Let’s Go Brandon

An amusing incident highlights how far we've fallen.

Two tangentially related items captured my interest this morning but, alone, neither would have merited a blog post.

First, Victor Davis Hanson’s explanation for why he left National Review after 20 years. It appeared on Tucker Carlson’s FOX show:

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Because there were certain issues that would pop up occasionally, and I could predict what the answer was going to be. The Covington kids. I just sensed that before we knew anything, people would come and condemn them. Or the Access Hollywood tape–

TUCKER CARLSON: People at National Review condemned the Covington kids?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

You saw it on January 6. We all condemn that baffoonish riot. But within two weeks, I said to myself Ashli Babbitt was shot unarmed and we don’t know anything about the policeman, we don’t know anything about the report. When a policeman shoots somebody unarmed, there are pictures everywhere.

TUCKER CARLSON: No warning, by the way.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: They’re having Officer Sicknik lie in state, but I want to know where is the evidence is that he was killed? He wasn’t killed, he died of a stroke —

TUCKER CARLSON: National Review wasn’t on that?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: No. No. An “armed insurrection.” There were no weapons found on the people they arrested.

They are not even being charged and tried with dispatch. They are sitting in purgatory.

So these issues, I would get angry about, and I would try to convey that anger, but I think … a lot of them felt it was their duty as Republican establishmentarians to tell the world they didn’t approve of Donald Trump’s tweets or his crudity.

My message was always: But, it’s good for the middle class.

He’s kind of like a Shane or Magnificent Seven or High Noon, he’s a gunslinger we hired and we are the townspeople that are impotent and he came in with certain skills. And he started to have success and now we have the luxury of saying we don’t like the fact that he has a six-gun. But he has to ride off into the sunset.

But they didn’t — there were other issues I think they felt were more important, so I think it was a good parting for both of us.

TUCKER CARLSON: What issues did they think were important?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: I don’t know, I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

The whole thing struck me as nonsensical. Hanson has always been a right-winger but he’s defending some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories. And he’s upset that what’s left of what Bill Buckley built is still clinging to some semblance of rational argument and principles. If nothing else, this gives lie to the notion that tone policing is confined to the left.

Second, a man who was a field grade officer when I was a lieutenant shared a “Let’s go Brandon” banner on his Facebook feed. It’s a reference to something that happened at a NASCAR race over the weekend:

Now, it’s admittedly hilarious that the reporter thought that a crowd at Talladega chanting “F Joe Biden” was cheering “Let’s go, Brandon!” in honor of Brandon Brown’s victory in the race. And not just because it would be a weird thing to chant after the race was already over.

This chant has become a regular thing at football games in the South this fall. (No, not the Brandon version.) And I honestly don’t know when this became acceptable.

I was, to say the least, not Bill Clinton’s biggest fan. But it would simply never occur to me that yelling “F Bill Clinton” in public was appropriate. Let alone that a hundred thousand Southerners would simultaneously think it appropriate.

I get that we’re politically polarized. A lot of NASCAR and SEC football fans are riled up and think Trump got a raw deal. They dislike Biden. That’s their right as free citizens. It’s right there in the Constitution.

But it’s remarkable to see the Bible Belt openly embrace raw vulgarity. For the Blue Lives Matter crowd to have so profoundly turn on the police. “Family values” it ain’t.

FILED UNDER: Society, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I was talking with a friend the other day about how ugly and boorish these screams of “Fuck Joe Biden” have become. Do these people think they’re saying something clever and original?

    As for Hanson, he’s been an open and vociferous Trump cheerleader for years now. He seems to have found a berth at American Greatness, a magnet for crackpots.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    William F. Buckley was a master of putting an erudite mask on his racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. Later in his career, after the world had changed beneath him, he rejiggered his talking points to better conceal those characteristics, but can you honestly point to one instance where he stood up for anything different than Hanson?

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Family values” it ain’t.

    And the moral majority is neither. Really, everything the right has been championing for the last 4 decades has been proven to be a lie.

    They run around waving the flag to demonstrate their patriotism but ask them to wear a mask to protect their fellow Americans and they will cough on you.

