Kavanaugh and the Authoritarians

I don’t care too much about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, one way or another. There doesn’t appear to be any hope of salvation in our present quandary, not for anyone involved (or uninvolved), far beyond who ends up on the Supreme Court.

But from a detached perspective of depressive realism, the GOP is on a clear decline, to a far greater degree than the Democrats which is saying a lot. Back during the presidential campaign, I stated that neither main political party should want to win. That is because we are getting so close to serious problems in our society or rather getting closer to the results of those problems that have long been with us. Whichever party is in power will be blamed, not that I care either way considering both parties deserve blame.

Republicans don’t seem to be able to help themselves. They’ve been playing right into the narrative of their own decline. At the very moment they needed to appeal to minorities because of looming demographic changes, they doubled down on bigotry. Now, the same people who supported and voted for a president who admitted to grabbing women by the pussy (with multiple sexual allegations against him and multiple known cases of cheating on his wife) are defending Kavanaugh against allegations of sexual wrongdoing.

This is not exactly a surprise, as Trump brazenly and proudly declared that he could shoot a person for everyone to see and his supporters would be fine with it. And certainly his publicly declaring his authoritarianism in this manner didn’t faze many Republican voters and Republican politicians. He was elected and the GOP rallied behind him. Also, it didn’t bother Kavanaugh as his acceptance of the Republican nomination implies he also supports authoritarianism and, if possible, plans on enacting it on the Supreme Court. Whether or not true that Trump could get away with murder, it is an amazing statement to make in public and still get elected president for, in any functioning democracy, that would immediately disqualify a candidate.

It almost doesn’t matter what are the facts of the situation, guilt or innocence. Everyone knows that, even if Kavanaugh was a proven rapist, the same right-wing authoritarians who love Trump would defend Kavanaugh to the bitter end. Loyalty is everything to these people. Not so much for the political left in how individuals are more easily thrown under the bus (or like Al Franken who threw himself under the bus and for a rather minor accusation of an inappropriate joke, not even involving any inappropriate touching). Sexual allegations demoralize Democrats, consider the hard hit it took with Anthony Weiner, in a way that never happens with Republicans who always consider a sexual allegation to be a call to battle.

The official narrative now is that the GOP is the party of old school bigots and chauvinistic pigs. They always had that hanging over their heads. And in the past, they sometimes held it up high with pride as if it were a banner of their strength. But now they find themselves on the defense. It turns out that this narrative they embraced probably doesn’t have much of a future. Yet Republicans can’t find it in themselves to seek a new script. For some odd reason, they are heavily attached to being heartless assholes.

This is even true for many Republican women. My conservative mother who, having not voted for Trump, has been pulled back into partisanship with the present conflict and has explicitly told me that she doesn’t believe men held accountable for past sexual transgressions because that is just the way the world was back then. Some conservative women go even further, arguing that men can’t help themselves and that even now we shouldn’t hold them accountable — as Toyin Owoseje reported:

Groping women is “no big deal”, a Donald Trump supporting mother told her daughters on national television when asked about the sexual misconduct allegations levelled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Among Republicans, we’ve been hearing such immoral defenses for a long time. There is another variety of depravity to be found among Democrats, but they at least have the common sense to not openly embrace depravity in their talent for soft-pedalling their authoritarian tendencies. Yet as full-blown authoritarian extremists disconnected from the average American, Republicans don’t understand why the non-authoritarian majority of the population might find their morally debased views unappealing. To them, loyalty to group is everything, and the opinions of those outside the group don’t matter.

The possibility that Kavanaugh might have raped a woman, to right-wing authoritarians, simply makes him seem all the more of a strong male to be revered. It doesn’t matter what he did, at least not to his defenders. This doesn’t bode well for the Republican Party. With the decline they are on, the only hope they have is for Trump to start World War III and seize total control of the government. They’ve lost the competition of rhetoric. All that is left for them is force their way to the extent they can, which at the moment means trying to push Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court. Of course, they theoretically could simply pick a different conservative nominee without all the baggage, but they can’t back down now no matter what. Consequences be damned!

Just wait to see what they’ll be willing to do when the situation gets worse. Imagine what would happen with a Trump-caused constitutional crisis and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. However it ends, the trajectory is not pointing upward. The decline of the GOP might be the (further) decline of the United States.

8 thoughts on “Kavanaugh and the Authoritarians

  1. “With the decline they are on, the only hope they have is for Trump to start World War III and seize power of the government.”

