The Mob Party

Responding to the calls for understanding coming from unctuous Republicans, I have once again made an effort to understand the freak show that is the Republican party of today. Tradition dictates a separation between the relatively normal politicians, people like Mitt Romney, Brad Raffesnperger, and Susan Collins, and the rabble we call the base of the party. This is an artificial distinction. The entire party fears and loves the base, or at least tolerates it, because the base is their sole hope for power.

There are two parts to the base: the action wing and the support wing.

The support wing is composed of two parts: Sympathizers, those who agree with the action wing but haven’t yet joined in because of age or fear of consequences; and Normies, who really can’t stand any of the rest but need their votes to gain power. Even the vulgar Trump thought his Capitol rioters were low class.

The action wing consists of three main groups, the QQQrazies, the Evangelical Militants, and the Armed Thugs. The QQQrazies are a crowd of gullible people sucked into a reality-denying mash-up of recycled blood libels created by an anonymous Q. [1] The principal lie is a fantasy lurking in the diseased parts of society and translated into less obvious anti-Semitism. The QQQrazies believe certain Democratic politicians and liberal elites drink the blood of children, or use them in some hideous satanic ritual, or keep them for sexual abuse, and that Trump is going to arrest them and either hang them in a public spectacle, or send tham to Guantanamo. Or maybe both. The idea that Trump would lift a finger for anyone besides himself is laughably stupid.

The Evangelical Militants are discussed in detail here. The Elmer Gantries from the religio/political segment of Evangelicals decided that The Almighty sent Trump to lead the way to the New Jerusalem. They authorized and directed their flocks to vote for a thrice-married, porn-star screwing, narcissistic reality TV performer, and then doubled down at every step of Trump’s increasingly obvious fascism. Then they authorized their flock to support his insurrection.

Most of these Evangelical Militants and QQQrazies are relatively harmless. They served as fodder in the Capitol Insurrection, and provided cover for the real dangers, the Armed Thugs. This group includes the Proud Boys, the 3 Percenters. the Oath Keepers, the Boogaloo Bois, and the wannabes like a the dolts on, now The Armed Thugs also include other militias like the people who attacked the Michigan legislature, and those who allegedly hatched plans to murder the Governor of Michigan. Trump worked to prevent law enforcement from keeping close watch on these people, insisting that right-wing terrorism was nothing compared to Antifa, whatever that is. It’s becoming clear that the Armed Thugs were the really dangerous people in the Capitol Insurrection.

The active wing of the Base is not interested in politics. They just want what they want. [2] They have no actual policy goals, and no reason to seek power, except to deny it to others.

So far, I’ve just described the Base. On its own, it’s a formless mob, capable of eruptions of violence and individual acts of terror but not an existential threat to democracy. Like any mob, it needs leadership before it becomes truly dangerous. So I turn to the organizational structure.

Trump is the Capo dei Capo, the undisputed and only leader. The mob is devoted to him, attentive to his every word, his every desire.

His Consigliere are Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. They are both graduates of elite universities and law schools, and served in SCOTUS clerkships. Cruz earned his bona fides by kissing the ring after Trump insulted his father and his wife in ugly personal terms; he’s a weakling. Hawley never crossed Trump. He’s a self-motivated lickspittle. They create spurious arguments that serve as crutches for the weaker Republican Senators, who use them as a pretend justification for their own ring-kissing.

The muscle is provided by Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who carry big guns and talk like gangsters about their rights and the magnificence of their Capo.

Matt Gaetz is Fredo. There are also many sub-Fredos. There’s Mo Brooks and Madison Cawthorn, who showed up at Trump’s incitement rally to scream at the mob to go forth and defend freedom against the grave danger posed by majority rule. There’s Rudy Giuliani, sweating in the role of the horse’s behind, the part with no head. There’s the Trump spawn, Don Jr and Eric, who hold coats and pretend to be real boys.

There it is folks, the Party of Lincoln has devolved into the Mob Party.
[1] Apparently our vaunted spies can’t figure out who Q is.
[2] Astonishingly, 19 of the insurrectionists were elected officials according to the New York Times. Also, there were cops and military among the rioters.

