Kevin McCarthey

Facts Don't Matter

Facts Don’t Matter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Robert A.  Levine

Facts still don’t matter. Perception does. Half a year after Donald Trump unwillingly stepped down from the Presidency, his lies and falsehoods are still accepted as facts by the vast majority of his acolytes. The most damaging of his lies for America’s democracy is his insistence that he won the presidential election and that it was stolen from him by Joe Biden. Because of this lie, a large proportion of Republican voters (between one third and two thirds depending on the poll) believe that Biden is an illegal president and that Trump actually won the election..

Some of Trump’s base believe that somehow Trump will be restored to the presidency in August, though it is unclear how this will happen. There is some talk of a civil war against the current government or other violent means for Trump to be reinstated. All of these ideas to destroy our democracy flow from Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen from him and that he should really be the president. All of his challenges in the courts and in different states have been rejected or shown to be false, but this does not stop Trump from denying the facts.

Hitler’s propaganda machine was based on the concept that if you repeatedly tell a lie, after a time it is accepted as a fact by a large proportion of the population, particularly those who are uninformed or uneducated. These are people who do not get their news from multiple sources to decide what is accurate and what is not. In general, they read very little, particularly about politics. They would rather stick to a media source that echoes their own beliefs even if they are untrue since they don’t know the difference. Often, they follow a tribal path in assessing what is real and what is not, taking their cues from friends, family and neighbors. In other words, they do not think for themselves.

On the other hand, Republican politicians at all levels know what is true and what is not but are afraid to say what is true. Instead, they are repeating and supporting the big lie because they are frightened of Trump’s power and worried that he will not back them when they run in their GOP primaries. Their cowardice and unwillingness to stand up to Trump aside from a few brave souls has completely distorted our democracy and made it harder for Joe Biden to get anything done. Actually, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader of the Senate and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Minority Leader of the House have stated that they will fight Biden’s agenda and don’t want him to be successful. Republicans do not care that Biden’s legislative successes will help America and they care more about their party than they do about the country. These are people who know what the facts are but deny them constantly to win Trump’s approval. For America to function well as a democracy, the two parties have to agree on the facts publically. They can react to them in different ways, but the facts are still the facts.                                                 www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble


Where is the GOP Going?

Where is the GOP Going?

                        Robert A. Levine 5-18-21

Since Trump took over the Republican Party in 2015, the question that needs to be asked is where is this political party headed?  What is their raison d’etre or reason for being? In the 2020 election, the Party ran without a platform or specific policy objectives. The only factor that bound members together so it could be called a party was its support of Donald Trump. That would be fine if Trump espoused a specific ideology, but he doesn’t. He is defined by populism and nationalism, but his allegiance appears to be primarily to people of wealth and perhaps how to help them get more. Though he is thought of as a populist and is adored by a large segment of the population, during his term in office he did little to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. He seemed to be mainly concerned by how to make his own life better along with those of his family and friends.

Having lost his bid for re-election, he still claims that he won and that the election was stolen from him, mostly because he does not want to be labeled as a “loser”. To obtain Trump’s support in future elections, the overwhelming majority of Republicans have backed his claim that the election was stolen though they all know this is a boldfaced lie. But few Republicans want to cross him in any way. Though he is out of office and does not have the bully pulpit any longer, he is still the leader of the GOP and all of its members must pay fealty to him or suffer the consequences. Aside from loyalty to Trump, the Republicans still have no specific policy proposals on which to run a campaign. They do oppose virtually every idea that the Democrats have brought up and tried to make into law, but opposition alone is not enough to define a political party. They need specific proposals that they are trying to make law, but thus far have not come up with anything concrete. Recently, it appears that some Republicans in the Senate may be willing to compromise with the Democrats over infrastructure plans. But this still does not a party make. They are also willing to have their members support conspiracy theories like QAnon and people like Marjorie Taylor Greene

The Republicans who oppose Trump for the most part call themselves conservatives, but they also have not come forth with a specific platform they can stand on. They are anti-Trump and anti-Democratic Party, but what are they for. What new laws would they like to see enacted? So Republicans of all stripes, pro-Trump and anti-Trump appear to be lacking goals and ideas that they can trumpet to their base and independents to help them get elected or re-elected. Are there any Republicans who know where their Party is going aside from how it relates to Trump? And outside the Party, do the Democrats or Independents know what Republicanism stands for at this point in time?

www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                  

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The Deep Chasm in American Politics

The Deep Chasm in American Politics

                        Robert A. Levine

The current political divide in America is greater than at any time since the Civil War. In the presidential election of November 2020, Joe Biden received over 81 million votes with Trump accumulating over 74 million. Since the election however, Trump has insisted that he won by a landslide and that Biden stole the election from him. There were over sixty court rulings that declared Trump’s claims invalid, including two unanimously by the Supreme Court where he had appointed three of the nine members.

Trump also went to various state legislatures where the state’s citizens had favored Biden, trying to get the legislatures to overturn the results. No success anywhere. Trump begged and threatened Georgia’s attorney general to find eleven thousand plus votes for him so that he would win Georgia. But the Attorney General Brad Raffensperger insisted that the vote count was correct and could not be changed.

