From Your Mouth To God’s Ears…

My grandmother had a favorite response whenever one of us made a rosy prediction. That phrase– “From your mouth to God’s ears!”–was her way of expressing hope that the prediction would come true.

I had a very similar reaction to a column by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post. Sargent asserted that a MAGA “doom loop” would defeat Trump and the GOP next year–an outcome I devoutly hope to see. His thesis is as follows: Republicans continue to defend and embrace Trump’s authoritarianism. That backfired when voters responded by defeating the predicted Red wave in the 2022 midterms and continuing to defeat Republican candidates in multiple ensuing special elections.
 Subsequently–as Sargent accurately reports–rather than learning the rather obvious lesson from those defeats, Republicans have dug in. They’re going even further Right, responding to electoral losses “with even more flagrantly anti-democratic maneuvers all around the country.”

The pattern is becoming clear: Even as voters are mobilizing to protect democracy at the ballot box, Republicans are redoubling their commitment to the former president’s anti-majoritarian mode of politics. And this, in turn, is motivating voters even more.
Call it the “MAGA doom loop.” It’s playing out in state after state.

Sargent supports his thesis by surveying the disarray and infighting in several state-level Republican parties–notably, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin (where the GOP is threatening a bizarre, anti-democratic response to the electoral loss of a state supreme court seat.)

As Sargent predicts about Wisconsin,

Democrats will surely be able to use those MAGA-approved tactics to mobilize voters against Trump and Republicans in 2024. “The threat to overturn an election through impeachment pushes MAGA attacks on democracy to the top of voters’ minds,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler told me.

He also reminded readers of the recent shenanigans in Ohio, where Republicans tried to  raise the threshold for amending the state constitution to 60 percent of votes cast, in order to head off an almost-certain victory for reproductive rights in an upcoming referendum. Despite scheduling the vote on this single, arguably technical issue for August, turnout was robust, and the change was defeated by a crushing 14-points.

Research confirms that Issues become salient for voters when elites talk about those issues a lot, and in the U.S., concerns about democracy have increasingly taken center stage. A newsletter I subscribe to recently and helpfully included a partial list of current GOP threats to democracy:

In May, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a measure that will create a commission that can punish and remove prosecutors, saying it will curb “far-left prosecutors.” That includes a certain prosecutor pursuing the case against former President Donald Trump.

In April, Iowa’s Republican-led legislature introduced a bill that restricted information the state auditor—the only Democratic Statewide office holder—could access. “Let’s be clear about this, this is the destruction of democratic norms,” State Auditor Rob Sand said.

Immediately after last year’s nonpartisan Ohio State Board of Education election created a majority of members aligned with the Democratic party, conservative legislators moved to transfer the body’s power to a new department under the governor’s authority. While the bill failed during that year’s session, a similar bill passed in the Senate in January of this year and was introduced into the House in March (it’s currently in committee).

In 2021, Republicans in Arizona, using the state budget, stripped the Arizona Secretary of State—a Democrat–of the right to defend the state’s election laws in court—handing it over to the attorney general who happens to have been—you guessed it—a Republican. Any pretense that it was done as a move to strengthen some legal principle was undermined by the fact they intended the move to expire simultaneously with the end of the term of the secretary of state. Taking aim at secretaries of state is no accident, as these officers have authority over how elections are conducted. Legislators similarly trimmed the power of secretaries of state in Georgia and Kansas. In fact, Republicans have moved to take control over the election process in at least eight states.

In recent years, after Democrats were elected to statewide offices in North Carolina , Wisconsin, and Michigan, Republican-led legislatures and governors moved to severely weaken their powers.

This doesn’t even begin to address the gerrymandering and the changing of rules over the last decade or so to make voting harder, more complicated, and less likely, especially among people of color, including restrictive voter ID laws and aggressive voter purges.

The “chattering classes” tell us that democracy is on the ballot in 2024. They’re correct–it is. 

I just hope Sargent’s “doom loop” thesis proves to be equally correct…..


  1. A scrolling of these and/or other GOP attempts to replace fairness and democracy with one-sided authoritarians should be played and explained in every state. The public won’t know about all this unless educated. Thankfully you’re leading the effort.

  2. This is a helpful and comforting post, thank you. I woke up in the middle of the night in terror of MAGA regaining the White House, and all that it would mean if that happens. We must work hard to turn out the vote and create the mythical Blue Wave that will, hopefully, was away the stain that MAGA is on America.

  3. The MAGA Freedom Caucus has become a dog fight pit with McCarthy the practice target for their killer training. Will he be replaced by Gaetz or MTG? There appears to be no chance of thinking House members of both parties stepping forward to end their minority reign over the majority of House members. This small handful of vicious personages, trained to kill and leave no survivors, has this nation held hostage by their rabid instincts to follow Trump’s leadership or carry on his “legacy” without him. They need to be muzzled and caged to allow working government members to carry on with the jobs they were elected to perform.

  4. Effectiveness in getting results in particular fields requires being an expert in those fields, as well as the ability to influence others.

