The California recall election against Gov. Newsom could be as early as August

From this article: California Lawmakers Agree to Reimburse Recall Costs, by Matthew Renda on Voice of San Diego:

Democratic lawmakers in California vowed to reimburse local jurisdictions for the approximately $200 million in costs associated with the likely impending recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Lawmakers also indicated the recall election could take place earlier than November, possibly as early as August.

:

Are We Destined for a Trump Coup in 2024? — Ross Douthat at The New York Times.

Worries about a Republican coup in 2024 are reasonable, but doom-and-gloom pessimism is unreasonable, says Douthat. The GOP isn’t preparing for a coup, he says. The party’s attitude seems to be paying lip service to Trump and his supporters, throwing them a few bones, and outwaiting them.

Republican leaders say they support #StopTheSteal, but they’re doing nothing to advance the cause, and they’re not treating Biden as an illegitimate President or doing other things you’d expect if they were trying to foment an insurrection. Even the voter restrictions they’re putting in place on a state level are designed to head off claims of voter fraud.

Not said by Douthat: Yes, but the voter restrictions are unreasonable and disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.

… the key question is whether Trump and his allies will be able to consistently punish, not just a lightning rod like Raffensperger or the scattering of House Republicans who voted for impeachment, but the much larger number of G.O.P. officials who doomed the #StopTheSteal campaign through mere inaction — starting with Republican statehouse leaders in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona and moving outward through the ranks from there.

Obsessing about a Republican coup could be counterproductive for Democrats, “whose immediate problem is a much more ordinary one: Its ideas and leaders in the last election cycle weren’t as popular as its activists imagined, and it’s therefore vulnerable not just to some future Trumpian chicanery but also to a relatively normal sort of repudiation, in which the democratic process works relatively smoothly — and rewards Republicans instead.”

From couch potatoes to smartphone zombies

The failure of Donald Trump’s blog is symptomatic of the death of the Internet as a “lean in” medium.

Internet visionaries of the 1990s through early 2010s distinguished the Internet from TV. TV was a “lean back” medium, where passive couch potatoes took whatever the three networks gave them. On blogs, Web 2.0, and forums, engaged people “leaned in,” sought information, and engaged in discussion.

But social media algorithms killed that. Now, we take whatever Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram algorithms feed us. Not even Trump’s fanatical followers can be moved to follow him when the algorithms aren’t magnifying his message.

However, Cory Doctorow notes the paradox that the algorithms can bring like-minded people together, and many will get up out of their chairs and get things done, either in BLM protests or in the January 6 insurrection.

Like Cory, I wish social media would just go the fuck away. But I am also aware of that Facebook in particular – which I hate more than all the other social media – is also the one I love the most, because it has brought me together with friends that I would not have connected with you any other channel.

On Wired, Philip M. Napoli says leaned-back couch potatoes have become hunched-over smartphone zombies.

The failure of Trump’s blog tells us that even the kind of impassioned political extremists that form the core of Trump’s base of support are so entrenched in their passive, social-media-dependent mode of media consumption that a traditional blog, absent accompanying social media accounts to generate algorithmic amplification, is incapable of gaining a fraction of the online engagement that a single tweet could achieve. Not even the most public of public figures can break free from the platform dependency that largely dictates the distribution of audience attention online. If Trump’s blog can’t gain traction without direct access to the audience aggregation and amplification tools of social media, then perhaps nothing can.

The failure of Donald Trump’s blog is, then, yet another indication of the massive power that the platform giants hold over the content that we consume. But it’s a reminder that we bear responsibility for voluntarily ceding this power to them, and enthusiastically embracing the push model of the web over the pull. Ultimately, we may look back at the failure of Trump’s blog as the final, definitive nail in the coffin of the original model of the web and the notion of the “active” internet user.

The GOP’s ‘Off the Rails’ March Toward Authoritarianism Has Historians Worried

Ben Jacobs at Vice:

One political scientist, the co-author of a book called “How Democracies Die,” put it bluntly: “I think we are headed for a crisis.”

The Republican Party’s rejection of democracy is unprecedented in history or world current events, say historians.

But Jan. 6 was like Fort Sumter. And so far the Democrats are a lot like Buchanan — inviting future bloodshed and crisis by failing to act decisively.

For the Republican Party, Jan. 6 was a training exercise. And it went pretty well for them overall.

The defining characteristics of true democracy are that the outcome of elections are uncertain, and the losing party cedes power. We’re seeing one of the major parties of the US reject both these principles.

Qanon is as big as a major religious group in the US

Qanon is as popular as white evangelical Protestantism, or white mainline Protestants, according to a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Core.

Thirty million Americans, or 15% of the population, say they believe “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” Nearly a quarter of Republicans — 23% — hold this belief.

Fifteen percent of Americans agree that “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” More than a quarter of Republicans agree with this.

Qanon belief correlates with getting news from Fox News or OANN.

Also, Qanon believers were also more likely to believe in other conspiracy theories — four in ten said “the Covid-19 vaccine contains a surveillance microchip that is the sign of the beast in biblical prophecy.”

We’re getting dangerously close to Civil War 2 here in the US. Or maybe World War II, and this time we’re the bad guys.