Over the last three years, we as a country have been struggling to understand exactly what is driving the rage of white Republican voters. The press tried to explain it away as "economic anxiety" and blamed Hillary Clinton for being Hillary Clinton. But Trump's cult continued to be the absolute worst human beings imaginable, celebrating children being put into cages, the presidency being reduced to a cheap grift, our foreign policy being transformed into a game of chicken, and our economy being set on fire by policies so poorly conceived it makes Monopoly look like a Master Class in comparison. What the hell is wrong with the MAGA cult?
Here and there, an op-ed will pop up that almost gets it and Virginia Heffernan's in the LA Times is one of them.
...one commenter who repped MAGA consoled himself with his own calculus. “Better nuclear winter than more letters in LGBTQ,” he wrote.
His words laid bare the Death Logic that suffuses the philosophy of Trump and his supporters. The idea is that even the annihilation of humankind is worth it if it owns the libs.
This thinking is now regularly satirized in memes that illustrate how Republicans are cutting off their noses to spite … everything. Throw the nation into massive debt to own the libs. Align with fascism to own the libs. Crash the government to own the libs.
She doesn't get into the underlying cause of this nihilism which is the now unstoppable loss of white male control of the United States. But Heffernan does an excellent job of pinning down the symptoms, the right's lemming-like to walk off a cliff if it means taking down everyone they hate with them.
But like every article that grapples with the death cult the right wing has become, Heffernan fails to look past what is happening right now and ask the most important question: What comes next?
The midterms told us something very important about the future of right wing politics. Specifically, the right is completely screwed. They turned out in record numbers to support their Great White Savior and even with massive amounts of gerrymandering, historic levels of suppression, and outright election fraud, Republicans were stomped into the ground. Another two years of Trump in office coupled with the coming recession sparked by Trump's insane economic policies will guarantee the 2020 election will be a wipeout that will make 2008 look like the good ol' days for Republicans.
White Republican voters, who were intoxicated with power just two years ago, will have spent the last four years being relentlessly hounded out of the public square for being world class bigots before being stripped of "their" control of "their" country. If they were bubbling over with rage before Trump, that's nothing compared to what they'll be like after America rejects them like a virus.
Look at it from their point of view. They won and they were going to "make America great again" by getting rid of all of Those People. Let's not pretend they meant anything else. White Republican voters honestly thought they were finally free to be the horrible bigots in public they've always been in private. White people had won and everyone would have to "get over it." They loved saying that back in late 2016 - early 2017.
But that didn't happen. The bigots proudly came out of the shadows and society hasn't stopped destroying their lives since. It would be a full time job to keep track of all the stupid white people that have lost their jobs for screaming racial slurs in public. So many of them started calling the police on black people doing nothing that the public is now aware of how white people use the police to enforce white supremacy. This is not new but dumb bigots did it so often and so loudly that the pattern became undeniable. So...thanks for humiliating yourself while performing a public service?
Instead of reigning supreme, white Republicans voters found themselves vilified in a way they didn't understand and couldn't cope with. There had never really been consequences to their bigotry before but suddenly there were consequences everywhere leading up to a massive electoral defeat.
Does anyone really think they're going to "get over it" after 2020? Does anyone really believe that they'll just shrug their shoulders and get ready for the next election? Of course not. They know that every election sees less angry old white people voting for white supremacy and more Millennials voting for equal rights and income equality. Time is not on their side and their rage will not have subsided in the slightest. Just the opposite in fact. They will convince themselves the 2020 election was "stolen" from them by illegal voters and Trump, along with all of AM Hate Radio, Fox News, and right wing hate sites, will surely be there egging them on.
What Heffernan doesn't discuss is the coming wave of violence at the hands of the right wing after they inevitably lose the battle for the soul of America. If Trump were a more competent and less mentally incapacitated authoritarian, he might have been able to seize control of the country. But while he has the instincts of a tyrant and he's surely getting advice from fascists like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller on how to erode our democracy to the point of collapse, he's simply too stupid and lazy to actually do it. And so his movement will collapse and millions of MAGAs will be left in impotent rage that they couldn't reshape America into the white nationalist dictatorship of their fantasies.
They'll have no outlet for that rage but terrorism. They're already clamoring for a civil war but they're not organized enough to get one. They'll have to settle for blowing up federal buildings, political assassinations, and carrying out mass shootings and that's exactly what they're going to do. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can prepare for it.
I know I sound like a bit of a broken record on this topic but it's dangerous to underestimate the rage of Trump's cult and how violent they are. The fact that we're starting to talk more openly about the "death logic" of Trumpism is a good sign that people are starting to finally face the reality in front of us. Now we just have to follow that train of thought to its only conclusion and get ready for it.
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