Richard Parker/NY Times:
Was Trump’s El Paso Visit a Turning Point?
A day of racist comments left him looking small and isolated, while the city united against him.
Yet most striking was how alone and outnumbered the president was: rejected, ostracized and told to go home...
For perhaps the first time in his angry, racist and cruel presidency, the tables were turned in smoldering, righteous popular anger — and he was on the receiving end.
A reminder from Amy Barnhorst/NY Times, Feb 2018:
The Mental Health System Can’t Stop Mass Shooters
The mental health system doesn’t identify most of these people because they don’t come in to get care. And even if they do, laws designed to preserve the civil liberties of people with mental illness place limits on what treatments can be imposed against a person’s will.
It takes a lot of work to try to exonerate the president’s fomenting of racist violence, but Trump fans are giving it their all.
While most conservatives continue to maintain a cringing silence at the president’s behavior, [Byron] York and [Marc] Thiessen form a vanguard of denialism. Others are sure to follow and amplify the message, because we know how this works. An entire cottage industry has arisen on the right denying, for example, that Trump called neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “very fine people.” So expect the gaslighting to continue until morale improves.
York really wants us to know that the El Paso shooter had lots of things going on besides racism. The killer decided to murder Hispanics because he thought they were “invaders” who wanted to “replace” us. But other than that …
I’m staring at this all day:
You want Romney → did not vote, Obama → did not vote, and Obama → Trump. Did not vote → Trump are the crazies, waste of time talking to them. The wild card is some of the Romney→ Trump. Those could include suburban votes and are gettable.
Gun Culture And Wellness Culture Come From The Same Place
Fear. Suspicion of established authority. A feeling of intense disempowerment. People turn to guns for the comforts that others get from oils and energy crystals.
I’ve spent the last four years studying how people end up believing in a range of medical pseudoscience, including reversing cancer with a raw vegan diet and avoiding vaccines in favor of homeopathic medicine. They are united by a set of shared concerns, all built around grains of truth: frustration with arrogant and uncaring doctors, suspicion of corrupt government scientists and a heightened sense of environmental risks. Their discontents metastasize rapidly, eventually causing severe emotional pain that demands to be addressed. This process is often catalyzed by tragedy — a devastating medical diagnosis in oneself or a loved one — and the realization that standard approaches can’t guarantee a solution. As a consequence, the afflicted immerse themselves in personal narratives of redemption outside mainstream medicine, which come paired with reassuringly detailed instructions on how to defend yourself against suffering when the authorities can’t, or won’t, help.
The result is what I call an “empowering epistemology”: a way to make sense of the world based not on the best possible evidence but rather on the evidence that gives you the strongest feeling of control. The communities that embrace it share some structural features with archaic aspects of traditional religion: Like-minded people gather and testify to the power of their rituals and talismans, be they “empowering coconut oil” or energy crystals. The power is all the more real for being denied by “conventional” wisdom.
I’ve always associated this way of thinking with medical pseudoscience, so I was shocked to see textbook signs of it in the least likely place: a recent essay on gun culture for The Atlantic by the conservative writer David French. Then, less than a week later, I saw those same signs in a New York Times op-ed, “I Wanted to Be A Good Mom. So I Got A Gun,” by Bethany Mandel. A visit to the magazine section of my local Barnes and Noble confirmed it: Gun culture and wellness culture are both built on an empowering belief system.
Yabbut see Rachel Bitecofer, further down.
‘They’re afraid’: Suburban voters in red states threaten GOP’s grip on power
Republicans face a reckoning in the red-state suburbs that have long been a bedrock for the party, propelled by the stormy confluence of President Trump’s searing racial attacks, economic turbulence and frustration with government inaction after last weekend’s deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.
The GOP lost its House majority in 2018 after it fared poorly with suburban voters, particularly women. Party leaders are increasingly alarmed that they have made little progress winning them back. Instead, Trump’s incessant feuds, his hard-line position on immigration — including federal raids that left children without their parents — and the stock market’s tumult amid his trade standoff with China threaten to further alienate suburban voters ahead of the 2020 campaign, even in states that have traditionally elected Republicans.
Republican leaders also worry that Trump’s dramatic policy moves and Twitter outbursts — such as last month’s racist tweets about four minority women in Congress — could prod more suburban GOP lawmakers to head for the exits rather than mount a defense, following in the footsteps of several Texas Republicans and others who have decided not to seek reelection.
Our forever war: how the white male hegemony uses violence to cling to power
In other words, the problem is the people who have always been in power and control. The government that is supposed to be in charge of protecting all of us is a partisan in this war and to some extent always has been. Now the Republican party is openly partisan, openly the enemy of a majority of people in this country that is less than a third white males.
We were never not at war, but in recent years the cold civil war has heated up. The white men who expected unquestioned supremacy, by race and by gender, have launched a civil war against the rest of us, not least by allowing a huge number of high-capacity weapons of war to circulate throughout the country and supporting the NRA’s propaganda project to further fortify a set of fears and identifications between freedom, guns, masculinity and white supremacy. The Republican party has in essence declared war against the United States – against the people, the environment, the constitution, the rule of law, against voting rights and free and fair elections. The threats are coming from inside the Capitol.
