusive interview Thursday.

This is also the message she delivered behind closed doors to former Trump aide Stephen Miller during the Republican Study Committee’s weekly lunch meeting on Wednesday, which was focused on immigration. Salazar attended the event, but she is not a member of the RSC.

“I told him that the GOP needs to attract the browns,” said Salazar, a Cuban American. “We, for the last 30 years since Ronald Reagan, have not sent the right message to the browns,” she added. “Reagan was the last guy who gave a path to citizenship to 3 million people … 35 years ago. It’s time for us to do the same thing that Reagan did.”

Max Greenwood at The Hill:

When a handful of potential Republican presidential hopefuls convene on Thursday for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), there will be one notable absence from the speaking lineup: Nikki Haley.

Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a potential 2024 White House contender, has found herself isolated from former President Trump and the populist wing of the GOP that he commands after a scathing interview with Politico in which she denounced her former boss and wrote off his future influence in Republican politics.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Trump's Power in the States

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

Jim VandeHei at Axios:

President Trump didn't have to punish his critics in Congress — his allies back in the states instantly and eagerly did the dirty work.

Why it matters: Virtually every Republican who supported impeachment was censured back home, or threatened with a primary challenge.
  • Today through Sunday, many will make the trek to a sold-out CPAC ("America Uncanceled") in Orlando to kiss the ring — and trash the "traitors."
We're quickly seeing that Trump's true power source is in the states, powered by 2020 success.
  • Republicans picked up 14 House seats, including a dozen they lost two years earlier. They need +6 in 2022.
  • In 2021, Republicans will have full control of the legislative and executive branches in 24 states. Democrats will have full control of the legislative and executive branch in 15 states.
  • "Republicans hold total control of redistricting in 18 states, including Florida, North Carolina and Texas, which are growing in population and expected to gain seats after the 2020 census is tabulated," the N.Y. Times reports (subscription). "Some election experts believe the G.O.P. could retake the House in 2022 based solely on gains from newly drawn districts."
  • Democrats targeted nine states to flip control and failed in all.
The bottom line: Look at how the state parties are censuring anti-Trumpers. In the eyes of the base, the party thrived under Trump — and see anti-Trumpers as the reason the GOP didn't do even better.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

They Planned and Coordinated

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

John Bowden at The Hill:

Top current and former law enforcement officials testifying Tuesday before a joint Senate hearing on the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol told lawmakers that evidence pointed to coordination and planning behind the mob of people that overwhelmed Capitol Police officers during the attack.

Asked by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Gary Peters (D-Mich.) about what nonclassified evidence he could point to that led him to determine the attack was "coordinated," former Capitol police chief Steven Sund pointed to rioters coming prepared with "climbing gear" and "chemical spray," which he argued had no place at a legitimate demonstration.

"I'm able to provide you a quick overview of why I think it was a coordinated attack. One, people came specifically with equipment. You're bringing in climbing gear to a demonstration. You're bringing in explosives. You're bringing in chemical spray ... you're coming prepared," he told the senators.

"The fact that the group that attacked our west front [did so] approximately 20 minutes before [former President Trump's rally] ended, which means that they were planning on our agency not being at what they call 'full strength,' " Sund added.

Sund also pointed to the discoveries of pipe bombs outside of the Republican and Democratic party headquarters, which he said were likely used to draw police resources away from the Capitol during the riot.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Peronistas and Trumpistas

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.  GOP conservatism is in intellectual decline.

Yasmeen Serhan at The Atlantic:
To understand the importance that a loyal base can play, look no further than Peronism. The populist movement, which dates back to the rise of former Argentine President Juan Perón in the 1940s, continues to be the preeminent political force in the country, more than four decades after its namesake’s death. This has to do largely with how Perón came to power and, crucially, how he lost it.

Like most populist figures, Perón cast himself as an advocate of ordinary citizens, and, in many ways, he was: In addition to advancing workers’ rights, he oversaw the enfranchisement of women in Argentina. But, like other populists, Perón became more and more authoritarian over the course of his rule, jailing his political opponents, vilifying the media, and restricting constitutional rights. By 1955, after nearly a decade in power, Perón was deposed in a coup and sent into exile in Spain; his party was banned.

