When People Tell You Who They Are, Believe Them

There is a famous Maya Angelou quote: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

Voters unwilling to recognize that American democracy will be on the ballot in the upcoming election will need to ignore or reject what the proponents of theocracy and autocracy are willingly telling us. 

Heather Cox Richardson recently reported on the candor of a speech at this year’s CPAC convention.

How religion and authoritarianism have come together in modern America was on display Thursday, when right-wing activist Jack Posobiec opened this weekend’s conference of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., with the words: “Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on January 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this right here.” He held up a cross necklace and continued: “After we burn that swamp to the ground, we will establish the new American republic on its ashes, and our first order of business will be righteous retribution for those who betrayed America.”

If there was any doubt that today’s Republican Party has rejected the (small-d) democratic basis of America’s republic, the party’s unrelenting attacks on reproductive rights should be convincing evidence. Not satisfied with Dobbs‘ erasure of the constitutional right to abortion, the party’s theocratic base is now gunning for birth control. The recent Alabama decision that effectively outlawed IVF rested on a state law conferring “personhood” on fertilized eggs. Since Dobbs, sixteen state legislatures have introduced such laws, and four Red states—Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona–have passed them.

The cranks and Christian Nationalists who dominate the party in the House of Representatives introduced a national personhood bill immediately after they took control in January 2023. Republicans in the Senate were already on board; Rand Paul had introduced a “Life at Conception Act” on January 28, 2021. Richardson tells us it currently has 18 co-sponsors, including the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. These lawmakers surely know that these measures are opposed by huge majorities of the voting public; a party that valued either democratic representation or constitutional compliance would not be intent upon passing them.

There are multiple other examples: members of the GOP have demonstrated their willingness to accept and promote Russian disinformation, and to take Putin’s side against Ukraine– behavior inconsistent with the majority’s desire to help Ukraine fend off Russian aggression. And the GOP’s embrace of gerrymandering is also entirely consistent with its devotion to the “end of democracy.” Gerrymandering, after all, is an effort to evade democratic accountability.

If these examples aren’t sufficient, there’s the “show and tell” from Trump himself. As Axios (among others) has reported, in an introduction to a series on the effort,

Former President Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his “America First” ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios.

The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say.

During his presidency, Trump often complained about what he called “the deep state.”

The heart of the plan is derived from an executive order known as “Schedule F,” developed and refined in secret over most of the second half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 election.

The reporting for this series draws on extensive interviews over a period of more than three months with more than two dozen people close to the former president, and others who have firsthand knowledge of the work underway to prepare for a potential second term. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive planning and avoid Trump’s ire.

People voting in November can’t say they weren’t warned. 

The Republican Party of today is Trump’s party, and multiple sources are plainly and forcefully telling us who they are. It is not an exaggeration to say that the fate of America going forward rests on enough voters’ listening to them and understanding what they are saying. 

Accept Maya Angelou’s advice. Believe them.


  1. Any who remain unafraid, have not gotten this message. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing.

  2. I am more frightened now than I thought possible and will be sharing this information with as many people as I possibly can.

  3. For those who believe that if Trump is defeated all will be well, let me tell you that you are wrong. To prove my point you need only look at the makeup of the Republican Party today. Real Conservatives have fled in droves and have been replaced by the most vile, ignorant and violent bunch since the Nazis took over Germany, and they will be with us for years to come. They control the governments of half of the states. They control the Supreme Court. They control or heavily influence most of the media, the banks, and commerce. The largest Christian churches in the country (Evangelicals, Baptists, Catholics) now preach their ideology along with the Bible. Our families are splitting apart, our friendships too as racism and bigotry of every kind is given free reign.
    This November will not be the last battle. It will just be one of the first.

  4. Sadly, these extreme far-right positions has allowed the Democrats to slide even further to the right. I no longer see the Ds as an opposition party. Our POTUS is too scared and captive of AIPAC to the tune of $5.2M that he can’t even oppose a genocide taking place. His SPOX won’t even say the word, “condemn.”

