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Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Theory of Change #088: Rich Logis on waking up from MAGA
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Theory of Change #088: Rich Logis on waking up from MAGA

Summary

Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in Republican politics for nearly 8 years now, and yet if you read the opinion columns in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Atlantic, the disgraced ex-president is on the verge of being shoved out of the Republican Party.

None of this is true, however. Despite constant hype from anti-Trump supporters of Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor’s presidential campaign has completely failed to launch. No matter what Washington-based Republican consultants want to believe, their party is over. The MAGA side has control of the Republican party.

Accepting that has proven difficult for a lot of people, and it’s why trying to figure out how to defeat far-right extremism in the Republican Party has not really yet begun.

As part of our ongoing “Why I Left” series, I’m joined today by Rich Logis, he’s the founder of “Perfect Our Union” and also a former Republican activist.

You can watch the video of this episode here.

Automated Audio Transcript

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD: As part of our ongoing, Why I Left series, I'm joined today by Rich Logis. He is the founder of Perfect Hour Union and also a former Republican activist.

And we're going to be talking about all this and, why are so many people reluctant to accept the full truth about the Republican party, but before we do let's get into your own experience, Rich. Tell us about [00:03:00] your time as a Republican activist.

RICH LOGIS: Well, first off, thank you, Matt. Really appreciate it to be here. Thank you for doing this show, Theory of Change. I'm confident that there are actually many more of us out there than we might realize. And my start in the MAGA world actually I have to go back all the way to the year 2000.

I was living in New York. I was 23 years old and I was very much a Ralph Nader voter. And supported him. And the reason I actually supported him first and foremost, more than any other reason, was because I figured out pretty quickly on that the two parties both disliked him. And even though the Democrats were more opposed to him, it seemed that both parties saw him as a threat and disliked him.

And so when I realized that it was very easy to support him. And I voted for him a few other times throughout the years. Now that was 23 years ago. Now, fast forward [00:04:00] all the way to 2015. And something I figured out pretty quickly about Trump, and I'm not going to say I was one of these guys who supported him as soon as he came down the elevator.

That's not true, but I did support him pretty early on. And the primary reason I supported him is actually the same reason I supported Nader. It's because I figured out that both parties were against him. And so more and more, I just very quickly and easily started to come to A lot of the political campaign rhetoric that Trump was espousing namely, but not limited to this could be America's last free election Hillary Clinton and the democratic party were existential threats to our country.

I very quickly bought into that and we'll get into, I think some of the reasons why that happens to many people and why it happened to [00:05:00] myself. But once I got very full into my support. Even when I would hear him make statements, even when I would hear him present policy ideas, as much as I sometimes may have wondered and raised an eyebrow wondering what it was that he was actually getting at or trying to say, it, it didn't ultimately matter because.

I saw the 2016 election as the, the pinnacle and the realization that I thought the democratic party was after, which was to win power at the presidency and never ever lose again. So I, I call it, I call MAGA and what has happened with the Republican party politically what their product is, is a product of political trauma.

Now I was in that world starting in 2015. I very much ardently supported Trump even [00:06:00] going, not only in 2016, but going into 2020, even though, even though I knew that his handling, even then of the pandemic I knew was very indifferent to the death and the illness that we were seeing all around us, but it didn't, it didn't ultimately again matter because I view 2020 just like I did 2016, another year.

This could be the last free election. Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton, the Democrats with Biden, another existential threat, we had to do whatever was necessary to stop them. So I wound up staying in the Republican world until about the mid midway point of 2021. So that, that gives me about six years as an activist.

Now, it's very common to hear people say, Oh, I was a Republican for 30 years. I was a Goldwater adherent. I was a, I was a Reagan conservative. I was in George H. W. Bush [00:07:00] conservative. That was not my life, actually. I was very anti the two party system. It's why I supported Nader. It's why I came to support Trump, even though he was running under a major party.

