Sunday, January 14, 2024

Election 2024: Sliding into the deep end.


S Silver | Deposit Photos
And so it begins. The Iowa caucuses are happening tomorrow night, kicking off the 2024 presidential election (for Republicans, at least; Iowa Democrats will hold a primary in March, and the first primary election for both parties is next week in New Hampshire). 

The outcome of this primary season is likely preordained. Joe Biden is expected to win the Democratic nomination, and Donald Trump is way ahead of all of his challengers for the Republican nomination.

The media are treating it like any other election, talking about winners and losers, poll numbers and prognostications. But we're in a much different situation now than we have been in any past election, because the presumptive GOP nominee is under indictment on 91 criminal charges -- 91! -- not to mention being a defendant in several civil trials. He'll be splitting time between various federal and state courthouses and the campaign trail this year. And yet, somehow, he's still in the lead.

Over at the Washington Post last week, columnist Jennifer Rubin questioned whether the media aren't to blame. (It's a gift article -- feel free to click through and read the column.) She says pundits spent a lot of time after the 2016 election trying to figure out how they could have been so wrong about Trump's popularity. So reporters went to diners across the Rust Belt and talked to Trump's supporters -- and concluded that the problem was too many jobs going overseas.

But later analyses discovered that wasn't it at all. The real reason voters supported Trump had more to do with racism than anything else. The media totally missed the real story, Rubin says: that a minority of culture warriors with authoritarian dreams had taken over the Republican Party.

Rubin is dissembling here. As a former Republican and a Never Trumper, she's not going to admit that the Christofascists have been allied with the Libertarian elements of the GOP for several decades -- since Ronald Reagan, if not before -- and Trump's rise was pretty much the inevitable result.

But she's right about one thing: the media now ought to be covering today's GOP not as a legitimate political party, but like a cult -- the cult of Trump. "More of the media should be covering this phenomenon as it would any right-wing authoritarian movement in a foreign country," she writes. 

I agree with her. But it may be too late. It's going to be impossible to reach most of the devotees of Trump's personality cult. They've been hand-fed lies by Fox News and right-wing social media for far too long. They're not going to quit Trump -- they're in too deep. And like lemmings, they're going to follow him right over the edge into the abyss. Again.

Let's hope enough rational voters turn out in November to keep the cultists from dragging this country into the abyss after them. 


Speaking of politics: Yesterday marked the first day of my annual marathon, also known as the regular session of the New Mexico legislature. The session doesn't actually start until Tuesday, but there's a lot of prep work to be done on bills and such before the legislators hit the floor (so to speak). So our department started working in shifts yesterday. We'll be working every day, including weekends and holidays, and without breaks, until the final day of the session, which this year is Thursday, February 15th. 

Our state legislature meets for 60 days in odd-numbered years and 30 days in even-numbered years. That it's a 30-day session this year should make it easier, but it doesn't. It just means that everything that usually happens in 60 days has to get done in half the time.

And this year for the first time, I'm doing a session as a full-time employee. There's a bit of a different flavor to that. So I might not be keeping to my usual weekly blogging schedule for the next few weeks. If I've got a good topic, I'll write a post. Otherwise I may sit the week out. We'll see how it goes.


These moments of unabashedly political blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay safe!


acflory said...

Lynne! I tried to subscribe with my email but got a mailchimp error message. :(

Lynne Cantwell said...

Sorry about that. I canceled my Mailchimp account because I haven't promoted anything in ages and they were going to delete my account anyway. Thanks for the reminder to take the signup offer off the blog landing page.

I post every week on Sunday evenings US time, if that helps. :)