His supporters continued to be extremely loyal to him, though—so much so that by the time Argentina’s constitutional democracy was restored nearly two decades later, Perón won reelection by a landslide.

Part of Perón’s enduring appeal had to do with the circumstances under which he lost power: His forced exile created a narrative of victimization, which “can really actually help to solidify political identities,” James Loxton, an expert in authoritarian regimes, democratization, and political parties in Latin America, told me. A similar sense of grievance seems to be taking over Trump supporters. An overwhelming majority of Republicans have subscribed to the former president’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Early polls show him to be the favorite of the 2024 Republican contenders. “This idea that he didn’t really lose and that everybody is out to get him,” Loxton said, “add[s] up to this actually quite compelling martyrdom story.”

Irrespective of whether Trump runs again, Trumpism as a movement is all but certain to be on the ballot. Indeed, a number of Trump acolytes—among them Republican Senator Josh Hawley, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—are already jockeying to succeed the former president. Should they be recognized as the “Trumpist” candidates, the movement could take on a Perónist quality: one that is highly mobilizing, highly polarizing, and highly durable.

Monday, February 22, 2021

GOP is Going South

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.  GOP conservatism is in intellectual decline.

Texas' decision to have a separate, underfunded electrical grid led to disaster last week. Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
Innocent lives have been lost and upended in the name of retrograde ideology masked as policy. Real people, families and business have been destroyed. Climate change denial comes with a high human cost. Standing apart from the national electric grid isn’t independence. It is a death wish by another name.

Confederacy 2.0.

Alexander Stephens, vice-president of the breakaway states, summed up this attitude in 1861: “If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah River has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden.”

Sounds familiar?

Other than when it came to repelling Abraham Lincoln, the Confederacy was not a mutual assistance pact. Before this latest man-made debacle, Republicans were dreaming of drowning government in a bathtub. Hopefully, in Texas that may change.

Nick Corasaniti, Annie Karni and Isabella Grullón Paz at NYT:

 An analysis of January voting records by The New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states that had readily available data (19 states do not have registration by party). Voting experts said the data indicated a stronger-than-usual flight from a political party after a presidential election, as well as the potential start of a damaging period for G.O.P. registrations as voters recoil from the Capitol violence and its fallout.

 Julia Terruso and Jonathan Lai at The Philadelphia Inquirer:

About 19,000 Pennsylvanians have left the Republican Party since Jan 6. That’s a drop in the bucket for a state with more than 8.8 million registered voters, and almost 3.5 million Republicans. But it’s also an unusually high rate of defections: Almost two-thirds of the voters who have switched parties this year left the GOP, compared with a third or less typically.

David Brooks at NYT:

The party is politically viable, but it is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Under Trump it became an apocalyptic personality cult. But you should know, as I’m sure you do, that there are many Republicans who want to change their party and make it a vehicle for conservative ideas...This is a struggle to create a Republican Party that is democratic and not authoritarian, patriotic and not nationalistic, conservative and not reactionary, benevolent and not belligerent, intellectually self-confident and not apocalyptic and dishonest.

Republicans will beat Trumpism not by confronting it directly but by focusing on policymaking, by becoming a regular party once again. As Senator Ben Sasse put it, it’s to make the Republican Party about more than one dude. You may have noticed that this week, Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton are teaming up on an effort to raise the minimum wage and enforce immigration laws, two plans to boost working class wages. That’s what there needs to be more of.

Will this work? Is the Republican Party salvageable? Nobody knows. Right now Republicans are rallying around Trump because they believe Democrats and the media are going after him. It’s pie in the sky to ask rank-and-file Republicans to denounce the man they’ve clung to. But, as has been observed, we Americans don’t solve our problems, we just leave them behind.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Stone Evil

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

Katie Benner at NYT:
The Justice Department is examining communications between right-wing extremists who breached the Capitol and Roger J. Stone Jr., a close associate of former President Donald J. Trump, to determine whether Mr. Stone played any role in the extremists’ plans to disrupt the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory, a person familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

Should investigators find messages showing that Mr. Stone knew about or took part in those plans, they would have a factual basis to open a full criminal investigation into him, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing inquiry. While that is far from certain, the person said, prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington are likely to do so if they find that connection.

