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‘Extremism Fatigue’ in Politics? Get Used To It

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I was amused by an “unscientific opinion” survey of Republican primary voters in Arizona’s heated race for Democrat Mark Kelly’s Senate seat. Many said they’d grown tired of Republican candidates’ extremism.

“I know I don’t want any more GOP extremists — it’s exhausting,” said one resident from near Phoenix. “I don’t know that much about Mark Kelly, but he seems levelheaded.”

Tired of extremism? It may sound like extremism to you, ma’am, but it in today’s politics it’s called publicity.

This has been particularly true of Republican candidates as they vie for former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and his voters’ votes.

In Arizona, for example, Trump endorsed a venture capitalist named Blake Masters who said on a podcast this year that “Black people, frankly” are to blame for America’s gun violence problem.”

Masters talked in April on “The Jeff Oravits Show” about how “it’s gangs. It’s people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don’t want to do anything about that.”

 

OK, as a still-proud Chicagoan, I’m tired of defending the city’s bloody — although, alas, hardly unique — crime problems, which Republican love to highlight as a case study in Democratic incompetence.

But I could not help but notice the paranoid vibe in what he said next: Democrats “are weak on crime” and “don’t like the Second Amendment,” Masters said, because “it frankly blocks a lot of their plans for us.”

Plans? What plans? And what does he mean by “us?”

But, of course, paranoia, along with generous helpings of “us” vs. “them” scenarios, are main ingredients in today’s porridge of right-wing fearmongering.

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