And so once I left that world in the summer. 21 which i'll get into some of the specific reasons why Yes, I was only an activist for six years, but i'm going to tell you matt that those six years I was so active. I was around so many other MAGA voters and activists that it probably was really more of the equivalent of 10 to 15 years of activism given just how Devout I was to the, to the MAGA world and something that is very underestimated and I think we'll get into this as well is even though it is a, a world, a reality that is dramatic and paranoid and really just rife with hysteria, MAGA does [00:08:00] provide a community and I think people do inherently yearn for wanting to it.

To be in civic communal environments. And MAGA did do that. I think you see that really at the, at the rallies in particular, there is, we might say it's cult like and make the jokes about Jonestown and Jim Jones. The flip side with the flip side with the MAGA world is that people do feel like they're in a community and they feel like they're around like minded people and very much it's, it's a, it's a MAGA safe space. It's where people feel like they can be themselves and they can, they can share in all of the existential enemies that they're all working together in tandem to defeat in this political, and for many of Then this holy war, spiritual war that we are engaged in.

So if you, if you think about this, [00:09:00] Matt, if you step back for a moment and think about political trauma and paranoia and hysteria and the opposing party is not just wrong on policy. They're just not wrong on ideology. They are bona fide enemies of the country and of the Republican conservative way of life.

If, if, if someone thinks that they will support anyone. Or anything. And that's a, that is a point, you mentioned the press at the outset. I was a former journalist many years ago. I was not someone who covered local or excuse me who covered national politics, but I was a local reporter. And so I don't think I've ever really lost the that that part of the journalist side of me, even though it was probably suspended for those six years that I was in the MAGA world.

But to address that point, because it's one we've talked about a lot, I've I've published stories, which are at my site, perfect. Our union. us,

Why the mainstream media is so delusional about "saving" the Republican party

LOGIS: I wrote a piece [00:10:00] for salon in which I said that the mainstream national media, the centrist center left press, New York times, Washington post, the Atlantic. They have this well intended but delusional yearning to save the Republican Party, that, that there's going to be some, there's going to be some political savior who's going to come in and save us from Trump and is going to restore the Republican Party back to this era of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, and Thank you.

I, I have a sense of why they do it. I think that the press and part of it, to be fair about this point, part of it is that most, most of those in the national press have not lived a MAGA existence. I have. So when they're looking at Trump and what's happened in the Republican party, they are looking at it from more in an abstract point of view.

They're really into intellectualizing. And they look at wanting [00:11:00] to save the Republican party because they feel like it's their journalistic duty to try to to, to ensure that we have a, a relatively healthy two party system and that, and that somehow we're going to, enough, enough Republicans are going to, are going to awaken from this MAGA slumber.

And they're going to say enough. And I think that what the indictments have shown all of them. The New York, the federal to federal in Georgia. My view is that these only strengthen him and I and while I am a little bit low to prognosticate, I would be much, much more surprised if he is not the nominee than if he is for next year.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. Yeah. Me, yeah, me too. And in terms of these non Republicans that, are, believe the Republican party is going to sort of organically dethrone Trump I think, I think for a lot of people who have that viewpoint, it [00:12:00] seems like, because for them, the Republicans that they know, so, like Uh, having formerly been a DC based Republican political consultant.

In my, I was not religious. I was yeah, I supported same sex marriage. I supported abortion rights. I was, I did not like the Christian right. So like, if you were a journalist covering politics, like people had no problem dealing with me and talking to me about things.

And, I think for some of them, they really thought that people like how I used to be were in control of the Republican party, that that's who was the. the base of the party. And, and it's just not true in most of the places. Now it is, it is the case that there are, still even now a pretty large number of people who vote Republican kind of habitually or, they, they just are like, well, I, I like low taxes and low regulation.

And I [00:13:00] don't. I don't believe in this Christian fundamentalist stuff. So I just ignore it and those people are not relevant to me. And so, that's how they rationalize things and they don't really pay attention to politics. The extent they might pay attention to anything political is listen to Joe Rogan.

