Charlie’s Friday’s podcast had him talking with Tim Miller, writer and contributor at The Bulwark (Nov. 12, 2021).
There is some opening talk about Jonathan Karl’s new book Betrayal, out Tuesday, Nov. 16, and unlike many other postmortem books about Trump presidency and events of Jan. 6, appears to contain some real and significant information, new reporting.
Of course, like other reporters, Karl went to Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump and audio of this has come out. One snippet covered Trump’s response to the crowd calling for former Vice President Mike Pence to be “hung” as a traitor. Trump blew it off, as usual, as just people blowing off steam, that they were emotional.
The downplaying of violence continues to grow in its alarm. Lots of people making excuses for it.
Charlie and Tim dug into the reality that no matter what Republicans want to tell themselves; Trump still controls their party. Some want to move on still but they cannot. The toxic triangle that Sarah Longwell has noted of what is going on within the Republican party, its voters, and its media lingers on.
Charlie and Tim made a point to highlight something Karl’s book examined and was highlighted in a piece he wrote for The Atlantic on John McEntee.
Donald Trump’s former body man, who was fired for his failure to pass a security clearance by former Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was then rehired by Trump to run the White House Office of Personnel.
As both Charlie and Tim point out, McEntee is exactly what is wrong with Trump being in power, how he uses power and to what tends. Having read the Karl Atlantic piece linked above, it is just an awful tell of who Trump is and how he does thing…if you needed something else to convince you he’s incapable of doing the job of President.
Charlie triggers Tim a bit, and Tim admits it, when they turn to former New Jersey Gov.. Chris Christie and his public posturing that seems to indicate that he will run for President again in 2024.
Charlie and Tim dig deep into the culpability that Tim feels toward Christie for making Trump possible as the GOP nominee in 2016. He pointedly notes that it was Christie’s endorsement of Trump after the New Hampshire primary, and that he was the first major figure outside Sen. Jeff Sessions to do so, that helped bring Trump into the mainstream of the GOP. His endorsement was a real departure point. It gave Trump a venire of legitimacy and let the establishment of the GOP feel that they could work with, control and guide Trump. It was a trap.
Christie opened the door to the monstrosity that came in Trump’s takeover of the GOP.
Tim Miller, who’s opinion and views I myself have come to admire, talks about his own take on how and what Democrats need to be doing to make people more aware of what they are doing for the people. Stop giving into that impulse that it will be self-evident and SELL it!
Tim notes that it is not that voters are dumb necessarily as they are often generally disengaged. He and I are in lockstep here. Most people do not spend their time paying attention to politics and what goes on in government. What they hear and get to them is usually is fed to them through the media they consume (which is its own mixed bag and filter).
Generally, most potential voters care about, the things that can really cut through the landscape of the noise of droning media are those things that effect one’s everyday life.
However, the problem is that what one does in government and bills and improving those lives is not, again, self-evident. That is the disconnect that Democrats, in particular, seem to suffer from.
Just because Democratic politician does “A” for constituent “B” and hopes they will vote for “C” is bad logic.
Because it relies on the fallacy of self-evidence or self-evident truths.
SELF EVIDENT TRUTHS (appeal to beliefs): the arguing that a claim should be accepted based on evidence that is not presented, but is asserted to be well-known and obvious, when information is either not well known or is incorrect.
This is a common fallacy that appears in a couple of places, but in this case here hinders the return of the perceived correct response because what is perceived is not correct. Persuasion is required. Communication is required.
It is the job of the Democrats, if they want that A+B=C formula to work, to draw the connections for their audience. Anyone who is worth their salt in persuasion should know better. It is your job to draw the connections. Going back to Aristotle, the speaker is the primary communicator to the audience.
So, according to Tim Miller, and I agree, here is what the Democrats need to do, to mee their audience where THEY ARE.
– You need to address inflation.
– You need to find a way to address a raise and push back against this phony CRT propaganda coming off the right.
– You need to be eyes wide open to elements within the Democratic party that are dangerous to America, don’t be like the Republicans and simply ignore it or tolerate it, call it out and deal with it.
– You need to address and work on the issues currently circle around a rising crime.
Issues like inflation, crime, etc. are all “kitchen table” concerns that the voters will care about.
Again, you have to walk and chew gum at the same time. Addressing these things does not mean you don’t pay attention to the big stuff like voter suppression and the January 6 insurrection, but if you want to continue to keep working on those big issues, to stay in power to do that, you have to win voters over by addressing those everyday issues with which they are dealing. Keep your allies on side.
Another thing that Tim points out is that Democrats need to tell voters what the Republicans are not doing, expose them for what they are in terms of being anti-democratic, subservient to Trump, and having no real ideas for how to make America better. You cannot rely on people to continue making that connection, if you don’t keep hammering away, the guilty Republicans will slip out and voters will forget.
Connections are never as self-evident as one assumes. Don’t make an asshole out oneself by being the idiot who thinks that.
The current perception is leaning towards the idea that Democrats are spending money for the sake of spending money. It is not being discussed what it is being spent on or for whom. If Democrats don’t take this seriously address that flank they’re going to get slaughtered in 2022 midterms for certain. When they lose power, goodbye any ideas for voting reform or the Jan. 6 committee.
Republicans have no real agenda, nothing, just like their 2020 platform. Nothing, just whatever Donald Trump wants, we’ll stand for that. They have become a party of obstructionists, who simply want power for power’s sake. Democrats need to hammer that at them and to the people as well.
Tim points out the obvious in that Democrats need to put a face on the Republican party, a negative one, and not just Donald Trump. Trump isn’t in office anymore. The right-wing uses AOC as the face of the Democratic Party all the time, even though she is not. It works in some places to scare middle America.
Two can play at that game and the Republicans have plenty of elected crazies. Pick one.
Marjorie Taylor Greene
These are just a few, there are more to pick from.
It is worth the time for the Democrats to recognize the fight they are in and the battlefield they need to fight on. It would be a solid strategy to borrow from the populace playbook that people like JD Vance and others are using. Use it though for good, take back the populist label and use it to prove that you want to actually improve lives, do good things for people of all races, for all Americans, and not be like many who use those tactics to sucker people into voting against their interests.
Republicans aren’t offering anything for culture war.
Because they have nothing else and don’t wanna do anything else.
Sen. Ted Cruz is perhaps the pinnacle of this strategy.
The Democratic mindset needs to be that the field is not set, there are not just simply your voters in their voters, but there is a large swath, sometimes marginal in certain places, of swing voters.
Democrats need to be doing more to win them over and making their coalition larger more powerful in turn.
Where to start?
It starts with a clear message of letting the voters know that you were on their side, all of them, and this is where President Joe Biden can really serve as an effective model to project that because that’s what he wants to do.
Find ways to get him out there pushing that let him be the spearhead the tip of the spear that you can then follow behind.
BA in History from Northwestern State, MA in English from Northwestern State, and PhD in Rhetoric from Texas Woman's University. Big into comic books and visual rhetoric. Assistant Professor of English at Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC.
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