The Biden Presidency doesn’t mean we can go back to normal, but it does mean we can breathe for a moment

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The inauguration of Joe Biden was simultaneously a representation of normalcy and, a reminder of the unprecedented situation America finds itself in. On the one hand, you had a Republican Senator — Roy Blunt — deliver remarks so conventional that they’d make you forget that the Republican Party, at large, spent the last three months trying to overturn the results of the election and, you had the President himself promise “unity” and “opportunity” in a refreshingly cookie-cutter speech that was a far cry from the American carnage remarks given four years ago to that day by then-President Trump.

You didn’t have to look much closer however, to see that what happened on Wednesday was anything but ordinary; the inauguration attendees each sat mask-clad, six feet from one another and after every speech the podium had to be wiped down with disinfectant. Zoom out further and the dystopian reality of modern-day America became yet more apparent; where crowds of thousands were supposed to be standing there were only flags and, on the periphery were members of the national guard standing stoically after spending most of this month stationed in Washington in order to prevent a violent coup. Meanwhile, just as telling as what you could see, was what you couldn’t: in a break with decades of tradition, the outgoing President was no where to be seen at the inauguration. Instead of attempting to aide the peaceful transfer of power, the disgraced leader retreated to the comforts of his Mar-A-Lago resort. …


It’s easy to take joy in Trump’s Twitter ban, but maybe it should spark concern as well

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I don’t like Donald Trump — I never have and I never will. Anyone who has followed me on social media or on this blog will know that. I’ve never tried to hide my feelings about the outgoing President, nor would I ever want to. 2021 marks my fifth year writing on this site and the one common thread throughout all those years has been, perhaps regrettably, Donald Trump. Every year since he became President, I have been penning articles condemning his actions — from his role in the ‘Unite the Right’ Charlottesville rally in 2017, to the way he has fuelled the rise of conspiracy theories and misinformation. …


Trump and his enablers are responsible for last night’s attempted coup

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Source: ‘Comfreak’ on Pixabay

After pro-Trump terrorists stormed the Capitol this week in an attempted coup, Congress reconvened in the wee hours of the morning to certify Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump. There were many remarkable, history-defining moments that occurred the night — undoubtedly, the photos of men wielding Confederate flags down the halls of Congress and posing in the office of the Speaker of the House will go down in history.

Putting into words my immediate reaction to these events is hard. I am at once shocked — seeing rioters forcefully enter their way into the Capitol will never not be shocking — yet well aware that with the carnage of the last four years and the dangerous lies spewed by Trump, I should have expected no less a disastrous end to this shameful Presidency. It’s hard to turn the anger I feel — towards the rioters and towards the politicians who emboldened them — into a coherent string of words; seeing Josh Hawley raise his fist in solidarity to protestors who just hours later would attempt a coup and, then seeing Ted Cruz, even after the insurrection, object to the election result (despite obviously knowing better) is enough to make me see red. …


Lessons learned from a hellish year

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At this point, complaining about 2020 feels trite; in an age of intense division, one of the only things everyone seems to be able to agree on is that 2020 has been a grim year. The year began with raging forest fires in Australia, which were shortly followed by the exponential spread of the deadly Coronavirus — which would go onto claim nearly half-a-million lives — and the year saw the Trump Presidency brought to an end in an election marred by misinformation, conspiracy and a flailing coup attempt.

With everything this year has taken from us, we must insist also on taking something from it; as much as 2020 — with it’s widespread death and despair — was a tragedy, it would be just as big a tragedy to not learn from — and change because of — 2020. 2020 was a year of mass-death, mass-sickness, mass-isolation and, in general, mass-struggle. The year brought many of us closer to rock bottom than we had ever gotten before; it up-ended our plans, took away from us the very basic elements of life we took for granted and, subjected us to a level of isolation that felt crushing at times. …


No, conservatives don’t really care about freedom

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Harry Styles in Vogue Magazine

Last week, Harry Styles became the latest victim of the culture war after a Vogue photoshoot in which he wore a dress attracted criticism from multiple conservative activists, including Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro.

With the United States in the midst of a fraught transfer of power, it can be easy to dismiss this story as nothing more than a social media sideshow (and in many ways it is). However, it is also emblematic of the hypocrisy that lies at the heart of modern-day conservative ideology.

The central critique of Harry Styles from Owens and co, centred more widely on the supposed feminization of men and how this is ‘threatening’ the survival of Western society. Ignoring, for a moment, how this scaremongering about the feminization of men is rooted in sexism, this line of attack proves that conservative rhetoric about individualism and freedom is fundamentally hypocritical. What the Harry Styles moral panic reveals is that for all of conservative’s posturing about freedom, for many conservatives, their true intention is simply to impose their rigid, restrictive way of life on the rest of America. …


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How ‘back to brunch’ liberalism fell out of fashion

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s inauguration in 2017, protestors took to the streets in record numbers to attend the historic Women’s March. Out of the many slogans to go viral thanks to the march was “If Hillary was President, we’d be at brunch right now”. The slogan reflected a simple truth: that, for many liberals, the previous eight years of Democratic rule had allowed them to tune out of politics, and another four years of such rule would allow them to do the same.

