Who Votes For These Clowns?

At the recent CPAC meeting, Donald Trump gave a rambling, largely incoherent speech during which he promised attendees that–if re-elected–he would be their “retribution.”

Maybe that’s the clue. Maybe the voters who cast their ballots for obviously mentally-ill candidates are seeking retribution– using those ballots as weapons, as signals of hostility to a society that they believe has failed to properly appreciate them.

Or perhaps they are as nutty as the Congresscritters Dana Milbank recently profiled., Maybe they suffer from what he labeled “long covidiocy.”

The pandemic has faded, but one of the least understood effects of the virus still eludes treatment: There is no known cure for long covidiocy.

House Republicans presented with a textbook case of the ailment this week. The newly formed select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic met for the first time for what its chairman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), said would be some “Monday-morning quarterbacking.” It instead became a Tuesday afternoon of false starts and illegal blocks.

Republicans on the panel, some of them medical doctors and others just playing one on TV, offered their predictable assessments. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) kicked off with the unsupported allegation that “covid was intentionally released” from a Chinese lab because “it would be impossible for the virus to be accidentally leaked.”

Rep. Richard McCormick (R-Ga.) advanced the ball by informing the panel that coronavirus booster shots “do more harm than good.”

And then, of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene secured her position as the poster child for lunacy, testifying about a stunning (albeit wholly imaginary) medical discovery: “Researchers found that the vaccinated are at least twice as likely to be infected with covid as the unvaccinated and those with natural immunity.”

As Milbank responded, “Thank you, Dr. Jewish Space Lasers.”

The panel heard from three scientists who had championed a herd-immunity approach to covid. Two of them had co-authored a 2020 publication in which they argued for just letting COVID run wild through the general population.

Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins surgeon and Fox News regular, suggested (among other things) that Dr. Fauci had bribed people in the medical community to dissemble about the virus.

Makary is the guy who predicted in late February 2021 that “covid will be mostly gone by April.” He was also the source of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s dubious claim that face masks cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide in children’s blood.

Another witness, Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University (also a Fox News regular, on matters medical and nonmedical), had called coronavirus testing “actively harmful” and warned about “great harm” and “danger” from vaccination. He worked on a study that claimed the covid death rate was similar to the flu’s, and he argued in March 2020 that “there’s little evidence” that “the novel coronavirus would kill millions” if left unchecked….

Milbank noted that the Trump Administration embraced these scientific outliers; they became right-wing celebrities, and their fantasies promoted resistance to masks and vaccines. The results of that resistance are now being tabulated;  actual research confirms that  covid deaths in counties that voted for Trump vastly exceeded the death toll in counties that went for Biden.

The hearing that was the subject of Milbank’s column raised a number of questions, the most obvious of which is why on earth presumably serious public officials would provide a platform to people promoting “facts” and conspiracies that medical science has conclusively disproven.

That question, of course, leads us back to the central conundrum of our times: the voters who support these deranged people. Who looks at a Marjorie Taylor Greene or a Paul Gosar (whose siblings took out a TV ad warning voters that he was nuts) or the multiple others who are at best an embarrassment and at worst a threat to America’s civic fabric, and thinks “Yes, I want that jerk to represent me”?

What sort of seething vitriol impels an American voter to cast a ballot for a candidate who doesn’t even try to present a rational facade? Who chooses the candidate who proudly parades bigotry while exhibiting an utter lack of  temperament and gravitas?

The answer, evidently, is “the GOP base”–voters looking for White Christian retribution.

Those voters are in the minority, so in order to win elections, Republicans need to depress overall turnout.  Like Republicans elsewhere, Indiana’s GOP is working on that.

 Governing recently reported

The Indiana Senate Committee on Elections heard testimony Monday concerning an absentee voting measure that would change who may deliver absentee ballot applications to voters and what proof of identification is required from voters to be able to obtain a ballot…

Voters’ and civil rights’ organizations say the measure duplicates existing processes and laws and will disenfranchise the most vulnerable of voters: the elderly, disabled and members of the military.

 Extreme gerrymandering evidently wasn’t anti-democratic enough…


  1. SMH 🤦🏼‍♀️ I recall that many voters voted for W because he was a guy they’d like to have a beer with. The “base” goes not for competent representatives focused on legislation and the good of the country, but rather for those who tell them what they want to hear, in other words, like-mindedness. They’ll vote for the likes of MTG because she’s as idiotic as they are, someone they can relate to. Oy.

  2. A lot of early Trump supporters claimed they tolerated his personal defects because they liked his policies. Since his policies were deranged and changed at the drop of a hat (or tweet), this seemed unlikely. I came to believe that they liked him not in spite of his behavior but because of it.
    He excites that part of us that wants to throw the golf club into the water, smash the appliance that isn’t working or shoot the jerk who ran a red light. If he can lie, cheat and bully his way to success, maybe we can, too. Maybe we can cast off the restraints of conscience, free our inner rage and destroy whatever annoys, frustrates or impedes us.
    Apparently it’s a powerful message that is now working for a whole new crop of power seekers.