Anna Greenberg and David Walker/WaPo:
America is turning against guns
While there is some dispute about the numbers, both the General Social Survey and the Pew Research Center report a decline in gun ownership in this country. As important, these guns are concentrated in fewer hands. While Americans own more than 260 million civilian guns, according to a 2015 Harvard and Northeastern University study, 3 percent of the population owns half of those guns. This reflects the decline of hunting as a sport and cultural pastime, as the country comes less rural and the population more diverse. Now a narrower group of people owns guns, and they are more likely to say they have them for self-protection (60 percent cite personal safety vs. 36 percent who hunt, according to a 2013 Gallup poll).
At the same time, voters’ views on this issue are changing. Even before the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Gallup recorded the highest level of support for stricter gun laws in 25 years. The share of voters very dissatisfied with the nation’s gun laws has nearly doubled from 2008 (21 percent) to 2019 (40 percent). While the NRA tears itself apart over accusations of mismanagement and questions about its strategy, national polling shows that the organization gets net-negative ratings for the first time in two decades. In a recent GQR survey of 2,000 likely 2020 voters, more than 1 in 4 say their views on guns have changed within the past five years. This number includes 1 in 3 Democrats, but also 1 in 4 independents and 1 in 5 Republicans. Among these voters, 78 percent — and 70 percent of Republicans — have moved toward supporting stronger gun laws.
Robert E Kelly from a Twitter thread:
The last few weeks of the Trump Show have been more awful than usual but also inadvertently revelatory @ Trump's coalition.If you've paid attention, you've suspected this stuff for a long time,but bc T says the quiet parts out loud,a lot of GOP masks have definitively dropped:
1. Gun rights advocates now clearly think that routine massacres are an acceptable price to pay for access to long guns. The president's teleprompter speech was so forced & hackneyed, & his desperation to blame anything - video games, mental health, the culture, hate - except easy gun access, was so transparent, that no one serious will ever buy that stuff again. That doesn't mean gun control will happen - Fox and empty-state senators will see to that - but at least the 'debate' is over. The insincerity of these arguments is now undeniable. The NRA & co. now clearly prioritize gun ownership over public safety, and they will say anything to defend a capacious reading of the 2A.
It’s early!!! Don‘t ignore the polls, they tell us where things are. But they don’t tell us where we are going.
Elizabeth Warren is surging. This one big question looms over her.
She’s risen to second place in some polls after what those same polls suggest was the strongest performance of last week’s debate.
But for as long as she’s been talked about as a presidential hopeful, one potential problem has loomed over her like Joe Btfsplk’s perpetual rain cloud: electability. Warren is not only among the most liberal candidates in the 2020 field; she’s also an older, white, intellectual woman running in the aftermath of the Hillary Clinton debacle, and she follows in a long line of failed presidential nominees from Massachusetts. Dukakis ’88. Kerry ’04. Romney ’12. It’s entirely too easy to caricature her as a liberal-elite former Harvard professor whom President Trump could drub with those oh-so-important working-class white voters.
But is that fair? And what do the numbers say? These are questions that need to be broken into two parts:
- Whether she is electable, and
- Whether Democrats perceive her as electable (and the impact it might have on her primary support)...
Polls suggest, for now, that Democratic voters are more concerned with beating Trump than with ideological purity. Warren’s job will be to convince them that she’s got enough of the former for people to vote for the candidate with the latter.
This is where the Never Trumpers step in and like to lecture us about what we should do. It’s ok to ignore them, it’s not their decision. But most do it because they, too, want Trump to lose, so turn up the tolerance. I think David Jolly has it right (he is responding because I asked him to).
Trump Should Worry About His Disapproval Rating
The president’s numbers are the worst in the polling era. That doesn’t bode well for his reelection.
Carter at this point went from 30% up to 55% long enough to win re-nomination, and then all the way back down.
In other words, there’s plenty of time for the president to improve – or to collapse further.
What’s harder to know is whether opinion is unusually rigid for this president. Trump has spent his presidency in an abnormally narrow range of public opinion, especially since May 2018. It seems possible that he could revisit his 2017 lows, when he fell to around 37%. Since his brief (and unimpressive) honeymoon, his peak has been 43.1% approval. Could that be close to a hard cap? There’s no way to know. But it’s difficult to imagine what events could significantly boost his popularity at this point.
Sam Stein/Daily Beast:
Harry Reid to Dems: Kill the Filibuster to Tackle the Climate Crisis
The former majority leader has some thoughts about what his party should do should it return to power.
Tackle climate change legislation first, Reid said. And if it requires eliminating the filibuster to do it... well, so be it.
“The answer is yes,” Reid said, when asked if he would scrap the Senate rule requiring 60 votes for legislation if it allowed the party to pass a bill addressing the climate crisis. “[T]he No. 1 priority is climate change. There’s nothing that affects my children, grandchildren, and their children, right now, more than climate.”
Uhm… Alaska's sea ice has completely melted away.