Trump Call: (Updated) WaPo Releases Audio of President Berating Georgia Election Officials

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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  1. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    And this surprises anyone why?Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    People are way too nice to Trump. Telling him to go pound sand is way too nice for Trump.

    Clearly he’s been huffing his spray tan.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      Trump has failed upwards and continues to do so in ways in which the vast majority of people, including people born into wealth and privilege, would not. Is failing upwards is astonishing. But he has become the avatar for those who decide they do not like Democrats is various forms and wish us gone* and the GOP politicians have largely decided that going against Trump comes with lots of consequences and futile attempts and wacky stunts in the names of calling “election fraud” do not.

      *Anton, author of the United 93 manifesto openly admitted that voting for Trump was a big risk and could come with lots of bad stuff. The gamble might not work but he also wrote that the stakes were so high in his mind because all the liberals were out there and you can’t use bad terms for LBGT people anymore so the gamble was worth it. My guess is that he thinks it was the right call and he would do it again times infinity.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I’m surprised Raffensperger took the call. Hard to see what’s in it for him.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    The tape does not surprise me. The fact that Trump still tries to do the organized crime boss thing does not surprise me. At this point, I think he is pretty far down in dementia and this is all he can do. But it will always astonish me that 74 million people voted for Trump out of blind party allegiance and/or because they hate the libs so much that they see him as a hill to die on. It will always astonish me that so many allegedly powerful people debase themselves at his feet, only to get thrown under the bus again and again and again.

    If any of this shit was happening in another country, the media would be filled with reports about crumbling democracy and institutions but the forces that state it can’t happen here are strong in their denial.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
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      In all seriousness, the tape shouldn’t surprise anyone, supporters or detractors alike. The only people who *are* surprised have chosen to keep their heads in the sand for the last 40 five years.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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      “But it will always astonish me that 74 million people voted for Trump out of blind party allegiance and/or because they hate the libs so much that they see him as a hill to die on”

      It’s because they won’t believe their own eyes and ears. It’s a liberal lie. Faked. Stripped of context. SOMETHING.

      It’s like back in the 2000s, when pollsters were trying to poll the (then proposed) Bush tax cuts. They ran into significant problems the people they were polling refused to believe they were offering an accurate explanation of the tax cuts. They literally refused to believe the GOP was behind it.

      I recall some people from r/conservatve, in the initial “Kraken” days — they started by saying “Powell/Rudy/Woods better have the goods, because this is such a HUGE claim that if they’re exaggerating, it’ll kill their reputation”.

      Within a week that had morphed into “the very audacity of the claims means they are true, because no one would lie about that because it would kill their reputation” and days after that those claims of widespread fraud had become accepted knowledge.

      “They better have evidence because this is a big claim” — “The claim is so big it’s got to be true” — “the claim is true” within 10 days, tops.

      Strangely, if Trump’s flaws were more banal, more common, less extreme — he’d probably have been less popular! He’d have been wrong or failed in ways more easily digestible to his base.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to JS
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        It’s a good thing that doesn’t work as well in science, but it’s terrifying that it works so well in politics.

        But then we know how big lies work…Report

        • Avatar JS in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          Yep. This really feels like the 90s again.

          When 24/7 news was new, and nobody had any sort of mental antibodies to it. But this time it’s social media. It’s like weaponized forwarded emails that bypass thought and lodge right into the brains of a large percentage of the US.

          “it can’t be wrong, it was on facebook” that leads naturally into “So whatever I just saw/read elsewhere I must be misunderstanding or it’s lying”Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    comment in mod.Report

  5. Avatar Philip H
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    Listening to it it’s clear he’s delusional. It’s also clear no one is an adult in the room any more. He is perfectly willing to lob whatever accusations cross his mind and he’s not the least bit interested in the truth. He’s desperate and he’s willing to tank everything to stay in power.

    January 6th is looking like it will be a horrendous day especially when the Congress certifies Mr. Biden’s win.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    My takeaway is that we are only a small handful of elected Republicans, who can destroy our democracy.

    Imagine if the Governor had accepted the demand to “find more votes”.
    Imagine a few more Senators willing to refuse to certify? A couple compliant judges to make it legal?

