Deploraville Dispatch

Did you argue politics with relatives over the holiday weekend? My Trumpster kin had nothing to say about their orange idol. I suspect they’re ashamed of him but too stubborn to admit it.

I’d like to think that’s progress, but I know better; they still believe the same stupid shit that made them vote for a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue in the first place.

Over the weekend, I read a Washington Monthly piece by Daniel Block about Democrats in deep red areas — kinda the opposite of the Deploraville safari articles about “heartland” Trump voters.

There’s a lot of truth to it, IMO. Here’s an excerpt:

Reporters have descended on conservative bastions like Augusta, as well as counties that recently flipped from blue to red, in a bid to understand how a reality television star became president. They have spoken to longtime, working-class conservatives and ex-Democrats who, through Trump, finally found a vehicle through which to express their political frustrations. In doing so, they’ve routinely painted a picture of Trump-voting America so predictable that it has become a trope. Yet very few journalists have chosen to focus on the Democrats in Trump country who stayed Democrats…

But even in places like Augusta County, thousands of people voted for Hillary Clinton. No depiction of Trump country is complete without them. Most of their neighbors may be standing by the president, but if Augusta is any indication, Democrats in rural red counties are just as fired up and enthused as their counterparts in liberal cities. In Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes Augusta, no Democrat has mounted a midterm congressional campaign in twenty years. This year, four people ran…

As more activists come out of the woodwork, the Democratic Party gains more people like Frank Nolen: human faces who can make the party more accessible to residents with hidden liberal inclinations. This is critical for the party’s fortunes. Building a viable electoral infrastructure depends on making it socially acceptable to be a Democrat.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the people who belong to the party that opposes an abusive, corrupt, would-be authoritarian degenerate are the ones who suffer social consequences for that. But it’s a reality that many of us live on the daily. That’s part of the reason you won’t find me boo-hooing over Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ comped cheese plate or pitying Tucker Carlson for blowback to his hate-mongering.

Fox News feeds its viewers a steady diet of “oppressed conservatives in Hollywood” stories and plays up incidents where its wealthy hate-mongers are harassed by ordinary citizens. The Fox News audience eats that victimization shit up — all the while engaging in subtle and overt intimidation tactics against neighbors with different political views.

The Post has an article today by doctoral candidate Emily Van Duyn about Democratic women secretly organizing in a deep red part of Texas. Some of the women in the underground group she studied shared why they’re unwilling to “come out” as Democrats:

The existence of this group does more than tell us about 136 women in a small county in Texas. Their experience of fear and intimidation challenges assumptions about democracy in the United States. That is, in a truly liberal democracy, people should be able to voice their views without fear of retaliation.

These women’s choice to engage and persist underground also challenges us to reconsider the privilege of being publicly political and the possibility that the things we see on the surface in our communities, the yard signs, the bumper stickers, are not the whole story.

It’s not the whole story, and we can’t write off the folks in those places. I know it’s tempting to give up on red areas — I live in one, and sometimes I think the best solution is to re-stage Sherman’s march. In a post about radicalized rural kids earlier this week, Mistermix observed:

This is not to say that radicalized rural kids aren’t a problem – but the problem is bigger than that. The Senate and the Electoral College over-represent states that intelligent progressive kids want to leave. Maybe, as Deb and James Fallows have reported, some of these kids will stay and enlarge blue dots in otherwise conservative states. But why bother when you can just move a few hundred miles away and not have to deal with the narrow minds and poverty of spirit that infects rural America?

I don’t have a good answer to that dilemma for individuals. I fled my conservative home turf as a young person too, only to ultimately return. But as a society, if we want to have a functioning democracy (and maybe even avoid a second civil war), those of us who do choose to remain in red areas — people like Cole, some of you, and me — have to do the hard work of building an electoral infrastructure, as outlined in the Washington Monthly piece.

That’s the only way forward. I sure hope we can pull it off.



Stacey Abrams vs. the Revanchist Racist

… “I have a hard time imagining this is anything but an intentional effort,” said Mr. Laven, who teaches political science at Kennesaw State University. “I can’t imagine this is just pure incompetence. Everyone knew how serious people have been around here about getting out the vote.”…

Georgia ranks 43rd out of 50 in election integrity, according to one of Mr. Shufeldt’s measures, which grades things like state election administration and expert opinion surveys.