And that's it like for, they don't watch cable news. They don't watch Fox. All of that is just. nonsense in their opinion. And so they don't really have an idea over what's happening in the party and who's controlling it, I think. So like that's kind of the, in my view, how the, these non MAGA Republicans and the, non Republican journalists, that's, I think that's how they're, they're kind of seeing things to some degree.

I don't know, tell me what you think.

LOGIS: I, I think that also this point on the, with the, with the press in particular, that it does seem to me it's relatively obvious to me that from column to column and op ed to op ed that [00:14:00] most, I don't think many in the press realize that the vast, vast majority of American voters, to your point, are actually not political and because they're not political, They're not consuming all of the news that we do.

They're not, they don't know all of the names that we do. They're not aware of a lot of the conspiracies that have permeated all across MAGA and are, whether it's overtly or silence is content that are accepted and supported. By the actual Republican party apparatus. It's to your point, they may, they may have voted.

I was, they were a Ronald Reagan voter and then they were a Bush voter and they're not, they're not maybe extreme partisans, but their voting habits are to typically just vote are down the, down the ballot. And they're Democrats like that too. We know that there are there, those are generally the people come out.

And I always voted in the primary when I was in the, in the [00:15:00] MAGA Republican world, because we felt an obligation to ensure that we got the best candidate to, to stop this, this whomever it was on the democratic side was, was a threat to us. It didn't matter. The other person's policy didn't matter about the person's character.

Didn't matter about the Democrat. Kennedy integrity, whether they were an incumbent or not, it just was, they're part of the enemy party. We have to do whatever we have to do to stop them and we'll nominate the person we think is best to defeat them. And so we do, we do forget, and I'm not saying we, you and I necessarily, but collectively, it is easily forgotten that most people aren't political.

Now, those types of Republicans you're mentioning, something that I've written about, and I will continue to, to argue this point is that throughout our history, And there are numerous examples, whether it's the American Revolution, whether it's the abolitionist movement, whether the Civil War itself, when Abe Lincoln sides with the Union against [00:16:00] other Americans at the, within the Confederacy, they were still Americans, but they were still, Abe Lincoln still sided against them to try to win this war and preserve the Union, whether it was the United States aligning with the Soviet Union in World War II, Republicans aligning with Lyndon B.

Johnson. There's other examples. Like. I could cite but with all of those examples, what underlines all of them and what ties them together inextricably is that they were very, they were very much what we saw historically were unlikely, but necessary alliances, and those Republicans who, who, who, If they, if they're not really aware, it's not such an easy task to make them aware, but I don't think that they're motivated by policy.

I don't think they're necessarily motivated by ideology, but if there's one topic that I do think the midterm show that even nonpolitical, [00:17:00] apolitical voters can get motivated over. It is democracy. It is democratic institutions and those republicans who may not be partisans, they, they have to be invited into the fold and welcomed to, to maybe side with those whom they might disagree with on policy to policy.

But this moment in history, I think, demands that these unlikely but necessary alliances really be formed. And I would, that's the kind of topic that I would like to see in the columns and the op eds of the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Atlantic and some other sites and publications that maybe are similar.

And we don't really see a lot of that. I think if the press spent the next year plus talking about how history demands in this moment, these unlikely but necessary alliances to, to continue moving the country forward, to continue on building on the ideals of our founding, to continue the perfection of our [00:18:00] union, I think that topic can resonate with people.

I think the midterm showed it. Typically the turnouts lower Democrats overall did very, very well in the midterms. It says to me that the topic of the perfection of the union, preserving democracy, strengthening democracy that can get through in the new and, and the major center centrist and center left press outlets can, can lead on that if they want to.

But I just think there's still, they're still stuck in the mud a little bit. They're still stuck on neutral. They're, they're just, Oh, this is it. I could just, I just imagine, some of the editorial meetings saying, Oh, yeah. With this indictment in Georgia, this, this is, this is finally it.

