Charles Blow of The New York Times writes that Trump’s persecution complex is not limited to Trump; instead, it characterizes the entire “MAGA movement.”
American politics continues to be dictated by persecution. There are both the historical and modern iterations of the persecution of women, L.G.B.T.Q. people and racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Where advances have been made, they have often been, generally speaking, pushed by liberals and resisted by conservatives.
But with those liberal victories, conservatives came to see themselves as the new persecuted class, reversing the roles. Restricting their ability to discriminate was to them an undue burden.
They robed their supposed persecution in religion, what the Barnard College professor of religion Elizabeth A. Castelli calls the “Christian persecution complex.” “There is no precise origin point” for the complex, she wrote in 2007, “though political activism organized under the sign of ‘religious persecution’ and ‘religious freedom’ has certainly grown substantially in the last decade and most pressingly in the post-September 11th context.”[...]
I would argue that the entire MAGA movement was born of Trump weaponizing the siege ideology held by many Americans — white replacement theory, immigrant invasion and loss of culture — and framing himself as their messiah and potential martyr.
Yeah, I don’t have a tiny violin for the MAGA movement, either.
Aymann Ismail of Slate interviews a specialist who monitors white supremacist and neo-Nazi social media for their reaction to the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Aymann Ismail: What are right-wing extremist channels saying about last night’s FBI raid?
Stephanie Foggett: One big conspiracy is that the timing of all of this is meant to prevent Trump from running for president in 2024, bringing it back to stealing the election. There’s also lots of whataboutism, pulling from the years’ worth of talking points on Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and the Clinton foundation, all the way back to Benghazi: “Why is the state going after Trump when all of these things that we’ve cared about for so many years never see the light of day?”
I’m also seeing posts like “There is no political solution.” One narrative that’s brewing, and this goes back years but especially over the past year, is that there is a “war on dissidents.” That term, dissidents, is really coming up a lot. There are so many Telegram channels. I follow lots of women, so there’s Dissident Housewives and Dissident Homeschooling, and all types of things. And today I’m seeing that this is a “war on dissidents”—that they’ve gone after a former president, and if they’ve been going after everyday citizens, and now they’re going after Trump, what’s gonna ever stop them from coming after you?
Currently, 38% of the public thinks Trump is directly responsible for what happened on Jan. 6th. In late June, right before Cassidy Hutchinson’s appearance with the House committee, a similar 42% said Trump is directly responsible. Another 26% say Trump is not directly responsible but he encouraged those involved and 32% say Trump did nothing wrong regarding Jan. 6th. Those results were 25% and 30%, respectively, in June. Just 5% of Republicans say Trump is directly responsible and 23% say he encouraged those involved.
When asked how to describe the incident at the Capitol building, 64% say “riot” is appropriate and 52% say “insurrection” is appropriate, while 35% say it is appropriate to call it a legitimate protest. These results are no more than one or two points different than the Monmouth poll taken six weeks ago after the first five public hearings. Moreover, 29% of Americans – including 6 in 10 Republicans (61%) – continue to believe Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud, which is unchanged from the June poll. These results are also similar to a Monmouth poll taken last year, before the committee was formed.
“The sensational revelations during the hearings do not seem to have moved the public opinion needle on Trump’s culpability for either the riot or his spurious election fraud claims. This continues to give political cover to Republican leaders who avoid addressing the damage done to our democratic processes that day,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Michael Scherer, Ashley Parker, and Tyler Pager of The Washington Post report that a group of historians have informed President Joe Biden that American democracy remains in danger,
Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a “house divided against itself cannot stand” and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II.
The diversion was, for Biden, part of a regular effort to use outside experts, in private White House meetings, to help him work through his approach to multiple crises facing his presidency. Former president Bill Clinton spoke with Biden in May about how to navigate inflation and the midterm elections. A group of foreign policy experts, including former Republican advisers, came to the White House in January to brief Biden before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
These meetings have come as Biden faces the isolation that is endemic to presidency, a problem that some Democrats say has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, which restricted visitors through much of the first year of his presidency, and by the insular quality of Biden’s inner circle, made up of staffers who have worked with him for decades.
Biden, at these tabletop sessions, often spends hours asking questions and testing assumptions, participants say.
And now a quick visit to Mineral Wells, Texas.
Homa Hosseinmardi, writing for The Conversation, says that studies show that TV news consumers are more politically polarized than social media users.
We first measured just how politically siloed American news consumers really are across TV and the web. Averaging over the four years of our observations, we found that roughly 17% of Americans are politically polarized – 8.7% to the left and 8.4% to the right – based on their TV news consumption. That’s three to four times higher than the average percentage of Americans polarized by online news.
