Thomas B. Edsall | The MAGA Formula Is Getting Darker and Darker – The New York Times

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

“The chilling amalgam of Christian nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal — from QAnon to the “stolen” 2020 election — has attracted a substantial constituency in the United States, thanks in large part to the efforts of Donald Trump and his advisers. By some estimates, adherents of these overlapping movements make up as much as a quarter or even a third of the electorate. Whatever the scale, they are determined to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America.

“While these elements are not new,” Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, wrote by email, “Donald Trump wove them together and brought them out into the open. Indeed, the MAGA formula — the stoking of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment while making nativist appeals to the Christian right — could accurately be described as a white Christian nationalist strategy from the beginning.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great work, thank you. I like the observation, that these people are diminishing in numbers, hence more dangerous. I’ve been an Episcopalian all my life, and there is lots of data about the number of people going to church regularly is in serious decline, for a long time. I recently returned in my heart to the church, as a Franciscan, or follower of Saint Francis, as his teachings and the teaching of his disciples are described by Richard Rohr, in Eager to Love. Humans are not above all other life forms. All life forms, and even non life forms, are sacred. Scientists report that the overpopulation of humans is crowding out other species, and will make the planet uninhabitable for humans as well. So the good new, if that’s what you need, is that our human caused problems will be self-correcting. We are multiplying like a green algae bloom. Sadly, it is all within our means to fix, and yet we bicker, and delay, and allow obfuscation.
InconvenientNews.net

Thomas B. Edsall | Trump Won’t Let America Go. Can Democrats Pry It Away? – The New York Times

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

“Do you believe, as many political activists and theorists do, that the contemporary Republican Party poses a threat to democracy? After all, much of its current leadership refuses to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election and is dead set on undermining the concept of one person, one vote.

If it does pose such a threat, does that leave the Democratic Party as the main institutional defender of democracy?

If the Democratic Party has been thrust into that role — whether it wants it or not — recent election results and adverse polling trends suggest that it stands a good chance of losing both branches of Congress in 2022 and that Donald Trump or a Trump clone could win the presidency in 2024.

The issue then becomes a question of strategic emphasis. Do Democrats’ difficulties grow more out of structural advantages of the Republican Party — better geographic distribution of its voters, the small-state tilt of the Electoral College and the Senate, more control over redistricting? Or do their difficulties stem from Democratic policies and positions that alienate key blocs of the electorate?”

Thomas B. Edsall | Democrats Shouldn’t Panic. They Should Go Into Shock. – The New York Times

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

“The rise of inflationsupply chain shortages, a surge in illegal border crossings, the persistence of Covid, mayhem in Afghanistan and the uproar over “critical race theory” — all of these developments, individually and collectively, have taken their toll on President Biden and Democratic candidates, so much so that Democrats are now the underdogs going into 2022 and possibly 2024.

Gary Langer, director of polling at ABC News, put it this way in an essay published on the network’s website:

As things stand, if the midterm elections were today, 51 percent of registered voters say they’d support the Republican candidate in their congressional district, 41 percent say the Democrat. That’s the biggest lead for Republicans in the 110 ABC/Post polls that have asked this question since November 1981.

These and other trends have provoked a deepening pessimism about Democratic prospects in 2022 and anxiety about the 2024 presidential election.”

Thomas B. Edsall | ‘It’s Become Increasingly Hard for boys and men to Feel Good About Themselves’ – The New York Times

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

“Is there a whole class of men who no longer fit into the social order?

A decade ago, Marianne Bertrand and Jessica Pan, economists at the University of Chicago and the National University of Singapore, concluded in their paper “The Trouble With Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior”:

Family structure is an important correlate of boys’ behavioral deficit. Boys that are raised outside of a traditional family (with two biological parents present) fare especially poorly. For example, the gender gap in externalizing problems when the children are in fifth grade is nearly twice as large for children raised by single mothers compared to children raised in traditional families. By eighth grade, the gender gap in school suspension is close to 25 percentage points among children raised by single mothers, while only 10 percentage points among children in intact families. Boys raised by teenage mothers also appear to be much more likely to act out.”

Thomas B. Edsall | ‘Lean Into It. Lean Into the Culture War.’ – The New York Times

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

“Should responsibility for the rampant polarization that characterizes American politics today be laid at the feet of liberals or conservatives? I posed that question to my friend Bill Galston, a senior fellow at Brookings and a columnist at The Wall Street Journal.

He emailed me his reply:

It is fair to say that the proponents of cultural change have been mostly on offense since Brown v. the Board of Education, while the defenders of the status quo have been on defense.

Once the conflict enters the political arena, though, other factors come into play, Galston argues:

Intensity makes a huge difference, and on many of the cultural issues, including guns and immigration, the right is more intense than the left.”

David Lindsay: Good piece, and good comments. Here are two I really liked.

RRockySeattle9h ago

Jacob Hacker has the essence of it: “It strains credulity to argue that Democrats have been pushing culture-war issues more than Republicans. It’s mostly Republican elites who have accentuated these issues to attract more and more working-class white voters even as they pursue a plutocratic economic agenda that’s unpopular among those voters.” The culture war is a mostly manufactured and manipulated divisiveness, handy to distract the populace from the wholesale economic looting of the country by the 1%. And though its roots in modern times go back to Joe McCarthy’s demagoguery, it really got fed by the onset of Reaganism and the Reagan Restoration (of the plutocracy). Reagan’s right-wing business patrons were very happy to utilize his fearmongering and racebaiting B-actor’s shtick in their seizure of power over the last half-century (while witless or craven “Democratic” neoliberals either stood down or acted complicitly).

15 Replies 533 Recommended

AAaron BertramUtah5h agoTimes Pick

I’m less concerned about whether Democrats have moved further to the left than Republicans have to the right (though the idea is laughable to me when we have no livable minimum wage, no universal healthcare and no universal childcare). What concerns me more is that the right is moving further away from the truth. The fountain of lies issuing from the ex-president, members of Congress and Fox News personalities has no parallel anywhere else on the political spectrum and is paralyzing our ability to cope with present and looming crises.

4 Replies 455 Recommended

Thomas B. Edsall | ‘The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets.’ – The New York Times

“Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality. He has written extensively about the rise of the political right and the religious right.

Credit…Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

“It’s impossible to understand the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol without addressing the movement that has come to be known as Christian nationalism.

Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry, professors of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Oklahoma, describe Christian Nationalism in their book “Taking America Back for God”:

It includes assumptions of nativism, white supremacy, patriarchy and heteronormativity, along with divine sanction for authoritarian control and militarism. It is as ethnic and political as it is religious. Understood in this light, Christian nationalism contends that America has been and should always be distinctively ‘Christian’ from top to bottom — in its self-identity, interpretations of its own history, sacred symbols, cherished values and public policies — and it aims to keep it this way.

In her recent book, “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism,” Katherine Stewart, a frequent contributor to these pages, does not mince words:

It is a political movement, and its ultimate goal is power. It does not seek to add another voice to America’s pluralistic democracy, but to replace our foundational democratic principles and institutions with a state grounded on a particular version of Christianity, answering to what some adherents call a ‘biblical worldview’ that also happens to serve the interests of its plutocratic funders and allied political leaders.

This, Stewart writes, “is not a ‘culture war.’ It is a political war over the future of democracy.”