    Politics (and law) is the expertise and art of influencing people to make new and apply existing laws.

    Politicians (and lawyers) collectively organize around both content experts and expert trainers.

    Campaign strategies maximize the influence of individual politicians over national, state, and local policies based on the current reality of party control, both now and projected to be in the future.

    Campaign strategies consider the current reality plus the source of donations to grow, hold, and increase influence over those outcomes from campaign advertising.

    This considers the leveraging of donations from the perspective of the cost of advertising to large and small donors to hold or grow donation totals.

    It is also advised by the relative influence of the three branches of government, making and adding new laws, organizing the efforts to apply them, and adjudicating issues caused by them.

    The Republican campaign strategy is, therefore, to influence policy primarily by maintaining and growing their existing influence.

    The Democrat campaign strategy is the same, but they are advantaged and disadvantaged differently than Republicans.

    It’s all very complicated, isn’t it?

  5. In one of his contributions to The Federalist Papers, James Madison commented on the dangers to effective government that can be caused by “factions,” by which he meant groups of like-minded individuals who do their best to complicate governmental actions in ways that progress is stymied.

    Welcome to the Republican Party.

  6. Yesterday, I made a comment or quoted a statement made by a Democrat who said “We need a strong Republican Party.” The person who said this was Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the United States House. She was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN in May 2022, and she made this statement in response to why the 1/6 Committee did not hold the GOP accountable for their participation in the insurrection. Pelosi believed that holding the GOP accountable would have crippled the Republican Party, and the Democrats chose not to persecute them. Many people thought that this was a mistake.

    Biden also made a similar statement to back up Pelosi’s claim. While the GOP thrives on “doubling down,” the Democratic National Committee (DNC) does not. This is because foolish errors by Trump only enhanced his appeal, whereas making faux pas by Biden and the DNC backfires.

    Pelosi’s quote explains why voters hold both parties accountable differently. Republican voters have a different perception of officeholders than Democrats do, and this influences their voting behavior. For instance, Trump’s indictments only increase his appeal, whereas if Biden gets indicted, it could spell doom for him in the 2024 election. This is not complicated, as the two capitalist parties need each other for the game to work. It’s important to remember that this is all performative and played out in the media.

  7. The efforts of the small band of Republican crazies ought to strike terror in the hearts and voting hands of people across the country, and lead to their ouster from congress asap!
    Can Boebert survive another election, or are her constituents as sick as she? Will gerrymandering keep Jordan in government? He , ob viously has not interest in governing. And so on….

  8. last nite on TCM,old movies,Mr Smith goes to Washington. guest movie picker was Richard Dryfus. after the movie,Dryfus made cokment about the quiet removal of civics in school,the host quickly moved on after said view.. seems the bottom line to any democracy is ongoing discussions,and education thru all grades of edu. I remember being graded in 5 subjects of. on the back of that pesky report card. okay,at least it wasnt dismal. (i may have lacked good grades,but always got a a or b on any test.) but my civics was better. where did this change. are we seeing the fallout of this issues? most here are educators, is there a decade where dropping of civics was most prevlent?

  9. There is an organization called States Project that is getting a lot of attention….NYT story this morning. While it is not active here in Indiana, it is in neighboring Michigan. A start up here is possible if enough people join and organize. Please look up the story on the NYT or internet and see what you think. STATES PROJECT

  10. Todd, your explanation falls short. I have to call you out and ask you to re-read your quote of Nancy Pelosi and President Biden yesterday. Yes, the first sentence re Pelosi’s statement about the Republican Party is correct but was taken out of context. The last two sentences of the quote are made up and seem to represent your worldview, not what Pelosi and Biden said. If the NYT, MSNBC or Fox did something similar, you’d be quick to condemn it.

    All of us need to do a better job of keeping facts and opinions separate. Let’s all do better.

  11. Todd. What you put in quotes yesterday was far more than you quoted today and was not said by either Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden. There is a huge difference between recognizing the value of a strong, loyal opposition party and the words you tried to put in their mouths. Apparently you made up a statement to impugn their integrity and put it in quotes to falsely claim that they said it. You also characterized it as famous. I suppose you did that in the hope that no one would question it. To say that I strongly disapprove of such tactics is a massive understatement!

  12. Nancy’s view is one of political theory and not an endorsement of Republican policies (or what back in the day they had “policies”). Perhaps if we are to have a democracy we need a countervailing force to point out our excesses, just as we are to be a countervailing force for those of our political competitors, and both parties in the heat of the moment are guilty of occasional excesses, though those of the fascist captors of the “Republican Party” today have gone beyond any reasonable definition of mere excess since their only policy is driven by a totally undemocratic quest for the acquisition and use of power.

  13. There are thousands of people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate.” Nelson Mandela

  14. Michael & Sharon,

    It was a misplaced quotation mark, but the meaning remains the same. She slipped like Feinstein and Biden slip all the time. It’s because they are career liars with dementia.

    I stand corrected and will do better with my grammar. Period.

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