Play the game, you lose; don’t play the game, you lose

You’ve all heard of this Christian Nationalism nonsense, right? It’s all the rage with old people and conservative freaks and Facebook readers.

So what is Christian nationalism? It’s an ideology that says Christianity is the foundation of the United States and that government should protect that foundation. Political scientist Ryan Burge has found that the term “Christian nationalism” was mentioned in more tweets in July 2022 than in all of 2021.

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news first: it’s declining a little bit!

We did find that agreement grew slightly from 2007 to 2017 from 27 percent to 29 percent, as other scholars have found as well. But since then, the proportion of Americans who affirm this explicit Christian nationalist statement has mostly declined to somewhere around 19 percent, a statistically significant drop.

When a fifth of the country thinks we’re a Christian nation, in defiance of the principles we were founded on, that’s still a problem…but they’ll be outvoted, right? Unfortunately, here’s the bad news: the people most prone to this fallacy are more likely to vote, and there are all these wealthy special interest groups propping up the idea.

But while fewer Americans say they agree with a core Christian nationalist tenet, its influence on our political life may nevertheless be expanding. The U.S. Census reports older Americans like those ages 65 to 74 vote at rates about 25 percent higher than Americans ages 18 to 24. Our research finds older Americans are also most likely to embrace Christian nationalism. And powerful people and lobbying groups like the Family Research Council, the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are working to promote Christian nationalist policy goals in government, the courts, and at the polls.

Recent experimental research shows when Christian Americans are told their numbers are declining, they respond with a greater commitment to Christian nationalism and Trump support. In other words, learning that they are or may soon be a minority pushes them toward extremist beliefs.

So get out there and vote! That last bit is concerning, though, because if these jerks lose elections, they’ll leap deeper into extremism, and they won’t mind follow criminal strategies to win in spite of losing. They’re already gearing up to compromise elections.

The Republican National Committee and its allies say they have staged thousands of training sessions around the country on how to monitor voting and lodge complaints about next month’s midterm elections. In Pennsylvania, party officials have boasted about swelling the ranks of poll watchers to six times the total from 2020. In Michigan, a right-wing group announced it had launched “Operation Overwatch” to hunt down election-related malfeasance, issuing a press release that repeated the warning “We are watching” 10 times.

Supporters of former president Donald Trump who falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen have summoned a swarm of poll watchers and workers in battleground states to spot potential fraud this year. It is a call to action that could subject voting results around the country to an unprecedented level of suspicion and unfounded doubt.

“We’re going to be there and enforce those rules, and we’ll challenge any vote, any ballot, and you’re going to have to live with it, OK?” one-time Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon said on a recent episode of his podcast. “We don’t care if you don’t like it. We don’t care if you’re going to run around and light your hair on fire. That’s the way this is going to roll.”

Bannon? Isn’t he in jail yet? You know he doesn’t care about the law, or ethics, or common decency. He’s going to lie and cheat to get his way, and then…uh-oh.

Election administrators say they welcome more participation from the public but worry that improperly trained observers could try to enforce rules that they are misinterpreting. Even a handful of bad actors, they note, can inject chaos into the voting system and sow distrust.

“The problems don’t need to be in a thousand polling places,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research in Washington, D.C. “If there’s a violent incident in one polling place, that’s enough, because the election deniers have been pouring gasoline all over the country, and it just takes one match.”

I am dreading 8 November, when the midterm elections take place. I won’t be watching the returns, because I sense a national crisis coming our way.

If the Republicans come back and win, and retake any portion of the government, we face years of stalemates and continued losses, and a strengthening of the loony faction. If the Republicans lose, there is going to be such a shriek of protest and armed assholes rampaging and years of legal wrangling over nothing.

We sane Americans can’t win.


  1. HidariMak says

    To quote President Barack Obama, “don’t boo, vote”. Americans didn’t follow that advice in 2016, and got Trump because of it. They learned in 2018 and 2020. Now is not the time to forget that advice.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    I am dreading 8 November…

    I fear that November 9, 2022 is going to end up like November 9, 2022: Confusion, existential terror, and a lot of liberals asking “Why?! How?!” right before they start blaming progressives.

