Another Visit Through the Looking Glass to MAGALand

  • The US is leading the world economically, but not according to MAGALand;
  • MAGAfolks say they venerate the Constitution, yet support Trump as dictator;
  • How prophets assert that Trump is president, and the GOP asserts that Trump did not commit insurrection;
  • How Republicans gambled the Democrats would not compromise, and lost; David Frum on how Republicans won’t take yes for an answer;
  • Thomas L. Friedman: GOP priorities are Trump, then Putin, then America;
  • Robert Reich on how Trump fans/cultists threaten rivals with violence;
  • GOP candidates burning books;
  • How the arguments for Trump staying on ballots is weak;
  • How MAGA cultists are shocked that historical figures were gay.

NY Times, 2 Feb 2024 (published in Monday’s 5 Feb print edition): The Soft Landing Is Global, but It’s Cushiest in America, subtitled, “Economies all over the world are lowering inflation while avoiding serious recession — but growth in the United States stands out.”

Print title: “Economies Worldwide Can’t Match U.S. Growth” subtitled “Factors aiding America’s recovering and holding back that of Europe and Japan.”

While in MAGALand people believe the U.S. economy is in shambles and blame President Biden.


MAGAfolks claim to venerate the Constitution. They wrap themselves in American flags. And yet.

Washington Post, Philip Bump, 7 Feb 2024: Three-quarters of Republicans back Trump being ‘dictator for a day’ (via)


Conservatives and religious folks tend to *assert* their beliefs, regardless of evidence and reason. A tendency I’ve long noted.

Religion News Service, 2 Feb 2024: With FlashPoint Live, roster of Pentecostal ‘prophets’ hits the road for Trump (via Pentecostal “Prophets” To Launch Pro-Trump Tour)

Among a certain cohort of popular evangelical Christian preachers and other conservative personalities, there are some bedrock truths that come not from human reason, they say, but Almighty God. Among them: Donald Trump is the U.S. president, and those who persecute him face death. Joe Biden, the antichrist, should be in prison for treason. Christians should rule over unbelievers.

Another example:

Joe.My.God, 6 Feb 2024: GOP Resolution: Trump Did Not Commit Insurrection (Via press release from Rep. Matt Gaetz)

The coalition of Republicans, led by Rep. Gaetz, seeks to clarify the stance of the House of Representatives be that President Trump did not participate in actions that would bar him from again holding public office.

The resolution directly states that “President Donald J. Trump did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or give aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

If something disagreeable happens, just define it away.


Republicans gambled the Democrats would not compromise on the bill to protect the border. Democrats did. Republicans refused to sign the border bill anyway, in order to keep the issue alive as a campaign issue. They deny this motive, of course, but for everyone outside their bubble, it’s plain as day.

Slate, Ben Mathis-Lilley, 6 Feb 2024: Democrats a Bit Stumped by Republican Denunciation of Republican Border Security Bill, subtitled “It can be hard to play chess against someone who doesn’t acknowledge the rules of chess.”


Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times, 6 Feb 2024: The G.O.P. Bumper Sticker: Trump First. Putin Second. America Third.

“Trump First” means that a bill that would strengthen America and its allies must be set aside so that America can continue to boil in polarization, Vladimir Putin can triumph in Ukraine and our southern border can remain an open sore — until and unless Trump becomes president once more. Our allies be damned. Our enemies be emboldened. Our children’s future security be mortgaged.

[Quoting Francis Fukuyama] “The Republican Party has grown very adept at hostage holding. … The hard-core MAGA wing represents a minority within a minority, yet our institutional rules permit them to veto decisions clearly favored by a majority of Americans.”


The Atlantic, David Frum, 6 Feb 2024: The GOP’s True Priority, subtitled “The Republicans who won’t take yes for an answer”

So if no deal results, what truths will we learn from this process?

The first is that Republicans don’t really care all that much about the situation at the border. A real “existential threat” cannot wait for some later date. People who perceive an existential threat don’t delay. In fact, a good many Republican legislators are very happy to allow a continuing flow of laborers across the border.

There’s also a second truth and a third truth — “The very act of negotiation is mistrusted.” — and a fourth truth: “Donald Trump has sold his supporters the dangerous fantasy that democratic politics can be replaced by one man’s will. No need for distasteful compromises. No need to reckon with the concerns and interests of people who disagree with House Republicans. Just somehow return Trump to the presidency: He’ll bark; the system will obey.” Frum: “Of course, such fantasies have no basis in reality.”


A couple more items.

Robert Reich, 7 Feb 2024: What kind of presidential candidate — and supporters — would cause opponents to fear for their lives? (Also at AlterNet)

Well, I would say, because Trump fans aren’t merely tribalists, they’re cultists, will to do anything to support their glorious leader, including threatening violence against his rivals. Here is where America has sunk to.


Now GOP candidates are literally burning books.

Joe.My.God, 7 Feb 2024 (from Meidas Touch): Missouri Sec Of State Candidate Uses “Liberal Tears” Flamethrower On LGBTQ-Themed Public Library Books


Vox, Ian Millhiser, 6 Feb 2024: Trump’s legal arguments for staying on the ballot are embarrassingly weak, subtitled “It’s hard to imagine this Supreme Court removing Trump from the ballot. But his lawyers gave the justices very little to work with.”

I saw another article that claimed that it would be hard to reconcile the current Court’s “originalist” bias with not disqualifying Trump on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


The MAGA cultists are shocked, shocked, about history.

Joe.My.God, 7 Feb 2024: Cultists Rage: Netflix Turned “Alexander The Great” Gay (from TMZ)

Conservatives are up in arms over Netflix’s depiction of Alexander The Great as a gay man in their new docuseries despite a long-standing belief that the dude was definitely bi.

The “End Wokeness” X account — widely known in right-wing circles — took offense to ATG, played by Buck Braithwaite, passionately kissing his pal/ potential lover Hephaestion early in the first episode of “Alexander: The Making of a God”.

Worth noting … the legendary conqueror was also depicted as bisexual in the 2004 film, “Alexander”, played by Colin Farrell. So this whole idea of him being bisexual ain’t new.

I suppose the MAGAfolks are thinking, you mean life hasn’t *always* been like America in the 1950s?

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