This is fine. This is the Charlie Brown Loosey moment. She's going to finally hold the football for him. He's going to kick it. And what they're going to discover, the press is going to discover is that that's not going to happen. That, that it's not, it's not going to happen the way they think.

How Republicans use psychological trauma to bind voters to the party

SHEFFIELD: Well, you had mentioned this idea of political trauma in, in your writing and also [00:19:00] in our discussions before today. Let's talk about that a little bit more here. So, a lot of, as you correctly noted, a lot of Trump supporters do have this idea of Democrats as, a threat to the entire existence of the United States.

And some of that, and, and on this show, we've talked a lot about. The religious aspects of that for, for many people that that's, that's why they think this, but it isn't only about religion for, for some people who have this viewpoint tell us about how you saw that when you were, when you had that opinion and, and why did you have that belief?

LOGIS: Yeah, and I think that the, I would refer to it as the Christian theocracy that is, that is part of the traumatic MAGA world. But to your point, it's not the only aspect of it. Something that does exist and I think is [00:20:00] actually promulgated and sold very, very well in right wing politics and in their media apparatus is,

there is, there are, There are mythologies that exist on the right that, as part of a lengthier discussion, I would argue actually date. All the way back to the beginning of our country, and those mythologies are centered on race. They're centered on sex. They're centered on gender religion. If you look at right now, the mythologies of of MAGA in particular, and I should say Matt, when I say MAGA, I'm also thinking the Republican Party to me, they're interchangeable.

And, and I, I think it's even more accurate to refer to them as, as MAGA, even more so than the Republican Party. If you look at the mythologies right now, they're, they're really based on this. It's about gays, sex, marriage, and Christian [00:21:00] theocracy and guns as these holy war weapons. And there's this, there's a lot of this racial animus and hysteria and paranoia.

President Obama is, is part of that. I call him the grim reaper because to this day, I think Barack Obama is actually the most lucrative figure in the history of the Republican party. He has, he has fundraised and brought ratings and all of that combined much more so than, than Ronald Reagan ever did. So I think it's just a side note that president Obama is the most lucrative figure.

I'm writing this book right now, I just started about Obama and Trump to juxtapose their leadership styles. I think that they are the most polar opposite success of president that we've ever seen in the history of America, but that's just a little bit of a, of a side note. So when I, when I was in, when I was in, in that, in that traumatic MAGA world, what, what is hammered over the head [00:22:00] of the adherence in the MAGA world is that a less white, less Christian and less heterosexual America. Is a nation in decline make america great again did not start with trump. It was actually Ronald reagan said it even president bill clinton said it at the time So when we think about make america great again the way that people internalize this the way that they construe What that make america great again?

What that that ethos really meant I think that to some extent some people can can interpret it on a case by case basis and for some They were, they were probably the ones I was around. They were, they were motivated by second amendment mythologies, the idea that, that the, the framers constructed that amendment to, to me, to what it meant was unfettered, unregulated [00:23:00] access to firearms.

And while I'm didn't quite get. That deep in the rabbit hole with them on that, I, I broadly speaking, did concur with, with that idea. There were other times where I would be in, I would, I would congregate, break bread with those in the MAGA world, and they would, they would talk about these other isms that have been mythologized on the right.

Communism. Socialism. Marxism is one that I think is relatively recent, and my My joke with Marxism is always, that I always ask, what did what did, let me see if I remember these, what did Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gumo ever do to the Republican Party to incur such ire against them as, as, as the Marx Brothers.

So that's one that's real, that is relatively recent. There's another that it would be, it was actually a relatively common discussion to talk about in America's racial history, [00:24:00] the discussion of, well, Yes, there was slavery, and yes, blacks were not treated very well, but that was hundreds of years ago, and why can't we just move on and get over that?

And And at the time, yeah, I would say, yeah, why don't we just get over it? Post racial america all of that. So that was always a part of it There was another part where we talked about there would be discussions about you mentioned same sex marriage it would be oh, yeah, gay americans.

