The Monster at the End of Democracy

Republicans, too, are the ones they have been waiting for.

US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) went on Twitter to share his view of the impeachment trial, and in particular how he sees the Republican conduct. You can read his thread beginning here: 

I think he's overly charitable in his framing but touching on something important that I'm glad to see an elected official speaking out about. Some in the comments, of course, cast doubt on the idea that any of the Republicans actually believe in the "deep state" nonsense that they peddle. I, as always, believe that "belief" is not a simple binary question of either/or, where everybody is constantly aware that they are consciously lying or sincerely believes their untruths. Anybody who lives by hype runs the risk of buying into it, to some degree.

The thing that makes this set of beliefs appealing for Republicans -- the thing that makes it easy for them to believe that the civil service is riddled with Democratic partisans who are loyal to the party over all and will subvert every aspect of their jobs and their agencies' functions to bring down a Republican president and ensure continued Democratic rule -- is that for the Republicans, this is true.

They don't see this as a far-fetched scenario. They know that it's possible because their party does it. Republican partisans within the FBI trumped-up the investigation into Anthony Weiner's laptop in order to sandbag Hillary Clinton and put Donald Trump over the top. Officials at every level of the Justice Department up to and including the actual Attorney General have been carrying water and spears for Donald. The US Senate, which is mythologically supposed to be above influence and outside the normal machinations of Washington politics, has perverted its normal functioning for the furtherance of Republican power since before the 2016 election.

The Republicans have their Deep State. The Republicans have their media machines who work hand-in-hand with political operatives to spread propaganda in order to promote and protect the party or their president or both. There's nothing like that on the left of the aisle! "Oh, what's MSNBC?" A liberal-leaning news service is not the same as an all-in state media.

Conservatives have been planning out their modern media strategy since the last days of Richard Nixon, specifically in order to make sure that it would never happen again that they as a party could be forced to depose their own president.

So, yes. Republicans absolutely believe that the "mainstream media" (which somehow doesn't include Sinclair Broadcasting, the Murdoch news empire, large swathes of talk radio or any number of hometown newspapers) is not just liberal-leaning but part of an active conspiracy against them. They can believe it because they know it's possible as they're doing it themselves. They have to believe it because if the Democrats are doing it then they're just fighting fire with fire, which is better for their self-image .

And they believe that people who went into the most thankless and least glamorous forms of government work are there not out of any belief that the country needs the work they do and not out of any desire to make the world better but so they can strategically throw a wrench in the gears or kneecap a member of the opposition at an opportune moment.

Because they all know of Republicans who went into government work for that reason.

So, yes. I absolutely do credit that many Republicans, including high-ranking officials you would think would know better, are utterly convinced they are in an existential battle with monster that has many faces and many tentacles, a Democratic-controlled “Deep State” and liberal propaganda media machine united to bring them down and perpetuate itself.

This belief is not an excuse or a moral alibi. They believe in this monstrous opposition only because themselves have behaved monstrously in pursuit of power. It is their own eyes they see flashing in the darkness, their own cries that wake them in the night. They are the ones they fear, and they will do anything to feel safe in the face of that fear except for stop.

Thank you for reading.

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