By Kenneth Tiven
As we reach the first anniversary of what appears to have been a self-actuated coup by the Donald Trump administration, no court in the land at any level has found in favour of any law suit or action that substantiates claims that the 2020 presidential election in the United States was stolen from the former president. Has that caused the former president and his supporters to back away from the culture war he launched in 2017 against anyone who did not agree with him? Apparently not in the least.
The Brookings Institution recently issued a report titled Competing Visions of America that said 80% of Republicans surveyed believe that “America is in danger of losing its culture and identity. In contrast just 33% of Democrats agreed. It also said that 70% of Republicans think that “American culture and way of life have changed for the worse since the 1950s” which barely skirts being a racial attack. Consider that 60% of Democrats said they thought America had changed for the better.
Is this a strategy for winning back control of the House and Senate in the 2022 mid-term elections? The GOP thinks so, issuing a memo to its Congressional delegation to “lean into the culture war”.
Trump ran in 2020 with no party platform, merely a continuation of what had been the raging culture war from 2016. The Trump claim that any loss was due to fraud and cheating began before the voting in 2016 when he expected to lose to Hillary Clinton.
It didn’t help him beat Joe Biden, but the righting media doesn’t want to talk about the insurrection, just cultural issues, or what we used to call wedge issues.
Trump’s grievances are clearly spelled out in a daily barrage of emails, since he no longer has access to Twitter. The grievance list (in italics) from Trump this week is speculative at best and an outright fabrication at the worst.
Have you noticed that the Radical Left is now admitting President Trump was right about everything they LIED about before the Election?
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Reality: Democrats are NOT saying that.
Reality: Most scientific studies said it doesn’t work
The China Virus came from a Chinese lab.
Reality: It came from China, source not defined.
Hunter Biden’s laptop was real.
Reality: But contents not indicative of anything
Lafayette Square was not cleared for a photo-op.
Reality: It was, with Trump holding a Bible upside down to make a point.
The “Russian Bounties”story was fake.
We did produce vaccines before the end of 2020, in record time I might add.
Reality: Vaccine research for possible pandemics is a continuing effort going back decades. US government money speeded things up.
Blue state lockdowns didn’t work.
Reality: Evidence is clear that it worked as well or better than herd immunity. Sweden herd efforts proved this conclusively.
Schools should be opened.
Reality: Current rate of youngsters getting Omicron Covid virus suggests this is a decision for health professionals.
Critical Race Theory is a disaster for our schools and our Country.
Reality: This is taught at college and graduate school level. It is also called honest history.
The “culture war” offensive includes startlingly different views of the economy. The Republicans say it is about to crash. The Democrats point out that it is booming, but a lot of people don’t want their old low paying jobs and businesses have been reluctant to increase wages. The Biden plan to help middle and lower class Americans would be a huge benefit to West Virginian, a chronically distressed state and yet the senator from there, Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat with a yen for the spotlight has refused his vote to make certain plans pass in the Senate. “We are tackling the tough problems of the economy and the pandemic. They seek only to win power and will say or do anything to achieve that,” said New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
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One thing that fits perfectly in a culture-based war is to claim that personal liberty exceeds community responsibility—and so the entire vaccine and mask approach to beating the pandemic has been obstructed. Almost all the deaths from the current Omicron wave of Covid have been unvaccinated people. Republicans are speaking to their base, which is disproportionately unvaccinated. In legal challenges, Republican leaders argue that the vaccine mandates will worsen the nation’s supply chain problems and exacerbate labour shortages that have arisen during the pandemic. No surprise in analysis done by National Public Radio that the stronger a county’s support for Trump in the 2020 election, the lower its Covid-19 vaccination rate. Republicans are asking the ultimate sacrifice: opposition to vaccine mandates stated in terms of personal liberty may cause death, but might help Trump.
A select bipartisan committee in the House of Representatives is holding hearings and gathering evidence from witnesses. Some Trump team players have refused to appear and are being charged with criminal contempt of Congress. The committee is continually explaining what it has learned about the intricate but naive planning that went into the January 6 events around the formal certification of Biden’s win.
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Trump, from his Mar a Lago estate and club in Florida, keeps issuing emails which attack Democrats while generally refusing to discuss the January 6 events in any detail. The same is true for most Republicans in Congress. However, some of his former administration advisers in books they have written make it clear that there was a plan to disrupt the usual Congressional approval of the presidential results.
In mid-December, I received this email about some future announcement from the former president, who is clearly missing his use of twitter. Read and unpack the obvious contradictions inherent, let alone the lack of proper verb tenses.
“You have always been an incredible Patriot who has been by my side, Friend. That’s why I’m giving you my trust. The ONLY way to find out about this EPIC announcement is by joining my Official Trump Announcement Priority List, but I was just told your name isn’t on it.
Friend, you have the opportunity to be the first to know about this major announcement but you need to hurry. You ONLY have until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to join my Official Trump Announcement Priority List. *When you make a donation of ANY AMOUNT, you’ll automatically get your name at the TOP of the Official Trump Announcement Priority List.”
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About 50 of the more than 720 people charged in the Capitol invasion and destruction have been found guilty, although punishments have tended to be lenient despite the deaths and millions of dollars in damages. Lawyers are finding plenty of work on all sides of this conflict.
Relentless is the right word for what is happening: Oppressively constant, incessant. Not all of it comes from Trump and from well-funded right wing organisations. A good bit of it apparently is inspired by foreign nations whose intelligence agency outreach is designed to help in destabilising American life.
—The writer has worked in senior positions at The Washington Post, NBC, ABC and CNN and also consults for several Indian channels