    Leonard Leo and ALEC are going after ranked choice voting in all the usual states and don’t be surprised if it gets elevated to the SCOTUS where the Federalist Society rules because the judges appointed by Trump went unchallenged. The Ds wanted extreme judges — they showed us who they were.

    The Ds and Rs mostly work in unison because they are controlled by the same oligarchy and MIC. I too am done with supporting Ukraine. The NY Times confirmed we’ve been in that country since the 2014 Euromaidan. None of this “two-year anniversary” crap holds up now.

    Just the fact that our country’s two political parties are offering such poor choices for POTUS in a time of great changes globally, tells me all I need to know at the ballot box. I hope “uncommitted” is on the ballot for president in May.

  5. With the resignation of Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee (RNC) will officially be the Trump National Committee. As loathsome as Mitch McConnell is, I almost hate to see him go, but he clearly sees that he no longer has any power in the party, so why stay? And Theresa is correct: TFG isn’t the core problem, but rather a figurehead, a means to an end—and that end is truly terrifying.

  6. What I forgot to add: I almost hate to see McConnell go, because I shudder to think that his replacement will be so very much worse.

  7. Todd. I wonder what President Uncommitted would do in office. The choice is binary and you are, as far as we can tell now, going to get either Biden or Trump. If you can’t tell the difference between them, you are no smarter than the MAGA ignoramuses who vote against their own interests.

  8. ive talking more to the small town hangouts here where im temporary working. they never heard of the 2025 movement,or dont regonize it for what it really is. they are all trumpers,all in the same sinking boat of their dispair of their world. mainly 60 and above. seems these talks end with how do you stop it. my basic line,stop electing people who are fucking you.to put it bluntly. they do listen. elect people again who, have discussions,wear a working mans cloths,and ride the DNCs ass over who they decide should run. the RNC is a lost cause. most electable. seems thats being carried by the quaterly donations reported by the fed elect comm. as money and its amount has decided some sort of electability. but im sure the lazyness of the voter has made this type of recognition a daily style. im sure in American history somewhere money wasnt the goal to electability. or has term citizens united money means now electability by the federal election comm? media moguls again will real in money as it flows,like VP CBS said,we ran with trump because he made us money. but CBS never recants the lies and mistruths by anyone anymore ,hense,they are not in a service to the public. they are just another weight on sinking our democracy because we cant pay CBS and like media enough. i dont see social media scams and lies,since i dont app anything. but theres enough repeat of the views and lack of honesty.(lets be frank,there are honest people elected to office,they are usually undermined by their own commitees for their own needs) (this is where the swamp lives?) seems the swamp is the news media,and its influencers in social media. placing blame on some politician,instead of pointing its gun at itself. the media itself is distroying America. wall street is distroying America by hoarding vasts amount of cash into 10% of the Americans pockets(EPI,92% of all domestic stocks etc) and the big rumor,wheres the money on main street? its hoarded away by a few who want to control your lives by pandering to the elites and the religious right. its sick how a religion has costed us more than its done good. time for a audit and see how many jets make a religion become a mainstay in elections. lets see where that money goes. black rock controls near 10 trilion dollars in assets, bezzos has 60% of amazon tied to them, how much money is firehosed into his pockets every quater?audit them,make that money public info,then we can drain thier swamp. we live in economic slavery today, as a working class next every move by wall street keeps us closer to poverty. thats where the discussion always lacks. i write those whos econmic leaders who write pieces about the economy and the above mention of hoarding wealth out of main street, like all investors, they never answer my mail,never..id pay attention to that Rand report on stollen wages, it focuses on reagans and since then,how its done. and we voted for it.. best wishes..maybe Ann could write something on that subject..

  9. How pathetically sad that we have to have this discussion. Theresa is right. Gerrymandering has created the fertile ground for the growth of insanity, real, modern, 21st century NAZIS and the grounds for the destruction of democracy around the world.