    They will swear up and down they are pro-life to the core, and then go to a school board meeting and threaten to kill the board members should they actually do something to protect children.

    Fiscal responsibility? Give them Congress and the Presidency and they will explode the deficit with tax cuts for the rich every time.

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  4. Joe says:

    I remember in ‘70s when the failure / refusal of college student’s to “respect the President’s name” was a primary complaint of their conservative elders. Guess that’s not a thing anymore.

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  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    The Hanson headline had me look at the lead beneath it and on seeing Carlson’s name, knew it wasn’t worth the time.

    But it’s remarkable to see the Bible Belt openly embrace raw vulgarity.

    What would you expect from people who are selective in their biblical beliefs and make stuff up to justify their bias? I’m sure they can find some biblical justification for using a vulgarity.

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  6. wr says:

    But remember, Obama once wore a tan suit, so both sides.

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  7. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Indeed. None other than Madison Cawthorne claims that David, Daniel, and Esther “influenced their governments to uphold Christian principles.”

    This reminds me of the guy who said that if the English language was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for him.

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  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: On the other hand, we’re carrying our behavior during our bright college days into our more serious adult lives, so we’re consistent anyway.

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  9. Kingdaddy says:

    Just as the cruelty is the point, the vulgarity is the point. Taking the leash off the id, as long as it charges at the right target, is part of the fascist worldview. Not only does it feel good to do something that is otherwise forbidden, it feels even better when you do it in concert with all the people sitting around you, in this case as part of a collective primal scream against someone you hate.

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And the moral majority is neither. Really, everything the right has been championing for the last 4 decades has been proven to be a lie.

    I try to avoid the simplistic view that the odds of someone being virtuous decline in direct proportion to how much they talk about a particular virtue. But there are so many, many cases, from Catholic Priests to Evangelicals to the bellicose Republicans of the 70’s to the present day!

    A few months ago I realized that despite his constant protestations to the contrary, the erudite right wing Rod Dreher has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is a straight up racist. But still I tried to avoid the simplistic conclusion that since he was obsessed with homosexuality he was a repressed or closeted gay man. But his latest tweet really puts the racism and repression all into one steaming pile.

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  11. Kathy says:

    For the Blue Lives Matter crowd to have so profoundly turn on the police.

    They’re not supportive of police as an agency to maintain civic order and curtail or deter crime. They support the police insofar as an agency to repress minorities under the guise of civic order and crime deterrence. And only that far. Everything is transactional for these kind of people.

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  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    “He has certain skills”??! Trump didn’t advance their agenda even a little bit. He made a big show of doing things that seemed important, and made liberals angry, but the important part of government – you know, legislation – did nothing but give billionaires and corporations a big tax cut. Nothing at all for the middle class, that I can see.

    I guess they are just really happy that they didn’t have to experience Hillary Clinton as president. If they had, I bet we’d be hearing worse than “Fsck Joe Biden”

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  13. KM says:

    But it’s remarkable to see the Bible Belt openly embrace raw vulgarity.

    Oh they’ve had *no* problems being vulgar for a very, very long time. Southern hospitality and politeness has only been offered to those deemed worthy as any minority or outsider could tell you. Much like how using someone’s preferred pronouns should be seen as good manners akin to using their preferred name and social title as a matter of respect, it only applies to people they consider worthy of respect.

    They’ve deemed Biden to be a devil, someone subhuman and less then worthy of any sort of respect, consideration or decency. At best a caricature of a person to them, at worst a literal monster or demon sent to destroy their world. Of course they’re vulgar – politeness is for people and their entire ecosystem is designed to mark him in their minds as something else.

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  14. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, you can find video – lots of it – from that day, taken by the protestors, that show people in that crowd with rifles slung over their shoulders. There’s mace. There’s zip ties for taking people prisoners. They are armed. Not all of them, but enough.

    And the length of time it takes? – well it seems about normal for criminal proceedings.

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  15. KM says:

    @Kathy:
    Yep – the second the police come for them, the police are evil, EVUL I TELLS YA! Fascist pigs enforcing unfair laws created by Nazi commies to keep good Christians men down and target them for destruction! How dare they arrest you for what you’ve done – it’s a conspiracy to ruin patriots’ lives!