52 replies
    • timbo says:

      Looking back a little further, how many of the Revolutionaries of the 1770s had ever attended King George’s annual balls? Yeah, duh, there are radical folks who don’t vote but aren’t adverse to other sorts of actions. In some countries, voting is a legal obligation and not a take it or leave it right. I don’t care whether or not these folks voted, I only care about how they somehow believed that they were justified in being tourist insurrectionists. In other words, what is the import of these folks not having actually cast a ballot if, as they themselves say, they felt the system was rigged, something that Twitler has been telling them for five plus years now on national media forums.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        No true paranoiac voluntarily discloses personal information to The New World Order.

        Except when live-streaming their selfies sticking it to da man.

        Who da man? You da man!

    • Norskeflamthrower says:

      Whether or not these “revolutionaries” voted and whether or not they have reasonable grievances about the way the system and those who administer the system work became irrelevant the moment they committed sedition and murder. I am one of those who for a long time tried to tell my “liberal” friends that those who were left behind by neo-liberalism after loyal support to the Democratic Party would surly get to the point of desperation and the rejection of democracy. That happened but it happened almost a generation ago and a good many of those who participate in the neo-Nazi gangs today are sons and daughters of those who had attained the middle class only to see their children’s future shrunk into nothing. But the moment their desperation took them to riot and murder they lost any right to make political decisions for themselves. That doesn’t mean that their experiences and grievances are not legitimate.

      • namekarB says:

        “many of those who participate in the neo-Nazi gangs today are sons and daughters of those who had attained the middle class only to see their children’s future shrunk into nothing.”

        That is your speculation. Here is my speculation. It appears that many of the rioters lead comfortable lives with enough money to spend on guns, ammo, costumes, hotels, travel as well as smartphones and internet access. Heck, one of the rioters chartered a private jet to bring fellow rioters.

        It is time to get over the trope that they are mostly broke-dick losers living in their parents’ basement

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          To say that the neo-fascist political behavior of many in the Republican Party base has it’s origins in legitimate grievances of a generation or more is not “speculation”. And to say that many of especially the younger fascist terrorists are entitled and white is also sound. There is nothing contradictory about holding both “understandings”. This is where race and class meet.

  1. PeterS says:

    “The entire party fears and loves the base, or at least tolerates it, because the base is their sole hope for power.”

    Completely right, though that does necessarily imply that the base is not the whole party. Which begs the question, what fraction of the party does the base make up?

  2. Stacey says:

    “[1] Apparently our vaunted spies can’t figure out who Q is.”

    I have heard it theorized elsewhere that Q is a Russian misinformation operation.

    I’m prepared to give that serious consideration. Even if it did or did not begin as such. If it is, and our IC probably knows that, when to break that to us, might be a touchy issue begging some strategy of timing and manner, to be sure.

    I’ve also seen some indication that the dad (Jim Watkins) who owns/runs 8kun is the one posting under the Q moniker. His son (don’t remember his first name) just outed him as Q on that site or another one. Apparently they had a little tiff in the meltdown?

  3. BobCon says:

    The big quibble I have is that there should be a distinction at the voter level between the base and the casuals.

    I know it is tough for many people to accept that there could be such a thing as a casual, uninformed GOP voter, but it’s true. There are tens of millions of Americans who just don’t follow politics.

    They have busy lives, or they’ve swallowed the oppressive lie in the press that all politicians are crooks, and a smaller slice are just dumb. No matter, there are tens of millions who vote based on an athlete’s endorsement, the recommendation of a spouse, or a catchy jingle.

    How many? In some areas, we might be talking about 2% of voters, in others it might be as high as 25%.

    Unfortunately, far too many Democrats have fallen into the trap of thinking all 73 million Trump voters are the GOP base. It’s dangerous, defeatest thinking.

    Fortunately in Georgia, Stacey Abrams and the Warnock/Ossoff campaigns didn’t fall into that trap. They swung a few votes here, turned a few voters off of the GOP there, and added to Biden’s narrow margin.

