Defending democracy needs appeals to material self-interest
The MAGA Republicans and the "so what?" problem
I don’t think there’s anything wrong, factually, with saying that Donald Trump’s political movement is an authoritarian menace to the integrity of American political institutions. And while characterizing the ideological tenor of that movement as “semi-fascist” is inflammatory, I don’t think it’s incorrect.
I do wonder, to an extent, about the purpose of this discourse, though.
One aspect of the Biden Administration’s rhetoric that does have a clear point is the president’s habit of drawing a distinction between “MAGA Republicans” and a democratic front that’s composed of “Democrats, independents, and mainstream Republicans.” In other words, he’s trying to create a permission structure for some right-of-center people to vote for him and his allies without abandoning their identity as Republicans.
At the same time, Biden has never made real coalitional overtures in this direction. We don’t have HHS Secretary John Kasich. There was a lot of agita from the left during the 2020 campaign th…
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