They you know, they've got their right to vote You know what? What more do they want? Why do they have to flaunt it? Why do they have to show it and broadly speaking for the most part I bought into the mythology that we shouldn't look at anything through race. We shouldn't look at anything through, through class.

We wouldn't. We shouldn't look at anything through economics. Everything about the democratic party is you're a victim. You're a victim. You're a victim vote for me, support me. I'm going to come in and be your savior and then keep them as victims, create [00:25:00] this, this permanent underclass especially in minority communities.

And those Democrats who, who are, who talk a lot about equality and they talk about fair share and all of the, really what they're doing is just. Porting all the riches for themselves, giving some crumbs to others and keeping everybody coming back to keep voting for them. If you think about what I just said, Matt, right there, I cannot imagine something more insulting to the intelligence of tens and tens and tens of millions of Americans.

And that is a lot of what I thought it, what motivated me. And there is this inherent part of our nature of us versus them. It's just, it's in us, it's in our nature. That the challenge is trying to resist that. But something that that MAGA, the MAGA traumatic community also provides is it provides this, this really warped form of identity [00:26:00] politics.

And that identity politics is that America was built by. By by Caucasians that we were, we were a better country in the 1950s and 60s when America reached her apogee of of perfection and greatness. And that that part of that identity politics, there was this unison that we are the actual patriots.

There's more of us and we're going to conquer the democratic party. And we're going to We're going to do to them what they actually want to do to us. For those listening out there, they might sit back and think, is this, is this true? I mean, did people really think that? And the answer is yes. And they still do.

Yeah. In fact, I would, I would argue that the, I would argue that the, the the sycophancy of these, of adhering to these mythologies has actually only intensified since the 2020 election. Because remember, as Trump says, it wasn't that he was defrauded. It's that you MAGA [00:27:00] voters, you were defrauded. Wasn't that he was, you were, it's not that I'm indicted, you're indicted.

And that generally is the, and that, that's a tie that binds that, that, that keeps the, the abuse. I call the traumatized the abused. And unfortunately there is something again in our nature where the abuse tends to come back to the abuser. And I think that Trump voters, which again, I was one, I don't think that all of their reasons for voting for Trump were.

were invalid. These feelings of howling out of communities, jobs going overseas, feeling left behind and unheard by politicians. I think those are actually very real concerns. I mean, those are concerns that even President Obama had concurred with in the lead up to 2016. Now, unfortunately, with Trump, though, it's not simply to highlight those problems.[00:28:00]

Then present ideas, innovation to try to start to ameliorate some of those ills. What Trump did is he took those valid fears and exploited them. And I will continue to say that to a large degree, MAGA voters, even though I'm not defending ignorance, they have been victimized through this trauma of MAGA, and it keeps them coming back.

For a variety of reasons, I think, and I think not the least of which is the reason I went through, which is that it's really, really hard to admit when one is when one was mistaken. Because again, that's not in our nature to do that. It's not in our nature to say I was wrong. And when I decided to to publish my mea culpa I was ambivalent about doing it not because I was ambivalent about the the conclusion I came to But when I was thinking about penning these mea culpas, I was thinking You know, is anyone going to really care about this, but I felt like I needed [00:29:00] some closure And I'll get into the reasons why I left MAGA, but I needed some closure, and I felt like the way to do that was to announce to the world that I was wrong.

It shows that people can change their minds, and while it's not painless, it is really liberating, and it is possible. Mm

SHEFFIELD: hmm. Yeah.

Despite his many lies, Donald Trump often tells the truth about how little Republican elites value their voters

SHEFFIELD: And, one of the other things about the trauma of the, the Republican voter is constantly experiencing is that, so Trump told the truth about the Republican party in 2015 and 2016.

And so, like when you, when I, when I go and read various right wing discussion boards and, and forums and Twitter accounts, there, there is an overwhelming sense that. They don't like the Republican party. They only like [00:30:00] Trump and like that really is the key to, I think, to his hold on these voters that a lot of these, professional political class doesn't get is that.