    Blue Lives Matter the same way Support The Troops do – a nice little slogan and fantasy that never survives contact with reality. When the cop is there for *you*, they’re not the Thin Blue Line but the jackbooted enemy.

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  16. gVOR08 says:

    The interesting thing about Hanson quote is his wandering, vague answer to a simple question. And he thinks he’s clever because he foresaw people would object to the Access Hollywood tape? I avoid Hanson. On those occasions when I encounter him anyway, he reinforces my opinion he’s read everything and understood nothing. He can drop a thousand erudite sounding words on any subject without really saying anything. He’s a natural for TAC.

    After the last several decades, James, are you really surprised by any of this conservative behavior? The big fight in my neighboring town of Punta Gorda is whether it was right for the town to ban vulgarity in public displays in response to all the F*** Biden flags.

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  17. CSK says:

    @KM:
    From what I can tell, the MAGAs (I suppose that should be MAGAAs now) differentiate between the Capitol Police, whom they regard as Nancy Pelosi’s personal goon squad, and other police.

    But you’re right that any cop who busts a Trumpkin is a minion of the Deep State.

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  18. Scott F. says:

    @Kingdaddy & @Jay L Gischer:

    Taking the leash off the id, as long as it charges at the right target…

    “He has certain skills”??! Trump didn’t advance their agenda even a little bit. He made a big show of doing things that seemed important, and made liberals angry

    Don’t you see what VDH sees? Trump is the Magnificent Seven and the Good People of the GOP base are the “impotent” villagers who have lived in unbridled fear of the evil and powerful leftist banditos who come regularly to take their stuff.

    I can not fathom the mental gymnastics required for an elite like Davis Hanson to stand behind that characterization for what is happening in US politics today. My gob is smacked.

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  19. Scott F. says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    They brought weapons with them, but then there were also the police shields, flag poles, and bicycle racks they picked up along the way.

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  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    Southern hospitality and politeness has only been offered to those deemed worthy

    IMO Southern “hospitality” and politeness are performative. A good friend once opined (and I agree with him) that the main difference between a Southerner and a New Yorker is that a New Yorker will typically tell you to your face – bluntly – that he doesn’t like you, and tell you why. A Southerner will be polite to your face, then tell everybody else but you why he doesn’t like you. Southern gentility is a mask / facade that hides the truth.

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  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Scott F.:..They brought weapons with them,..
    Anyone’s hands, feet and entire body can be used as a weapon. The idea that these goons were unarmed is Republican newspeak.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    I was, to say the least, not Bill Clinton’s biggest fan. But it would simply never occur to me that yelling “F Bill Clinton” in public was appropriate. Let alone that a hundred thousand Southerners would simultaneously think it appropriate.

    And yet, this is the consequence of the campaign to delegitimize any Democratic President that started with Clinton.

    From the Hastert Rule to Rush Limbaugh spending hours each day repeating crazy shit about Vince Foster and literally telling people to stop thinking and become dittoheads. The right has been stoking anger and decrying compromise for thirty years.

    I’m not a fan of slippery slope arguments. “Where does it stop?” Well, usually somewhere. But so far… it hasn’t.

    Hillary Clinton has turned out to be Cassandra, warning of a vast right wing conspiracy, and then the deplorables, and no one listened.

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  23. Jon says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Southerners aren’t really that polite to your face either; that’s why “well bless your heart” has widely come to be understood as calling somebody an asshole. It’s just that the words and phrases have different meanings in the South. And I say this as a Louisianan, so not pointing fingers. I do it myself, sometimes even by accident.

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  24. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jon:

    Well bless your heart for being so honest. 🙂

    (I was only in Texas for a year, but I learned that one)

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  25. JKB says:

    So is the attempt to make #FJB a Southern or SEC thing intentional or just ignorance. I couldn’t find where the trend started but it is definitely not a Southern thing. It’s happened in deep “Union” territory such as Wisconsin, NY, etc. It’s happened at the Ryder Cup, protests, concerts, a Staten Island food court, etc.

