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OPINION: ‘Welcome to the End of Democracy’

What Jack Posobiec’s comments tell us about the MAGA movement and our opportunity to use their rhetoric against them.
Jack Posobiec speaking at CPAC. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that he is part of the "anti-democracy" far right, and has reported that he has ties to white supremacists and neofascists. (Screenshot)

“Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely.” 

That’s how Jack Posobiec opened his remarks at CPAC. Posobiec continued, “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 said, gesturing to the crowd and holding up his fist.” Posobiec was speaking on a panel with Steve Bannon, whose response to the comment was “Amen.” 

Writing in his Substack, journalist Dan Rather pointed out both how little media attention Posobiec’s comments received and how, as far as he could tell, no Republican elected had denounced them or even been asked to react to them by the press. As much as the political media loves to cover CPAC, you’d think a comment like that might generate more interest and attention. Certainly, there’d be an uproar if someone on the left made this comment at Netroots Nation. But after years of watching reporters go into a feeding frenzy whenever a random lefty blogger would say something dumb, they have little interest in holding Republicans accountable in the same way.

Readers, of course, know my working thesis on MAGA Republicans: they don’t seek to win elections but take power by any means necessary. I always appreciate when folks on their side drop the pretense and speak honestly about what their actual agenda is. There isn’t much incentive for them to hide that fact. Their supporters know the deal, as does our base. As I pointed out above, they won’t receive much press scrutiny. 

LISTEN: The Signal (Episode 5): The Growing Fascist Threat to American Democracy, with Jeff Sharlet

Posobeic’s comments were top of mind when the news broke that Mitch McConnell planned to step down as majority leader in November. McConnell might personally hate Trump, but he’s as anti-Democratic as any MAGA Republican. Mitch McConnell is also one of the few GOP electeds left who actually knows how to win an election and still attempts to do so. I’d hardly call McConnell a brilliant strategist but he did have better political instincts and relationships than any of his potential successors will. Attributes that are less helpful when your movement aims to seize power by any means necessary.

Three things we must do:

  1. We need to make MAGA own their words and their agenda. 
  2. We need to pressure the media to cover MAGA’s agenda and how it would impact the majority of Americans if enacted.
  3. Finally, we need to ensure voters know MAGA Republicans are the minority. Most people don’t want America to “overthrow Democracy,” but the best way we can prevent that fringe from taking over is to beat them in November. 

Thankfully, the courts seem happy to make this easier for us. Last week’s IVF ruling in Alabama is a perfect example of what MAGA’s agenda is and how it affects us all. It’s the most impactful happening since Dobbs of what MAGA wants and how its policies wreak havoc on our lives when enacted. Republican candidates can try to run away from it or pretend they’re pro-IVF, but we have receipts. We can make them own the consequences, push for more and better media coverage of how the GOP agenda led to this ruling, and remind voters that their own views on IVF are almost certainly with the majority.

READ: Backlash: Women’s History Month in a Post-Roe World

MAGA Republicans might resent that we still have elections, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have a big one coming up this November. And as much as no one really wants a Biden/Trump rematch, that’s happening too. Those of us in favor of an equitable multiracial Democracy in America (I admit we’re not there yet.) need to do everything in our power to make this election about the future MAGA wants vs. what the rest of us want. 

Thankfully they’re giving us plenty to work with. 

This is an excerpt from Ctrl Alt-Right Delete, a newsletter produced in partnership with COURIER — a civic media company. It was republished with the author’s permission. Subscribe HERE.

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Melissa Ryan

Melissa Ryan Ctrl is the author of Alt-Right Delete, a newsletter devoted to covering the rise of far-right extremism, white nationalism disinformation, and online toxicity, delivered on a weekly basis to more than 16,000 subscribers. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Progressive, Buzzfeed News, Refinery29, NowThis, and Media Matters.

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