2024 (Taylor’s Version)
Accelerating migration from MAGA to Team Normal
What do Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Anthony Gonzalez, and Taylor Swift have in common?
They regret not coming out against Trump sooner.
And their opposition to MAGA has caused threats of personal violence.
Check out this excerpt from the Taylor Swift documentary:
Dad: “Just from a security standpoint, ‘Taylor Swift comes out against Trump’ …”
Taylor: “I’m sad that I didn’t two years ago. But I can’t change that. I’m saying right now, that this is something that I know is right and, you guys, I need to be on the right side of history.”
Not a 1989 song pun, just the Threat of Political Violence
It is worth pausing on her father’s sentiments there. This is not similar to Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers, too” theory of dodging of a political endorsement for financial reasons.
He is afraid MAGA will physically hurt his daughter!
This is a common thread.
One Republican congressman confided to Romney that he wanted to vote for Trump’s second impeachment, but chose not to out of fear for his family’s safety. The congressman reasoned that Trump would be impeached by House Democrats with or without him — why put his wife and children at risk if it wouldn’t change the outcome? Later, during the Senate trial, Romney heard the same calculation while talking with a small group of Republican colleagues. When one senator, a member of leadership, said he was leaning toward voting to convict, the others urged him to reconsider. You can’t do that, Romney recalled someone saying. Think of your personal safety, said another. Think of your children.
We wrote about this in 2022, and why it is not just a Republican problem. Democrats must be proactive in welcoming in those who face threats of violence, to bring them into a supportive community. While this should be true within families, within communities - and with NFL Pro Bowlers & Grammy winners - it is most straightforward for political candidates. Our last writing on this focused on Anthony Gonzalez, the former NFL wide receiver turned GOP congressman who did not run for re-election after voting for impeachment:
Gonzalez made clear that his decision was related to the threats of violence against not just him, but his wife and children, following his vote to impeach Donald Trump.
“He recounted an ‘eye-opening’ moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote,”the New York Times reported.
And as Rep. Agam Kinzinger said hours before his colleague’s announcement, such political violence “seems like it might be the new normal.”
What to do about it?
These Vaccinated Republicans are the key to defeating authoritarianism. Just look at the math:
To regularly win GOP nominations, Vaccinated Republicans must constitute 51 percent of primary voters.
But to regularly win general elections, even in “Safe Republican” seats like Gonzalez’s, Vaccinated Republicans can make the difference by comprising just 7 percent of the electorate.
In other words, if Democrats can build a big enough tent to welcome these Vaccinated Republicans, then they can leverage Trump’s primary dominance against him. Because as the Vaccinated Republicans leave their party, the remnant becomes even more Trumpy—which should make the acceptance of the Vaccinated Republicans easier to swallow for the Democrats.
The truth is that a small group of Vaccinated Republicans winning just a handful of seats by running as Democrats would upend American politics.
Team America, What Can We Change?
short long years ago …
son-of-a-governor and Governor Mitt Romney was the Republican presidential nominee
Anthony Gonzalez was leaving Peyton Manning’s Colts for Tom Brady’s New England Patriots
GOP royal Liz Cheney was guest-hosting Hannity on Fox News
Adam Kinzinger had just traded in the title of Lieutenant Colonel for freshman Republican Member of Congress
Six years ago, all were still MAGA Republicans during the midterms when the country-turned-pop star was regretting the same decision that quartet would belatedly make: MAGA is dangerous & weird. And nothing is proving how weird MAGA is more than their reaction to her.
What to do about it?
Taylor gives a Stoic answer that would make Marcus Aurelius proud: “I’m sad that I didn’t two years ago. But I can’t change that. I’m saying right now, that this is something that I know is right …”
We have to overcome the unwelcoming faction in the Democratic Party, and make doing the right thing just a little bit easier.
Mitt, Gonzo, Liz, Kinzinger. Taylor & Travis. ‘Merica Majority.
Enjoy the game, we can go back to worrying about the dangerous weirdos tomorrow.