Mr. Stone, a self-described fixer for Mr. Trump, evaded a 40-month prison term when the former president commuted his sentence in July and pardoned him in late December. Mr. Stone had been convicted on seven felony charges, which included obstructing a House inquiry into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, lying to Congress and witness tampering. But that pardon does not protect Mr. Stone from future prosecutions.

Justice Department officials have debated for weeks whether to open a full investigation into Mr. Stone, the person said. While Mr. Stone spoke at an incendiary rally a day before the attack, had right-wing extremists act as his bodyguards and stood outside the Capitol, those actions themselves are not crimes.

But the F.B.I. also has video and other information to suggest that in the days leading to and including the day of the assault, Mr. Stone associated with men who eventually stormed the building and broke the law, said the person familiar with the inquiry. That has given investigators a window to examine communications to see whether Mr. Stone knew of any plans to breach the complex.

The New York Times has identified at least six members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group founded by former military and law enforcement personnel, who guarded Mr. Stone and were later seen inside the Capitol after a pro-Trump mob took the building by force. Prosecutors have charged two of those men with conspiring to attack Congress.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

Bozells and Conservative Decline

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesGOP conservatism is in intellectual decline.

Timothy Noah at TNR:
In The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, a classic 1943 film that traces, in vaguely allegorical fashion, half a century’s evolution in England’s national character, the actress Deborah Kerr plays a series of roles that represent changing incarnations of the ideal British woman. Were a similar technicolor romance to portray America’s national character over the past seven decades, the right would be represented by a series of characters all named L. Brent Bozell.

In our film’s dramatic climax, L. Brent Bozell IV (“Zeeker” to his friends) is shown in a red baseball cap and blue sweatshirt lettered “Hershey Christian Academy” (with which, that institution assures us, Zeeker is not affiliated) amid an angry crowd chanting “treason!” inside an abandoned Senate chamber. The National Review brand of movement conservatism, launched 76 years earlier under the joint stewardship of Zeeker’s namesake grandad and his great-uncle William F. Buckley, Jr. with the admonition to stand “athwart history, yelling Stop,” now dissolves into violent insurrection as an FBI agent charges Zeeker with disorderly conduct. Fade to black, roll credits.
His grandfather, L. Brent Bozell, Jr. was WFB's brother-in-law, coauthoring his defense of McCarthy.
Brent ghostwrote Barry Goldwater’s book, The Conscience of a Conservative, giving wide play to his Cold War pessimism when the book became a surprise bestseller in 1960. By now, Brent had blossomed into a full-fledged reactionary. He moved to Spain and became an apologist for Franco’s fascist regime. Then he moved back and lost a Maryland congressional primary race to the liberal Republican Charles Mathias. After that, he moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains and devoted most of the rest of his life to attacking Vatican II.


 In L. Brent Bozell III (1955-present), we start to see what IQ experts delicately call “regression to the mean.” If Leo’s preoccupation was to build a successful business and Brent’s was to build an intellectual foundation for movement conservatism, Brent III’s was to build a series of organizations to perpetuate that movement.


Regarding Donald Trump, Brent III performed a Lindsey Graham–style backflip. During the 2016 primaries, Brent III denounced Trump as “the greatest charlatan of them all,” bravely enduring what Politico’s Tim Alberta called “a serious hit” to MRC’s fundraising (which, Alberta wrote, was already judged by allies as “an outdated operation”). To get well after Trump won, he discarded his brave stance and denounced the media’s “hatred” of Trump. By August 2020, Brent III was chugging the Kool-Aid, saying the left was plotting to “steal this election” and adding, “If they get away with that, what happens? Democracy is finished because they usher in totalitarianism.”

But Brent III drew the line at condoning the January 6 riot. After stating that he agreed with the mob that the election was stolen, he said, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national Capitol being breached like this. I think it is absolutely wrong.”

Then came Zeeker (1981-present).

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Death of Rush and the Decline of Conservatism

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

Charles Sykes at WP:

For decades, Limbaugh, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday at age 70, was at the center of it all. It is hard to overstate the role that the syndicated talk-radio host played in the transformation of the character and culture of the conservative movement. Every Republican over a certain age has a story about how they were inspired or influenced by him.


But as time went on, Limbaugh went in another direction. If Limbaugh was once a thought leader among conservatives, he ended his career very much as a follower, scrambling to keep up with his people. As his ratings and ad revenue faded, he found himself in competition with younger, crazier outlets and he spent less and less time on actual substance, leaning instead into outrage and grievance.

