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What Instagram, "rigged" elections and the Y chromosome have in common.
Kari Lake blew it by turning into a ‘crazy election-denier who’s unhinged’: MSNBC panel
That was a headline today for a story about the political self-destruction of defeated Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, whose lost election, failed lawsuit and caustic accusations about having the governor’s mansion illegally denied her have made her the subject of scorn and pathos.
According to MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann:
In a normal candidate context she lost a narrow race for governor for her first time around. This woman has a bright future. She'll be back, right? That is what you would say in the before times, before Trump and before election denialism. Now you see this person, who is not Trump, in the sense that she has no national following of tens of millions of voters, and she is out there basically playing the sore loser card. Going back again and again and she's going to do what Trump did basically in 2020 and litigate these unfounded claims of election fraud, and she is going to lose.
Or … she is going to win. Not the governorship, obvs. But certainly a higher profile, a lot of money, and a platform of grievance befitting a potential successor to Donald Trump as the face of the GOP’s sociopath wing. Her goal had been to actually become governor and thereby DeSantis herself into 2024 presidential consideration — perhaps by creating LGBTQ concentration camps or invading Mexico — but, in this day and age when lies are a commodity, there is much to be gained by playing the martyr card.
Trump will always be seen as a deity by about a third of the country, but Nelson Mandela he isn’t; dignity isn’t exactly his strong suit and prison will not elevate him. Nor will his ongoing nervous breakdown and the trail of humiliation it is leaving behind. Those 100 million Americans aren’t going to have the scales suddenly fall from their eyes. They will merely need someone else to worship.
It will not be Chris Christie. It will not be Mike Pence. Or Mike Pompeo (haha!), or Rick Scott, or Tim Scott or Ted Cruz (hahahaha!). And I don’t think it will be Ron DeSantis. You can’t just attack-and-deny your way into being the face of today’s Republican Party. Or thump the Bible. Or own the libs. Or lie your lying ass off. I mean, it’s a start, but the reality is more complicated than that. And if you ask me, you must go back a few years to remember where it began: an Axis of Evil called the Alt-Right.
Coalesced in the mid-2010s and branded by Nazi scumbag Richard Spencer, this was the original confederacy of deplorables. With it, the most extreme right made common cause with four similarly motivated cohorts of merely the very extreme right. They were:
Racists/Nazis. In Richard Spencer World, it’s the dark-skinned people and the Jews who have taken away their country and their values. So these misfits imagine themselves as liberators, often by playing dress-up in camo. Or polo shirts and khakis.
Ideologues. They believe in limited government, but they don’t know or care what government actually does every single day to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. Many of them are in Congress.
Gun Fetishists. They also like to play dress-up, with AR-15s slung over their shoulders. They possess large household arsenals to protect them from the 300 million guns on the street and available to every violent criminal and lunatic thanks to the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment. “Well regulated militia,” my ass.
Christian Nationalists. Jesus — white Jesus — is in charge. Of everything. Not that he ever shows up for work.
That’s four elements. There’s another original Alt-Right constituency I’ll get to in a moment. Meantime, the Trump Era has added a couple more:
QAnon Crackpots. They believe the Democrat Party is riddled with pedophile sex traffickers, that John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive and preparing to re-emerge and that shape-shifting alien lizard people have infiltrated the corridors of power. They purchase a lot of supplements.
MAGA Ignoramuses. These are the ones at Trump rallies, dressed in American flagware, who Jordan Klepper interviews so we can all watch them being stupid. Heavily skewed rural, uneducated, working class, fat and dumber than a bag of dryer lint, they buy a lot of corn dogs.
Republicans love talking about the “Big Tent.” Little did we know that it covered a freak show. It’s a sorry scene that tells us things about American society about which we’ve spent two centuries in denial. We are not exceptional. As in every other nation on earth, 50% of our public — more or less by definition — is more gullible than average, more bigoted than average and obviously dumber than average. If you do not believe me, spend some time at Cracker Barrel.
Or Charlottesville. Or Capitol Hill.
Now back to the oft-forgotten but arguably most vicious Alt-Right component, not only enduring but flourishing in modern social media:
Bro Culture. Now associated with the so-called “Men’s Rights” movement, which claims to battle the emasculation of male society at the hands of feminism and manipulative “basic bitches,” the bro movement first emerged in 2014, when it infamously ganged up on women video game creators and journalists who had the temerity to think they had a seat at the gaming console. These creeps inundated women’s feeds and inboxes with violent threats, and doxed them to incite more harassment still. But though the world’s attention moved elsewhere, the ugliness did not peter out. Instead, it metastasized beyond the gaming sphere into all areas of supposed female intrusion, especially politics. Once deemed a spasm of sexist resentment by gamer nerds taking a break from Grand Theft Auto in Mom’s basement to attack uppity females, 2014’s Gamergate has since become a vast and inexhaustible campaign of misogyny that sees women as useless unless they know their place and conform to a certain highly pornified standard of beauty and availability. The bro spiritual North Star is “Would I fuck her?” And. These. Pigs. Are. Everywhere. All it takes is one Y chromosome and bad parenting.
That’s why Kimberly Guilfoyle, fully augmented with aftermarket body parts and strip bar cosmetics, is a MAGA dream girl and not a “Kimberly Gargoyle” punch line.
That’s also why Mike Pompeo is kidding himself. I mean, it’s easy to see how he and Mike Pence and Tim Scott envision a path to the presidency. After all, a few months ago, Republicans won just over half of all votes cast in the midterm election, which means that the party is indeed fully bought-into depraved Trump Era “values.” But we are not speaking here of policy bona fides, are we? We’re speaking of worship, the only force that can override democracy’s bias toward basic reason. Trump achieved it by being a (formerly) handsome (supposed) billionaire (opposite of) truth teller. But how else to succeed?
Well, if you simply look at a list of Instagram and Twitter influencers, and you compare it with the accompanying profile photos, you see another path. The zeitgeist path. The “I’d so fuck her” path.
The GOP presidential nominee must, like Trump, meet the own-the-libs test and the I-cannot-avert-my eyes test. That disqualifies Ted Cruz. Sarah Palin was right there a decade ago, but, luckily for us, she emerged a decade too soon. In a pre-Trump world, the conditions were not yet right. Now they are. In 2023, the advantage thus reverts to such babe-agogues as Tulsi Gabbard, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Kar-i-Lago, who is in the media every day, raising money hand over first from slobbering morons near and far and all the while looking like a cougar Veronica Lodge. Yeah, it requires some significant filtering, but she knows how to smolder on TV. The bros will melt. Then fantasize. Then spread word of a goddess.
Can she out-poll Ron DeSantis? I dunno. How hot is he?
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