    Add to that Trump’s secret lover threatening the world with nuclear annihilation and we have the worst case scenario for the human condition.

    IN MY LIFETIME, humans have tried – and failed – to make themselves extinct in a variety of ways. This time, though, I think the worst of us, the 25%, will succeed in making the planet uninhabitable by humans – at least. Oh, and they’ll scream to the sky about how some god told them to do it … as their skin falls off from radiation poisoning. Brilliant.

    So, yeah… Go ahead and keep voting for “conservatives” who are ever so eager to destroy your lives. As a former educator, it breaks my heart to see so many American citizens behave so badly while they flaunt their ignorance and stupidity.

  10. Time to stop thinking of today’s Republican party as Trump’s cult, and to start thinking of it as an authoritarian movement heavily drenched in White Christian Nationalism. Cutting the head off the snake might have stopped it 8 years ago, or at least significantly slowed it. It won’t now. If Trump is out of the picture someone else will take his place, and it won’t be either of his two incompetent sons. A massive electoral defeat will be good, but it’sgoing to take more than one. Those of us who care about democracy need to have a long-range plan for both national and state-level elections and governing; the post-Reagan Republicans have one, and it seems to be working.

  11. Anti-democracy is based on the right of some to rule.

    Those who believe they have the right to rule generally get it from overactive egos typically reinforced during childhood from too much or too little parenting and from adult experiences getting others to follow.

    There are two means (but many words) that describe how to get others to follow. Among them are pain or pleasure, punishment or reward, stick or carrot. In fact, though, all are spectrums with infinite degrees of each mean to the end of organizing collective efforts.

    At one end of the pain means is slavery. I own you and, therefore, have the right to any means necessary to make you do what I want you to. It also can describe desperate parenthood. Also, in many ways, military service, especially in the heat of battle.

    In the middle is supervision or management. Your paycheck, benefits, working conditions, advancement, and employment are at my discretion.

    At the pleasure end, good relationships. “Honey, can you do me a favor please”?

    Is the organization of people necessary? Of course it is. But the progress of civilization is towards recognizing that one means of organization, government, should serve at the discretion of the governed, who all have equal rights and are peers. The means to insist on those rights throughout society are regulations and laws, the breaking of which can be punished by sanctions ranging from monetary to imprisonment and, in some cases, even death.

    In other words, in a democracy, nobody has the right to rule unless most of those governed (or organized) temporarily give the job to you. Everyone is peer to everyone else.

    It may not be the best way to organize people (it tends to be slow reacting and cumbersome) but it’s the only one humanity knows about that works sustainably.

    This November, all of us in the US get to choose between continuing the democratic ways first described to the world in our Constitution or reverting to an organization based on the right to rule among the few.

    We fought our Revolution, Civil War, and World Wars to end the right to rule. Let’s do it democratically this time.

  12. Sharon, thanks for your response to Todd. So, Todd, you have timed out on Ukraine? It will be just fine if Putin once again enlarges the Russian empire?
    Theresa, your point is well taken, no sane people can relax if Biden wins in Nov.
    McConnell has been called the biggest Confederate since Calhoun, and I see that as quite accurate. He was all about accruing power and whatever damage that might have caused the country was beside the point to him.
    Seeing that power ebb, he’s heading for the hills.

  13. Sad to see no ideas here about “what to do” other than the pathetic “VOTE BLUE”.

  14. Point of fact: the two largest by area counties in Europe are Russia and Ukraine.

    Ceeding Ukraine to Russia would be a major loss to a world constantly teetering between rule of, by, and for the people, or the few who regard themselves as entitled to the right to rule others.

    This would undo centuries of progress for humanity and also disrespect all of those who gave their lives in our Revolution and Civil Wars and also the World Wars.

    There is a temporary credible offer on the table tor another win for democracy by merely diverting the output of some of our war machine to help Ukraine, but risking none of our children and grandchildren’s lives.