    Chasing these voters is a different game from turning out the Democratic base, but it’s critical that the Dems understand that there are casual GOP voters, just as there are pure Trump loyalists who won’t vote without him on the ballot. They have to make a play for these votes. Or else the GOP will.

    • cavenewt says:

      Another factor would be doing something about gerrymandering and the electoral college. A big lift. After his presidency was over, Obama wanted to concentrate on gerrymandering. I think that goal got at least partly sideswiped.

      As for the EC, which has long outlived whatever usefulness it originally had, my money’s on the National Popular Vote compact.

    • PeterS says:

      Completely agree. So to modify my above question: what fraction of the party is the base and what fraction the casuals?

      • BobCon says:

        I think you’d have to really dig to get the answer, because the people who are in that category are the ones who are probably the hardest to find and get a straight answer from.

        A lot of it is probably going to be of trial and error and a lot of it will be art. But to a large extent I think it requires candidates and their reps putting in a ton of miles on the ground and a lot of networking, and less focus on the airwaves.

        The bottom line, though, is if you look at races like Hawley vs. McCaskill, she lost by only 140,000 votes at a time when Missouri voters rejected a union-busting referendum by 2-1 despite huge GOP pressure for the measure. The votes are there, but they have to think harder about how to get them.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          Clair McCaskill lost because nobody liked her, certainly not Republicans and increasingly not Democrats. I wish she had not been given a retirement slot on “Deadline: White House” another Republican long term care facility.

    • MB says:

      OK, let’s play with some numbers:

      74 million people voted for Trump in 2020.

      Assuming between 2% and 25% of Trump voters are “casual “voters” as BobCon describes, and then nationalizing that figure as a range, that would put the “casual vote” between a low of 1.4 million (2%) and a high of 18.5 million (25%).

      Now…how many Republican members of the House supported the false election fraud storyline? The number I see is 147. Out of a total of 211 Republicans in the House, that means a staggering 69% of them believe or pretend to believe that Biden stole the election.

      Now…how many Republican members of the Senate supported the false election fraud storyline? The number prior to the insurrection was 13 but afterwards whittled down to 8. Out of a total of 53 Republicans in the Senate in 2020, that means a less-staggering (but still notable) 15% of them believe or pretend to believe that Biden stole the election.

      So…take the 74 million Trump voters and subtract the high number for “casual” voters do don’t deserve to be counted as as actual “base”, 18.5 million. The result is 55.5 million.

      So maybe between 55-72 million are “base”?
      One would have to call the amalgamation of evangelicals, q-crazies and armed thugs as all Base, despite coming from different POVs.

      Are any other sub-groups not accounted for that can also be subtracted because, like the “casuals”, they are not really hard-core base?

      • BobCon says:

        One thing that some of the reporters who spend a ton of time on the road — *not* the diner safari types — have said is that Trump had a ton of personal appeal. He really struck a nerve with a substantial part of his following, which explained why he could contradict himself, lie, and get caught doing things that would blow up other candidates and not have it matter. They liked his tone and his brand, not his positions.

        A big part of his brand was vicious authoritarianism, but they felt it was up to him when and where he would express it.

        That will be hard for the GOP to recapture.

        Having said that, Biden was very good at being the anti-Trump in a way and yet not being typecast as a radical, even though it’s been clear for a year that he would be pushing a lot of the liberal agenda. That is also going to be hard to duplicate too.

        Where I think this leads is that the Democrats have a meaningful lead in total votes, the GOP has a definite structural edge in the Senate, but there is still a lot in play and the Democrats have to assume neither the GOP base alone nor their base is sufficient to win, and enough votes can be peeled away from either party to make a big difference. And the tides are shifting nationally and internationally, and within a decade may even upend much of what has been constant in politics for a century or more, for better or worse.

    • earthworm says:
      politico’s piece about trump campaign autopsy seems to be saying that trump campaign polling honchos knew months before the election that he would lose it.
      i still question the credibility of these oft-cited figures of 73-74 million trump voters, which are used to support the Fearful Strength of The Base.

      they are skewed, either through election/vote fraud or through the MMS continually positing the ‘horse-race’ aspects of political coverage.

      if the trump campaign pollsters conveyed those polling results to trump, then he has been conspiring for months and months how to mount an insurrection.

