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Seth Abramson



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I wonder how many Trump supporters accept the fact—and it is 100% a fact—that the number of days in lockdown for the United States is 0, has always been 0, and will always be 0 The Trumpists love talking about all the “lockdowns” we had and we literally had not a single one ever

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"Residents were barred from leaving their homes for 119 days in total." Welcome to Ruili, the city that has arguably borne the brunt of China's Covid Zero policy more than any other place in the country. Bloomberg's John Liu reports

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I was watching a YouTube video a few weeks back of a Florida video game collector talking about why sealed video game prices went up during the pandemic and he claimed no fewer than a dozen times in about 5 minutes that it was because of all the “lockdowns” we had here in America

Given that Trump spurred his domestic terror movement in significant part by false claims that America was experiencing forced government “lockdowns,” can you imagine what would’ve actually happened in the United States if there’d been even a single *hour* of government lockdown?

I want to follow up on this. Take a look below at the exemptions for the “stay-at-home order” (not lockdown) issued in April 2020 in Pennsylvania (next three tweets):

You’ll notice the list of exempted activities and persons makes it nothing like a stay-at-home order—let alone a lockdown. The real kicker is at the end of the list of exemptions, where the government of Pennsylvania informs its citizens that *the order will not be enforced*. 🤯

That’s right: not only has America never had a lockdown, it’s never had an enforced stay-at-home order, and the orders it has had were—beyond not being enforced—so loaded up with exempted activities and persons as to be literally meaningless. In effect, they were recommendations.

If Republicans wanted to complain about the fact that since the advent of corporations governments have had the ability to regulate corporations on public health grounds—something all of us want to happen—that would be stupid enough. Instead, they made up tales of home lockdowns.

To be clear, if governments couldn’t regulate corporations on public health grounds none of us would ever eat out again, or order take out or delivery, because of the vile and disgusting conditions that would almost certainly exist at most eating establishments behind the scenes.

So every GOP complaint about pandemic response was based on lies and nonsense. And what really got me thinking about this today was the fact that kidnapper and human smuggler Greg Abbott is pulling away from Beto O’Rourke in the Texas gubernatorial race. Why? Immigration issues.

It made me think about how Republicans in New Hampshire say immigration is a big issue for them even though we’re nowhere near Mexico and actually have an employment crisis here in which there are way more jobs than people to fill them. So why does immigration sell to GOP voters?

The connection between made-up pandemic-response complaints and how immigration is talked about in Texas and how immigration is talked about in New Hampshire is simple: Republican voters are basically children. Their leaders appeal to them on puerile emotional grounds, not logic.

Republicans hate paying taxes. It makes them so mad to have to participate in paying for the many public services they use. So they hate government. They hate it the way a child hates vegetables. Tell a Republican government did something bad and it doesn’t *matter* if it’s true.

By the same token, Republicans hate feeling like the world is passing them by, largely because—their billionaires excepted—it is. Tell a Republican America is changing in a way that’ll make them feel less important over time, and it doesn’t matter who you’re telling them to hate.

Democrats are really no fonder of government than Republicans, they just have the basic view that government *can* work (because, you know, all of human history). So they’re interested in *policy*—discussions of how to make government work. There is less childish emotion in play.

Trump has been successful at stoking domestic terrorism and getting really close to stealing elections because every word out of his mouth is intended to appeal to the puerile id of Republicans. None of it has to do with policy, governance, principles, or even how America works.

Republicans have no solutions on immigration. Everyone knows it. Their best idea was to build a wall migrants found ways through in minutes. But the point of immigration as a political issue isn’t policy. Like it’s *0%* policy. It is about GOP voters being hyper-emotional babies.

By the same token, when Republicans began politicizing the worst public health crisis in America in over 100 years, they had no better ideas or actual plans or even principled views on policy. They just saw something their emotionally immature voters were foot-stomping mad about.

There’s no point to political debate in America because one side is trying to discuss policy and the other is throwing its toys out of its crib on a daily basis. If it feels like arguing politics with a Republican is like arguing with a child, it’s because that’s just what it is.

Don’t get me wrong, about 10% to 20% of the Republican Party still thinks it’s two decades ago—they actually think the GOP they voted for back then still exists—and those people probably *would* like to have serious policy debates. But they aren’t what Republicans *are* anymore.

This November; in November 2024; in November 2026; in November 2028; in November 2030; in November 2032—etc.—people across America who have been voting Republican for decades will continue to vote Republican because they simply *cannot accept* that THE GOP DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE.

I don’t know what to say to Republicans who continue to vote Republican because they believe the Republican Party has policies or ideas on any subject. I guess what I want to say is, “I’m sorry your party died? But now you have to be an adult and accept it. Because it happened.”

There’s the Democratic Party, a cult known as “MAGA” that’s 100% id-driven, and a historical “Republican Party” that simply no longer exists. Many people know this. But media and pollsters can’t acknowledge it because they don’t know how to do their jobs in this new environment.

So when someone says that “immigration is an issue” for Texas Republicans or New Hampshire Republicans, that’s *not true*. You have nostalgic Republicans who can’t accept that their party is dead, and you have MAGA cultists with no principles whatsoever—only raw anger and hatred.

So when “Ray Epps” trends on Twitter, or the cultists start talking about “lockdowns” that never happened, or the cultists whine about a “crisis at the border” that doesn’t affect them personally (and that Trump never did anything about anyway), the only question to ask is this:

“When are the Americans who keep voting Republican because that’s what they’ve done for decades—rather than because they idolize a career conman—going to accept the fact that none of the reasons they once had for voting Republican still exist, because their party no longer does?”

How do we get the ~20% of Republicans who vote Republican but *aren’t* actually committed to being in a death cult run by a career criminal and serial sexual assailant to finally start going through the five stages of grief and *accept* that their beloved GOP died six years ago?

Seth Abramson


NYT bestselling author. Attorney. Journalist. Trump biographer. Words @CNN @BBC @CBS @CBC @HBO @WashingtonPost, etc. More at

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