The Red Mirage
From a Google Image Search - CNN
If someone has been involved in national politics for years (over 5 at least) they have most likely heard the old wives’ tales that politicos tell. These are superstitions, folk wisdom, and observations of political geeks that play the same part in politics that personal superstitions play in sports – a lucky pair of socks, a headband that someone had on when s/he won an important game -- routine rituals performed before games and playoffs. In sports these rituals are considered essential for winning. In politics these superstitions are mostly about patterns you can’t change, and the outcomes are generally anything but lucky. They are stubborn patterns. You can try to buck them, ignore them, or reason them away but they seem to be self-fulfilling prophecies.
One piece of wisdom tells we the people that whatever gets done in the first one hundred days of a President’s first term will most likely be all they will be able to get done. Another little prediction is called the Second Term Curse. No need to explain that little downer. Why elect anyone for a second term then? We don’t pay our President’s much, but presidents still seem to make out well. We the people are choosing an employee to serve for eight years who is only able to be productive for one hundred days? We’re not getting much for our money.
The piece of wisdom we have been living with right now, repeated ad infinitum, is that the US legislature always changes majorities in the midterms. Mainstream newspapers repeat it almost with a sort of glee. Politico has a meter whose indicator shows election polling consistently in the red zone.
Everyone seems to think that Republicans will ride to the rescue and save the economy. If that ends up being true it will only be because the wealthy know who butters their bread and they will do their best to put the party that loves them back in power. They will turn the stock market around, and everyone will love the Republicans forever. But more and more wealth will collect at the top until we all become peons. Republicans have given us the most skewed economy we have had since before the Great Depression. Catering to this group that does not want to pay taxes is perfect if you want a weak central government, if you want states to get to make their own laws, if you want to become Europe (nothing wrong with Europe, but we used to be proud of our united states and our strong central government).
The wealthy own most of the stock. They could be tanking the stock market on purpose. They could be making it a buyer’s market. There goes our retirement. However, capitalism does not function without consumers. The health of the wealthy sectors of our economy are tied up with the health of the economy for the middle and lower classes. Apparently, these folks do not understand that everything is interconnected. But I digress.
Today while listening to the January 6 Committee hearing, I learned a brand-new piece of political insider jargon. It was referred to as the “Red State Mirage” (apparently there is also a Blue State Shift). These terms cannot be quite old enough to be considered “wisdom.” The Red State Mirage refers to a pattern in recent elections in which before the election it looks like the Democrats are winning because of greater numbers of early voters, on election day it looks like the Republicans have won, but when the mail-in votes are counted after election day then the Democrats add a lot of votes and may end up winning the election.
Trump cronies, or ex-cronies claim that he fell prey to the Red State Mirage and decided that all the mail-in votes were fraudulent and should not count. Conveniently, the 2020 election, looked at this way, added up to a win for Trump. This would explain Trump’s war on mail-in votes. If we just throw out a percentage of the votes of American voters, the votes of those who voted by mail (in a pandemic), we may have an invalid election, but it offers the results Trump wants to believe. Why doesn’t this qualify as either crazy or criminal?
Here is a man so egomaniacal that he refuses to accept the results of a free and fair election so he can hold on to power. Here is a man who was practically born to dismantle our democracy/republic because he has the brain of a fascist. It is the kind of government he understands. But is falling for the “Red State Mirage” a way to excuse Trump’s subsequent behavior. This man may have dictator’s disease, he may be an egomaniacal narcissist, but he is not stupid enough to tell us outright that he is a great big liar. He loves the chaos he has created. He loves that people follow him no matter how outrageously he lies. He raised 250 million dollars by sticking with his lies. We love you Trump say his deluded followers as they back up their love with bucks. People who pride themselves on not falling for scams have fallen for this great big scammer. It’s twisted.
We need to use the Fourteenth Amendment to stop Trump from running for public office ever again or we will be letting the coup continue. The Republicans, Trumpian and not, will simply suspend the coup until they have power once again. When Democrats have the conn, they obstruct so that their plans won’t be set back too far.
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