Hugh Jackson, Nevada Current
On the eve of the Labor Day weekend in a midterm campaign year, the president of the United States gave a speech at the site where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated, and made an urgent request of the nation’s electorate: Let’s keep democracy, m’kay?
It’s pretty shocking. Not the request, but the fact that a president felt it necessary to devote a prime time televised address to it.
Since Trump rode the escalator down to the depths of humanity’s basest and most loathsome impulses, the U.S. has been the frog in the frying pan. Subjected to years of heinous behavior and actions from Trump and his base, the public has become inured to extremist authoritarianism and its accompanying resurgence of white supremacism. The unthinkable has become normalized, just another “hot-button” issue to conduct a poll about.
One example – one frog that seems fried – is Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s reelection campaign. She’s being challenged by Adam Laxalt, a guy who more than any other person in Nevada has been the face and the voice of the Big Lie. So naturally her campaign has spent the summer endeavoring to define Laxalt as … in the pocket of special interests.
Granted, transactional venality is one of Laxalt’s multiple unsavory characteristics. It’s also a rather garden variety one for a politician. Given the existential threat posed by Trumpism – and intensely embraced by Laxalt – for Cortez Masto’s campaign to roll out standard-issue televised destruction of character and conduct of one’s opponent as if it’s, oh, 1998, seems rote, banal, and badly out of step with the messaging warranted and needed in these our Trumpy bat guano times.
Labor Day is traditionally when campaigns grab a gear and go for it in earnest. Hopefully Joe Biden’s speech set a tone that got the attention of not only some of the nation’s electorate, but some of the nation’s Democratic campaign operatives.
Put a shirt on it, snowflake
Meanwhile, that whining sound you hear is the most loyal and trusty of the wee MAGAfolk, whose delicate feelings were evidently quite bruised because mean Joe Biden was rude enough to say – out loud and in public! – that trying to steal elections is bad.
Trump courtiers like Laxalt are clutching their pearls and reaching for the vapors, crying that a president is, as Laxalt put it, “working to divide” the nation. Which is obviously something Trump would never do.
Laxalt and multiple other Trump loyalists, sycophants, and just plain fanboys also condemned Biden for “attacking half of America.”
Here is a thing Biden said in his speech:
“Now, I want to be very clear – very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”
The Washington Post took a swing at trying to find out just how much of the country qualifies as “MAGA Republicans,” the way Biden delineated the term. Half the country, as Laxalt and other Republicans have repeatedly said, is a little high. It’s more like a tenth.
But, awww, did the big mean president hurt the widdle feelings of the fragile MAGA Republican snowflakes?
Well, if they don’t have one already, they can go on Amazon and other online retailers right now and choose from a variety of shirts emblazoned with “Trump 2024” along with one of the movement’s most beloved sentiments, “F*** your feelings.” Maybe if they wear one of those shirts and look in the mirror it will restore their confidence and make them feel tough again.
Or, alternatively, they could do as William Shatner admonished in that old SNL skit, and “get a life.”
(This column contains material that originally appeared in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.)
Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.