Nov 13, 2022·edited Nov 14, 2022Liked by Noah Smith

I won't go so far as to say that DeSantis _isn't_ a closet authoritarian in disguise, though he does seem like a normal human being (even if as cynical, nihilistic, and power-hungry as the rest of the GOP leadership), so he could be shamed from launching a coup/autogolpe (Trump has no sense of shame) and probably isn't driven by the deep insecurities Trump has (that doesn't allow Trump to ever admit losing).

I would note a few things, though:

1. We were saved from a red wave mostly due to Dobbs. For Dems, thank goodness, the dog finally caught the car as the cynical conservative moneyed elite strategy of using evangelicals as foot soldiers has bitten them in the ass with Dobbs (and before that with Trump).

2. Trump is the best thing going for Dems right now. If you're a liberal, you have to hope he doesn't die. The GOP has a major Trump problem that they simply can't solve. If Trump is the GOP nominee again, the GOP would get rolled in 2024 as normie suburbanites (who have the numbers) just hate MAGA chaos agents. But if he doesn't win the GOP nomination, he'd launch a 3rd party bid that'd wreck the GOP. Even if he stays on the sidelines, we can count on him to endorse extremists who'd do badly in the general in any purple/blue state and bash GOP candidates who are attractive to swing voters but doesn't bend the knee to Trump.

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Also worth noting Brian Kemp (the non-Trumpy Republican) pretty throughly crushed a very liberal Stacy Abrams, but that didn’t carry over to the Trump-backed Walker, who underperformed Kemp by about 200K votes (or 10% of Kemps total).

That’s a lot of split ballots. And shows me many voters don’t support extremism in either direction. Hopefully the parties listen and give us better candidates in 2024.

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UGH! You say, "DeSantis fills progressives with rage, and he very well might turn the country red again, but he’s not going to try a coup or make American foreign policy subservient to Vladimir Putin." I say he has demonstrated a wily capacity to out flank domestic legal norms and constraints to pander to the worst bigots among us. He is far more dangerous than DJT because he is wiser, more strategic, and experienced in the levers of power. No stability here. Fascism on the way.

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It's also a win for basic decency. Just as their mocking the attack on Paul Pelosi was a reminder of exactly what Trumpism is, the prediction-defying way so many voters empathized with Fetterman's struggles is a very hopeful sign for where people are at.

May I suggest a way out of that endless Democratic fight about whether to emphasize economic or social issues, which all too often has degenerated into demonizing rich people versus demonizing white people? If we have to demonize someone, how about abusive people? Trump is both rich and white, but neither is the problem with him.

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Hispanics tend to be more socially conservative and are ripe for the Republican party. If the Democratic party could learn to talk about their proposed programs in such a way to demonstrate how they align with conservative values (and many of them do!), then they would be more successful at winning Hispanics over. I talk about how to use values in talking about programs in my book, Persuade, Don't Preach, which is based on research by Robb Willer and Matt Feinberg.

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One technical correction on this point:

"This will especially come in handy in existential crises like a possible disputed 2024 election. It will now be far more difficult for Congress to use the electoral college count to approve an alternative slate of Trump-backed “fake electors”, even if some Republicans would want to do so. At least one or two representatives would probably defect in that situation. "

The Congress that votes to certify the 2024 election will be composed of the members elected in 2024. The new Congress takes office on Jan 3, 2024, and the electoral count happens Jan 6, 2024. Congress could change the Jan 6 date (but not the Jan 3 date). But as the law currently stands, this election doesn't determine who votes on the electoral certification for 2024.

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This is a great piece. Thank you.

Watching on from the UK I have to say I was relieved to see Trump chopped down to size.

From a European perspective, we need the US to stay the course and maintain its position as a beacon for democracy. On the edges of Europe a dark shadow lurks waiting for NATO to show weakness.

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I am happy with the election results but never was concerned that democracy was in danger. If people think an election result was invalid, what are they supposed to do? Deny what they think? Al Gore did the right thing. He accepted the result. I do not know how he feels but if he feels that he really won, I have no problem with that. I think it is despicable to claim that a person is unqualified to be elected because they think they lost an election unfairly. If that is the rule, everyone in sports needs to be disqualified. Is there a single person in sports who does not believe they were harmed due to a bad call by the officials? January 6 was a disgrace. Wanting to improve election integrity is a good thing.