    Having both boxed themselves into a corner, and been boxed in, they are left with two alternatives: capitulation, or war. Needless to say, they will choose war by which I mean both foreign adventurism as a distraction and a means to “silence the law” and/or a direct neo-fascist seizure of power. The Kavanaugh putsch is just that – a putsch and the unraveling of even a pretense of procedural norms leading to an ever narrowing decent into tyranny. The party of old white male bigots is obviously demographically in terminal decline and as is always the case such demographic moments create conflict. They never go gentle into the good night of history. Trump, Giuliani, Bolton, McConnell, the Koch Brothers, et al, are fanatics; a combination of unhinged (Trump) and ruthless psychopaths (Bolton) and they are all acting as if they are in the same fever dream and, that’s because they are. Of course, also needles to say, the dems are as much to blame and my “depressive realism” is as disgusted with them as with the toga clad Klansman.

    • Trump is the authoritarian leader. Since Trump won’t back down, his authoritarian allies and followers won’t back down. There are obvious reasons for Trump to take this personally, beyond his own sexual misdeeds. He wants Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court in case the situation gets bad and he needs the Supreme Court on his side.

      • Absolutely. He views K as an “Break in event of emergency” tool to save him from impeachment or prosecution. And for McConnell K is an ideological issue as McConnell is a true believer and cynical – an aristocratic reactionary.

    • Here is what matters to Trump and hence to the GOP. Not whether Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent, as to them power used over the powerless is not a crime to be punished. What is at issue is that Kavanaugh is a strong defender of executive power and the GOP presently controls the executive. Trump is going to need all the executive power he can get if he isn’t to be removed from power.

      • True – they don’t care if K is guilty just that he’s useful. Though I think some of them are true believers – Lindsey Graham believes in the white pontifical smoke pouring out of his own ass. Others are more cynical but regardless they all are feeling desperate and under siege.

  2. Just to let you know: the rest of the World is GLUED to this extraordinary drama.
    We have our own problems, of course, with the warped combo of Neo-Liberalism and Anti-Globalism – the sort of Conservative Populism that gave birth to Brexit and Trumpism.
    As to the coming DOOM? I think as an example, about Wall Street Occupy.. After the last Stock Market Crash, there was Wall Street Occupy, that led to NO CHANGE. But I think it does mean that, next time there is a dramatic crash, the resistance/questions/demands for change will be greater and potentially more muscular next time.
    It doesn’t have to be like that (Iceland jailed their bankers) – but how likely is that to happen in the countries of the most offending and offensive financial criminals – the US and the UK?
    But – as to your general point – that 1% and the political class that represents them – those toxic old white Conservatives – won’t go quietly, or silently – won’t even accept any change. Not one bit. Just as Judge K can’t admit to one ounce of his rapey frat boy drunken jock animal house past. Not one bit.
    You’re absolutely right about that.

    • As an independent American, I’ve grown numb to the inanity. The circus show is no longer amusing, not that it ever was particularly entertaining. I’ve been trying to ignore present craziness. And I would hardly know about it, if my mom didn’t have it on the tv when I visited. It is her talking about it that caused me to write about it.

      I don’t exactly about the coming doom. There are numerous plausible scenarios, but some more probable than others. It does feel like we are long overdue for WWIII, a thought I’ve had going back a number of years. But as for this Trump era specifically, I have no doubt that it would feed Trump’s ego be a war president and all the better if he got to start it. Then he could play his authoritarian demagoguery for all its worth.

      As for causes of conflict, reasons can always be manufactured and events can be staged. That is the easy part, if and when those in power decide it is in their self-interest.

      The response of the public, as always, could complicate their schemes. But with enough fear, real or imagined, the public is predictably made compliant. There is no war in US history that didn’t eventually get the backing of the American people, even if public opinion later turned against it (even the Vietnam War took more than a decade before mood soured and by that time it had already served its purpose in constraining Soviet reach into the region).

      No protest movement that doesn’t lead to revolution — or at least threaten to do so — is going to change anything. I realize countries like Iceland are different, but the US is no where near being like Iceland, as you indicate. In all of US history, relatively short of course, there has never been major change that didn’t involve mass armed violence in facing down violent oppression. That was true of the Civil Rights Movement as well, preceded by decades of military-style race wars in the streets and happening along with the rise of militant black groups.

      We Americans tend to let situations get really bad before we do anything. And once we finally do something, we inevitably take it to the point of violent threat to the social order. The American elite relent to public demands for major change when and only when they are forced into a position of having no other choice. That is how we do things here. It’s the American Way.

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