    • skua says:

      There are tens of millions of Americans who just don’t follow politics.

      They have busy lives, or they’ve swallowed the oppressive lie in the press that all politicians are crooks, and a smaller slice are just dumb.
      From outside the borders of America it appears worthwhile to factor the 33% of eligible people who didn’t vote in 2020 into calculations. If either mainstream party finds a way to get a much larger proportion of these non-involved people voting then they win.

      That Trump’s fans, and all that emotion and fantasy that Murdoch built up, didn’t get them to vote for Trump is remarkable. These people resisted getting involved in a very popular mass delusion.

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        We don’t have the final accounting (research) on the details of the boffo turnout November 3.

        In some locales the margins are so close that you don’t need a large amount of once apathetic voters to make a difference. Generally, are apathetic voters harder to convert than leaners and fence-sitters?

  4. jerryy says:

    Be careful, they might hire someone to take over that giant space laser and point it in your direction. :^)

  5. Dawgzy says:

    If by “normal Politcian” you mean someone who is involved in voter suppression, then I guess that Raffensperger fits. Please Google his name and voter suppression and look at the several schemes that he was involved in. There’s a nice description of one of them on the democracy now site that involves Greg Palast confronting his deputy on the matter. The official’s blustering would be sorta cute if The stakes weren’t so high and the intentions so odious.

  6. Peterr says:

    Ed, you left out Kris Kobach!

    OK, sure, Kobach sees himself as more important that Trump thinks he is. Back in the early days of the administration, Kobach was looking for a job working for Trump, and made a few suggestions that later appeared in the NYT:

    Kris Kobach’s Conditions for Becoming Immigration Czar

    Mr. Kobach submitted the following list of demands during discussions for an administration post.

    1. Office in the West Wing.
    2. Walk-in privileges with the president.
    3. Assistant to the President rank – at highest pay level for WH senior staff.
    4. Staff of 7 people (2 attorneys, 2 research analysts, 1 scheduler, 1 media person, 1 assistant).
    5. POTUS sits down individually with Czar and the secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, Ag, Interior, and Commerce, and tells each of the Secretaries to follow the directives of the Czar without delay, subject to appeal to the President in cases of disagreement.
    6. 24/7 access to either a DHS or DOD jet. Czar must be on the border every week.
    7. Ability to spend weekends in KS with family on way from border back to DC, unless POTUS needs Czar elsewhere.
    8. Security detail if deemed necessary after security review.
    9. Serve as the face of Trump immigration policy – the principal spokesman on television and in the media.
    10. Promise that by November 1, 2019, the president will nominate Kris Kobach to be DHS Secretary, unless Kobach wishes to continue in Czar position.

    Trump laughed in his face, and gave Kobach the chairmanship of a voter integrity commission that imploded relatively quickly. Kobach then went back to Kansas, where he had his electoral ass handed to him by Laura Kelly in the 2018 governor’s race and by Roger Marshall in the 2020 GOP senate primary.

    But Kobach wasn’t done. When Trump wanted to file a hail Mary lawsuit directly with SCOTUS, challenging the election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc., he needed two things – a state attorney general willing to file the case and a couple of lawyers to write the actual legal documents. Kobach was ready.

    Before Thanksgiving, a team of lawyers with close ties to the Trump campaign began planning a sweeping new lawsuit to carry that argument.

    One of them, Kris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state, had been a central player in some of the harshest recent moves to restrict voting, leading to frequent pushbacks in court. He had also helped lead Mr. Trump’s “election integrity” commission, created after the president claimed he had lost the 2016 popular vote because of fraud; it had ended with litigation, internal strife and no evidence of fraud.

    Another member of the team, Mark Martin, a former North Carolina chief justice, was now a law school dean and informal Trump adviser. A third, Lawrence Joseph, had previously intervened in federal court to support Mr. Trump’s efforts to block the release of his income-tax returns.