    There are about 75 million American voters who are ready to reward, not punish the Republicans for this behavior.

    American democracy is hanging by a thread.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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      we are only a small handful of elected Republicans, who can destroy our democracy.

      Imagine if the GOP controlled the House right now.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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      And democrats are not exactly helping. Speaker Pelosi allowed 104 House members to take their seats today knowing they had called for sedition. She allowed Louis Gohmert to take his seat knowing that as recently as yesterday he called for violent resistance to Mr. Biden’s certification. And even with this tape in public Republicans will at best hem and haw. Because none of them are suffering any consequences for this behavior.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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        Can the Speaker prevent a House member from taking a seat?Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          Technically she has to seat then remove because of some early SCOTUS case . . . but I still think she should try. Then she can make the point publicly that if she has to swallow the will of the voters and seat them they have to do likewise with Mr. Biden. And then she can begin impeachment proceedings against them for sedition.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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            I think we would need a different version of Pelosi, one a lot more cutthroat. I would hope that, given how late she is in her career, that she’d be more ruthless, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              In all honesty I’m not 100% sure Pelosi is wrong to choose not to “go there” so to speak.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North
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                I agree. She’s right to avoid anything that could be used as a pretext for any additional GOP defection from the normal process.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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                She might not be wrong. I’m not a politician, so I’m the absolutely last person she should listen to when it comes to such internal rules.

                But I also don’t think that even if it was the right thing to do, she wouldn’t do it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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                In all honesty I’m not 100% sure Pelosi is wrong to choose not to “go there” so to speak.

                “look forward, not back.”

                The problem I have with Pelosi and how she deals with the current GOP lawlessness is that by not poking the bear, by not prosecuting or challenging, by not taking any risks, by claiming Trump’s impeachment should take place at the polls, that he’s self-impeaching everyday, is that she’s effectively approving of this behavior thereby normalizing it. Perhaps her hope is that this phase of crazy passes (I don’t believe she does…) so her pragmatic, tactical political decision at each turn is to retreat and garner just enough votes to maintain a Dem majority in the House. And sure, that’s fine from one pov. But the long term effects of not confronting the GOP’s bad behavior head on is that it becomes the new norm and merely kicks the can down the road. Which is bad, not merely for our governance and politics, but for the Democratic party itself.

                This is of a piece with Obama’s decision to not prosecute Bush admin officials for war and other crimes. In the moment I’m sure the political calculus was crystal clear: there’s nothing to be *partisanly* gained by taking ex-Bushies to court. But the decision to sweep Iraq under the rug led to increased disaffection of the Democratic party and “elites” in general, which in turn created the political context for a populist like Trump to thrive.

                Pelosi is (IMO) *primarily* a political animal, so her interests are narrow and near-term. What’s to gain from poking the bear? she asks herself. My guess, though, is that if more Democrats were like Adam Schiff and aggressively defended via prosecution politicians* and others who engage in criminal or unconstitutional behavior they’d pick up more support than they’d lose. But I don’t think she’s capable of viewing things like that.

                * Ideally including Democrats as well.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                I can certainly see your point but I’d like to point out there there’re some serious leaps of supposition in it. Permit me toss a desultory salute to the ragged unlovable banner of real politic.

                Take Obama for instance; suppose he and his party come into office 2009 and launch prosecutions of W. Bush. The GOP, of course, fights for its very life and the media leaps into that fight with their normal BSDI bull and flails away happy as a pig in muck. That means the 2009 stimulus doesn’t happen. That means the ACA doesn’t happen. That very likely means that instead of a slow grinding recovery Obama oversees a stagnation at best or a contraction or, at worst, a double dip recession. 2010 rolls around and the GOP is energized (Obama’s is a fascist trying to throw our polls into jail) and the left is livid (we have a supermajority trifecta and NOTHING has been accomplished). It looks pretty concrete that 2010 is the same or worse of a landslide defeat as it was before and I think a pretty solid likelihood is that the new GOP majorities try to impeach Obama in retaliation. He’s certainly likely to lose in 2012 and it’s very likely not the anodyne Romneybot that he loses to either.