They, Trump correctly pointed out to them and routinely points out to them that, the Republican party that sold itself as the representatives for rural America, for, blue collar white people, for Christians for, people who work with their hands the Republican party said, we are the party for you and then proceeded to.

Systematically betray them on every single level, whether it was, outsourcing their jobs, whether it was deregulating the companies that they work for whether it was rolling back the taking away their health care, whether it was, even, even making it taking no action on abortion other than, like, in terms of [00:31:00] popular support, they're, they decided, well, we're just going to do this through the courts.

We're not going to try to persuade people on abortion to agree with our viewpoint. And so, and then, and then. And they politicized their religion so much that it actually made their religious viewpoints less popular over time. And so literally everything that they told their electorate they were going to do for them.

They did the opposite for them, and, they took all the money that, should have been spent on infrastructure in various states, and, didn't spend any of that, and said they went and, started gigantic foreign wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and sorry, and Iraq. And... So Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate in 2015 to actually admit that that had happened.

Something that, in retrospect now, no one denies that this happened if you're a Republican. They admit that this happened. Like, a lot of [00:32:00] Republicans now, probably, I haven't seen any polling on it recently, but you know, if you ask, I would bet that a majority of Republicans now disapprove of George W.

Bush, have a negative viewpoint of him. And so, like that's, that's the thing that these, DC political Republicans don't understand is that their voters hate them. They hate them. And so you can't, you can't win them back with more of the same telling them you're going to make things the way they were before Trump.

No one wants that.

LOGIS: I, I would, so I'm, I'm actually publishing an article probably this week at the new republic. And one of the points that I make in it is very much in alignment with what you just said. It was very common. I mean, not once in a while common to be at MAGA events, Trump clubs with those with whom again, I would break bread, congregate, go to their homes.

We'd celebrate holidays [00:33:00] together. It was very, very common. To have discussions about how much we loathed the establishment Republican Party so much so that even with some, they, they disdained some of the so called rhinos, Republican in name only, they disdained rhinos for some of them, even more than they did the Democrats, the Democratic Party itself.

And there, there's this, so I have this hypothesis that. Whenever there's an indictment or there's some, there's some legal problem that, that Trump has, and he's going to be in and out of court probably in next year in the campaign. I have this hypothesis that privately, I think the Republican party is ecstatic about that.

I, I, I think that they look at it as, wow, we can actually have truly the best of two worlds here. The first is we could have Trump go away. Because they're still, party still has a little bit [00:34:00] of that delusion also, which I guess is somewhat ironic that they have that sense as the, as the center left centrist press does.

So there's this first part of, oh, we could finally, finally be, be done with this guy, do away with him. But then there's that other side, that other side of the word, which is, but, He's still lucrative to us. We can still fundraise off of him. We can still say that Merrick Garland and Joe Biden are persecuting him and thus persecuting other Republicans and conservatives, weaponizing the law against them just because of what they think or what they say.

So I think that the, the, the MAGA world, like the Republican party, I have spent so much time. In retrospect, since leaving the MAGA world in 2021, that when I look back on a lot of the, I had these discussions about, well, the Republican Party was a certain way at one time, or conservatism [00:35:00] was a certain way at one time, and I think that there is, there's a workshop test that happened when Trump started to bring you.

Yeah. To the forefront of national politics, which is trickled all the way down to state trickled all the way down to local that there's this workshop test where people view him as this and Maga as a as an ethos where they look at him and Maga and say, This is what I've been waiting for my entire life.

I mean, how many people, Matt, think about this, back in your circles. How many people do you know who said, depending on their age, they might have said, Wow, George W. Bush is exactly the guy represents exactly what I've been waiting my whole life for. Or people who said, Oh, John McCain, rest in peace, he's exactly what I've been waiting for.