    And SCOTUS sent Kobach et al. packing once again.

    So where does Kobach fit in the Trump mob hierarchy? He clearly wants to be a Consiglieri, with the whole anti-immigrant fight as his portfolio, as a stepping stone to becoming the next Capo dei Capo. But in reality, he’s more of one of the sub-Fredos like Rudy, but with better makeup and hair. His role is not to scream at the crowds but to baffle judges with bullsh*t.

    • P J Evans says:

      And the judges look at his stuff, and tell him to take some more law classes, because he’s not making it as is.

      • Peterr says:

        Yeah, but I had to draw the line somewhere as to the quality of Kobach’s legal skilz.

        (And it wasn’t a snide suggestion by a judge, but a formal sanction imposed on him for lying to the court and ignoring the kind of orders of the court that every 1L is taught to obey. Pro tip: if the judge says something is inadmissable, don’t keep trying to insert it into the record multiple more times as the trial proceeds.)

    • BobCon says:

      I would really like to know that there is a reckoning going on at the top Ivies as far their admissions policies, because grads like Kobach, Hawley, McEnany, Cotton and Cruz definitely seem like vapid ticket punching hacks.

      If these schools are running quota systems that are enabling a lot of dangerous mediocrities to jump the line and burn down democratic institutions, they should be asking themselves what they are really gaining from it. One of them might make them seem open minded, but an endless cascades of disasters makes it seem like they’re courting clods.

      • P J Evans says:

        They’re good at writing papers and talking. They were smart enough to get in, though that doesn’t guarantee graduation.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        “I would really like to know that there is a reckoning going on at the the top Ivies as far as their admission policies…”

        Me too but it ain’t happening and anyway, it’s not the entrance policies and requirements but the graduation performance standards and evaluations that seem to be the problem.

        My wife is a retired teacher who teaches teaching methods part time to students at a local state university preparing students for student teaching. She’s been doing this for four years now and in the beginning she was a bit concerned about the quality of students who got that far and the pressures on instructors to pass them on. This last year of virtual teaching has exposed this problem on steroids and the instructors who suffer the most are those who are full time assistant professors on tenure tracks. But this semester something interesting has happened. The attitudes and work quality appear to have improved noticeably because the students are not terrified of failing this last hurdle before their formal student teaching experience. And as a result there are far fewer at risk students who exhibit inability to meet the minimum requirements leaving only those who for one reason or another don’t do the work. So anyway, my wife thinks that any unqualified graduates from Ivies are examples of pass-ons.

  7. klynn says:

    Thanks for your post Ed.

    The Evangelical militants, are in need of further examination in terms of size and end goals. This wing will not stop.

    As for who Q is and do the feds know? I do not have answers but one observation. Q set out to create deep distrust in government and dems with its’ “deep state” campaign. So if you are an investigative or intelligence arm of government and know who/what Q is, how do you reveal/arrest/dismantle effectively when its’ followers would see gov actions as untrustworthy deep state actions thereby making Q’s case?

    That game theory play by Q alone gives a clue who Q is or who Q is supported/funded by.

  8. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Manichaeism of an end-times ‘dominionist’ evangelical sort is a flavor that mixes well with QAnon, given how it completes the old line anti-semitic circle and resonates, also, with very persistent, thus long-standing, conspiracy flavors.

    • gmoke says:

      Manichaeism is not just for the religious.

      Lord Haw-Haw: “Fuehrer’s Proclamation of 30th January [1943], in which he uttered the memorable words: ‘This is a war, not of conquerors and conquered, but of the survivors and the annihilated.’

      “Throughout Germany today there is a new spirit, the spirit of total war, of grim determination to defeat Bolshevism by sacrificing all that does not pertain to the struggle – this stuggle of life and death.”

  9. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    It’s kind of… astonishing… is it not, that one can use the phrase ‘mob party’ to describe one of our two major political parties and a) everyone knows immediately which one is being referred to, and b) it’s not seen as over the top hyperbole at this point…

    And the question “How crazy is crazy enough?” is now a reasonable one.