The fact is that Limbaugh was fundamentally uninterested in ideas, and by the time he had helped Trump’s improbable rise to the presidency, the host was essentially done with conservatism as a set of principles. “I never once talked about conservatism” during the presidential campaign, Limbaugh told his listeners after Trump’s election, “because that isn’t what this is about.”

For years, he had touted what he called his “Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.” But in the era of Trump, he announced that he had changed it to the “Institute for Advanced Anti-Leftist Studies.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Trump v. McConnell

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

The GOP has a unity problem.

Though voting against conviction, McConnell denounced Trump for the insurrection.

 Trump's statement yesterday:

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political “leaders” like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm. McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse. The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way! We know our America First agenda is a winner, not McConnell’s Beltway First agenda or Biden’s America Last.

In 2020, I received the most votes of any sitting President in history, almost 75,000,000. Every incumbent House Republican won for the first time in decades, and we flipped 15 seats, almost costing Nancy Pelosi her job. Republicans won majorities in at least 59 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers, and the Democrats failed to flip a single legislative chamber from red to blue. And in “Mitch’s Senate,” over the last two election cycles, I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, more than eight in the 2020 cycle alone—and then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won both U.S. Senate seats, but McConnell matched the Democrat offer of $2,000 stimulus checks with $600. How does that work? It became the Democrats’ principal advertisement, and a big winner for them it was. McConnell then put himself, one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States, into the advertisements. Many Republicans in Georgia voted Democrat, or just didn’t vote, because of their anguish at their inept Governor, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the Republican Party, for not doing its job on Election Integrity during the 2020 Presidential race.

It was a complete election disaster in Georgia, and certain other swing states. McConnell did nothing, and will never do what needs to be done in order to secure a fair and just electoral system into the future. He doesn’t have what it takes, never did, and never will.

My only regret is that McConnell “begged” for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from one point down to 20 points up, and won. How quickly he forgets. Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly. Now, his numbers are lower than ever before, he is destroying the Republican side of the Senate, and in so doing, seriously hurting our Country.

Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings. He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.

Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again. He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.

Prior to the pandemic, we produced the greatest economy and jobs numbers in the history of our Country, and likewise, our economic recovery after Covid was the best in the world. We cut taxes and regulations, rebuilt our military, took care of our Vets, became energy independent, built the wall and stopped the massive inflow of illegals into our Country, and so much more. And now, illegals are pouring in, pipelines are being stopped, taxes will be going up, and we will no longer be energy independent.

This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate “leaders” to dictate our future!”


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Public Opinion of Trump

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

  • 59% of GOP voters said Trump should play a “major role” in the Republican Party going forward, up 18 points since a Jan. 6-7 survey.
  • The share of Republicans who said Trump is at least somewhat responsible for the events of Jan. 6 is down 14 points, to 27%, from early January.
  • Overall, 51% of voters disapproved of Trump’s acquittal by the Senate.
From Quinnipiac 
Two days after the U.S. Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, three-quarters of Republicans say, 75 - 21 percent, that they would like to see Trump play a prominent role in the Republican Party, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll of 1,056 adults released today. Overall, Americans say 60 - 34 percent that they do not want Trump to play a prominent role in the Republican Party. Democrats say 96 - 3 percent and independents say 61 - 32 percent they do not want to see Trump playing a prominent role in the GOP.
A majority of Americans, 55 - 43 percent, say Trump should not be allowed to hold elected office in the future. Republicans say 87 - 11 percent that Trump should be allowed to hold elected office in the future.


More than half of Americans, 54 - 43 percent, hold the view that Trump is responsible for inciting violence against the government of the United States. When asked a follow-up question: 45 percent of Americans believe Trump is responsible and should face criminal charges, while 6 percent believe he is responsible but should not face criminal charges, and 43 percent say Trump is not responsible for inciting violence.


Americans were asked whether they think individuals would have still stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th even if Donald Trump had not spent months talking about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen; 55 percent say "no," while 37 percent say "yes."

Americans were also asked whether they think individuals would have still stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th even if Donald Trump hadn't addressed them at a rally shortly beforehand; 49 percent say "no," while 43 percent say "yes."


Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans (68 percent) think that Donald Trump did not do everything he could to stop the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, while 25 percent say he did do everything he could to stop it.

Republicans say 56 - 34 percent that Trump did everything he could to stop the insurrection. Democrats say 94 - 6 percent and independents say 70 - 23 percent that he did not do everything he could to stop the insurrection.


More than half of Americans (57 percent) say they think that extremism in the United States is growing since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, only 4 percent say it's subsiding, and 34 percent say it's staying the same. The responses were similar among all listed demographic groups.

Half of Americans (50 percent) say former President Trump deliberately spread false information that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, while roughly four in ten Americans (42 percent) say that Trump truly believed there was widespread voter fraud.

1,056 U.S. adults nationwide were surveyed from February 11th - 14th with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Doug Schwartz, Ph.D. since 1994, conducts independent, non-partisan national and state polls on politics and issues. Surveys adhere to industry best practices and are based on random samples of adults using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Planet Republican

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

The state of the GOP is not good.

Daniel A. Cox at the Survey Center on American Life:

The assertion that the 2020 presidential election was rife with voter fraud—a claim Trump has repeated consistently without evidence—is common among evangelical Christian Republicans.[i] But is less widely held among other Republicans. Sixty-nine percent of evangelical Republicans say the claim that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election is either mostly or completely accurate. In contrast, Republicans who are not evangelical are far less likely to believe this claim is accurate—40 percent say it is mostly or completely accurate.

Given how widely accepted the belief in voter fraud is among evangelical Republicans, it is not surprising that they express far greater skepticism about the fairness of the 2020 election than their co-partisans. Only 27 percent of evangelical Republicans say that Joe Biden’s election win was legitimate, compared to more than half (51 percent) of nonevangelical Republicans. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of evangelical Christian Republicans say Biden was not legitimately elected.

More than six in 10 (63 percent) evangelical Christian Republicans say the claim that an unelected group of government officials, known as the “Deep State,” were working against the interests of the Trump administration is mostly or completely accurate. The theory of the Deep State holds significantly less influence among nonevangelical Republicans, only 39 percent of whom say this claim is accurate.

Evangelical Republicans are also far more likely than other Republicans to believe that antifa, an antifascist activist group, was primarily responsible for the attack on the US Capitol. Despite the well-documented evidence showing that Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol, a majority (56 percent) of evangelical Republicans believe the claim that the attack was carried out by antifa. Only about one-third (36 percent) of Republicans who are not evangelical Christian believe it was antifa who attacked the Capitol.

There is a smaller, but still notable gap, between evangelical and nonevangelical Republicans in views about QAnon. Evangelical Christian Republicans are 10 percentage points more likely to believe in the accuracy of the claim that “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites” (29 percent vs. 19 percent, respectively).

Steve Liesman at CNBC:

A CNBC survey conducted in the days before former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial finds a large share of Republicans want him to remain head of their party, but a majority of Americans want him out of politics.

The CNBC All-America Economic Survey shows 54% of Americans want Trump “to remove himself from politics entirely.” That was the sentiment of 81% of Democrats and 47% of Independents, but only 26% of Republicans.

When it comes to Republicans, 74% want him to stay active in some way, including 48% who want him to remain head of the Republican Party, 11% who want him to start a third party, and 12% who say he should remain active in politics but not as head of any party.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Failure to Convict

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

Lloyd Green at The Guardian:

The fact is, GOP senators who bucked Trump on impeachment offer cautionary tales for those who dare to cross him. By Saturday night, at least three had received home-state smackdowns.

The Louisiana GOP censured Bill Cassidy while the chairs of the North Carolina and Pennsylvania parties upbraided their renegade senators. Richard Burr “shocked” Tar Heel Republicans while Pat Toomey “disappointed” those in the Keystone state. Both had already announced they will not seek re-election.

But not all those who are leaving the Senate followed suit. Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Shelby of Alabama fell into line. One more time.
Trump risked turning Pence into a corpse and ultimately went unpunished. That hangman’s noose was built to be used

What was once the proud party of Lincoln and Reagan is now a Trump family rag – something to be used and abused by the 45th president like his bankrupt companies, namesake university and hapless vice-president, Mike Pence.

If the impeachment trial established anything, it is that Trump risked turning Pence into a corpse and ultimately went unpunished. That hangman’s noose was built to be used.

