Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A Political Post

In 1932, the National Socialist party won a plurality of seats in the Reichstag. The other political parties in Germany refused to join in coalition with them, leaving a minority government in control through the end of the year.

That changed in 1933, when Franz von Papen, the head of the conservative Zentrum Party, agreed to join in coalition with the National Socialists, raising Adolf Hitler to the post of Chancellor. Papen believed that Hitler was a useful fool, a buffoon, who he could manipulate and use to secure his own political position. Hitler had other plans. After the Reichstag fire, Papen supported the Enabling Act, ending representative democracy in Germany. Papen was shoved aside, along with the rest of his party, once the Night of Long Knives had passed and the Nazification of Germany was complete. Democracy would not be restored until more than a decade later after tens of millions of people had been killed.

History does not repeat itself, and America is not on the same course as Germany in the 1930s. Our poor are less desperate, and we do not yet have ubiquitous paramilitary forces. But we would be foolish to ignore the lessons of history.

Fascists always start out as political minorities. As long as they are shut out of power, they will stay that way: the tools of the state are sufficient defense against a dangerous and violent internal force. But once they are let in to power, they will not retreat or surrender. Fascism ultimately believes that the people must be subordinate to their rulers, not the other way around, so votes are meaningless. Fascism thrives on conflict, seeking glory in conquering enemies. And there will always be enemies. Fascism is predicated on differentiating the pure from the "other", and has an existential need for someone to fight.

One advantage the United States has at the moment is a relatively unified left. By its nature, the left will never be as united as the right; but we are in a much better situation historically than Germany was. If the left parties in Germany had managed to work together, a great crisis might have been averted.

But ultimately, it's the right in America that will have the more important job over the next decade. Will they give in to temptation like Franz von Papen, welcoming the energy and support of ultra-right nationalists? Or will they remain true to their stated principles, following the tradition of the post-WW2 GOP, and denounce the antidemocratic pull?

So far, the signs are very discouraging. It feels like a dike is bursting. The most powerful and influential leaders in the Republican Party are not using their power to defend representative democracy: they are pouring gasoline on the fire, parroting false grievances, systematically eroding faith in the democratic process itself.

I'm not one to impugn motives; I can't see into anyone's soul. They may think that desperate dictatorial measures are necessary because they fear what their foes may do in power. They may truly disdain democracy and think it unnecessary. Some might even have become unmoored from reality, believing the ludicrous conspiracy theories spun from the darkest corners from the Internet.

While I don't judge motives, I do judge actions, and far too many politicians have taken a dangerous plunge on the road from democracy to fascism, of overturning the voters' will and imposing their own. My goal over the next 2-6 years will be to get as many of these people out of office as possible. In some cases that might mean holding my nose and supporting a primary challenger. More often it will mean supporting their opponent in a general election.

While many are guilty, the senators who falsely claimed electoral fraud and opposed the peaceful transfer of power have the greatest responsibility for our decline. They are:

Marsha Blackburn
Mike Braun
Ted Cruz
Steve Daines
Bill Hagerty
Josh Hawley
Cindy Hyde-Smith
Ron Johnson
John Neely Kennedy
James Lankford
Kelly Loeffler
Cynthia Lummis
Roger Marshall
Rick Scott
Tommy Tuberville

Of all of these, Josh Hawley is probably the one that concerns me the most. He is the vanguard of a social-nativist movement, akin to the National Front in France, the AfD in Germany, or the PiS in Poland. While a big responsibility of the right will be to expel fascists and reaffirm faith in democracy, a big responsibility of the left will be ensuring people like Hawley cannot outflank on economic issues and create an enduring nationalist bloc. In my view, one of the biggest bullets we dodged during the Trump administration was Steve Bannon's failure to realign the Republican Party along economically populist lines. Folks like Hawley are picking up that cause, and it may be one of the biggest risks of our era.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's incredibly important work. I hope you will help if you can.


  1. Thank you for this list, it has earned a Bookmark in the event that I have monies or ever see their name on a ballot. While the Senate is most concerning due to its complete misrepresentation of the popular vote, I also need to track down a list of House candidates (with an asterisk next to each person who won a vote in a state where they challenged the Presidential result. Give the purported evil Satanic cult some credits, peeps!)

    1. Oh, that's a good idea! My initial thought had been "ugh, fully half of the Republican House members have signed on to this putsch, I don't have the resources to oppose all of them." But, the more I think about it, small donations probably have the MOST impact in House races, particularly in primaries.

      I'll also try and look up a list tomorrow after the dust has settled and update the post! I also need to figure out what to do about people like Steve Daines who said "Sorry" after the mob was incited.

    2. House seats are also easier to flip on an incumbent, though the surprising Georgia results yesterday do give me some hope for Senate consequences. As to the Daines of the group, my response would be the same as to someone apologizing who crashed into my car when they ran a red light. "That's great, but I need your insurance info and I'm gonna sue the crap outta you."

    3. OK, here is the official list of Republican Representatives who voted to overturn the election result and install Donald Trump for a second term.

