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Will We Lose The Republic Because Democrats Couldn’t Bother Watching Fox News?
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Will We Lose The Republic Because Democrats Couldn’t Bother Watching Fox News?

Some hard truth from guest Gabe Garbowit.
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This is part two of my interview with Gabe Garbowit, a former Senate staffer for Tina Smith in Minnesota. Last time, we discussed Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin’s feckless response to a radical, far-right Supreme Court. Now, we delve into the upcoming election. What’s Democrats’ campaign strategy and are they fully prepared for another attempted MAGA coup?

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Transcribed excerpts from our conversation:

SER: It seems frustrating because Democrats seem to acknowledge that voter perception matters, even if it’s not true. So there’s no invasion, but voters seem to believe this. So I need to, you need to pass something [on immigration.] You know, cities aren’t on fire. But voters seem to believe that because of rising property crime and other things. So we need to do something. We can’thave these crazy progressive DAs. We’ve got to be hard. And that’s been the Biden position. But on the economy, that’s where they say, “Oh, you don’t know how good you have it. You’re too onto Tik Tok.” Do you have an idea of why there’s that sense of believing what the voters say matters on crime and immigration but not on the economy?

GABE GARBOWIT: Absolutely. Here’s what I think about that: It is the voters, sure, but the [Congress] members are a huge, huge factor in this I have this story about this time I was invited to talk with a senior Dem staffer. I don’t want to be too specific with the details, I guess, out of respect or something, but it was towards the end of 2020. I’m pretty sure it was before the insurrection. Yeah, it was.

They kind of wanted to suss out if I was cool. So they started the conversation and [it’s about] civil rights. And I kind of knew where this was going already, but it was … “Why can’t Democrats understand that if we do something about civil rights, we’re less likely to win because there’s a bunch of racists in our coalition and we have to appeal to them.”

What I think the undertone of it was, was that the person was uncomfortable with doing anything, especially about policing and about those issues.

SER: That’s been sort of the rhetoric — we see it all the time: “You know, these guys are going to be worse.” It’s been somewhat unfortunate rhetoric regarding pro-Palestinian protesters [and Gaza.] “How could you possibly upset the Democratic position? The Republicans are going to put you in camps and all that sort of stuff.” It’s really hateful type of rhetoric, and I think it goes back to your other point about free and fair elections, because if every time it comes around, Democrats are telling people of color or women, there's only one choice. But the white guys who vote for Republicans in suburban areas, we’re not going to actually call them racist or fascist. We’re actually going to try to reason with them on these issues. But if [marginalized groups] could even consider staying home, or God forbid, voting Republican, you’re an idiot. It is usually kind of alienating, and it seems, the rhetoric often changes [before the election], because this is very different from how things were governed.

If democracy is at stake, then dismantling Trumpism and MAGA [should’ve been the priority] instead of [infrastructure]. And Merrick Garland, the attorney general, was starting with the lowest hanging fruit, prosecuting thugs, as opposed to the ringleaders.

GABE: Also started by the Trump Justice Department, actually. It’s pretty remarkable how much of the investigation that became the January 6th investigation happened because of I think his name is Michael Sherwin … a lot of that was started under him, not under Garland. And I don’t want to totally remove Garland from the equation. But yeah, I mean, it’s pretty wild, the lack of action about that.

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Listening to polling data that supports your own biases

GABE: I think that the reason why I talk so much on Twitter about polling and how it’s weaponized is because one way you can kind of start to understand how a lot of people at the top are acting is who are the pundits that are really in vogue there?

And the one that I remember really electrified everybody at the time — and at the beginning, I was kind of interested in what he had to say, but it was becoming obvious that there was a lot of spin involved — was David Shore.

So for those that don’t know, he’s this pollster guy, very big on Twitter … The reason why he actually became successful initially is during the unrest after George Floyd’s murder, he tweeted some study that showed that, rioting is bad for Democrats or something like that. And he got fired from his workplace, and then the press started interviewing him. Then he became this really big soothsayer in Democratic circles, and what people really liked about him is he was … “I’m actually a Bernie [Sanders] person. I’m super left, but I just feel that, you know, the only way for Democrats to win is to be very [right-wing.] I know that’s the best way that I’ll get to my socialist paradise or whatever.”

And it was very clever because the polling stuff that he would send — I’d asked a few friends about it — a lot of it didn’t really make any sense. It was just a lot of fancy numbers, but it got him a lot of play on Capitol Hill and the White House for that matter, because he was saying everything that they wanted to hear, but he was doing it in a way where he [claimed] “That’s not my opinion, it’s just what the data is saying.”

It’s really important to follow what the advisers [listen to] and how they talk about things, not in terms of how they reach their conclusions, but just what they say is the correct way to do things, because it very frequently intersects pretty directly with the biases of very old members of Congress or the president.

Why Mike Johnson is scarier than Marjorie Taylor Greene

I was just in DC a few weeks ago and had a bunch of conversations with staffers … and the amount that is understood about [House Speaker] Mike Johnson is shockingly small by a lot of people who really should know better.

One thing that I found very interesting about the Alito scandal: There was the insurrection flag, the upside down flag that he had, and there was that second flag, the Appeal to Heaven flag, which was classified as an insurrection flag. What people still haven't really put together is Mike Johnson had that flag outside of his House office door since he became speaker.

I think the first time I saw a report on it was a week into November [of last year.] He became speaker in late October. I am not sure that everybody who are in positions to stop these sort of things are fully aware of [what’s going on.] …

And there is this perception of a lot of these Republican lawmakers exclusively either what they talk about with Dems behind closed doors and what is reported in like the very typical New York Times, Politico, Washington Post stuff, that really, really sanitizes a lot of the threat.

And it’s why a lot of people constantly complain about coverage from mainstream media outlets. I’ve tweeted somewhat provocatively before, “If we lose the Republic, it’s going to be because Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer couldn't bother watching Fox News.”

While that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, of course, there’s a lot of truth to that. There’s a complete failure to understand … first off that the person that they might know well in closed doors, that person who’s speaking on national television and saying extremely disturbing things, is the same person.

Why should we assume that the person behind closed doors is somehow the more correct person? Why can’t it be that what Mike Johnson is doing is mostly pulling these people’s legs and acting very reasonable behind closed doors [and] when he goes on Fox News [that’s] exactly who he is?

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The Play Typer Guy
The Play Typer Guy Podcast
"The Play Typer Guy” offers an engaging deep dive into politics and pop culture. Your host is Portland, Oregon-based playwright, columnist, and media critic Stephen Robinson. His son describes him as “play typer guy."