  3. Trump, like the moviedom idolization of mafia Dons, became a folk character known as “The Donald” and his name was dropped in many movies and TV programs as a qualified businessman in passing conversations in programs and on the news, making him part of our normal daily lives and thereby acceptable as qualified to vote for, including the presidency. His speeches, his Tweets, his campaign foundation which echoes his life style and business tactics became – and remains – garbage in, garbage out. He is is own biggest fan and staunchest supporter, continually applauding himself in public, with such as McCarthy, Gaetz and Taylor-Greene, carrying on his legacy of detrimental “political” policies…with or without “The Donald”.

    Do those of us who are aware of the fact that McCarthy is but a figurehead “Speaker of the House” and can be removed at will by the Freedom Caucus who put him in that position have recently named Marjorie Taylor-Greene as his “Deputy Speaker”? Do you realize how dangerous that is? We are currently in a cartoon political position in the House being run by Boris and Natasha with only Rocky and Bullwinkle to prevent the collapse of the federal House of Representatives.

    “The answer, evidently, is “the GOP base”–voters looking for White Christian retribution.”

    My question is; retribution for WHAT? It is always FOLLOW THE MONEY and their low tax rates appear to be safe and, contrary to all of the possibilities and likelihoods of Trump being charged with any of his many seditious and treasonous high crimes and misdemeanors is not moving beyond “possibilities and likelihoods”. It is like the generations of parents who warned us as children to “do it or else…” and there is NO “or else” beyond the current empty warnings.

  4. I will vote for the candidate willing to send Victoria “Jabba The Hutt” Nuland to the permanent confines of Epstein’s Island.

    Moreover, it will be good for the country to have a president that is aware he is the president of the U.S. and not the president of Ukraine.

  5. Covidiocy. I like it. “Ko-vidi-ocee.” With the emphasis on the middle syllable, it rolls smoothly off the tongue.

  6. “,,,,,,using those ballots as weapons, as signals of hostility to a society that they believe has failed to properly appreciate them.” I think this is certainly a big part of it. But some of it is simply mental illness.

  7. I just saw a news report that COVID is still killing 1000 people a day world wide and depending on the year and the country is about a 25% higher death rate than the flu. So no, COVID has not gone away!

    And maybe the politicalization of public health issues is just another way to cut down on voter turnout.

  8. Clowns? There’s nothing funny about brainless fools who couldn’t get a real job, so they ran for Congress as a Republican.

    These aren’t clowns… unless you include the clown from “IT”.

  9. I agree with Sharon Miller’s assessment but will add that much of the fury behind those Trump voters is the frustration they feel trying to deal with our rigged system of capitalism. They believe that they played fairly, worked hard, served their country and still never got what they thought they were entitled to. The Republican Party has become a master at telling them whom to blame. And now their leader is telling them that he will provide them with “retribution” whatever that means in each of their minds.

  10. The clowns weren’t at CPAC and therefore, no pictures were allowed. Does it remind you of Trump’s inauguration speech when “millions” attended to hear him speak?

    Frauds require propaganda to make them appear normal.

  11. Just a couple of things. COVID19 has killed over 6.8 million people, so that might be more than enough evidence to prove that it will kill millions.

    The highest bio-safety level I have worked with is bsl-3. That is a step below the level that COVID-19 required. Those who think it isn’t possible to accidentally release a virus from that high a level of safety protocol seriously underestimate 2 things. First is the ability of organisms to evolve and replicate. Second is the ability of humans to become used to even the most dangerous things. When you get inured to the danger of organisms, you tend to do things without thinking. I have had to stop a young woman who was 8 months pregnant from working with ether. She had forgotten how dangerous it could be to her baby, because she had worked with it for years. When you do something every day for years and haven’t seen any problem, you might just think you’re safe. Mistakes happen every day. It’s amazing that we haven’t seen more deadly diseases.

  12. Aside from voting for someone who hates the same people these (indeed) deplorable s hate, there is the issue of
    tribalism., and other perspectives that would move one toward wanting retribution.
    Reading MichEl Shermer’s “Conspiracy, Why the Rational Believe the Irrational,” one finds the above referenced tribal
    conspiracism as well as proxy conspiracism. WithIn the latter we find that people often live with distrust of supposed
    cabals, Big Pharma, the Deep State, etc., which are seen as secretly running the world.
    So Trump, with his fairly unerring ability to pick up on the most vulnerable weaknesses of others for the purpose of
    Manipulating them, finds that retribution is just the point of entry he needs.
    In another world, I believe, he could have been a ground breaking psychologist, with his insights which are, sadly
    turned to evil in this world.