Yet even the former vice-president has remained mum and his brother, Greg Pence, a congressman from Indiana, voted against impeachment. Talk about taking one for the team.

In the end, devotion to a former reality show host literally trumped life itself. The mob belongs to Trump – as the Capitol police can attest. So much for the GOP’s embrace of “law and order”. When it mattered most, it counted least.

Like Moloch, Trump has elevated human sacrifice and personal devotion into the ultimate test. His indifference to Covid’s ravages was a harbinger of what came next, his raucous and at times violent rallies mere warm-up acts.

When Trump mused about shooting some on Fifth Avenue and getting away with it, he wasn’t joking. He was simply stating a fact.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Nikki Haley and Donald Trump

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

At Politico, Tim Alberta interviews Nikki Haley:

“He’s not going to run for federal office again,” Haley said.

But what if he does? Or at least, what if he spends the next four years threatening to? Can the Republican Party heal with Trump in the picture?

“I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”

This was the most certainty I’d heard from any Republican in the aftermath of January 6. And Haley wasn’t done.

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
Her record on Trump has been ... inconsistent.

In 2018: "In every instance that I dealt with him, he was truthful, he listened and he was great to work with," Haley said, adding: "Savannah, I talked to him multiple times and when I had issues, he always heard me out. I never had any concerns on whether he could handle the job, ever.”

In 2016: “Donald Trump is everything we teach our kids not to do in kindergarten,” Haley said. “We have seen behavior over and over again that is just unacceptable.”

She also said Trump was "everything a governor doesn’t want in a president."

In 2016, she attacked Trump's failure to disavow the KKK:


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Supporting Political Violence

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

In part, the attempted coup was the result of authoritarian attitudes that Trump encouraged.

At the Survey Center on American Life, Daniel A. Cox reports on disturbing new survey data:
More than one in three (36 percent) Americans agree with the statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” Six in 10 (60 percent) Americans reject the idea that the use of force is necessary, but there is significant partisan disagreement on this question.

A majority (55 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life. Forty-three percent of Republicans express opposition to this idea. Significantly fewer independents (35 percent) and Democrats (22 percent) say the use of force is necessary to stop the disappearance of traditional American values and way of life.

Although most Americans reject the use of violence to achieve political ends, there is still significant support for it among the public. Nearly three in 10 (29 percent) Americans completely or somewhat agree with the statement: “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if it requires taking violent actions.” More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans disagree with this statement.

The use of violence finds somewhat more support among Republicans than Democrats, although most Republicans oppose it. Roughly four in 10 (39 percent) Republicans support Americans taking violent actions if elected leaders fail to act. Sixty percent of Republicans oppose this idea. Thirty-one percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats also support taking violent actions if elected leaders do not defend the country.

However, although a significant number of Americans—and Republicans in particular—express support for the idea that violent actions may be necessary, there is a notable lack of enthusiastic support for it. For instance, only 9 percent of Americans overall and only 13 percent of Republicans say they “completely” agree in the necessity of taking violent actions if political leaders fail.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Insurrection and Trial

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

At Trump's Senate trial, the impeachment managers made their case with this video:

From the Atlantic Council:

The phrase “Stop the Steal” was not introduced in 2020. In fact, it has been a hallmark of nearly every election throughout Trump’s political career.

“Stop the Steal” was deployed during the 2016 presidential election by Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate and confidant. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the campaign was orchestrated “first under the auspices of defending Trump’s Republican primary nomination and later contesting a potential Hillary Clinton victory that never manifested.” At the time, Democrats accused Stone of seeking to intimidate non-White voters, which Stone denied. The phrase flared up again in 2018, focused on Florida and its close gubernatorial and Senate contests that year.

In 2020, associates and protégés of Stone — including several who assisted in prior Stop the Steal efforts — revamped the phrase to organize a nationwide protest movement that sought to pressure state and federal officials to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Like before, the movement was embraced and promoted by Trump himself and several prominent Republican leaders aligned with him.

The following timeline begins at the first notable indication of a reemerging “Stop the Steal” campaign ahead of the 2020 election and includes significant milestones as groups across the spectrum of radicalization coalesced around the disinformation-driving movement. At all times, the movement was responsive as Trump engaged and promoted it.