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For me, the fight shouldn’t be about “democracy,” that’s a given --it’s about expanding democracy. In 1929 US population was 121M. From 1927-1929 there were 5 women in Congress. From 1929-1931 there were 9 women in Congress. From 1929-1931 there was one Black member of Congress. The average member of Congress in 1929 represented 278k people. The population of US now is 331.9M people. The average member of Congress represents 763k people. Is there any wonder so many people are angry because the feel unheard, unrepresented? Is it any wonder that money talks, bullshit screams at people on Fox? 1n 1929 Congress capped the number of representatives at 435. Article 1, Section 2 of the US Constitution states there shall no more than 1 member of Congress for every 30,000 people. So by the express terms of the Constitution we could have 11,063 members in Congress. I’m not saying 11,000 is the right number (or the wrong number) but the Constitution contemplates much more representation than we have today. Simply by expanding the numbers on membership, you dilute the voices of the MTGs. You limit the impact of gerrymandering as more districts would have to be drawn, thereby exposing further the perniciousness of the practice. If you gave a small budget to each Comp Sci and Geography Dept at each State University, you’d easliy get maps drawn if there was no regard for party affiliation. It would cost much much more to control Congress by money. Party organization would have to be wider and deeper, requiring more reach and participation. I’d argue that 11,001 is the right number. But it should start at 1191, which is about 2.75 times the number now, simply adjusted for population growth. And I’m not so sure the 435 number, so so good even then -- these are the people who set the stage for the Great Depression. More voices, participation needed.

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We've seen in China recently how much worse it is to have a dictator than an autocracy.

I don't have any hope that DeSantis will be "less authoritarian" than Trump - especially after Trump has shown what is possible and was cheered on by the party for it.

But I do think it could be a healthy sign for American democracy if the GOP can manage to elevate anyone other than Trump in the presidential primary. It'd be healthier if it were not someone seen as a successor to the MAGA movement, and it'd be healthier if they didn't win the ability to enact their authoritarian plans - but a key thing is the decentralization of power within both parties.

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Nov 13, 2022·edited Nov 13, 2022

GOP strategists and donors are excited about DeSantis but it remains to be seen whether GOP primary voters will follow.

Pre-midterms primary polls show Trump ~45% to DeSantis ~25%, I'd be highly surprise if those numbers flip among ideologically committed but not politically savvy primary voters.

If Trump maintains an unassailable lead in early primary voters, I predict GOP strategist will chicken out again and bow down to dictator Trump because they "see which way the wind is blowing".

I want to emphasize here that presidential primary polls this early are not always a meaningful predictor of what will actually happen in the primary (remember Jeb?) - but that won't stop it from becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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The Left appears to have given up Enlightenment liberalism and embraced post-liberal wokeness. That means intersectional group victim status trumps individual rights -- Kendi is explicit about this. If Patrick Deneen is correct, liberalism is already dead. Perhaps the Democrats were wise to move on instead of playing Weekend at Bernie's with its corpse the way the GOP is.

The mainstream Right is still trying to find its head with both hands after the postmodernists detonated a truck bomb in the middle of the Declaration of Independence. Turns out Locke's "self-evident rights" aren't so self-evident to the postmodernists, and the Right can't figure out how to prove they exist without God, who no one really wants to invite back to the party. He was a real killjoy, and the guests were all secretly thrilled when Nietzsche killed Him off.

Only the very far-Right is willing meet the Left on its own post-liberal terms. Ibram Kendi says we should all see race first; the white-nationalists say the same thing. They only disagree about which race ought to be on top. Fortunately, the Nazis have little mainstream following, but they grow stronger as the Left keeps pushing race essentialism. If you thought the Christian Right was scary, just wait until you meet his brother: the non-Christian Right.

For those of us who actually liked Enlightenment liberalism and would prefer to live in a broadly liberal, tolerant society built on Judeo-Christian philosophy... we're hosed. Deneen's right; Humpty Dumpty isn't going back together.

Sorry. Noah, but I don't share your optimism. In David Reapoi's terminology, most people don't seem to know what time it is, and the hour is far later than many realize.

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What was so alarming about Dobbs wasn't the abortion issue as much as the way the autocratic GOP triumphantly activated their forced-birth, no exceptions, trigger laws without the slightest consideration of the negative consequences. 10 - year - old rape victims, snooping into Doctors medical records, rheumatoid arthritis patients who need a medication that could be used for abortion and enforcing that by snooping into Pharmacy records. And it should be obvious that that would be exactly the way they will continue to govern as long as they are in charge.

If the GOP winds up with the house and they spend two years investigating Biden with Trump whining on the sidelines and being indicted which will make him crazier than ever and alienate more people than ever by 2024 an actually conservative party might Rise From the Ashes and Lindsey would be proven right. " every nominate Trump it will destroy our party and we will deserve it."

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Agreed. Long-term trend is away from traditional, white elitism and toward a multi-racial democracy. But the right wing won’t go easily, and I predict political terrorism will increase out of desperation.

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I think optimism at this point is foolish. There are Q Anon elected officials in office! As a Democrat I celebrate that it seems half the country doesn’t like Marjorie Taylor Green and those like her. But the cancer is there and it is hungry and will not just go away. Spend time in a Fox News living room and you will feel the power of angertainment. DeSantis is a nightmare for education, lgbt issues, reproductive rights, etc. I’m happy the category 5 hurricane likely moving our way has slowed, but the conditions conducive to development remain.

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If you think that the Republicans are going to be more "Bipartisan" now, I want whatever you are smoking!

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