And then Mitt Romney said, Oh, he's, he's boy, Mitt Romney, he's, he's, he's the guy to do he, I've been waiting my whole life for another guy like that, like another Ronald [00:36:00] Reagan. And then all of a sudden here came a guy. And that, that, that gravitational pull for people. I think that a lot of people, Matt, they didn't, they didn't realize.

And for some, they probably still don't, they don't, they didn't realize at the time that because of that. Years long experience and exposure that so many had to right wing politics, that they were low hanging fruit. They were, they were traumatized, whether they knew it or not. And, and they had the, they had the perfect outlet, which was MAGA.

And what MAGA does for them is it Affirms, it validates what they believe, what they think about America, what they think about, about the world, about how rhinos and Democrats and globalists conspire to erode our freedoms and usurp our rights. [00:37:00] And try to buy, buy fiat or some surreptitious way, take away our constitutional rights.

And in the MAGA world, you're, you're around people who think that. And, and so you don't just have, you don't just have the energy of, of one person who thinks that. You have the energy of millions of people. And for me personally...

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, you're, you're part of something. That is much bigger than yourself

LOGIS: and I don't and again, I don't think your point I just don't think that the the the DC the DC press the national press the coastal press You had a term for it.

I'm blanking on it. The what's the railway called up and down the up and down. Yeah, right. The Acela quarter, right? The Acela, the Acela conservative movement of, no, no, no, we're, we're, we're people who value integrity and we're people who value character, right? And evangelicals who, who, you know, they, they, they, [00:38:00] they they, they value, family support the rule of law.

Yeah. All right, the rule of law, high, high morality. We support high morality. And then all of a sudden there's this very fair question to evangelicals, Christian theocrats. And I'm not saying that all evangelicals are, I don't like to make blanket statements, but the evangelicals, the Christian theocrats who do support Trump and MAGA, that we can, we can make an exception, a lot of exceptions that have been made over the last many, many years by millions of people.

Well, we can make exceptions because. If, if this is God's will, if, if he, if he commands that this flawed conduit of righteousness is the man to save us from these demonic secular Democrats, then so be it. And. I think for many of them, they, they, they deep down in their heart of hearts. Those are sincerely held beliefs and I think you see, I think you see this [00:39:00] every single day in a lot of the way, whether it's a social media boards or the comments within, within that, within the right wing apparatus on those message boards, you see it really, it shows itself.

It manifests itself very clearly.

The moral relativism of Christian fundamentalism

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, yeah, well, yeah. And it's interesting because. When you look at a lot of the rhetoric the more highfalutin rhetoric out of Trump Trumpist commentators, they have this idea, like Jenna Ellis, Donald Trump's recently indicted former lawyer.

She, she believes that Republicans and, Trump supporters, they believe in moral absolutes. Like they, they constantly are saying that they're against moral relativism. And so for them, like they don't. They don't see it as inconsistent to support Trump because for them, they are thinking systematically, in other words, that, they believe that their viewpoints are the [00:40:00] absolute truth and they have no knowledge of the history of, of fundamentalism and how it actually was just kind of invented.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries actually in response to science it's basically a science of the Bible. Like that's what Christian fundamentalism is. And it completely collapsed under its own weight because, basically once people realized that, you can put all these chronologies in the Bible and, go back and calculate the, the age of the earth according to the Bible, you can do that.

But that's assuming that, the, the, that it's a literal document and you cannot prove that in any way whatsoever. And so, like, and then, but they, but they base it all on a moral philosophical standpoint called divine command theory, which basically says that, What God, that God alone is the determiner of moral morality and right conduct.

But of course, since there is [00:41:00] no, giant billboard with coming down from heaven saying, this is what God thinks about X, Y, and Z. Anybody can claim that they have God's authority. And in fact, that is, what a lot of the, especially on the Protestant side of things that they believe that.

And so. It is the height of moral relativism to have these viewpoints because they have no basis for determining what God says authentically and then they have no basis of authority. So really, it just comes down to, well, this is what I believe and what I believe is true because I believe it.