                Now you can certainly claim that a USA with no ACA and an economy in the crapper is better than the one we have now because maybe by burning all the lefts priorities on a prosecution bonfire Obama and his admin might have snapped the GOP out of their fever. I would respectfully dissent: as Chip has pointed out there’re 75 million rabid conservatives out there and I do not think that the course you’re prescribing would have settled them down. The GOP isn’t deranged just because their elite are grasping poodles of the plutocratic set- they’re deranged because their electorate hates the left more than they hate their own pols (and they do hate their own pols). The right-wing media would absolutely flourish in the scenario you lay out- the right-wing base would not go “you know what, we were wrong bordering on criminal from 2001 on” en masse. It seems unlikely to me and even if the right somehow, miraculously, improved that still means that the Obama era left sacrificed every advancement they currently achieved to reform the right a bit. I don’t think that’s likely and I’m dubious that it’s worth it.

                Roll us forward to today. Pelosi is mostly ignoring the seditious crap the current GOP is doing. She could drop the hammer: refuse to seat, maybe even prosecute, really go to war. If she does this, if she says “this is unacceptable, you’re either with me, the constitution and the President Elect or you’re with Trump and his criminality” do you honestly think that the right we have now will fall in behind Pelosi? Do you honestly think that all those Republicans who’re mumblemumbling right now and just hiding from the matter and waiting for it to go away, if they’re forced to explicitly choose sides, will align with Pelosi and accept that they’re all going to be pilloried in the right-wing information silo and then primaried out of their comfortable offices and left with no prospects as they’ll be banished from the rights iron tight right-wing politician-media figure/private sector sinecure machine?

                Maybe you’re right. If so you’re a shining eyed idealist, you have an enormously higher opinion of the right than I do and I salute you for it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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                …do you honestly think that the right we have now will fall in behind Pelosi?

                Of course not. The purpose of challenging and prosecuting this bad behavior isn’t to teach the GOP a lesson, it’s to establish enough trust in the party to maintain or even (gasp) increase Democratic party support. As it is the Dems under Pelosi *lost seats* during one of the most corrupt, dysfunctional and incompetent opposition presidencies in US history.

                As to your point about the ACA passage, Pelosi famously said that we have to pass the bill to learn what’s in it. I’d have traded the ACS for accountability and (say) medicaid expansion myself. But the problem is, North, I don’t think I’m alone. Trump is a direct result of the Iraq War and Obama’s effort to sweep it away. Members of *both* parties lost faith in government and their own parties as a result of those two president’s decisions.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                Sure, and the Dems lost voters who then went and voted for the GOP. I don’t see how being more militantly left or confrontational is obviously the better strategy. Obviously all we miserable centrists think that it’s our own wingnuts and their megaphone enablers on the right that cost us in the down ballot. I just don’t see how a more assertive (but one, let us note, that would have yielded no different result than the one we got) would have gotten better election results? Are we talking about “At least she fights” sentiment? I see that on the right and I want none of it.

                To the ACA, I see your point but A) I disagree with ya on the merits and B) you would never have gotten your medicaid expansion or accountability any more easily than the ACA got passed and if Obama had spent his first term trying to prosecute Bush there’d have been nothing else on the agenda. I understand the sentiment, I just disagree with it and the analysis that goes with it.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to North
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                says:

                But the long term effects of not confronting the GOP’s bad behavior head on is that it becomes the new norm and merely kicks the can down the road. Which is bad, not merely for our governance and politics, but for the Democratic party itself.

                Whether you personally like it or not, leaving these actions aside is a danger to the union. For all these reasons. People need to see there is a red line and it comes with real consequences.

                And again, a whole swath of middle America has abandoned the Democratic Party because they don’t perceive Democrats as fighters. And they WANT a fight. Trump gave it to them in spades. Gohmert and Co. are still giving it to them. And the more Democrats do the actual Christian thing and turn the other cheek, the more they will be written off.

                Never mind the fact that we can’t preserve the union, much less democracy by letting sitting congressmen get away with sedition.Report

  7. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Of the various flavors of defense for the corrupt most impeachable prez ever my favorite is that this is how he is on twitter everyday. True! So true. But that isn’t a defense, it’s a accusation. But there are some other pretty crappy attempts at defense out there that just add up to ” is being criminal and corrupt bad?”Report

  8. Avatar North
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    This is going to be one hell of a camel for the “both sides are equally wrong” contingents to swallow.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North
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      In a great many things, BSDI/BSS (Both Sides Suck).