  3. says

    If the Republicans come back and win, and retake any portion of the government, we face years of stalemates and continued losses, and a strengthening of the loony faction. If the Republicans lose, there is going to be such a shriek of protest and armed assholes rampaging and years of legal wrangling over nothing.

    Well, the latter is certainly preferable to the former (which would also include the rampaging of armed assholes, but with more official tolerance and support)!

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 1

    What do you expect? We live in a culturally and dogmatically racist and capitalist country where our liberals love wealth and will lock their doors when driving through “certain parts” of the city.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    If the Republicans lose, there is going to be such a shriek of protest and armed assholes rampaging and years of legal wrangling over nothing.

    Maybe it’s time we stopped living in fear and wringing our hands about the prospect of violence, pull off the Band-Aid, and give the fascist trash the second civil war they’ve been wanting since they lost the last one.

  6. Hex says

    “If the Republicans come back and win, and retake any portion of the government, we face years of stalemates and continued losses, and a strengthening of the loony faction.”

    Not to mention additional pain, suffering, and death inflicted on queer people (especially trans people) as more laws targeting us are passed.

  7. StevoR says

    @7. Akira MacKenzie : How many people on both sides including FWIW people commenting and posting here do you think that war will claim? Do you think you would survive and be happier from such a war yourself? Do you think others would?

    How much death and suffering are you (& others) eager to see happen if it can possibly be avoided and lives saved instead?

    What will the casulaties and consequences and cost of such a war be? Within the USA or what’s left of it and more broadly for the globe and the rest of us that share it?

    Oh and what if the Slaver states win this time round? Worth the risk still?

  8. Allison says

    and give the fascist trash the second civil war they’ve been wanting since they lost the last one.

    There speaks someone who has no idea what it’s like to live
    in a country undergoing civil war. It would make the entire USA
    a battlefield, the way it is in Syria and Somalia. Is that how you
    want to live? How you want the people you care about to live?

    Imagine armed gangs marching down your street,
    destroying homes and killing whoever is in the way. Imagine the
    places you live, work, shop, etc., looking every day like the war footage
    from Ukraine. If you’re lucky, one set of extremists will take over
    and get a “monopoly on violence,” as Jared Diamond puts it,
    so that you can rely on being able to live from day to day,
    as long as you do what the extremists tell you to.

    The one thing you can be sure of is that the outcome, if and when
    the violence ends, will be a worse, a more tyrannical and unjust
    order than what you had before, and all but a few hotheads (like
    some people who post here) will welcome it as a blessing.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 8

    How much death and suffering are you (& others) eager to see happen if it can possibly be avoided and lives saved instead?

    Oh boo-fucking-hoo! How much death and suffering are you eager to see happen when the right wins?!

    But tell me? What’s your ingenious solution to the problem of fascism? Does it involve a lot of sucking Republican/Christian cock?

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 11

    Yeah. War bad and icky. Widows, Orphans. Dead brats. I’ve heard this song before. Do you think we’ll fair any better under Republican rule? They’ll be likely be more far more death and “tyranny” when they take over!

    What’s YOUR solution to the impending threat of American fascism? And don’t say “vote” because:

    What happens when you eventually lose?
    The right have made it perfectly clear that they don’t care what the final vote tallies are. They either get their corrupt officials to declare victory or turn to violence themselves. (e.g. Jan 6.)
    A system that would allow fascism to be a electoral choice in the first place is already to far gone to save.

    Fuck! You people sit here each day and gripe about the lose of equality and freedom along with the rise of Christo-fascism, yet you don’t actually want to stop it once and for all! THEY WANT TO KILL US! Sitting by and singing “Give Peace a Chance” isn’t going to stop them!

  11. snarkrates says

    Akira, please pardon me if I am wrong, but you don’t strike me as a person who spends a lot of time out on the shooting range–which if you were really serious about winning a civil war would strike me as an excellent idea. So, if you are not serious about leading on the battle field then you are probably just making things worse by feeding the already healthy paranoia of rightwing Xtian nutjobs. Look, I know you are scared, but you aren’t making things better. Right now, you’re just like the guy in the bar mouthing off to a big guy at the end of the bar and turning to his buddy to say “Let’s you and him fight!”

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 14
    Akira, please pardon me if I am wrong, but you don’t strike me as a person who spends a lot of time out on the shooting range…

    You’d be surprised. I’ve been shooting rifles since I was a child and pistols since I was a teenager. I don’t usually talk my about my experiences with firearms because I know guns are a taboo subject around these liberal parts. However, I have to be honest that I’d make a lousy soldier. I’ve never been athletics and I my mental health is pretty shitty to begin with.

    I’m not calling advocating fighting the right wing because I enjoy violence, but, to reiterate: THEY WANT TO KILL US! Did you people not see January 6? Have you all forgotten? No amount of voting, or education, or “improving their material conditions” is going to stop them. Violence is the only language the right understands.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Whoops! Sorry, that first sentence was supposed to be blockquoted. As you can imagine, I’m pretty upset right now.

  14. brightmoon says

    I’m an older American and a Christian. I can’t stand fundie nationalists. They’ve been complaining recently about people who are educated, feminists, and non binaries being recognized. They’re racist , patriarchal and have proposed slavery as a legitimate consequence for non Christians and Christians who don’t follow fundie practices. Frankly they scare me ! Even when the battle was mainly against science, they scared me then!

  15. Tethys says

    Anytime someone expresses a longing for theocracy we can offer them a lovely vacation in Iran.

    Older people aren’t identical to trends in older people, so everything he supposed is not well supported by the actual trend of a continually shrinking group of very loud Xtian bigots.

  16. microraptor says

    The thing to remember about “Christian nationalism” is that it’s just another word for fascism. And when it comes to fascists, appeasement, “can’t we all just get along,” and capitulation never work.

    So get out there and vote in the election, remember that early voting results are showing that there’s more people voting right now than in 2020 and that’s something that favors the Democrats no matter how much the mainstream media wants to pretend that a red wave is inevitable, and if you think that letting a bunch of psychotic Trumpanzees take control of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal unopposed is a better outcome than standing up to them you’re a freaking idiot.

  17. wsierichs says

    Christian nationalism is Fascism with a capital F. I’ve studied the fascist movements/leaders of the 1920s, 30s, 40s in Europe and the U.S., and they were generally Christian nationalists. I say generally because I have not read up on all of the movements, but the ones I have studied believed strongly that Christians HAD to control national governments because only Christians were moral people with the moral character needed to run a nation. That was the basis of post-WWI antisemitism. That was why Christians all across Europe slaughtered some 6 millions Jews in WWII.

    Read “The Holy Reich” by Richard Steigmann-Gall for the Christian backgrounds of the Nazi leaders. “Twisted Cross” by Doris L. Bergman is a history of the German Christian movement, which was the Protestant pro-Nazi group. Hitler kept overt Christianity out of the Nazi Party because he feared that the ancient hatred between Protestants (about 2-thirds of the party membership) and Catholics would rip the party apart if he did not suppress attempts by Protestants to inject anti-Catholic ideas/policies into it. (He probably was right.) The Nazi membership was overwhelmingly Christian. Hitler was officially a lifelong Catholic.By the mid-1930s some Catholic leaders questioned his Catholicism, but when Hitler died, the archbishop of Germany ordered all his churches to hold requiems for him. (“A Requiem for Hitler,” by Klaus Scholder, who wrote a comprehensive 2-volume history of the relations between the churches and the Nazis.). “Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry” by Moshe Y. Herczl is a detailed, comprehensive survey of the role of Christian nationalism in that particular horror. Herczl was a Hungarian Jew who survived the war/massacre, and researched and wrote his book after the war. Bergen’s book has one flaw – she says once or twice that the German Christians were not real Christians. They were. There’s lots more material out there on this subject.

  18. Jemolk says

    @StevoR & Allison & snarkrates —

    I don’t think anyone here wants a war. I think Akira’s point is that the right is going to force the issue. They will use violence against us, and our choice will be to either use some sort of direct force back, or roll over and die. I’m not willing to roll over and die, and I’m not willing to throw their victims under the bus either. And voting isn’t stopping them. Without a show of force, there is a contingent of them that will never, for one moment, back down, and they can cause enormous harm. This doesn’t have to mean warfare — it can mean punching Richard Spencer in the face, or thousands-strong protests, or any sort of direct anti-fascist action — but it does have to mean direct action. Voting alone isn’t going to solve this. Akira’s absolutely on the money on that one. Power is what they respect, power is what they use, and power is what has the potential to stop them.

    Also, if someone is going to end up on the receiving end of violence, I’d rather it be them, who are forcing this confrontation, than us, who would be happier to resolve things peacefully. The ideals underlying peacefulness and even pacifism are not well served by allowing fascists to do violence to us without retaliation. On top of all of this, if they ultimately win, there will be war regardless, and if they lose, they will happily cause a war in order to “win” despite failing in more established political channels if they think for even a moment it will work. The idea that we can simply opt out of anything that might be called violence when fascists are around is a terrible error.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    In London before WWII anti-fascists went out on the streets to prevent the British fascist party from holding a demonstration in a working-class and partly Jewish part of town. It worked. The fascists were outnumbered and backed down.
    If the londoners can do it, so can Americans.

  20. David says

    Christian Nationalists is too hard to shorten for casual use, like we’ve done with Libs, Dems, Cons, and so on. I saw someone else post a solution to the problem somewhere on reddit. Call them Nationalist Christians instead. It’s more accurate because they are christians who are nationalists, not nationalists who are christian.

    For casual usage we can then shorten it to Nat-C. As in, “The Nat-C movement in America is full of Nat-Cs.”

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 21

    I am a student of history and I studied the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust at the college level. Just about everything that happened in Weimar Germany then is happening here. I will not see that horror arise in this country and I will do anything to stop fascism from taking powe here BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

    If that means preemptive war on the various centers of right-wing authoritarianism, so be it


  22. StevoR says

    @ Akira MacKenzie :

    Yeah. War bad and icky. Widows, Orphans. Dead brats. I’ve heard this song before. Do you think we’ll fair any better under Republican rule? They’ll be likely be more far more death and “tyranny” when they take over!

    What’s YOUR solution to the impending threat of American fascism? And don’t say “vote” because: What happens when you eventually lose?

    Y’know what I will say vote because it actually matters and works and with the demographic trends hopefully we can avoid losing especially if people choose wisely. (See : ) As well as voting the system needs to be reformed. The anti-democratic Electoral College needs scrapping, the voter suppression and gerrynmanderring needs fixing, SCOTUS needs expanding or changing to end Trump’s treason SCOTUS and the only legal way to do that is, well, by law. (On the EC this, so very much : ) Legislation and action. Violence ultimately isn’t legitmate or ethical unless the situation reaches a certain point which the USA is, admittedly, fast approaching. Stacy Abrams has the right idea. Get. Out. The. Vote. Them putting more obstacles in the way and trying so hard to rig and reject the system shows that that’s what they don’t want so do it.

    Also educate and inform people and try to get as many as possible to understand the problem. You can do more than just one thing at a time.

    Note that scrapping the EC and reforming the election and political system so that say California & New York matters more than the Rustbelt Flyover country means they lose. They are a violent minority already NOT the majority. Their own self-destructive Covid 19 embracing has hurt them more too and keeps doing that too.. If the EC goes, if it really is a truly Democratic one person = one vote system as it should be then they are finished politically. Let’s make that so please.

    Right now, if I were Biden I would jail every miserable traitor in Congress who sided with & aided the Trumpists on Jan 6th. I’d also arrest three Trump’s traitor Justices the drunken rapist, the handmaiden and Gorsuch for perjury and contempt of Congress, plus Perverting the Course of Justice and impeach them.. Given he doesn’t have the numbers to complete the latter, well, can he just lock them up and wait till he does? Maybe? Pressure them to resign? Withdraw their bodyguards and protection and money. Also stop pulling punches and call the Repubs and Federalist society what they are. Traitors & domestic enemies In spirit if not technical meaning. Hell, Trump did it without reason to the Press for asking him questions and not accepting his lies so Biden doing so tioactual traitors and domestic enemies with valid reasons and explaining why and literally classifying them as state enemies for justified causes – like trying to rig the Justice system to impose their will on the People – seems eminently reasonable to me.

    So, yes, stand up with some unrestrained legal state sanctioned force to the Fascist Trumpists definitely. That will help and we’ve already seen what cowards the likes of Cruz and Hawley are. Arrest them. jail them. Take them out of power and action.

    Change some of the USA’s terrible political institiutions & conventions – make some long overdue reforms – one of which if, I was doing it, would be to scrap the midterms and simply have the one quadriennial set of elections only. On a public holidays with access for all and most of all again – 1 vote, one value. Win the Congress in 2020 and keep it until 2024. Midterms strike me as a very bad idea for the reasons noted in the OP and obvs what happened to Obama. Or, change your system completely to a better Parliamentary one like Brit .. oh wait maybe not that. Maybe more like France or Germany or Iceland. Clearly the slave-owning founding ancients that lived in a totally diffferent world to yours didn’t get the methods of governance right hence the mess the USA is in. ( Exhibit A : Govt shutdowns. Inability to remove Trump, Trump getting in in the first place..)

    A few thoughts anyhow.

    So votes, reforms, Biden and Democratics getting an spine and stopping holding back at all and giving the traitors and fascists both barrels – but legally and metaphorically not (necessarily) physically.

    Personally, you do know I’m an Aussie right? So in the US Civil War I’d be doing the same as other overseas Civil wars. Watching on in horror and greif as the carnage and destruction happens. I don’t want to see that. I’d rather NOT see a nuclear armed superpower, the world’s biggest and most powerful rogue nation emulate, say, the former Yugoslavia and Syria.

    I am already very glad I don’t live in the USA as are most others who don’t. The Christianist extremists might want to contemplate just how bad and scary they have made their nation look already in case some shred of patrioitism stil l lingers…

    Going back to :

    What happens when you eventually lose?

    With voting that already happened thanks to not having made those reforms I’ve noted. Trump “won” in 2016 and Bush the Lesser won before that – despite notably NOT being the choice of the American People. Thanks Electoral College, The USA has had terrible regimes running it before from Nixon to John Tyler and James Buchanan. (See : ) When we lose the vote, we grit outr teethand work on winning the next election.

    If we vote.

    What if you get that Civil War – and lose it? What happens then? What if the Fascists either take over and permanently tear apart the USA and it ends. If you lose in a war, what happens then? It’s even worse than if you win the CivilWar which certainly is NOT a sure thing.

    The United States survived one Civil War – assuming we can say it ended. Would it be able to survive a second in the current age of drone sand nukes and modern firepower? I would not bet on that. What would you prefer to lose? An election or a War?

  23. John Morales says

    Wow, Akira. To me, you come across as a swivel-eyed loony.
    Such bluster!

    (You do realise you’re probably on the radar of the security system, no?)

    FWIW, I think your diagnosis is not that inaccurate, but also that your prescription is (at best) counter-productive.

    StevoR, I do appreciate your enthusiasm no less than your earnestness, but still I suspect you know rather less about the politics of the USA than you think you do.

