Two more weeks. For once, I wouldn’t mind if time flew a little faster. Suggestion for passing a little time: If you haven’t read the in-depth exposé of Foxconn by Josh Dzieza at The Verge, don’t miss it. It’s absolutely jaw-dropping.
I also recommend The 31-day campaign against QAnon by Stephanie McCrummen at WaPo. This is the story of Kevin Van Ausdal, a political novice leading a nice, ordinary life who decided to run as a Democrat for a seat in the U.S. House from Georgia. He ended up being the Dem opponent of Marjorie Taylor Greene, the infamous QAnon wackjob, The campaign crushed him, and he dropped out a few weeks ago. Charles Pierce has a good summation of the piece here. And it’s hard to say who did the most damage — the QAnon lunatics or the “professional” campaign consultants he hired to help guide him.
And then read What I Learned When QAnon Came for Me by Scott Wiener, a member of the California State Senate, at the New York Times. QAnon isn’t just nuts; it’s dangerous. It’s like cancer. I think Wiener is right when he says QAnon is an “outgrowth of our troubled times, when people who have survived decades of extreme income inequality are now suffering through a horrific pandemic. They are turning to conspiracy theories because they think there’s nowhere else to turn.” But that doesn’t mean it has to be tolerated. The United States cannot afford to tolerate something this dangerous.
And then read Matthew Rosenberg, Republican Voters Take a Radical Conspiracy Theory Mainstream, at the New York Times.
Though there has been little public polling, there is growing anecdotal evidence that QAnon followers now make up a
small but significant minority of Republicans. Adherents are running for Congress and flexing their political muscles at the state and local levels. The movement’s growth has picked up pace since the onset of the pandemic in March, and its potency is clear on social media — before Facebook banned QAnon content earlier this month, there were thousands of dedicated Facebook groups with millions of members.
And then see Stanley Greenberg at The Atlantic, After Trump, the Republican Party May Become More Extreme. Greenberg doesn’t mention QAnon, but he does say that the Trump base isn’t going to go away.
Trump built his base in the insurgent anti-government, anti-immigrant movement that, during the last recession, came to prominence as the Tea Party. Then he forged a pact with evangelical Christians, to whom he promised a steady supply of socially conservative federal judges, including on the Supreme Court. He also built a strong alliance with his party’s anti-abortion-rights observant Catholics—a constituency epitomized by Attorney General William Barr. So Trump campaigns unbowed atop a coalition that, by my estimate, constitutes 65 percent of his party. He has lost swing voters but kept his most avid fans. Among the voters who approve of Trump’s job performance, about 70 percent do so strongly.
As Matthew Rosenberg said, there’s been little public polling and no way to know exactly what percent of the Republican Party base aligns with QAnon. But it has to be at least a significant minority at this point. See Caroline Mimbs Nyce, QAnon Isn’t Going Away at The Atlantic.
Oh, and if you’re really confused about what QAnon even is, see The Prophecies of Q by Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic.
The question is, what will happen to the Republican Party in the next two or three years? A lot will depend on the election, of course. But let’s assume that Republicans really do lose a lot of elections at both the state and national level. At some point the party’s going to have to choose between continuing to stoke wackjobbery or trying to be an actual political party again instead of a cult, whether Trump or QAnon or whatever.
And I suspect most of the money people would prefer an actual political party. I don’t see the people who bankroll the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute or any of that throwing money at candidates who are obsessed with connecting Pizzagate pedophilia rings and the Roswell UFO story with John F. Kennedy, Jr, who didn’t really die but is directing the Q movement from a mysterious underground location. I suspect most of the Never Trumper people long for a party that is mostly about real-world policy, even if their ideas about what the real world needs are from the McKinley Administration. But what percentage of Republican voters do the “serious” Republicans represent any more?
So I’m throwing it to you folks. Where do you think the Republican Party will go from here?