    And most amusing is now “Let’s Go Brandon” is a stand in for those not wishing to use the vulgarity. Best of all, it is a thing with multitude of unthinking college students who generally get their political opinion by whatever is being chanted on campus. But it is understandable how 20-somethings being less than decorous might startle and alarm those over 30.

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  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    I think it’s time for you people to be braver. It’s time for a round of sieg heil’s, no? Some, ‘Jews will not replace us?’

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe if he took his ivermectin, he’d be less troubled by the worms under his rock.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Come on, we all know “Jews will not replace us” is cost code for “robots will replace us” — they’re just economically anxious.

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  29. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    a Staten Island food court

    Staten Island is basically the South.

    But you are right that it’s more of a Rural Loser thing than a Southern Loser thing. The Rural Losers in Wisconsin and elsewhere now clothe themselves in the trappings of the Southern Losers though. Wherever you see Fuck Joe Biden flags, you start seeing Confederate flags too.

    They’re just economically anxious like those Southern plantation owners were. If I had to keep someone on staff to whip my property to keep it behaving like mine, I’d be economically anxious too.

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  30. Monala says:

    @Mister Bluster: especially because they routinely claim that unarmed black people who were killed were actually armed with their physical arms (see Michael Brown), the sidewalk (Trayvon Martin), etc.

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  31. SteveCanyon says:

    I walked by a pickup truck with a “BLM” bumper sticker the other day. This is an unusual combination in my neighborhood so i looked closer and it said “Biden Likes Minors” in very small print at the bottom. I was initially disgusted but then I realized that the print is so small that large majority of viewers of his sticker probably think he supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

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  32. Modulo Myself says:

    ‘F— Joe Biden’ seems pretty low-energy. Most of the pro-Trump stuff before the election required the lowest energy imaginable. Get in your car and drive around and honk the horn, basically, all to trigger the libs without standing up and using your legs. This is a party of very old, lost people. I mean, Hanson’s citing as reference 50s Westerns as he tries to figure out what it is he’s exactly saying. Imagine some goober in 1955 talking about popular entertainment from 1885 as a reference point for politics.

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  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    It’s a hold over from the days in which real violence actually was just a badly chosen word away. People had to be careful. I saw something like it in the ME. Tribal heads, sheiks, with blood feuds addressed each other with impeccable if not effusive politeness, each with a hand resting comfortably on the hilt of their ornamental belt-dagger.

    We were something not too far from that ourselves once, and not all that long ago. It’s reflected in the tone in the correspondence of the time of our founding.

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  34. Stormy Dragon says:

    @KM:

    Southern hospitality and politeness has only been offered to those deemed worthy as any minority or outsider could tell you.

    Much like “Minnesota Nice”, “Southern Charm” is actually a passive-aggressive form of hostility, excessive formality to emphasize the recipient’s “not one of us”-ness

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  35. Mike in Arlington says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I was told a long time ago that “Bless your heart” roughly translates to “Go f*** yourself”.

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  36. Mimai says:

    Video showing a relatively small but vocal group of assholes behaving like assholes —->

    “But it’s remarkable to see the Bible Belt openly embrace raw vulgarity”—->

    A comments section riddled with variants of “Southerners are devious assholes!”

    [I do, however, agree with the scorn directed at VDH.]

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  37. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mimai:

    A comments section riddled with variants of “Southerners are devious assholes!”

    That’s what happens when you spend 70 years arguing that the flag of traitorous slavers is the highest expression of your heritage. People start agreeing with you.

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  38. Mimai says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That’s what happens when you spend 70 years arguing that the flag of traitorous slavers is the highest expression of your heritage.

    “you” is doing a lot of work here.

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike in Arlington: My Aunt Jeanne, a hard core no drinking allowed Southern Baptist deep in the heart of Texas said, “Bless your heart…” to me on innumerable occasions. I know she meant it every time she said it, because when I needed it most, she took this heathen into her heart.

    Maybe that’s the lie I tell myself, but it’s the lie I’m willing to die on.

    A toast to my Aunt Jeanne… The sweetest, most loving woman I’ve ever known. Well, except for my mother. And my mother’s cousin Bobby June, and her wife Maxine.

    Texas…. I have never known a place more comfortable with denial.