      Right now, with all these election shenanigans, the GOP is busy showing that they are very much “more wrong”.

      It is interesting to me that for all the conservative mocking that the far left is prone to turn on their own the moment they fail to toe the orthodoxy, the Trump-ian GOP is doing the same damn thing. But then, that is a feature of such ideology.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        The only hope for them is that this incontrovertibly shows the truth of Trump. He is not strong. He is weak, and here he is begging and making obviously empty threats at a state official no one had heard of 3 months ago. Anyone who has worked with 3rd rate executives has heard this kind of thing before. This is not a tough guy, this is the mewing little pretender b**** he is. I’m glad we got to hear it for ourselves.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD
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          Problem is a lot of people confuse this approach for strength. This is the behavior that makes him look like a “fighter” to lots of his supporters. He lost precisely no voters from his base for this.Report

          • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Philip H
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            You know what, who gives a fish? Trump famously said he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave. and not lose a supporter, and it’s proving to be truer everyday. Are those minds worth the effort it would take to change them? I sure don’t have that kind of energy.

            Like the father of the prodigal son, I eagerly await their return from the wilderness.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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          For me, the truth of Trump isn’t nearly as interesting as how many prominent GOP politicians share his truth. Or how much of the electorate does.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
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      As we can tell from the comments, this blog is doing its hardest to keep up with its dedication to Green Lanternism, Dems in disarray, and general holdover views from the Reagan era.Report

  9. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    I know that a favorite online meme is the “Boy, Trump will never wiggle out of this one!” *Trump wiggles out easily* “Ah, nevertheless!”.

    The reason this works, ever since the Access Hollywood tapes, is that his 75 million person base, doesn’t care.
    Yes, he bragged about assaulting women.
    They didn’t care.
    He openly pressured a foreign government to dig up dirt on his rivals.
    They didn’t care.
    He is openly brazenly corrupt.
    They didn’t care.
    And so today we hear him demanding that the governor manufacture fraudulent votes to steal an election.
    His supporters won’t care.

    And unfortunately, after Jan. 21st, they will still be here, all 75 million of them, eager to pursue whatever fraud or corruption is needed to will themselves into power over the rest of us.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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      Nope they don’t care at all. They want a fight and he’s giving them one.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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        I think that’s more relevant than a question of power. For some of that 75M, it’s about power. For the rest who aren’t blind party loyalists, I think it’s simply a matter of wanting the Trump show to keep on aggravating liberals.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          I’ve written for years here and elsewhere that a lot of people don’t see democrats fighting for much of anything, and they want to back fighters because they someone to fight for them (in a world where they see their economic, social and cultural places declining). Our own congressman (a Teapublican turned Turmpian) posted today that he won’t vote to certify the Electors, and the overwhelming majority of comments featured some variation on “finally a politician with a spine who fights.” As long as Republicans present as the only game in town this will be a problem.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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            I would be accepting of Speaker Pelosi using hardball tactics on the seditious republicans.

            However, lets look at what “fighting” means to the Republicans. For them, it means literally destroying American democracy so as to achieve power.

            Would we Democrats want, for example, Vice President and President Of The Senate Harris to unilaterally refuse to certify the electors from Texas and Florida in the 2024 election, and thereby handing the Presidency to herself and Biden? Or encouraging Democratic governors of swing states to “find” enough ballots?

            This is why I keep saying we are in an asymmetrical war, where one side is willing commit any act no matter how foul in order to grab power.

            Its a bit like how in 1936 the bombing of civilians in Guernica was so shocking it inspired a world famous painting. A little over a hundred civilians died that day.

            By 1945, the Allies were slaughtering civilians by the hundreds of thousands, and no one batted an eye.

            That’s how this stuff ends, with people doing things they never would have dreamed of only a short time before.

            I’m not saying this won’t become necessary! But I want to resist escalation for as long as we can.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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              There are different ways of fighting. Bernie Sanders was the only Senator fighting for $2000 stimulus checks form either party. He used public shame, he used really big fake checks. He fought. He threatened the NDAA veto override.

