QAnon

America's Centrists and Crazy Extremists

America’s Centrism and Crazy Extremists                                                                                                                                              Robert A. Levine

America’s citizenry is basically moderate and centrist. This has been confirmed over the years by various surveys that give independents, moderates, centrists a plurality no matter how they are labeled. When moderates and centrists in the two established parties that lean to the left or the right are included in the tally, centrists generally achieve a majority. Yet both Republicans and Democrats appear to be under the control of the extremists in the parties in terms of policies and candidates who are given party support. This merely adds to the rancor and partisanship between the parties and the inability to get things done that benefit the country.

Increasingly, politics has come to be perceived as a zero-sum game. If a bill introduced and supported by the Democrats is passed and becomes law, Republicans see it as a loss for them. And vice versa. The parties give little consideration to whether bills that are passed will be of value to the nation.

A prime example of this zero-sum thinking is the recent passage of the infrastructure bill by the House. The Senate had passed the bill months earlier with bipartisan support, including that of Mitch McConnell, the Minority leader. But the thirteen Republicans in the House who voted for the bill were considered traitors by many of the other House Republicans expecting a straight party line vote on important measures. Many GOP members feel that the dissenting Republicans who voted for the bill gave Biden and the Democrats a victory, without considering that the bill was badly needed and greatly benefits America.

In fact, a number of GOP Representatives asked Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, to remove the Republicans who voted for the bill from their positions on House committees as payback for their votes favoring the bill. Even worse, because of the extremism that has infected the base of the Party, the thirteen supporters of the bill have received thousands of threatening, damning and viciously offensive phone calls. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted the home phone numbers of these members and Steve Bannon gave out the numbers of the 19 Republican Senators who backed the bill. Ex-President Trump labeled them all as RINOs- Republicans in name only. The phone calls not only included threats to murder the Republicans supporters of the bill, but also to murder or torture them or members of their families. How far has extreme tribalism deviated from the moderate center of the electorate to spawn these messages of hate?

Meanwhile, in the Democratic Party, six members of the so-called extremist “Squad” voted against the infrastructure bill necessitating the Republican votes in order to insure passage in the House. These “progressives” do not seem to care about the re-election chances of the moderates in their party and it seems that for them it’s “my way or the highway” in the bills they support. They are willing to lose control of the House if the Democrats do not adhere to their precepts.

On the other hand, Biden’s Build Back Better bill that contains many social measures and has already been cut by more than half, has its passage in doubt because of imaginary moderates in the Senate, Manchin and Sistema who say they are reluctant to spend so much money and increase the national debt. However, in Manchin’s case, it’s probably more about cutting the use of coal to try and contain climate change. Maybe enough has been done to reshape the bill to generate the two recalcitrant Senator’s support.

Tribalism and extremist beliefs in both Parties are a danger to America’s democracy, much more so on the Republican right with its threats of violence than on the Democratic left. America is basically a moderate, centrist nation. How do we control extremism and rabid hatred against political opponents, spread by virulent demagogues over right-wing media and social platforms? It seems to be getting worse rather than better.

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                                                                                                                                  

Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


QAnon and Other Conspiracy Theories

QAnon and Other Conspiracy Theories

                        Robert A. Levine 5/3/21

It is truly amazing how many Americans accept QAnon and other conspiracy theories as truth and spread various conspiracies over the internet, through social media and by word of mouth. While conspiracy theories did not begin with Trump’s presidency, he formulated many of them and spread others, before, during and after his term in office. Even before he lost the election in 2020, he complained that the election was rigged and that if he did not win by a huge margin, Americans should realize that the election was fixed.

Then afterwards, he has continued to claim that the presidency was stolen from him by the Democrats even though multiple recounts and the courts have reinforced the fact that he lost fair and square. Conspiracies regarding the voting machines have also been found to be false and re-checks have found that the machines worked perfectly well. Trump’s lies about the stolen presidential race have heightened his adherent’s willingness to accept various other conspiracies theories with or without Trump’s imprimatur.

QAnon is the mother of all conspiracy theories, seemingly gaining more advocates every day though its beliefs strike many people as totally bizarre. Even some people in foreign countries accept some of the ideas that QAnon is spreading. Its concepts began prior to the 2016 election when it claimed that a pizza parlor near Washington was the headquarters for a Democratic pedophile ring run by Hilary Clinton. QAnon said that Democrats were pedophiles and were kidnapping American children to satisfy their pedophile members. There was absolutely no truth to this claim but millions of Americans believe it. Apparently, there is some leader of QAnon called Q who periodically comes out with proclamations advising his acolytes what to believe and what to do. A few years ago, one of his followers shot up the pizza parlor hoping to free the children that supposedly were imprisoned there but found nothing. That’s because there was nothing and QAnon is a total hoax that numerous Americans consider real.

Many Americans believe that climate change is a hoax, that the corona virus pandemic does not exist and that vaccines are an attempt to control your body with implanted chips installed whenever you get a vaccine shot. The pandemic and the chips placed in one’s body are blamed on Bill Gates and George Soros who want to control the world. Conspiracy theories seem to be mainly accepted by Republicans

One wonders how so many Americans could be so naïve and gullible to accept the conspiracy theories often born on the internet and spread without any evidence they are valid. Would anyone like to buy a bridge I have for sale?

www.robertlevinebooks.com

Buy The Uninformed Voter by Robert Levine on Amazon and Barnes and Noble