That ranking is emblematic of almost a decade of fights between election rights groups and Mr. Kemp. Questions have long swirled around Mr. Kemp’s office about issues including voter data security and whether Georgia’s voting machines were fit for modern elections…

From The Root, “Neither Voter Suppression Nor Being Called ‘Coon’ and the N-Word Will Stop Black Georgia From Voting”:

Waynesboro, Georgia—Sarah Jenkins has long had to deal with simmering community tensions. She owns a small business in a white part of town that caters to senior citizens and people with mental disabilities, an arrangement many of her neighbors frown upon.

But since “Ms. Jenkins,” as folks like to call her, became a big supporter of Stacey Abrams—who is trying to become the first black woman to become governor anywhere in the nation—those tensions have boiled over. They’ve grown especially ugly since Abrams won the Democratic nomination in her quest to lead Georgia.
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GOP Voter Suppression in Georgia: Maybe If the Seniors Agreed to Ride in the Back of the Bus?…

The Suthrun Tradition revanchists are getting desperate. Let’s keep working to ensure these disgraceful antics will be summed up in the future as an extinction burst. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Black senior citizens ordered off Georgia bus taking them to vote”:

Government officials in an east Georgia county told about 40 African-American senior citizens to get off a bus taking them to vote Monday, leading to complaints of voter suppression.

The bus, run by the group Black Voters Matter, was preparing to depart from a senior center operated by Jefferson County when the center’s director said they needed to disembark, said LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter…

Jefferson County’s administrator said Tuesday that the county government considered the event at the senior center “political activity,” which isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events.

Black Voters Matter is a nonpartisan group encouraging African-Americans to vote in the election, but the county government considered the event political because Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Evans helped organize it, County Administrator Adam Brett said in a statement…

Black Voters Matter had received permission in advance for the event at the senior center, Brown said. The event was originally intended to encourage seniors to vote, and when some of the seniors asked whether they could ride the bus to an early-voting location, Black Voters Matter agreed to take them.

But someone apparently saw the bus, painted with the words “The South is Rising Tour,” and called county government offices, Brown said. That led to the phone call from the county clerk to the senior center. When they were asked, the senior citizens agreed to leave the bus.

“It was discouraging that they weren’t able to vote,” said Evans, who was on the bus. “When they’re suppressing votes, they’re going to come up with any kind of excuse about what your problem is.”…

Despite the obstacles, the senior citizens will find a way to cast their ballots, Brown said.

“The seniors were so resolved. They said: ‘We’re going to vote. Nobody’s going to stop us,’ ” Brown said. “It wasn’t the first time someone has denied them or tried to prevent them from voting.”



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Evil Old White Men in Cahoots

If Kavanaugh has the tiniest iota of self-awareness, tonight’s boozy TGIF should be as downbeat as the one at Trump Tower on the night of 11/6/16. Forty years of ‘youthful horseplay’ and a long history as a mid-level GOP apparatchik substituting effort for talent are about to be examined in a media glare to which twilight ratfvckers like Bart O’Kavanaugh are cruelly unsuited, and the blows to his lace-curtain Irish self-esteem will be severe and unrelenting. Millionaire parents and the best Beltway prestige upbringing, and the best he can aspire to is ‘bagman for Donald Trump!’

Unfortunately for all of us, one has to assume his personal security is poised to prevent him pulling a Richard Cory…


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Late Night Open Thread: All Deplorables Together!


 
An’ Ah’m proud to be a Deplorable / Cuz at least Ah know Ah’m free / Of the social norms that a wider world / Tried so hard to force on me…


 
“None are worth the good profanity” — I like that.


 
Adam Serwer, at the Atlantic, “The Cruelty Is the Point”:

Taking joy in that suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere on the wide spectrum between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men in the lynching photographs are the Trump supporters whose community is built by rejoicing in the anguish of those they see as unlike them, who have found in their shared cruelty an answer to the loneliness and atomization of modern life.