              Now sure, he didn’t WIN bigger checks, but I think if Democrats fought like that more, and more publicly on broadly appealing issues it might stunt off the Republicans.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Philip H
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                “There are different ways of fighting. Bernie Sanders was the only Senator fighting for $2000 stimulus checks form either part.”

                This is absolutely false – in fact, the original plan for $2000 checks didn’t come from Bernie, but from…Cory Booker & Michael Bennett.

                Also, $2000 checks have wide approval (75%+), but the reality is, every single Democrat could’ve tried to the same thing as Bernie, and not a single vote in the mid-terms would’ve changed, because the vast majority of the GOP who support the checks, also don’t want to vote for the Democrat’s ever.

                It’s nice to think the problem is those darned Democrat’s and the fact they don’t do politics exactly the way that Twitter wants, but a lot of left-wing people have to realize their are millions upon millions of American’s who want left-leaning policy without every actually alllying with the left-leaning part of the populace by voting for the same party of them.

                Which is how you get minimum wage passing in Florida, while Trump wins, because there are a lot of people who want economically self-serving things like a min. wage increase, but don’t want to be in the same party as n-words, f-words, and c-words.

                That’s not Pelosi, Obama, Schumer, or Biden’s fault, even if none of them are perfect.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jesse
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                This is absolutely false – in fact, the original plan for $2000 checks didn’t come from Bernie, but from…Cory Booker & Michael Bennett.

                So why weren’t they publicly fighting for it as well?

                a lot of left-wing people have to realize their are millions upon millions of American’s who want left-leaning policy without every actually alllying with the left-leaning part of the populace by voting for the same party of them.

                I believe this is true, but Democrats do not help themselves by their approach. Republicans “fight” with decades of message discipline and emotion. Democrats fight with charts and pie graphs. One has been way more successful in inflicting its agenda on the rest of us. That’s a learning point. And Democrats continue to ignore it at their own peril.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Philip H
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                Probably because they disagree w/ Bernie that holding up military pay raises is a good thing to do right before a Senate election in Georgia.

                At the end of the day, even Manchin is for the $2000 checks, and it’s clear who wants the checks and who doesn’t to Georgia voters, which is all that really matters.

                As for message discipline and emotion vs. charts and pie graphs, I’d argue part of the reason for that is for vast swatches of Democratic elected officials, when they get emotional, they get accused of being angry minorities or shrill bitches.

                When it comes to message discipline, it’s a lot easy to have message discipline when the vast majority of your caucus basically have the same background – what reason is there for AOC & Joe Manchin to have the same message? Plus, the GOP gets off message plenty, it’s just there’s no Fox News/Brietbart/Facebook circle to have 5,000 stories about right wing crazies, like Fox can do w/ AOC or Omar or the evil leftist of the week.

                Also, finally, I’ll be blunt – after this last election, and reading a lot of David Shor, my actual opinion is if you went back to 2008, and told the Obama White House everything that has happened, and they adjusted, we’d still be basically in the same spot we are now, or possibly in an even worse position.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jesse
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                says:

                Well, they’d have arguably gotten more done if they’d known the GOP’s delaying tactics were going to yield nothing. Harry fishin Reid would probably have hammered through a LOT more (non-supreme court) judges if he had the benefit of hindsight.

                Otherwise I agree with ya Jesse.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to North
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                says:

                Sure, obviously it would’ve lead to better policy, but Obama could’ve passed a two trillion dollar stimulus, the Employee Free Choice Act, and a public option, and we still would’ve lost the same House & Senate seats, because those voters wanted the economy magically fixed in two years.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chip Daniels
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              “This is why I keep saying we are in an asymmetrical war, where one side is willing commit any act no matter how foul in order to grab power.”

              There’s a word for that: terrorism.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                The word you were looking for is “hyperbole”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy
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                Terrorism certainly describes much of the OathKeepers, Proud Boys, various militia types who use the threat of guns and violence to intimidate and terrorize.

                But for the rest, the more apt word I keep coming back to is “revolutionary”. The Republican Party resembles groups like the IRA or Red Brigades, where they considered the entire existing political establishment illegitimate and themselves as the only rightful holders of power.Report

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