    If we don’t accept that the responsibility now, the cost will be much more later.

    Let’s not be stupid.

  15. Sometimes I wonder why I care so much about it, since I probably won’t be around for the worst of our dip in the authoritarian streams of the 21st century. They say that an addict has to hit bottom, before he or she seeks help. I look at those who support tfg as addicted to the promise of power. In this case it will be the power to bully, harass, and intimidate the woke, without fear of retribution. They won’t get any real power so when they tire of this fun, they’ll be lost. Only then will they be willing to listen. How long will this take? I have no idea.

  16. Todd,don’t fret over the comments coming from the usual DNC chorus girls. When all one has is adhominems all of the time,not only are they proving to all their intellect is empty,but so is their soul.

    Trust no one condoning of genocide. That IS who they are.

  17. “….coming from the usual DNC chorus girls.” Is this “ad hominem” Ian? Seems you and Todd are perfectly willing to watch as the world is annihilated so you can observe what arises from the ashes – assuming you survive, of course.

  18. I think we are becoming too fearful of a Trump takeover. The Magas are far from a majority in determining both the contests for the Oval Office and both houses of Congress. Our job is to organize our majority, win the elections big time, including the down ballots, and govern. Part of that governing will be how to handle those who, like Trump, openly advocate immunity to the rule of law, government overthrow, trashing our Constitution etc. These cancers on our democracy can be solved by statute, and with political majorities determined to continue our democracy, such reform can be made available to a polity who cannot now even agree on compliance with such as the 14th – 3 Constitutional Amendment, which I believe to be self-executing.

    Let’s use our political energy in the pursuit of our continuing democracy by first organizing our majority for the fall election rather than fearing a future that will never be in our lifetimes if we win big time and do the reforms necessary to slow if not end the hopes of those of treasonous bent among us. In short, let’s go on offense, vigorously, in defending the most precious asset we hold in common, our democracy. When? Yesterday!

  19. Gerald,

    “with political majorities determined to continue our democracy” – seen any recent polling among young people on their view on the importance of democracy?

  20. Young people are very much aware of the lousy choices being given. No one sane wants Trump. But the word on the street is Biden–once re-elected, wants to send American ground troops to Ukraine and Israel. Are Democrats dedicated to the point of ground troops? Are those territories worth the lives of your grandchildren ?

  21. It’s unbelievable what’s going on the political stage in this country, like an episode from the twilight zone. Our constitutional government was attacked on every level on 1/6 in plain view of the American people. Potus was shown to be the instigator by the House impeachment investigation, and showed that he knowingly, insidiously and wantonly violated the presidential oath of office. Trump as Potus politically violated the American people and he continues his modus operando to assert himself above the law every day. To see this Perp going about freely accusing others of wrongdoing against him is a nightmare. Justice has been slow to the draw and so much deference given him. It’s unfair, offensive and tyrannical, and our highest institutions of government Congress, Justice Department & Supreme Court are letting us down.

  22. You’re not going to like this,but…

    Outside of the privileged enclaves of Liberal America,people are noticing the overt hatred of Trump and the subsequent witchhunt. Minorities and those most vulnerable to BS prosecutions are noticing. Democrats have successfully made Trump a martyr.

    Speaking of violating Americans; If only the Democrats had gone after Wall St for purposely crashing the economy with the same zeal as they have Trump. Just saying’.

  23. Provoker Ian, Your free to be devil’s advocate to trump and his fascists movement at your own peril. The rest of us will certainly work, speak up and vote to prevent that from happening.

  24. The voters must be made to feel they are the jury of Trump crimes.
    Just get that perspective on all the crimes and he loses despite what the judges do or delay to
    help him. In November
    We the people will enter the
    Verdict on his 91 crimes
    91 changes for the voters as the jury regardless of final judicial decisions by November
    The First Branch of Government
    Is We the people

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