The laughter undergirds the daily spectacle of insincerity, as the president and his aides pledge fealty to bedrock democratic principles they have no intention of respecting…
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Repub Venality Open Thread: Lindsay Graham Is Giving His Voters What They Want

It may be a tell, but it ain’t no mystery. Graham’s seat comes up again in 2020, in South Too small for a republic, too big for an insane asylum” Carolina. You don’t need to postulate Russian kompromat or other mysterious Oval-Office-Occupancy blackmail threats to explain his behavior; Senator Graham knows what his voters want, and he’s prepared to give it to them. THA SAKERD SUTHRUN TRADITIONS may be changing… but the people who donate to Graham’s campaign and who pull the lever by his name in the voting booth are, defiantly, *not*.
 
So he’s going all out on Kavanaugh. Last night, per Rolling Stone:

As America continues to vet the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, we are handed competing narratives. One thing, however, is clear: Lindsey Graham has jumped the shark. On Monday night, the senator from South Carolina sat down with Sean Hannity to discuss his feverish obsession with forcing Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court, sexual allegations be damned. So laser-focused is Graham that he thinks President Trump should re-nominate Kavanaugh for the position should the Senate vote against him after the FBI concludes its investigation at the end of this week.

“I would appeal the verdict of the Senate to the ballot box,” Graham said. “This good man should not be destroyed. If you legitimize this process by one vote short, woe be unto the next person. I’d hate to be the next person nominated. I would feel horrible that we destroyed Kavanaugh. I’d renominate him and I’d take this case to the American people. I’d ask voters in Indiana and Missouri and North Dakota and other places where Trump won, saying who he would nominate if he got to be president, and see if the voters would want to appeal the verdict of their senator.”…

That wasn’t all. Graham also veered into “enemy of the people” territory by pointing a finger at NBC, whom he accused of working with the Democrats to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination. “They’ve been a co-conspirator in the destruction of Kavanaugh from my point of view,” he said, going on to suggest they wouldn’t report on sexual assault allegations if they were made against a Democrat…

Emma Dumain, at McClatchey, “Graham’s defense of Kavanaugh has conservatives applauding. How long will that last?”

…[D]uring a speech that could become his campaign ad two years from now, the South Carolina Republican on Thursday delivered a scathing takedown of Democrats and full-throated defense of Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee to be a Supreme Court Justice accused of sexual assault.

By Friday morning, Graham had cemented himself as the most public face of the Republican Senate’s support for the embattled federal judge — a role that has endeared him so greatly to the conservatives he needs to fend off primary challengers.

But Graham knows how such love is fleeting: Conservatives could turn on him at any moment…
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There’s A Pony In There!

You might think that this morning’s shitshow had no redeeming qualities. I found one.

It appears that the Democrats actually have a plan if Robert Mueller is fired. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware was willing to go on the record.

Almost immediately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would consult with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Democrats would demand a floor vote on a bill retroactively protecting Mueller and protecting his materials. In both the Senate and House, rank-and-file Democrats would contact a list of sympathetic Republicans who have signaled privately that they’d be willing to act should Trump pull the trigger.

And in cities across the country, rallies would be hastily scheduled for 5 p.m., if Mueller is fired before 2 p.m. on any given day. If he’s fired in the late afternoon or evening, the protests would be set for noon the following day.

The Democratic group MoveOn.org has been organizing 933 such rallies, with locations picked out and sponsors enlisted to handle logistics. The list includes rallies in big cities like Los Angeles, along with protests in more remote areas, such as the federal buildings in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Hilo, Hawaii.

Sounds like Lucy and the football, but

Coons predicted that “within minutes” of a Mueller firing, dozens of Republicans would either voice opposition publicly or phone the president or his chief of staff to register their objection privately. But he acknowledged that many Republicans have been coy, refusing to say even behind closed doors what actions they’d be willing to take.

Here’s the MoveOn page for demonstrations. Put your zip code in and find out if one is planned for your area.

Paul Waldman is sanguine that Mueller will prevail.

And given how meticulous they’ve been, it would be a shock if Mueller and his team haven’t prepared for the eventuality of being shut down. Perhaps they’ve kept a running, frequently updated report outlining everything they’ve found, a report that would one way or another find its way to the public. I’m guessing that if Democrats take over the House in November as everyone expects, they’ll use their power to subpoena documents and witnesses to do everything they can to bring the information assembled by the Mueller team to light.