It has been refreshing, this past year, to not have to listen to the crap-filled ramblings of Republicanism’s treasonous Dear Leader, but Donald Trump has begun to resume his rallies and continues to hold the Republican Party entirely in the palm of his stubby-fingered hand. The delusional, lying fascist was in Arizona on Saturday for a “Save America” rally; as always, the thing Trump and his fellow violence-provoking seditionists intend to “save” America from is the right of non-Republicans to vote, to govern, to reproach, or even to exist.
We would normally ignore the orange-faced bullshit factory, but there are two moments this weekend, both public, that should be called out. The first is Dear Leader promoting a new hoax to his white nationalist base. It’s a hoax explicitly intended to stoke white racist anger, and is a preview of how Trump intends to push the party even farther into radicalism:
There are a great many weird things about this particular verbal spasm from the ranting man. The first, obviously, is that the claim is transparently false. Not only are white people not being refused the vaccine or treatment in New York state, it is not happening anywhere. We can guess, however, that the perpetually ignorant Trump heard this claim coming out the mouths of one of his favored Republican television pundits—there’s not a chance he came up with it on his own. Once again, the man who had once been given access to an entire nation’s knowledge base has discarded it all to instead bleat about something he saw flit by his television screen while he was on the toilet, or stuffing his mouth, or fuming quietly inside his for-profit mansion’s tackiest rooms.
But it also makes no sense. It is, in fact, a monument to how thoroughly the anti-democratic Republican base demands their leaders spew provocative gibberish that makes no sense. The Republican base does not want the vaccine. The Republican base, and their politicians, are going to great lengths to make sure nobody can “make” them get vaccinated against a disease that has killed over 800,000 Americans and is still going strong.
It’s certain that none in the pro-sedition, anti-American crowd care whether “white” Americans were being turned away at vaccination sites—but none of them are going to learn the truth either way, because none of them will be bursting into vaccine sites to demand they be vaccinated, right now, against the disease they have based their new pro-sedition lives around ignoring.
Unless the Great Liar is attempting to rile the racists in his base to flood vaccination sites with rolled-up sleeves, daring the technicians to refuse them twelve boosters each, his hoax does not even make sense within its own confines. But the far more likely reason for Trump’s new hoax is the simplest one: His base is made up of white racists willing to see government toppled rather than abide a government that does not cater exclusively to them.
And the best way to rile a crowd of ignorant racists to take action to “save” America is to fill their heads with claims that the nonwhite Americans around them are taking something from them. Nonwhite Americans are taking the vaccines and the treatments meant for white racists, and not letting white racists have any. It is enraging—or would be, if anyone in the crowd intended to seek out either.
So here we see the flag around which the architect of a coup attempt intends to rally his forces: Racist paranoia. Trump was similarly unashamed, however, about highlighting the methods by which his party intends to force the next coup.
This is precisely the strategy the Republican Party is now pursuing: Elections officials who resisted Trump’s demands to “find” votes (as he famously demanded in Georgia, with similar pressure being applied by chief of staff Mark Meadows, ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, and others) are being purged from the party; new functionaries who express an open willingness to adjust vote counting are being promoted in their place.
The justification being used is the Big Lie; Trump, goes the reasoning, was denied reelection because of a vast but invisible conspiracy involving millions and millions of “rigged” votes. The answer? New state laws that transfer the power to decide what “rigged” means into partisan Republican hands, and which allow those partisans to more easily cull whatever votes the party decides ought not be included. It will almost certainly lead to outright election fraud during the midterms, with state legislatures or partisan secretaries of state or elections supervisors issuing post-hoc decisions that toss out thousands or tens of thousands of votes from precincts based on whatever false charges anyone cares to level.
I saw a man delivering pizza was, in 2020 election, one variation of many that supposed ballots were secretly being smuggled into vote-counting stations by Republicanism’s enemies. One year from now that claim will be sufficient reason to throw out whatever votes the party’s newly installed criminals need to throw out. As Trump says, “sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate.” And he wants them to get “tougher.”
So that is the strategy being assembled for taking the midterms and then, after “tougher” party allies have been installed in all the important elections posts, taking the next presidential election. No policies are needed; Trump and his allies will continue to promote hoax after hoax telling the pro-sedition base that nonwhite Americans are taking things from them; partisan functionaries will then assert that the nonwhite precincts in their own states are the ones in which the dangerous other have so tainted the Good and True Vote that a complete erasure of the results is necessary.
It will likely work, in many places, because there are no remaining Republicans who object to insurrection with even enough vigor to scold the Trump wing of the party for attempting it. Not Romney; not McConnell; certainly not Kevin McCarthy, who is as we speak refusing to testify about his own knowledge of the coup attempt, as heard directly from Trump’s mouth.
This is the context in which two Democratic senators continue to insist we honor the filibuster, this exact version of the filibuster and none of the historical others, rather than take action to bar anti-democratic efforts to strip Americans of their voting rights. They are accomplices, not fools. They know what is at stake, but each imagines themselves a figure of such great import that the future of the nation hardly matters in comparison.
Take a look at what Trump is saying out loud, and what his party is saying out loud. Nobody is attempting to hide the plan, or who their targets are. Nobody is under any illusion about which votes will not be counted, when Republicanism strips the officials who blocked the party’s coup the first time around and replaces them with new versions now campaigning explicitly on their willingness to back such plans. The party base is no longer content with only hinting at such things; Trump’s crowds want to hear promises, from the people at the microphones, of a new American government that will make sure their enemies are punished, are “locked up,” are stripped of rights, and are put back in their proper place.