#minorsextrafficking | The Democrats Have a Winning Message: “Stop Dangerous Extremists”

“Trump and his allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy.”—the Honorable J. Michael Luttig

Speaking slowly but powerfully, Judge Michael Luttig last week may have handed Democrats what has so far eluded them: a winning message for the midterm elections. Given all the revelations to date from the January 6 hearings—as well as five-plus years of Republican malevolence—Democrats can campaign this fall against a GOP full of “dangerous extremists” and run by “dangerous extremists.”

The evidence is voluminous, though rarely is it thematically connected. Campaigning against “dangerous extremists” does that. What else can you call political leaders who condone overthrowing a democratically elected government, incite white nationalists yet don’t disavow their violence, allow Covid-19 to spread and kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, want to imprison women who have abortions, support unbridled access to automatic weapons, ignore the climate crisis, menace LGBTQ youth, and routinely disregard norms and laws? And are led by an ex-president who—in a first—put his vice president’s life in jeopardy.

Republicans respond indignantly to any single example of GOP extremism by resorting to a grab bag of rehearsed misdirections—lying, denying, cherry-picking, gaslighting, what-abouting, culture-warring, or simply counterattacking Biden, Blackness, and wokeness. Already they’re polishing up their Hunter Biden talking points and dismissing January 6 as sort of a “third-rate burglary.”

The last defense of GOP extremism is simply to change the subject. “People really care about inflation, crime. etc.” Of course they do—and they should. And it’s politically effective to list that day’s inflation rate and pump price and pretend they are Biden’s fault.

The best response to persistent misdirection, however, is to repeat a memorable message sustained by a mass of evidence that brands today’s Republican Party as the most extreme in our modern history.

To get there, voters need to visualize and understand what happens when violence-prone reactionary authoritarians replace democracy with despotism. An America run by Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene means no Obamacare, shrunken and corporatized Social Security, lower real income for average workers, even more school shootings, rising attacks on LGBTQ and Asian Americans, appeasement of Putin, plus emboldened armed militias like the Proud Boys threatening—or actually killing—local election officials.

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