Put simply, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol would likely have not occurred if not for Trump’s explicit and tacit encouragement of the Stop the Steal movement.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Trump Trial

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

From the House Judiciary Committee:
– Today, the House Impeachment Managers, on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, filed with the Secretary of the Senate a Reply Memorandum to the Trial Memorandum filed by former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial. In their Reply, the Managers respond to former President Trump’s meritless legal arguments and baseless assertions.

In the Reply, the Managers write:

President Trump’s pre-trial brief confirms that he has no good defense of his incitement of an insurrection against the Nation he swore an oath to protect. Instead, he tries to shift the blame onto his supporters, and he invokes a set of flawed legal theories that would allow Presidents to incite violence and overturn the democratic process without fear of consequences.


Because President Trump’s guilt is obvious, he seeks to evade responsibility for inciting the January 6 insurrection by arguing that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to convict officials after they leave office. This discredited argument has been rejected by scholars across the political spectrum, including many of the Nation’s leading conservative constitutional lawyers, one of whom recently took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to urge the Senate to accept jurisdiction over this trial. This argument has also been rejected by the very scholars on which President Trump principally relies, several of whom have taken exactly the opposite position as the position President Trump incorrectly ascribes to them in his trial memorandum.


The First Amendment protects our democratic system—but it does not protect a President who incites his supporters to imperil that system through violence. In the words of the Nation’s leading First Amendment scholars, the argument that the First Amendment prevents the Senate from convicting the President is “legally frivolous.” Accepting President Trump’s argument would mean that Congress could not impeach a President who burned an American flag on national television, or who spoke at a Ku Klux Klan rally in a white hood, or who wore a swastika while leading a march through a Jewish neighborhood—all of which is expression protected by the First Amendment but would obviously be grounds for impeachment.

In response to some of the President’s baseless arguments, the Managers write:

A. President Trump Cannot Reasonably Deny Responsibility For Inciting The Insurrection

President Trump only increases his own responsibility by pointing to indications that some of the attackers planned the insurrection “several days in advance of the rally.” That fact underscores that President Trump knew exactly what he was doing in his campaign to overturn the election.


President Trump does not help his case by arguing that his January 6 speech was intended to encourage his supporters to press for “election security generally.” To call this argument implausible would be an act of charity. The rally, set for the day when Congress was to count the electoral votes, was the culmination of President Trump’s months-long campaign to overturn the results of a specific election he lost. In his speech, President Trump did not direct his supporters to go home and lobby their state legislatures, but instead directed them to march to the Capitol and fight.

B. The Senate Has Jurisdiction To Try This Impeachment

President Trump does not even attempt to explain why the Framers would have provided that a sitting President found to have endangered the Nation should be disqualified from returning to office, but a former President found to have done the exact same thing should be free to return …. It is inconceivable that the Framers designed impeachment to be virtually useless in a President’s final weeks or days, when opportunities to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power are most present.


President Trump asks why, for example, the House did not impeach President Nixon after he resigned. The answer is that impeachment, conviction, and disqualification were unnecessary where President Nixon resigned in disgrace, acknowledged wrongdoing, and was already barred from running again for President by the Twenty-Second Amendment. By contrast, President Trump has described his conduct as “totally appropriate,” refused to accept responsibility for his abuses, and is eligible to seek the Presidency—and assault the democratic process—yet again.

C. The First Amendment Provides No Defense to Conviction and Disqualification

President Trump’s speech was not a criticism of public policy—rather, it was a repudiation of his oath of office as he incited a violent insurrection and then manifested callous indifference to its deadly consequences.

D. President Trump Has Received From Congress All The Process He Was Due

President Trump now argues that the House did not need to act expeditiously because his term ended without “apocalyptic predictions … coming to pass.” That ignores the fact that the impeachment itself limited the danger posed by President Trump. The House sent a clear message that the President’s conduct would not be tolerated, and President Trump was undoubtedly chastened in the final days of his term, knowing that he would face a Senate impeachment trial.

E. The Senate Is Not Limited To The Standards Of Criminal Law

Under President Trump’s view of the Senate’s power to try impeachments, even if every Senator found that all of the allegations in the article were true, the Senate could not convict because the article does not specifically “describe any violation of law.” As Chuck Cooper recently put it, the argument that the alleged conduct does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense is “a hard argument to make with a straight face.” And as Steven Calabresi explained, “Whether or not Trump’s words were a violation of the criminal law, they fall squarely within the Framers’ definition of ‘a High Crime and Misdemeanor.’”

