What Will We Make of a Stolen Election?

by Akim Reinhardt

As a 'Second Wave' Looms, Here Are 4 Steps Schools Can Take to Boost Resiliency and Minimize Outbreaks | EdSurge NewsIt’s still a year away, maybe three, but you can see it coming.

A majority of Republican voters think we’re all paying too much attention to the attempted coup of January 6. Only a quarter of them think it’s even worth finding and prosecuting the rioters who stormed the Capitol, sent elected politicians scurrying for the lives, and attempted to reverse the election.

That is not surprising, perhaps, given that nearly two-thirds of Republicans have gulped the entire propaganda load and believe that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election and is not president today only because Democrats “stole” the election.

The Republican Party leadership has enabled all of this, passively playing along with The Big Lie. It has done almost nothing to challenge the propaganda that infects its constituents, remaining silent about some of the lies and actively promoting others. The GOP power structure, it seems, is quite willing to trade constitutional government for its own political power. Indeed, when one of their own number, ultra-conservative Cheney family scion Lynn Cheney dared to publicly defend the U.S. constitutional system against the January 6th insurrection, House Republicans punished her, stripping taking away her official leadership position. Meanwhile, behind the scenes Republican state governments are advancing a subtler mechanism for electoral corruption. In one state after another, Repubican governments are undermining local election commissions by removing Democratic members or stripping commissions of power.

As the situation deteriorates and American constitutional government is increasingly imperiled, it’s easy to focus and place onus on Donald Trump. Too easy, perhaps. He is of course the tinted face and gaping mouthpiece of modern American electoral corruption, and aside from fomenting The Big Lie, he is more recently urging Republican legislatures to violate federal law by appointing loyal electors after the elections instead of on Election Day. But in truth, Trump is at best the catalyst that ignited an inferno amid the dry kindling of naked power grabs that the Republican Party has been stacking for decades. The GOP was primed to receive Trump when he emerged six years ago, and in retrospect it is unsurprising that Republican parties at the national, state, and local levels have exploded into real and potential corruption. GOP voters and politicians alike have embraced or at least made their peace with it, the masses believing The Big Lie and various party leaders happy to profit from it.

But if the Republican party has been building to this moment for 40 years, then this moment is also a reaction to an unusually clean and honest period of American democracy.

Republican attacks on American democracy may seem new since most of us do not personally remember it, but serious electoral corruption in the United States is hardly unprecedented.  In fact, there is a long history of it. Read more »

Deeming the Streaming

by Akim Reinhardt

3QD editor Abbas was desperate. After more than a year of pandemic life, much of it spent in a state of semi-lockdown, he and his partner had run out of shows to watch. So he did what any abject and forlorn person in his situation would do: he solicited recommendations via social media. I then did what any person who has spent the last year watching far too much TV and thinks far too much of his own opinion would do: I emailed him scores of streaming titles, replete with very brief descriptions.

Fear not. I’m not here to dump that list upon you. I’m occasionally quite lazy, but not that lazy. Rather, I’ve selected from among that extensive list eight (really, nine) titles that you’re likely unfamiliar with and have crafted descriptions and arguments in favor of, without resorting to any spoilers.

Death to spoilers.

There are no hit shows here, no matter how great. No Wild, Wild Country, Fleabag, Big Mouth, BoJack Horseman, or Maron (all of which you should watch if you haven’t), much less a Wire, Sopranos, or Breaking Bad. Hopefully these programs are nothing more than vague rumors to you, or per chance you’ve never even heard of them. I found each, in its own way, to be excellent. No movies included, just series. Three or four straight dramas, a Canadian sitcom, a drama that mixes in comedy, a comedy that mixes in drama, a dedicated dramedy (or comma?), and one food documentary.

There is, of course, no accounting for taste. However, if you’re already familiar with any of these shows and find my taste for them to be the sign of an undeveloped palate, then feel free to hold me to account in the Comments. Call me whatever foul and loathsome name you like, but remember: no matter what you say, no spoilers. Read more »

I Have a Concussion and Can’t Write 2,000 New Words, So Here’s an Old, Unpublished Essay About How Ridiculous it is that Bob Dylan Won a Nobel

by Akim Reinhardt

clip artSmacked my head on the pavement while jogging across campus in the rain. Had my hands on my stomach, holding documents in place underneath my shirt to keep them dry. So when my foot went out after skipping over a puddle, I couldn’t get my front paws down in time to brace my fall as I corkscrewed through the air, landing on my hip and shoulder, and whiplashing my head downward.  Consequently I don’t have the brain power to crank out 2,000 fresh words.  So here’s a dated piece about Baby Boomer navel gazing and ressentiment.

Perhaps I should just skip a week instead of peddling an old, cranky number that previously had not found the light of day. That would probably be the prudent, and certainly reasonable course. But vanity urges me onward. I have a bit of a streak running here at 3QD and don’t want to break it just cause I cracked my noggin. Alas, for better or worse then, I move forward by looking backwards.
Ugh. Bob Dylan.

Even though we’re well into the 21st century and half the Baby Boomers are collecting Social Security, they’re still determined to thumb their noses at their parents. Even the Swedish ones, apparently. So Bob Dylan gets a Nobel Prize in Literature.

I told you, daaaaaaaaad! My music is art toooo! Seeee?

You know what? You’re dad’s dead. Grow up. Find a new battle to fight. Go argue with your grandkids or something.

Bob Dylan. Jesus.

The guy plagiarized substantial portions of the only prose book he ever wrote, his 2005 memoir. You’d think that right there would disqualify a writer from winning the world’s most prestigious lifetime literary award. But this is the Age of Truthiness, so I guess all bets are off. Read more »