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Paradoxically, one of the Democratic Party's bigger successes, IMO, in recent electoral history, was in their complete surrender to this mythos of the white rural voter as the "Real America". Not an accident that Bill Clinton, with his command of good ol' boy vocabulary and themes, as well as his adoption of the slogan that smaller government is better, was the beginning of the turnaround of Democratic Presidential fortunes. This project, of lionizing the white middle class and working class in the south and flyover states was initiated in the age of Nixon, and put on steroids with the Reagan Revolution. And in a number of respects, Biden, while trying to advance a more inclusive, FDR-ish model, is himself in no way challenging the meme of the happy white family on the cover of the cereal box. The Nixon/Reaganite embrace of volkishness, which the Tea Party and MAGA have potentiated to a fascistic degree, is so embedded, I have no clue how the Democrats are supposed to combat it, other than at least, partially, as they have been, continue to embrace it, while trying to fold everyone else into the mix.

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Really excellent and insightful piece, Thomas, by the way.

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WOW, I need to be honest here, knowing trump from growing up in NYC, I was taught early he was a scam artist. I assumed his followers were just too stupid to see him for the scammr he is. But, upon reading this article, I realize those people are not stupid. So, I am even more scared. Thank goodness these americans are not in the majority. Based on what was written, they are not ( at this point) Not that it matters one bit, but thanks to your writting I am no longer mad a CNN. But, still scared, because reading history , with the help of a terrible economy, people like these "americans" helped to bring Nazi Germany into history.

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Business leaders (press owners) would rather speak from the fascist perspective because $$$$—they wish to avoid the true central theme of interest for the majority of americans, because that is economic and social justice—by making fascists the main central character, we spend all our time arguing about absurdist racist and sexist conspiracies, rather than issues that most people actually care about—REAL issues all require regulation of corporations, cuts into profit- and rent-seeking, less corruption of politicians and police, etc—all issues they would rather avoid talking about

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I’ve been thinking about this since the GWB administration. I grew up in “the heartland”; it was a stifling, narrow, frustrating place to live if you had ambition, intellectual curiosity, or an open mind. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment & couldn’t be more frustrated that lazy media shorthand reduces everything to this phony trope of “real” Americans versus the rest of us, as if the rest of us - a significant majority - have no stake in our schools, government policy, the economy & the country. It’s infuriating. The true media elitism is that they hide behind cynical yet somehow credulous structure that allows them to seem in touch with “real America” yet, practically, means they dismiss the contributions, concerns & characters of those who pay most of the taxes, drive the economy, create innovation & seek to confront social inequalities & ills. It’s what explains failure of Red Wave to materialize only to see those who confidently forecasted it immediately return to same erroneous framing of every issue & same assertions that the radicals are the regular Joes.

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I kept waiting for Mr. Zimmerman to tell us how CNN and the rest of the media SHOULD cover Trump. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see it beyond vague generalities about "question" and "critiquing." Televising a Trump TOWNHALL was obviously wrong and playing straight into his hands. Is this all Mr. Zimmerman means here?

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Peter, maybe you completely missed what the piece was actually about - along with the correct name of the author?

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The “real American” myth originated with the same people who pitched ‘privilege’ to the indentured white labourers fresh off the boat: their distinction and advantage over African slaves. The literal and ideological descendants of these (many of them Europe’s contemporary ‘Deplorables’ ); whatever they lacked materially, they bought into their irrevocable badge of pigment.

The day TFG made the “shoot somebody on 5th Avenue” claim I flagged it as the most dangerous and divisive statement of his political career and I stand by that. I explained it once to a right wing Catholic anti-abortion TFG supporter (who was vaguely interesting to chat with until he blocked me...too much truth I like to think, especially as he didn’t note the dog whistles until I pointed out: he didn’t say “Main Street”, or refer to a local thoroughfare or landmark as pols do typically when making this kind of remark on the stump. He said Fifth Avenue, because of what it implied to his audience. Is he likely to shoot Auntie Em? Nope. It will be one of those east coast liberal elites, commie pinko f_____ n______ etc. Those folks heard EXACTLY what he meant them to understand.

And you are of course correct. We must in bold ways make clear that it is our duty to ignore and deny air to those whose political voice loudly shouts down all dissent all the time.

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In fact the only thing TFG could do to lose supporters would be to kill their dog. The only thing. And some would even rationalize that.

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Even if it were a MAGA tourist on 5th Ave, I think Trump would lose just 1 supporter.

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This is exactly right. Great analysis. All of this drives me nuts. It's been this way for as long as I can remember. It totally benefits Republicans and has for decades. We need to see a lot more articles about people who are upset about what's happening in our country instead of the “these people still support Trump” articles. I really want to know how Floridians feel about what's happening in their state, for example. I haven't seen any articles about that. I’m sure there are a lot of people who are outraged and terrified by DeSantis's fascism and his ability to get the state legislature to pass extremist, radical laws.

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I mostly only ever see interviews with people from The Villages. As if white, wealthy retired people who have the assets and motivation to self select into a country club of bigotry and right wing grievance is actually representative of the average working age person in the state, particularly one who might be non-white and maybe female. :P

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And DeSantis is planning to turn POTUS into a Monarch via Article 2 of the constitution.

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One of the best takes I’ve read. Thanks.

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The Volk are the shock troops for corporate interests involving carbon heavy industries, freewheeling financial entities and self-interest inspired libertarians. Devolving the ability of a national government to regulate their activities is their goal. The seizure of SCOTUS has been accomplished. That body routinely declares that science-based regulation is

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(Continued from above) unconstitutional. Follow the money.

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If we lose our democracy, the first to go is the free media. I wish they’d think about these things.

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I suspect that if they do think about these things, they think that they will be on the "inside", be given some special dispensation, some special status.

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May 29, 2023·edited May 31, 2023

Yes, there's a special kind of optimism from people who like to flirt with authoritarianism. Somehow it's easier to imagine it will be YOUR boot on other people's necks, and never the other way around.

It's similar to how poor white people seem to be able to envision a future where Republicans will only take away benefits like food stamps, housing assistance, social security, medicare, etc from "the undeserving" (brown people)... even though many prominent Republicans have been quite clear in their intentions to cut these programs for everyone, everywhere, as much as they are able.

They've bought into the dog whistling that tells them White Supremacy makes them special and important to people like Trump & DeSantis. When the reality is, any fascist regime is going to trample them too, especially if they don't have anything meaningful to contribute economically.

We'd be so much better off if America's under served working class would unite for their collective rights and protections. But alas, some people prefer the fantasy of being a brown shirt to being a union member with good working conditions and wages. So many people vote against their own interests, just out of spite to make sure no one else gets benefits in their interests either. It's sad.

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