      Rep. Robert B. Aderholt AL
      Rep. Rick Allen GA
      Rep. Jodey Arrington TX
      Rep. Brian Babin TX
      Rep. Jim Baird IN
      Rep. Jim Banks IN
      Rep. Cliff Bentz OR
      Rep. Jack Bergman MI
      Rep. Stephanie Bice OK
      Rep. Andy Biggs AZ
      Rep. Dan Bishop NC
      Rep. Lauren Boebert CO
      Rep. Mike Bost IL
      Rep. Mo Brooks AL
      Rep. Ted Budd NC
      Rep. Tim Burchett TN
      Rep. Michael C. Burgess TX
      Rep. Ken Calvert CA
      Rep. Kat Cammack FL
      Rep. Jerry Carl AL
      Rep. Earl L. "Buddy" Carter GA
      Rep. John Carter TX
      Rep. Madison Cawthorn NC
      Rep. Steve Chabot OH
      Rep. Ben Cline VA
      Rep. Michael Cloud TX
      Rep. Andrew Clyde GA
      Rep. Tom Cole OK
      Rep. Eric A. "Rick" Crawford AR
      Rep. Warren Davidson OH
      Rep. Scott DesJarlais TN
      Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart FL
      Rep. Byron Donalds FL
      Rep. Jeff Duncan SC
      Rep. Neal Dunn FL
      Rep. Ron Estes KS
      Rep. Pat Fallon TX
      Rep. Michelle Fischbach MN
      Rep. Scott Fitzgerald WI
      Rep. Charles J. "Chuck" Fleischmann TN
      Rep. Virginia Foxx NC
      Rep. Scott Franklin FL
      Rep. Russ Fulcher ID
      Rep. Matt Gaetz FL
      Rep. Mike Garcia CA
      Rep. Bob Gibbs OH
      Rep. Carlos Gimenez FL
      Rep. Louie Gohmert TX
      Rep. Bob Good VA
      Rep. Lance Gooden TX
      Rep. Paul A. Gosar AZ
      Rep. Garret Graves LA
      Rep. Sam Graves MO
      Rep. Mark Green TN
      Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene GA
      Rep. H. Morgan Griffith VA
      Rep. Michael Guest MS
      Rep. Jim Hagedorn MN
      Rep. Andy Harris MD
      Rep. Diana Harshbarger TN
      Rep. Vicky Hartzler MO
      Rep. Kevin Hern OK
      Rep. Yvette Herrell NM
      Rep. Jody Hice GA
      Rep. Clay Higgins LA
      Rep. Richard Hudson NC
      Rep. Darrell Issa CA
      Rep. Ronny Jackson TX
      Rep. Chris Jacobs NY
      Rep. Mike Johnson LA
      Rep. Bill Johnson OH
      Rep. Jim Jordan OH
      Rep. John Joyce PA
      Rep. Fred Keller PA
      Rep. Trent Kelly MS
      Rep. Mike Kelly PA
      Rep. David Kustoff TN
      Rep. Doug LaMalfa CA
      Rep. Doug Lamborn CO
      Rep. Jake LaTurner KS
      Rep. Debbie Lesko AZ
      Rep. Billy Long MO
      Rep. Barry Loudermilk GA
      Rep. Frank D. Lucas OK
      Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer MO
      Rep. Nicole Malliotakis NY
      Rep. Tracey Mann KS
      Rep. Brian Mast FL
      Rep. Kevin McCarthy CA
      Rep. Lisa McClain MI
      Rep. Dan Meuser PA
      Rep. Mary Miller IL
      Rep. Carol Miller WV
      Rep. Alex Mooney WV
      Rep. Barry Moore AL
      Rep. Markwayne Mullin OK
      Rep. Gregory Murphy NC
      Rep. Troy Nehls TX
      Rep. Ralph Norman SC
      Rep. Devin Nunes CA
      Rep. Jay Obernolte CA
      Rep. Burgess Owens UT
      Rep. Steven M. Palazzo MS
      Rep. Gary Palmer AL
      Rep. Greg Pence IN
      Rep. Scott Perry PA
      Rep. August Pfluger TX
      Rep. Bill Posey FL
      Rep. Guy Reschenthaler PA
      Rep. Tom Rice SC
      Rep. Mike D. Rogers AL
      Rep. Harold Rogers KY
      Rep. John Rose TN
      Rep. Matt Rosendale MT
      Rep. David Rouzer NC
      Rep. John Rutherford FL
      Rep. Steve Scalise LA
      Rep. David Schweikert AZ
      Rep. Pete Sessions TX
      Rep. Jason T. Smith MO
      Rep. Adrian Smith NE
      Rep. Lloyd Smucker PA
      Rep. Elise Stefanik NY
      Rep. Greg Steube FL
      Rep. Chris Stewart UT
      Rep. Glenn Thompson PA
      Rep. Tom Tiffany WI
      Rep. William Timmons SC
      Rep. Jeff Van Drew NJ
      Rep. Beth Van Duyne TX
      Rep. Tim Walberg MI
      Rep. Jackie Walorski IN
      Rep. Randy Weber TX
      Rep. Daniel Webster FL
      Rep. Roger Williams TX
      Rep. Joe Wilson SC
      Rep. Rob Wittman VA
      Rep. Ron Wright TX
      Rep. Lee Zeldin NY

      Seeing that list makes me feel skeptical that the Republican Party can be saved. It's not too surprising that individual Republican voters will fall down a rabbit hole into 8chan, Facebook or OANN and become convinced that a violent insurrection is necessary because [insert reason here]. But when well over half of the elected representatives of a party seek to subvert democracy, that feels like an existential crisis. I imagine some are driven by fear of their base, some from a lust for power, some from hatred of their political foes. But folks like Romney have an awfully tall hill to climb.

    4. Oooh, 4 in my state! Though not in my district, that is a good opportunity to volunteer in 2022 to unseat them.

      I am lazy, but this seems like a good personal goal.

    5. Yeah, and 7 in California (including the House Minority Leader), plus two in Illinois. #Goals!

    6. And, these are the senators who still need to provide their insurance info and get sued:

      Marsha Blackburn
      Mike Braun
      Steve Daines
      Bill Hagerty
      Ron Johnson (!)
      James Lankford