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  40. JKB says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Well, these chants are essentially grass roots, spontaneous. Different than back in 2017 when foreign crowds were incite to yell F- Trump by entertainment personalities

    https://youtu.be/csRdEr_ioRA

    If it is anti-Semitism you are looking for, look to The Squad and the many Democrats who support the Palestinian efforts to slaughter Jews in Israel.

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  41. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai:

    “you” is doing a lot of work here.

    No, actually it’s not. There are avalanches of documentation on the savagery and depravity of Southern white culture.

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  42. Mimai says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not taking issue with such documentation. Hell, I grew up in the south and am well aware of the savagery and depravity.

    My issue is extrapolating to “Southerners” as was repeatedly done here.

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  43. wr says:

    @JKB: “If it is anti-Semitism you are looking for, look to The Squad and the many Democrats who support the Palestinian efforts to slaughter Jews in Israel.”

    As a Jew, I ask you not to dirty my culture by using it as a wedge in your disgusting culture war. We all know you would be the first one volunteering for guard duty at the camps if Trump comes back into office, so spare us your lies about concern for my people.

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  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Ditto.

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  45. Joe says:

    @Mimai: There is a simpler and less geographically sectional term for the practioners we are discussing: rednecks.

    When I first brought up “the president’s name” this morning, I was thinking of this Bernie Taupin (Elton John) lyric.

    … So it’s ki yi yippie yi yi
    You long hairs are sure gonna die
    Our American home was clean till you came
    And kids still respected the president’s name
    … And the eagle still flew in the sky
    Hearts filled with national pride
    Then you came along with your drug-crazy songs
    Goddamit you’re all gonna die

    The song is actually titled Texan Love Song, but I think redneck is a more geographically agnostic terms that captures more of the crowd regardless of their zip codes.

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  46. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My Aunt Jeanne, a hard core no drinking allowed Southern Baptist deep in the heart of Texas

    I’m reminded of the old joke that if you take a Southern Baptist fishing with you, it’s important to take at least two, because if you only take one, they’ll drink all of your beer.

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  47. Jax says:

    @Joe: I concur on the term “redneck” as opposed to “Southerner”. I recall seeing videos at a University of Wyoming football game where they chanted the same thing. “Dixie”, as it used to be known, is no longer on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line, it’s mind-set has expanded. Hell, it appears to be global. Hate is a universal language.

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  48. JKB says:

    @wr: if Trump comes back into office

    Donald Trump? The Donald Trump whose daughter, son in law and grandchildren are Jewish? The Donald Trump who did more to improve the security of Israel with the Abraham Accords than any US president? That Donald Trump?

    The same Donald Trump who would be forcibly removed from the White House by those who voted for him were he to for some reason create “camps”. As a Democrat, you may not comprehend this, but the Constitution matters.

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  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Your usual cowardice. Unable to actually engage with intelligent people you come along after everyone’s gone, add some new bit of imbecility, and run off imagining you’ve scored on the libs.

    Trump attempted to overthrow the US government. That’s the Trump we’re talking about. The traitor supported by insurrectionists, racists, anti-semites, fragile men and hysterical idiots who think Bill Gates puts microchips in vaccines while Hillary Clinton eats babies. You people are idiots, liars, traitors and all-around fuckwits, and do I believe you would – you personally – sign up to be a guard at Auschwitz? Yes, I do. You’re just the type: Weak, aggrieved, self-pitying, cowardly and desperately in need of some bully to tell you where to march and what to chant.

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  50. Logic finder says:

    I’m sorry but the alarm I’m hearing about the f joe Biden chant is pure hypocrisy and liberal tone deafness. Liberals and anti trump folks have changed the most awful vitriol known and abused and attacked free speech at every turn. Now you want to be offended when the other side does it? Its pure liberal crap on display. If we do it it’s ok. If we put kids in cages it’s ok. If we burn cities and loot and attack its ok. But if the right does it….
    You all are a bunch of whiney jokes.

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  51. Logic finder says:

    Simce my comment will most likely not be posted I have one more thing. Any comment section that modifies its comments prior to posting is a joke and an absolute echo chamber.
    Wow the left is really narrow in their thinking.

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