  13. It is not just about the voters who vote for the clowns. A more serious problem are the increasing number of other potential voters, especially “independents” and young people, who do not believe that voting makes a difference because so little real progress is getting done because of partisanship and ideological wrangling.

  14. In my long experience, normal people sat for too long, silent as the Fox entertainment cult were told over and over again that the left was coming to steal their souls. I always considered that response to be polite liberal tolerance towards those inflicted with odd behaviors.

    But then they actually became collectively threatening to my Constitutional rights like civil rights, voting, free expression, and religious freedom. As a liberal I felt my responsibility to defend the rights not only for myself but all others under the same government too.

    That’s when collective liberal outrage increased in volume to match authoritarian preaching.

    That’s when we challenged their unconstitutional demands and in some cases, criminal behavior. The standoff continued through the Trump Presidency and beyond to match his hostile takeover of the Republican business. They considered all of this history as resistance worthy of retribution led by Trump.

    Now we are here and the threat and resistance have reached a position as great a standoff as Ukraine has earned against Russia.

    The possibilities from here range from continuing standoff to unstable leaning advantaging one side or the other responded to by increased offensive and defensive reaction.

    That’s not a good position for the country as most concerned outsiders observe. Where things go from instability is unpredictable.

  15. These “clowns” are winning because though outnumbered as a group they are better disciplined voters in showing up at the polls than Democrats. Democrats need better organization at the precinct level via, inter alia, more door-knockers by neighbors. Won’t help? Can’t win? Then tell me how Obama carried Indiana. He had an “organization” in every one of the state’s 92counties irrespective of political hue.

    Let’s not forget that Obama was a community organizer before launching his political career. Perhaps he could be inveigled into heading a nationwide get out the vote campaign with better results than we are reaping via the zillions our contributions pay for bland and repetitious TV ads. We have the votes as well as stands on the issues, but only if Democrats show up at the polls and send more Democrats to the issue wars in state houses and Washington to make policy, so let’s organize!

  16. I continue to blame this mess on the supposedly sane republican voters and members of congress that have refused to speak up and speak out against the radical crazies in their party. Rs in congress should have been calling out the crazies on fox spews and other tv networks, in the newspapers and on the radio stations. R voters should have publicly pointed out the dangers of voting for crazy R candidates.

  17. Gerald, I agree with your idea of Ds needing to organize and put in the work to get voters to the polls. However, wealthy donors for both the national and state D party don’t invest in hiring people to do that work. The R party invests money to hire campaigners to walk door to door or do other grassroots work for their party. When the bulk of the D voters are people who have to work long hours at a job in order to pay their bills, they have neither the energy nor the time to volunteer for their political party. Those of us who remain active for the local D party in rural areas continue to put in valuable time and energy, but unfortunately never see any positive results for our effort. It is depressing.

  18. Nancy at 2:31 and Gerald; “Gerald, I agree with your idea of Ds needing to organize and put in the work to get voters to the polls.” There is also the problem that the split factions in the GOP will all vote for whoever is running on the Republican ballot; they remain united while the Ds allow divisive issues to keep them divided. I have spoken to some older Democrats who are not going to vote because they see us as losing before the candidates are on the ballots or the polls are open.

  19. I’ve always wanted to ask people who had planned to voted for Trump and some of these other characters: “Would you want him as your supervisor or business owner?” “If you had to choose one person to work with you in the field, would it be one of them?” “If your daughter presented one of them as ‘my next husband’, how would you react?” “How about one of them as your next neighbor?” Why would you be positive about one of them being your next president or governor?

  20. I am the only one who is offended by Eric Holcomb’s politically- motivated feigned outrage over the toxic material from the Ohio train derailment being shipped to an Indiana HAZADAROUS WASTE facility? Uh, Eric, the time to worry about HAZARDOUS WASTE being dumped in Indiana is BEFORE the facility is built and permitted–not after the fact. The material brought in from Ohio is permitted to be dumped–it’s not necessary for it to be tested in advance, something Holcomb and his handlers know very well. And, the very reason it was brought here is because this is a permitted hazardous waste dump, which, IMHO, should never have been allowed to be built in the first place. WHY are there such facilities in the first place? Because they generate a lot of profit and Indiana is historically lax in regulating environmental matters. I do feel for the people living nearby and for those who might obtain their drinking water from the aquifer under the facility, in case it should leak. Has anyone looked into whether the operators of this facility donated to Holcomb’s campaign? You sure won’t get this information from local media who don’t know what journalism is—they’re too busy promoting the Indy 500, the Childrens’ Museum and Newfields.

    Then, over the weekend, Holcomb eulogized the Trooper who was killed in the line of duty. Did Holcomb even know this man–or, is this just more political grandstanding? If he didn’t know him at all or very well, then it was just another politically-motivated speech.

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