Bill Barr, the Federal Attorney General before he resigned, told Trump as well that the results of the election were right and could not be overturned. When Barr resigned, the acting Attorney General at the Department of Justice also refused to honor Trump’s requests to disqualify enough of Biden’s votes to make Trump the winner. And Vice President Pence declared to Trump that he could not change the vote totals when they were confirmed at the Capitol.

Yet with all the officials who told Trump that he lost the election, both Republicans and Democrats, he would not accept the outcome, insisting that the election was stolen. This led Trump to call his supporters to Washington and to have them march on the Capitol to prevent the voting totals from being confirmed. Tens of thousands of his base including militant white supremacists followed Trump’s instructions. They trashed the Capitol building in an insurrection, searching for members of Congress and Senators who they could kill because they would not make Trump president and looking to hang Mike Pence.

Perhaps it is not surprising that Trump’s most intense acolytes would come to Washington and follow his orders to break into the Capitol and hunt down his opponents. What is surprising is that Trump received 74 million votes in the election and even after he lost, most of his supporters believed that the election was stolen from him. The vast majority of these are not rational citizens, but members of a tribal cult, willing to accept anything that Trump says or does.

Not only are Trump supporters divided from the Democrats, but they are angry at establishment Republicans who they feel did not fight vigorously enough for Trump to remain president. And they want to primary the House members who voted with the Democrats to impeach Trump. These Trump acolytes are uninformed about the true results of the election and are willing to follow Trump wherever he leads, even if it means the end of democracy and the beginning of fascism in America. How do you change the minds of cultists who are uninformed and accept and obey their leader wherever he takes them? Unfortunately, democracy and freedom means nothing to them. They do not understand what Trump is offering.

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Trump Insurrection

Trump Insurrection

            Robert A. Levine

January 6th in Washington was shocking but not surprising. For months, President Trump had been stoking his supporters with claims that the presidential election in November was rigged and victory stolen from him. He provided no evidence to back up his claim, but repeating it over and over again in his speeches and tweets provided his assertion with credibility, particularly with his avid adherents. There was no question that millions of his supporters believed his declaration was real and that the election and the presidency had been stolen. In addition, there was affirmation from right-wing commentators and websites. Trump abandoned the tasks of his presidency for months while he tried to overturn the results of the election. The Covid pandemic was completely ignored by Trump while Americans died by the hundreds of thousands.

To the majority of Americans and the mainstream media it was clear that Biden had won the election handily- by over 7 million popular votes and the Electoral College 306 to 232. Yet a delusional and deranged President Trump continued to insist that he won the election by a landslide. In the two months after election Trump and his legal team lost over sixty lawsuits in various Courts contesting different facets of the election, including unanimously twice in the Supreme Court where he had appointed three of the justices. The Courts found nothing to suggest that anything illegal had occurred regarding the voting and that Biden had indeed won the election. Trump also tried to get Republican state Secretaries of State to “to find votes for him” so that he would win these states. No dice. And he blasted Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Raffensperger and Governor Kemp as stupid and corrupt because they would not help him.

Trump also went to several GOP controlled state legislatures to try and convince them to change the vote totals in their states, but was rebuffed in each case. He claimed as well that the voting machines had been illegally set to help Biden, but this path led nowhere. Thus he reached a point where his efforts appeared futile. His last chance was Congress. But VP Pence said there was nothing he could do when he directed the voting for Biden’s confirmation, as his role was purely ceremonial. A majority of GOP House members and as many as twelve Senators said that they would object to swing state voting totals, agreeing with Trump that he had won. It appeared that Trump and these Republican officials were living in an alternative reality, as it was clear to the press and to state officials, both Republican and Democratic, that Biden had won the election by a landslide.

But it was too late to change the minds of Trump’s radical base who had already been convinced that the election was stolen by Biden. The nadir of Trump’s presidency and the outcome of his alliance with white supremacy groups and conspiracy theorists occurred on January 6th 2021 when legions of Trump supporters at his urging stormed and took over the nation’s capital. Speaking to the tens of thousands of his cult who had gathered in Washington, some armed, others not, Trump, Don Jr and Rudy Guilliani exhorted the gathering to march to the Capitol and be strong. On social media during the previous week, plans were being hatched by right-wing nationalists and white supremacists to take over the Capitol, so it was no secret what was coming. But law enforcement, particularly the Capitol police were totally unprepared, with a mob of white nationalist insurrectionists invading the Capitol and gaining control of the building, looting and destroying property and various personal materials of members of Congress.

Intelligence agencies and law enforcement should not have been taken by surprise by the hordes of white supremacists, given their announcements on social media. There had been talk of assassinating various officials including Vice-President Pence and of keeping Trump in the presidency. Many of these groups wanted to start a civil war in the country and felt that their actions might light the fuse. Interestingly, the insurrectionists initially were treated with kid gloves by the police, unlike the Black Lives Matter protesters months before. Though Trump and various Republican officials tried to distance themselves from the violent behavior afterwards, it was too little and too late.

White supremacists and militia groups who believe themselves entitled to run the nation are a continuing danger to democracy in the United States, with their positions supported by a percentage of law-enforcement and the military. Whether anything will change after their assault on the Capitol remains to be seen. Trump will continue to be a menace to American democracy even after he leaves the presidency, unless he is charged with insurrection and other counts and goes to prison.

www.robertlevinebooks.com

The Uninformed Voter- buy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble