(Nightmarish) Visions of Richard Weaver (Update #10)

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 6, 2020, 9:24 am.

  2. November 6, 2020, 12:06 pm:


    • Fig. 1. Photograph by author, August 25, 2020.

  3. November 6, 2020, 10:06 pm:

    • The same states are still allegedly counting votes and the same candidates are leading as earlier today:[1]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 99 Joe Biden 16
      North Carolina 99 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 84 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 98 Joe Biden 20

      Given that these percentages counted haven’t budged in Alaska, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, I’m starting to wonder if it’s really true that they’re counting votes. (Actually, I see from a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review headline that Joe Biden’s lead “continues to grow” in Pennsylvania. Such a claim seemingly requires votes to be counted.)

    • Donald Trump appears to be running out of legal options to challenge Joe Biden’s probable victory.[2] That, of course, leaves the, um, other options.[3]

  4. November 7, 2020, 8:42 am:

  5. November 7, 2020, 9:07 am:

    • How did Joe Biden win Arizona, a state famous for Barry Goldwater?

  6. November 7, 2020, 9:43 am:

    • Doing this again. Not that any increase in the percentage of votes counted seems to make any difference whatsoever in the Associated Press calling states:[4]

      State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
      Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
      Georgia 99 Joe Biden 16
      North Carolina 99 Donald Trump 15
      Nevada 84 Joe Biden 6
      Pennsylvania 99 Joe Biden 20

      Yeah, I’m seeing rumblings on Twitter that media organizations (yes, I’m ignoring Vox) are delaying calling the vote for non-statistical reasons. I’m not a statistician. I’m not going to evaluate the arguments. But this ‘caution’ seems to undermine the point of having networks call results: The writing here is on the wall. There’s almost no way Trump can win. Everyone outside the Trump camp, which presumably continues to devise schemes to retain power,[5] even the recalcitrant media organizations themselves, knows this.

  7. November 7, 2020, 10:23 am:

  8. November 7, 2020, 12:14 pm:

    • The Associated Press has called Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, pushing him well beyond the 270 electoral vote threshold.[6]

  9. November 8, 2020, 10:41 am:

  10. November 8, 2020, 9:38 pm:

    • It does not appear that Donald Trump is anxious to give up power,[7] but probably because of his delusional raging narcissism, and probably because of the legal and financial difficulties he faces when he leaves office,[8] he is refusing to concede,[9] rather tweeting, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”[10] and launching frivolous challenges to vote counts.[11] Of course, none of this is even remotely surprising and we still need to worry about possible right wing militia violence.[12]


Election

So as I was tossing and turning this morning, resisting waking up, I checked my smartphone. And there was a surprise for me:[13]

State Percent counted Leader Electoral Votes
Alaska 50 Donald Trump 3
Georgia 99 Joe Biden 16
North Carolina 99 Donald Trump 15
Nevada 87 Joe Biden 6
Pennsylvania 98 Joe Biden 20

Georgia. Are you fucking kidding me? Georgia? Yes, Joe Biden is in the lead in Georgia, though the Associated Press still hasn’t called it, even with 99 percent counted. And Pennsylvania, I gotta tell you, also still uncalled, at 97 percent counted, still had Donald Trump in the lead. The latter state has only flipped to favoring Biden, now at 98 percent counted,[14] in the time I’ve been working on this issue.

Assuming that Biden maintains his lead in Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, he would amass 306 electoral votes. If North Carolina flips too, a possibility that I now have to concede, the total would rise to 321. I’ve been pretty certain that Biden has won this election since yesterday.[15] I am more so today. It will remain the case, however, that the margins in these swing states have been incredibly narrow. Yes, Joe Biden will have managed, barely, to defeat a contender for worst president in U.S. history.[16] Polarization persists. Trumpism is far from repudiated. The Senate likely remains under Republican control. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is weaker.[17]

It’s worth revisiting some earlier words of wisdom, words I have dispensed with as I wrongly thought remaining states were likely predictable:

The assumptions—and my assumptions—that have accompanied this have been that urban ballots were more likely to break for Democrats and that mail-in ballots were more likely to break for Democrats. And while in many areas, it appears that the urban-rural divide has indeed intensified,[18] I think perhaps that in Pennsylvania, especially southwestern Pennsylvania,[19] this may not, to the same degree, be the case.

Jason Togyer explored[20] Trumpsters’ toxic masculinity, such as we have both seen it in southwestern Pennsylvania,[21] and wondered how Trump coming down with COVID-19 would play: Would the legacy of struggle for labor rights prevail or this?[22]

Opponents of face masks have given me a number of not-very-convincing theories why they can’t or shouldn’t wear them. But any boy who grew up in the Mon Valley knows the real reason: men don’t want to wear face masks because it implies they’re vulnerable. It’s not macho. By mocking [Joe] Biden’s face mask, [Donald] Trump was implying that his opponent is a sissy. On Tuesday [October 6], Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren, a close ally of the president, tweeted a video of Biden wearing a face mask and added, “Might as well carry a purse with that mask, Joe.”

Yet now Trump’s masculinity has almost literally turned toxic. Trump and more than a dozen of his closest allies, as well as several members of the White House press corps, have tested positive for COVID-19. Even after Trump was hospitalized and medicated some of his surrogates continued to insist that the president would somehow cure himself of the deadly disease merely by acting tough.

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted a pro-wrestling video that was edited to show Trump body-slamming a coronavirus molecule. US Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida tweeted, “President Trump won’t have to recover from COVID. COVID will have to recover from President Trump.” 

On the day of his release Trump himself urged followers “don’t be afraid of COVID”—as if only cowards will succumb to a disease that has now killed 210,000 Americans. After arriving back at the White House following three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he wasted no time publicly removing his face mask, despite the fact that he’s still struggling with the symptoms of COVID-19 and is still infectious to the people around him.

Trump’s behavior, in other words, has gone from tough to reckless.[23]

Having been bullied my entire life—my time in higher education and at Linuxcare are the sole exceptions—it’s to be expected that the toxic masculinity will speak more loudly to me than that legacy of labor struggle. It remains possible that my lens might not be so distorting.

At an end of conservatism I would not immediately associate with toxic masculinity, I find myself wondering what, given the choice between Biden and Trump, Richard Weaver would do. Weaver was the segregationist traditionalist conservative (before paleoconservatism was a separate tendency) whose work, Visions of Order,[24] I analyzed for my practicum (a part of my Ph.D. program). To be honest, I can’t see him voting for either Biden or Trump. He’d almost certainly take Trump’s authoritarian police “thin blue line” side against Black Lives Matter but he would be appalled by Trump’s egotism, narcissism, and, I have to say, Trump’s business ‘problems.’[25] Indeed, Weaver would surely denounce Trump as a fraud, albeit without ever naming him. I can’t imagine him voting for Biden either, despite the latter’s segregationist past.[26]

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786

David Nakamura, “Trump’s bid to discredit election raises fear that he will undermine a smooth transfer of power,” Washington Post, November 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-concession-transition-power/2020/11/07/2b4cf640-20e4-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html


  1. [1]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 6, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  2. [2]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/
  4. [4]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 6, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  5. [5]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/09/03/trump-stay-in-office/; Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/06/politics/donald-trump-2020-election/index.html; Democracy Now!, “What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation,” August 3, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/8/3/nils_gilman_2020_election_scenarios; Barton Gellman, “The Election That Could Break America,” Atlantic, September 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/; Mehdi Hasan, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?” Intercept, March 6, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/03/06/donald-trump-impeachment-2020/; Colby Itkowitz, “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses,” Washington Post, September 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-transfer-of-power/2020/09/23/be6954d0-fdf0-11ea-b555-4d71a9254f4b_story.html; Ed Kilgore, “How Trump Is Trying to Ensure an Early Election Night Lead,” New York, August 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/trump-voters-could-vote-in-person-and-give-him-early-lead.html; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/campaign-chronicles/what-happens-if-donald-trump-fights-the-election-results; Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html; Peter Nicholas, “Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm,” Atlantic, June 16, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/when-does-trump-leave-white-house/613060/; Greg Sargent, “On Hannity’s show, Trump reveals his corrupt, panicky endgame,” Washington Post, October 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/09/hannity-trump-reveals-his-corrupt-panicky-endgame/; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election results,” Washington Post, July 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-declines-to-say-whether-he-will-accept-november-election-results/2020/07/19/40009804-c9c7-11ea-91f1-28aca4d833a0_story.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/06/claiming-two-years-his-presidency-were-stolen-trump-suggests-hes-owed-overtime/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  6. [6]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 6, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  7. [7]Josh Barro, “What If Trump Is All Too Eager to Give up Power?” New York, October 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/10/what-if-trump-is-all-too-eager-to-give-up-power.html
  8. [8]Dan Alexander, “Trump Will Have $900 Million Of Loans Coming Due In His Second Term If He’s Reelected,” Forbes, October 19, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/10/19/trump-will-have-900-million-of-loans-coming-due-in-his-second-term-if-hes-reelected/; Jonathan Chait, “Trump Says He Might Leave the Country If He Loses. Does He Mean It?” New York, October 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/10/trump-may-leave-country-if-he-loses-prison-criminal-prosecution.html; Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose
  9. [9]David Nakamura, “Trump’s bid to discredit election raises fear that he will undermine a smooth transfer of power,” Washington Post, November 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-concession-transition-power/2020/11/07/2b4cf640-20e4-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  10. [10]Donald Trump, quoted in David Nakamura, “Trump’s bid to discredit election raises fear that he will undermine a smooth transfer of power,” Washington Post, November 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-concession-transition-power/2020/11/07/2b4cf640-20e4-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  11. [11]Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/06/trump-legal-political-lawsuit-election-434786; David Nakamura, “Trump’s bid to discredit election raises fear that he will undermine a smooth transfer of power,” Washington Post, November 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-concession-transition-power/2020/11/07/2b4cf640-20e4-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/
  13. [13]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 6, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  14. [14]New Yorker, “Election 2020,” retrieved November 6, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/election-2020/live-2020-presidential-election-results
  15. [15]David Benfell, “Pollyanna and ‘horrible, racist, mean-spirited people,’” Irregular Bullshit, November 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/11/05/pollyanna-and-horrible-racist-mean-spirited-people/
  16. [16]Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history
  17. [17]Marc Fisher, “The end of democracy? To many Americans, the future looks dark if the other side wins,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/end-of-democracy-election/2020/10/25/3b8c0940-13d0-11eb-ba42-ec6a580836ed_story.html; Owen Jones, “Even if Biden wins, the world will pay the price for the Democrats’ failures,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/biden-democrats-democratic-trump; Nathan Robinson, “Trump should have lost in a landslide. The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes,” Guardian, November 5, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/05/trump-should-have-lost-in-a-landslide-the-fact-that-he-didnt-speaks-volumes; Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trumpism is here to stay,” Washington Post, November 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/11/05/trumpism-here-to-stay/
  18. [18]Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Election reveals deeper divides between red and blue America,” Washington Post, November 4, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/america-divided-rural-urban/2020/11/04/8ddac854-1ebf-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  19. [19]Jason Togyer, “Fear and Loathing in the Time of Coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 25, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/mckeesport-year-of-fear-covid-19-pandemic.php
  20. [20]Jason Togyer, “Will the sons of steelworkers see Trump’s COVID-19 behavior as strong, or reckless?” Columbia Journalism Review, October 6, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-pennsylvania-steel-trump-masculinity-covid.php
  21. [21]David Benfell, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings,” Not Housebroken, August 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/26/the-donald-trump-supporters-campaign-message-fuck-your-feelings/; David Benfell, “Natural-born or trained killers,” Not Housebroken, October 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/25/natural-born-or-trained-killers/; Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Jason Togyer, “Will the sons of steelworkers see Trump’s COVID-19 behavior as strong, or reckless?” Columbia Journalism Review, October 6, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-pennsylvania-steel-trump-masculinity-covid.php
  22. [22]Jason Togyer, “Will the sons of steelworkers see Trump’s COVID-19 behavior as strong, or reckless?” Columbia Journalism Review, October 6, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-pennsylvania-steel-trump-masculinity-covid.php
  23. [23]Jason Togyer, “Will the sons of steelworkers see Trump’s COVID-19 behavior as strong, or reckless?” Columbia Journalism Review, October 6, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-pennsylvania-steel-trump-masculinity-covid.php
  24. [24]Richard M. Weaver, Visions of Order (Louisiana State University, 1964; Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1995).
  25. [25]Dan Alexander, “Trump Will Have $900 Million Of Loans Coming Due In His Second Term If He’s Reelected,” Forbes, October 19, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/10/19/trump-will-have-900-million-of-loans-coming-due-in-his-second-term-if-hes-reelected/; Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and Mike McIntire, “Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance,” New York Times, September 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html; Brian Faler, “Treasury misses congressional deadline for turning over Trump’s tax returns,” Politico, April 10, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/10/trump-tax-returns-congress-1342027; Bess Levin, “G.O.P. Voters Think Losing $1 Billion Makes Someone (Trump) a Good Businessman,” Vanity Fair, May 15, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/republicans-still-think-trump-was-a-successful-businessman; Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose; Walter Shapiro, “The Worst Businessman in America,” New Republic, May 8, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/153855/trump-tax-returns-worst-businessman-america; Craig Unger, “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” New Republic, July 13, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/trumps-russian-laundromat-trump-tower-luxury-high-rises-dirty-money-international-crime-syndicate
  26. [26]Stephen Collinson, “Joe Biden gets in his own way on race,” CNN, June 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/20/politics/joe-biden-race-2020-election/index.html; Michael Kranish and Laura Meckler, “Joe Biden called busing a ‘liberal train wreck.’ Now his stance on school integration is an issue,” Washington Post, June 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-called-busing-a-liberal-train-wreck-now-his-stance-on-school-integration-is-an-issue/2019/06/28/557705dc-99b3-11e9-830a-21b9b36b64ad_story.html; Derecka Purnell, “Black Americans are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic party,” Guardian, May 22, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/22/black-americans-joe-biden-democratic-party-relationship; Greg Sargent, “Joe Biden is badly undermining his ability to challenge Trump,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/06/20/joe-biden-is-badly-undermining-his-case-against-trump/; Matt Viser and Annie Linskey, “Tensions ripple through Biden campaign as his past working relationship with a segregationist senator comes to the forefront,” Washington Post, June 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tensions-ripple-through-biden-campaign-as-his-past-working-relationship-with-a-segregationist-senator-comes-to-the-forefront/2019/06/20/2518afe6-9394-11e9-b570-6416efdc0803_story.html

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