Joan McCarter on the Michelangelo Signorile Show: We cannot be complacent about American democracy

Signorile and McCarter opened the show with some context from Barton Gellman’s recent piece in The Atlantic, which explores how conservatives are learning lessons from former president Donald Trump’s failure to carry out a coup. As Gellman writes, they have been working hard to make sure that next time, they succeed.

Far from being sneaky about it, Republicans are hardly being discrete in laying out the groundwork for the next coup, McCarter argued. “We’re seeing it in state after state after state, where they are passing increasingly egregious legislation to keep people from voting, to overturn the results of the election by taking over various elections boards in key counties, and by just allowing the Big Lie to continue to fester at pretty much every level of the Republican party.”

The compelling case Gellman has made about the very real and urgent threat to democracy has largely gone unheeded—or at least has not been taken very seriously. “Gellman was prescient in 2020, he’s prescient now, and I really wish more of the traditional media was paying attention to that,” McCarter said.

Moreover, elected officials do not seem to be acting on this with a sense of urgency, as McCarter explained:

They’re not doing what needs to be done. You just get this feeling that there’s complacency. There’s, ‘Well, our institutions are strong enough. They can withstand all of this. We don’t really need to worry about it, it’ll all blow over.’ And look what happened on January 6 — look where we are right now. Complacency is the last thing that the nation can afford, so I don’t know what it’s going to take to break through.

Signorile then asked McCarter to delve into the ongoing discussions over the debt limit. McCarter thinks that McConnell is showing signs of not wanting a big fight, as he seems to understand that he can only push so hard:

The fact that McConnell is really going out of his way to figure out how not to have this fight [over the debt ceiling] might tell you that he is really concerned that if he pushes too far, Democrats will get rid of the filibuster, that he’ll go a bridge too far even for Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and they’ll go along with the rest of the Democrats on getting rid of the filibuster … that’s my hunch. I don’t know if it’s true, but I don’t know if there’s any other reason for McConnell to all of a sudden be helpful.

Signorile noted that the narrative that exists about McConnell in the media is that he always wins and always gets his way, though it isn’t always true. As he elaborated, “When it’s not true, they kind of forget that part. When you do stand up and you do take him on, there are things he’s afraid of, so he will go along.”

You can listen to the full audio below:

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