    As for your particular prescription, you missed out a most salient difference between Australia’s and the USA’s voting systems; hint: “what I will say vote“. But then, making participation mandatory for those who qualify is antithetical to US values, right? ;)

  24. Jemolk says

    StevoR @27 — You know those reforms you’re talking about? The problem isn’t just that the Democrats never got around to them. They don’t want to fix things. That might slightly threaten their coercive power. Voting isn’t going to save us. If it was ever possible for it to do so (highly debatable), it is at the very least far too late now. Voting can keep the fascists out of office temporarily, no more. That’s not nothing, but it’s also not enough.

    As for Biden and the Democratic establishment stopping holding back — they’re not holding back. They’re enacting the policies they want to enact, and taking the stands they want to take. Specifically, taking stands against the methodology of the Republicans’ enacting of fascism (though not their goals — just gotta be civil about it, don’t you know), and also everything the actual left stands for. They fight us harder than they ever fight the Republicans, and that should tell you everything you need to know about where they stand. They know how to fight, they know how to fight dirty, they are willing to do so when the left is making the most marginal of gains, yet they will take almost no stand at all against the far right. They are actual garbage, and the only reason our insane neoliberal willing-to-collaborate-with-fascists party looks good at all is by comparison to our actually fascist party. They’d still rather let people die than take so much as a dime from a multi-billionaire, and they will still treat the left as though we’re the threat even as fascism rises. The only reason to vote for them is to take a low-effort means of slowing the country’s descent into fascism while we fight it by other means.

  25. F.O. says

    @brightmoon I’m surprised there are believers on this blog, but welcome.

    Personally, with the Deep Rifts in the atheist movement, I stopped thinking much about religion: I found myself often on the same side of plenty of religious people, and on the opposite side of far too many atheists.

  26. F.O. says

    @Akira MacKenzie: good that you know how to use weapons, but unless you properly train to act in a team you won’t do shit.

    I think I understand where you come from, but there are a few practical problems with accelerationism, which if I understand correctly is the position you are advocating.

    First off, you are not going to be one of the first in line: racial, ethnic and sexual minorities are.
    You don’t have a right to sacrifice them without their consent.

    Second, burning everything to the ground will just set things back, will move the Overton window towards “indiscriminate violence”; it will take A LOT of time to rebuild a society after that, to shift the culture back from violence, and there will be scars.

    Third, in a situation of indiscriminate violence, what kind of people do you think will come on top?
    Since we are students of history and all that jazz.

    Fourth, do you have the military power and organization necessary to pull off whatever you hope to pull off?
    Does the organization have a solid plan to manage the victory or a possible stalemate?
    Will the people who do not belong to the organization willingly join your new order or will you need to coerce them?
    Will you be able to create a culture that will support and sustain this new order?
    Because if you don’t, you get an Iraq on your own soil, and the religious fundies will have a field day.

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    This isn’t accelerationism, it’s basic defense. There is a clear and present threat to our civilization. It needs to be stamped out before the right makes good on that threat.


  28. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 28

    Oh, I’m a loony? I suppose the last seven years–Trump, the Proud Boys and other fascist gangs, refugee kids in cages, our moronic response to COVID-Q Anon, Jan 6, right-wing book banning, the backlash against LGBTQ people, and now open antisemitism–was all a figments of my deranged imagination? Better call the nice young men in their clean white coats to take me away. (Ha HA!)


  29. Akira MacKenzie says

    Oh, I forgot to add another hallucination to my list: George Floyd and the Trump regimes response to civil rights protests.

  30. says

    @33 akina, you always make many valid points. Questioning your own mental state seems a healthy mental statement. I’m scared by many of the gun fondling people around us in Scarizona. However, I do not fear you because you are not a raving maniac who would indiscriminately inflict violence. Correct me if I am wrong, but, I believe that your discussion about violent solutions is because your astute observations lead you to believe that the peaceful solutions are ineffective.

    I wish (and dare to yet hope) we could find effective ways to restore our society to a caring, honest, sane one.