F. The Article Does Not Charge Multiple Instances Of Impeachable Conduct

The article does not, as President Trump claims, charge multiple impeachable offenses. Rather, it charges that President Trump engaged in a single course of impeachable conduct in inciting an insurrection on January 6. …. President Trump appears to borrow his argument from a similar one made (unsuccessfully) during the impeachment trial of President Clinton. But any comparison to President Clinton’s impeachment does not help President Trump here. The articles in President Clinton’s impeachment charged that he engaged in “one or more” improper acts. Thus, unlike this article, the Senate could have convicted President Clinton without a two-thirds agreement on which of the charged improper acts he committed. Even so, the Senate rejected President Clinton’s effort to dismiss the articles on the ground that they charged multiple offenses.

Congressman Jamie Raskin will serve as Lead Manager in presenting the case against President Trump. He will be joined by Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman David Cicilline, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Congressman Ted Lieu, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, and Congressman Joe Neguse.

Click here to read the U.S. House Reply Memorandum to the Trial Memorandum filed by former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial.


Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Dark Turn forthe GOP

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

 Lloyd Green at The Guardian:

Cheney and Greene each carried the day among the House Republicans, but the Georgia freshman actually garnered more of their backing. Cheney’s upward arc is done, while Greene is free to embark on an endless fundraising binge and tweet to her heart’s content. Freedom can be another word for nothing left to lose.

Indeed, on the state level, religious-like devotion to Trump is the operative creed of the realm. Those who refuse to kiss the ring are the new heretics.

Arizona Republicans censured Cindy McCain, the late senator’s wife, for backing Joe Biden. They also blasted Doug Ducey, the state’s Republican governor, for refusing to steal the election.

In Wyoming, 10 Republican county organizations have censured Cheney for supporting Trump’s impeachment, and more are expected in the coming weeks. Already, Cheney faces a primary challenge.

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse confronts possible censure in his home state. He earned their wrath for condemning Trump’s efforts to subvert democracy. Once upon a time, Sasse wrote a book subtitled Why We Hate Each Other.

Harry Enten at CNN:

Take a look at a Quinnipiac University poll out this week. It tested the ratings of different leaders.

McConnell came in with just a 21% approval to 67% disapproval rating among Americans at-large. He sported the lowest approval and highest disapproval rating of any of the party leaders in Congress.
Even among Republicans, he came in with just a 31% approval rating compared to a 51% unfavorable rating. (CNN/SSRS showed his favorable rating among Republicans somewhat higher in January, though still under his unfavorable rating.) McConnell ended his time as Senate majority leader with the worst intraparty ratings for a Senate majority leader since 1985.

Now compare where McConnell is to Trump. In the same CNN poll, Trump came in with a 34% approval rating and a 62% disapproval rating. With Republicans, he was at 80% approval to 17% disapproval. This comports with Trump remaining in a strong position for the 2024 nomination.
Clearly, Republican prefer Trump to McConnell.
You won't find another party leader in Congress who sports a net negative approval rating among their own party, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has worked to navigate between the different wings of the party. He voted to sustain the objections to the electoral votes from Pennsylvania, for example.
Many have critiqued McCarthy, though his efforts have resulted in him being far better liked among Republicans. In the Quinnipiac poll, for example, his approval rating among Republicans stood at 47% to a 25% disapproval rating. 

John Harwood at CNN: 

Following Biden's victory, Republican leaders encouraged Trump's strongman posture by facilitating his lies that the election had been stolen. With the electorate drifting against them, they now seek to make it harder to vote.
Republican militancy creates ferocious headwinds against any Biden attempt at bipartisan compromise. "He has to deal with an increasing number who operate outside any traditional definition of conservatism," says Phil Schiliro, who served as Obama's liaison to Congress. "That's an enormous challenge."
Ten of 50 Republican senators made Biden an initial Covid-relief offer nowhere near the new President's proposal. More, heeding the demands of their inflamed rank and file, have offered instant hostility; Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio accused Biden of having "governed from the radical left" less than 48 hours into his term.