Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
He did not have a coherent policy platform, because he was the policy platform, the middle finger to perceived enemies and the bulwark against real or imagined progressive assault. Many Republican presidents would have moved the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem or supported a capital-gains tax cut or attempted to wage a Kulturkampf against “cancel culture” or any other wedge issue that provided an unwinnable and unlosable political war to be fought in the Twitter trenches. It is telling that as president, Mr. Trump became a remarkably standard Republican on many issues (his opposition to raising the minimum wage, for example) and received no penalty from his voters or allies. He did not need to fulfill the promises of Trumpism to win their support. He merely needed to be Donald Trump.
“A lot of nonreligious liberals can’t tune into the frequency on which Donald Trump is speaking to the right,” Hochschild said. Throughout his term, the president has been laser-focused, not so much on the day-to-day tasks of the job, but rather on calling out his political enemies—the press, the bureaucracy, the far left, the impeachers, the vote-counting software. But although liberals might see pathological anger here, Hochschild’s sources have told her they perceive something deeper than rage. They see suffering. “‘I’m suffering for you,’ is a profound message,” she said. “Suffering consolidates and strengthens belief. It puts an ism to the word Trump and gives a political project the shape of a religious movement.” Perhaps in part because Trump considers himself godlike, he is absorbing the underlying religious paradigm of voters who are seeking some new creed to explain the broken line and mend it.
More Republicans tend to think of Democrats as enemies right now than as just political opposition. pic.twitter.com/TtGGzVMSJP— CBS News Poll (@CBSNewsPoll) February 9, 2021
You don’t have to study demography to see that race is at the core of the GOP’s tilt toward the authoritarian. You need only look at what happened this week.
On Monday, the Georgia state House passed a bill brazenly attempting to deter Black voters. The bill proposed to scale back Sunday voting — taking direct aim at the longtime “Souls to the Polls” tradition in which Black voters cast their ballots after church on Sundays. The bill also would increase voter I.D. requirements — known to disenfranchise Black voters disproportionately — and even would make it illegal to serve food or drinks to voters waiting in long lines outside polling places; lines are typically longer at minority precincts.
Georgia Republicans clearly are hoping they can suppress enough Black votes to erase the Democrats’ narrow advantage that gave them both of the state’s Senate seats and Joe Biden its electoral votes. But Georgia is just one of the 43 states collectively contemplating 253 bills this year with provisions restricting voting access, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s majority signaled it would be open to more such voting restrictions. In oral arguments, the conservative justices indicated they would uphold two Arizona laws that would have the effect of disproportionately disqualifying the votes of non-White citizens. One law throws out ballots cast in the wrong precinct, a problem that affects minority voters twice as much as White voters because polling places move more frequently in minority neighborhoods. The other law bans the practice of ballot collection — derided by Republicans as ballot “harvesting” — which is disproportionately used by minority voters, in particular Arizona’s Native Americans on reservations.
Representing the Arizona Republican Party in Tuesday’s argument, lawyer Michael A. Carvin explained why the party supports laws tossing out ballots: “Politics is a zero-sum game.”
Turning to perceptions of the 2020 election cycle, we find that the MAGA movement refuses to accept the election results. We assess this in a number of ways, from survey questions that invoke fraud claims made by Trump, to perceptions of the congressional elections. When we asked our respondents about whether or not they agreed with Trump’s fraud claims, 98 percent believed them valid. We then asked, absent Trump’s claim, whether or not they trusted the election results. Again, 98 percent of respondents distrust the results. However, when we shift to perceptions of the congressional elections, the attitudes move a bit. Instead of 98 percent who take issue with the election outcome at the presidential level, distrust of the down-ballot (congressional) results decline by roughly 20 percentage points to 78 percent. The disparity between our findings on the first two questions, and the last one, suggests that movement members are less upset with gains made in the House versus losing (illegitimately) the presidency. We were also curious about other issues surrounding the 2020 election cycle: attitudes surrounding making it easier for people to vote, and if they’d support Trump for a third term. Recall that, at the time the first wave was in the field, the outcome of the election remained in doubt. In response to the first question, roughly 90 percent of our respondents disagreed with making it easier for people to vote. Replying to the second, it’s clear that, were it possible, roughly 70 percent would’ve supported Trump for a third term.