Over the course of the Trump years, the President’s critics would take to the streets many more times — perhaps, no more so, than this year — and with each protest, the ‘back to brunch’ mentality slowly began to come undone. As Americans watched in horror at the spectacle of police brutality, family separation and catastrophic climate change, it became clear that Trump was not just a cause of American carnage, but also a symptom of it. Each of the aforementioned issues were worsened and accelerated by the President, but none of them were started by him and none of them could be eradicated simply by voting him out. …


Did socialism nearly cost Democrats the election?

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Photo source: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay

As of writing, who will control the White House and Senate remains uncalled; though, in the former race you’d much rather be the Vice President than Donald Trump and — in the latter — you’d much rather be Mitch McConnell than Chuck Schumer. Meanwhile, on the House side, things are looking more clear cut: Democrats have maintained control, but are likely to have lost around a dozen seats.

In true 2020 fashion, the election has delivered a result that seemingly no-one is happy with; Republicans, who thought they had won on election night, are now staring down the barrel of a Biden Presidency, while Democrats, who wanted an overwhelming repudiation of Trumpism, didn’t get it. …


Kim Klacik, The Lincoln Project and, how grifting became a profitable business

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Picture source: Mediamodifier on Pixabay

Social Media has changed the political landscape in multiple ways (but mostly for the worst). Sites like Twitter and Facebook are breeding grounds for fake news, misinformation and hateful rhetoric. Often, the worst offender in this regard is the President himself, who uses social media to spread voter fraud conspiracies and fan the flames of divisions. While social media cannot be wholly blamed for America’s rapid demise, it certainly bares much of the responsibility for it.

However, an understated consequence of the social media revolution is how it has led to the rapid rise of the political grifter. Every side of the political debate — from the Trump-right, to the #Resistance-liberals and, all the way to the anti-establishment socialists— has been impacted by the meteoric rise of the political grifter. …


The modern-day Republican Party has no uniting worldview beyond Trump-adoration

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Source: gfkDSGN on Pixabay

In 2014, the Atlantic ran a piece outlining the main characteristics of a cult — they included: opposition to critical thinking, penalties for leaving and, the requirement of inappropriate levels of loyalty towards a leader. In 2016, the GOP showed they were moving away from their identity as a serious, well-respected party towards becoming a Trump-based cult of personality; Trump promised he alone could “fix the system”, critical questioning by the press was dismissed as “fake news” and, even the suggestion of voting with “your conscience” (i.e. against Trump) was met with boos and groans.

However, back in 2016 (pre-November, at least), there was still hope that the GOP had not been irrecoverably captured by the personality cult of Trump; a third of GOP voters disapproved of their nominee and many Republican politicians felt willing to rebuke Trump; with some even going so far as to vote against him in the General Election. Moreover, with Trump staring down the barrel of a likely-November loss, it seemed as though his ascension to the top of the party constituted nothing more than a brief period of turbulence; from which the Grand Old Party was almost sure to make a quick course-correction:— setting us up for Marco Rubio or John Kasich or [*Insert generic Republican here*] to run against President Hillary Clinton in 2020. …


Q-Anon, The RNC and Trump’s Pandora’s Box

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From: The White House on Flickr

Last week’s Democratic Convention was a platitude-heavy and, at times, dull affair that focused almost singularly on defeating Trump and returning to ‘normalcy’. This focus is the result of a party who, at every level (from rank-and-file members to party leaders), see Trump as a unique evil through which all bad things stem. While the Convention’s theme was ‘We The People’, it could just have easily have been ‘back to the future’.

As of writing, the RNC hasn’t yet commenced, but I’m willing to bet that it will be the opposite of what the Democratic National Convention was. Instead, of being somewhat unremarkable and focusing on stability, 2020’s RNC will instead be the embodiment of the chaos and lunacy that has defined the last four years. The four night affair will be centred around a President who, in the face of declining re-election prospects, is becoming increasingly unhinged and, the moderate voices within the party have already exited stage left (Kasich, et al) or have whole-heartedly joined ‘team Trump’ (Cruz, Rubio, Graham, etc). With the speaking-list including the likes of Covington student Nick Sandmann, and the couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey — who brandished guns at Black Lives Matter protesters — the convention is likely to focus on culture-war-inflaming rhetoric with the same intensity that Democrats focused on a return to the supposed halcyon days of the Obama years. …

About

Tom Williams

Political analysis | Bylines: Rantt Media, Extra Newsfeed, PMP Magazine, Backbench, Dialogue and Discourse | Editor: Breakthrough | Twitter:@tomwilliams030

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