Moreover, the percentage of Americans polarized via TV ranged as high as 23% at its peak in November 2016, the month in which Donald Trump was elected president. A second spike occurred in the months leading into December 2018, following the “blue wave” midterm elections in which a record number of Democratic campaign ads were aired on TV. The timing of these two spikes suggests a clear connection between content choices and events in the political arena.
Besides being more politically siloed on average, our research found that TV news consumers are much more likely than web consumers to maintain the same partisan news diets over time: after six months, left-leaning TV audiences are 10 times more likely to remain segregated than left-leaning online audiences, and right-leaning audiences are 4.5 times more likely than their online counterparts.
Michael Pessman writes for The HiIl that it is imperative that the Congress acts on pending legislation pertaining to the mental health of older adults.
Older adults commonly reported depression, anxiety and trouble with sleep during the pandemic. Since March 2020, one in five adults ages 50-80, or 19 percent, reported worse sleep patterns than before the pandemic.
The pandemic made it increasingly difficult for older Americans and people with disabilities to connect with family and friends. This may have contributed to higher substance use, dangerous overdoses, and even suicide for some people with substance use disorders.
Before the pandemic, one in four people older than 65 experienced social isolation, putting them at greater risk of loneliness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Research shows social isolation has the same detrimental effect on the body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Evidence reveals that social isolation and loneliness hinder good health — putting older adults at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.
As a gerontologist, I have seen firsthand how timely and affordable behavioral health care can have a significant impact on people’s lives. People need behavioral health care to stay healthy and, in some situations, save their lives — yet there is not a standardized package or process to address this looming problem.
Wilfred Chan of The Guardian reports on the alarming increase in conservative homophobia related to the monkeypox outbreak.
The conservative campaign against LGBTQ+ rights has found a new fixation for its hatred: monkeypox. On TV, rightwing commentators openly mock monkeypox victims – the vast majority of whom are men who have sex with men – and blame them for getting the disease. On social media, rightwing users trade memes about how the “cure” to monkeypox is straight marriage while casting doubt on monkeypox vaccines’ efficacy.
This aggressive stigmatization of monkeypox – reminiscent of the homophobic response to HIV/Aids in the 1980s – poses a serious challenge to public health advocates and community leaders trying to have honest conversations about the disease with the gay and bisexual men who are most at risk during the current outbreak. Should public messaging highlight the fact that monkeypox is primarily affecting men who have sex with men? And should public health bodies urge gay men to change their sexual practices?
Philip Bilsky, China correspondent for Deutsche Welle, looks at the pros and cons of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
Pelosi's visit put Taiwan on the world stage: Suddenly, the island was the top story in news bulletins around the world. Thanks to Pelosi, most viewers will now know where Taiwan is and what a complicated situation it is in. For many Taiwanese, the new focus on Taiwan is a source of satisfaction. After all, countless Taiwanese have had to explain time and again during visits abroad that they were from "Taiwan" and not "Thailand." And that these are two different places.
Pelosi's visit was also an expression of appreciation and respect. Respect for many things that the Taiwanese are rightfully very proud of: a vibrant democracy, freedom of the press that is almost unprecedented in Asia, a very open, tolerant and hospitable society, and remarkable success in one of the most important economic sectors of our time: the chip industry.
This perception is more than understandable. However, it is also true that Pelosi's visit triggered a military reaction by China that was to be expected. The Taiwan issue is a frozen conflict for which there is currently no solution. If Taiwan formally declared independence, Beijing would immediately respond with war. A reunification with the mainland under Xi Jinping, on the other hand, is currently completely out of the question for most Taiwanese, especially after the recent developments in Hong Kong.
Finally today, Sam Cowie writes for Al Jazeera that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is simply copying the Trump 2020 electoral playbook for October’s presidential election in Brazil.
But after a series of sustained verbal attacks on Brazil’s electronic voting system throughout his mandate, observers are worried as to whether Bolsonaro – an outspoken admirer of former US President Donald Trump – would ultimately accept a loss, and what ramifications could follow. Some fear it could lead to an even more violent version of the January 6 United States Capitol riots.
Observers fear that Bolsonaro would contest an election result that does not favour him, setting the stage for an institutional crisis. Late last month, top bankers and business leaders issued a public letter condemning the president’s perceived attacks on democracy. Bolsonaro loyalists hit back, alleging that the banks felt threatened by the president’s policies.
Bolsonaro has called on his supporters to fill the streets on September 7, when Brazil celebrates its 200th Independence Day. “Let’s take to the streets for the last time,” he said at his official campaign launch last month – phrasing that raised eyebrows among his critics.
As that date nears, fears of political violence are widespread in Brazil, particularly after the recent killing of a Workers’ Party member by a Bolsonaro supporter in the city of Foz do Iguacu.
Have a good day, everyone.