  10. My Uncle Fred says:

    Ed’s commentary is good and useful, but might benefit from another level of exploration.

    There is plenty of reason to think that many QQQrazies and Evangelical Militants were part of the Support Wing:Sympathizers and even the Support Wing:Normies. Just where does the line fall between Sympathizers and Normies, and between their interests and motivations. Who’s to say that there aren’t any QQQrazies who found the proceedings distasteful (even if necessary or pre-ordained). Who’s to say that none of the Normies were sympathetic to the Action Wing’s goals and methods?

    In the end, however, no matter how the protest population is diced, there are common issues driving Normies, QQQrazies, Sympathizers, Evangelical Militants and Armed Thugs to join arms in the insurrection (even those sitting politely to the side).

    Evangelicals bond together in their congregations as a sort of self-affirming family or community (obviously this isn’t the whole explanation of Evangelicals and their religion). A large part of the recruitment success of evangelical leaders is based on leveraging the insecurities of individuals and providing a means to fill that gap.

    However one characterizes the the Armed Thugs (at least one article suggested that they were lamenting a disappearing macho male role – whatever), these groups have a ethos of bonding against a common enemy, and gaining mutual self-respect from their self-affirming group. Look back across the history of armed gangs, virtually every race/ethnicity/religious-affiliation has spawned its share of gangs. And this is one of type group where its more likely to hear participants admit that a sense of group/belonging/being-valued is a key to driving membership.

    Any close examination of the well-to-do (and the aspire to be) see their need to establish credibility as members of the leadership class, and paragons of success. Their involvement in political organizing not only advances their personal financial/business interests, it also provides as self affirming group supporting each others’ efforts. This sometimes drives Normies to write big checks to fund Insurrections.

    Why do Q members need a conspiracy theory? Why do they need group in which to operate? Why is this more important to them then maintaining personal and family relationships? Why is this more important than operating in a factually grounded world? Because it gives them a basis for group and self affirmation.

    Naturally this is only a small part of the explanation of how the insurrection came to be. And it leads to a variety of questions about: why now and here are we seeing this need for group identification being fulfilled by unsocial groups? But its something to consider as we try to build a more perfect union.

    • Ed Walker says:

      Somehow I’ve lost interest in their problems. Let’s try to fix things for normal people. Maybe that’ll help.

      • My Uncle Fred says:

        Hey Ed,

        You miss my point, perhaps I wasn’t clear.

        I don’t want to help skin-heads, I want to help all of us.

        I’m suggesting (not an original idea) that any successful society needs to have ways to keep most or all of the populous engaged. They have to feel like part of the larger group. An ugly example is when the colonies (primarily southern) turned from indentured servants to slaves. One outgrowth was positioning poor white ethnic Europeans as being a social class (supposedly for being more capable and moral) above ethnic African slaves. This was used to tamp down the class war (started by the new-world wealthy) between white haves and have-nots.

        Not a lot has changed since then in the American political landscape. But, paying attention offers the opportunity to capture the concept for good ends rather than bad.

        An awful lot of society and politics is based on emotion, not facts. Emotion is what the Republicans have been stirring up since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Democrats, not so much. Fear, hate and greed, the are the primary drivers of the Republican party since Eisenhower retired. And they are powerful emotional drivers – which drive divisions amongst the populous.

        How do Democrats counter this? What emotional drivers can they leverage? What emotional drivers would close divisions?

        This is the fundamental question, ATMO, to create a society that is not divided against itself.

        If we maintain the question as who is benefits, Republicans or Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals (to use some non-descriptive titles), they the likely outcome is warfare. And we’ve come too close already for my taste.

        • P J Evans says:

          Maybe the problem is treating politics like a sport, something that’s “us” against “those other guys”. Maybe the Dems are doing it right already.

  11. skua says:

    On many 1/6 insurectionists not voting:
    You want nightmares?
    Consider how many of the 30% of eligible voter who did not vote in 2020 were Trump supporters.
    And then consider what it would take to get them to vote in 2022 or 2024.
    Would the televised failed insurection that closed down the Capitol do it?
    I f—— hope not.

Comments are closed.