LOGIS: I'm going to make a bit of a general statement here.

And that statement is that, When we look at how the two parties, we were talking earlier about apolitical voters, primary voters. So my general statement is that if you look at the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, MAGA, the Republican Party is really essentially [00:42:00] solely a primary party. And I think the Democratic Party, not going to say that they don't have some aspect of that, but I do think that the Democratic Party is more of a general election minded party, the GOP is not, and what the really highly traumatic figures on the right, what they really understand well, is they, they understand what A lot of that trauma is that's experienced amongst their voters, the hysteria, the paranoia, the wake up in the middle of the night, sweating fears.

And Christian theocracy is really a very important mythology for them because we know that probably most likely, right? We know that the United States is, is a, is a nation that. Has fewer [00:43:00] churchgoers. And, and there's a variety of reasons that people can debate as to, as to why that is, but as we, as we diversify over time, of course, there are people who are, are Christians who may be as part of our growing diversity, but there's also those who, who are not, whether they share in other religious beliefs whether it's another Abrahamic religion or some other religion, or maybe they're just more secular mind.

And so. No one's actual First Amendment right to freedom of worship is being infringed. No one's rights are being infringed. Those who want to express their religious views however they want to are able to do that. But for the politicians and the pundits on the right who recognize that there's this, this constant, always growing, always expanding, Hysteria and paranoia on the amongst the MAGA voters [00:44:00] that we are, we are becoming and have been becoming over time a less Christian nation.

And thus, to your point about morality and relativism, if we're becoming a less Christian nation, That means we're becoming a more secular nation, and as we become more of a secular nation, then we become more of a communist and socialist and Marxist nation. And again, Matt, I have to emphasize this point amongst the, amongst the primary voters who think that they genuinely believe that.

But I'm going to say this, the politicians who espouse that b******t, they don't believe that stuff. They don't think that. I mean, I, part of the reason I left MAGA, if I, if I can mention this, because I, I, I want to give the reasons why. It was actually Rhonda Sanchez, who was the impetus for my eventual egress out of MAGA.

Republican politicians' abrupt change on Covid made Rich question the party

LOGIS: So I've lived in Florida for many years, and [00:45:00] here, here when the, when the pandemic started in 2020, we, we, right, high, very highly populated senior citizen state. So I think that. Overall, I want to try to be fair on this point. I think overall, from when the pandemic started until about spring 2021, I thought that Governor DeSantis actually handled the pandemic relatively well.

Based on what was known based on how data was changing. We know that that was all happening, but what he was more than anything that I was most pleased about if he was very, very staunchly pro vaccine, he was touting the vaccine. He was taught he helped develop a system here in the state. So senior citizens could be the first ones vaccinated.

I was impressed. I was relieved. And I remember when and where it really started for me. Mhm. Is when, if you recall the, the Delta surge started in the summer of 2021. Now, at the time [00:46:00] I had two young kids, I wasn't overly concerned about them getting sick. But what I started to see, and especially in the local press, is I started to see that Delta with kids were, were, were becoming ill from COVID.

And there were even, sadly, the occasional stories about children dying from COVID. And we didn't really see that in the alpha stage. We, we started to see it more with Delta. And I remember talking with Floridians here and, and even, even actually pro vaccine Trump voters, because I do think that I should mention that they're, they are out there and I knew some of them.

And I remember conversing with them that and saying, when kids started getting sick, very explicitly, saying Governor DeSantis is going to divorce himself from the anti vaccine crowd. He has to. I'm not saying that seniors getting sick and dying was not tragic. It was, I think, though, that when kids start getting sick, and I'm not a scientist, I'm not an immunologist, I'm not an infectious disease [00:47:00] doctor.

So I do not speak about topics I don't know about. But I think that once kids started getting sick, it showed that COVID had become more contagious, had become deadlier. And I just remember We're thinking this is the Santa. He's going to, he's going to sever ties. And actually the exact opposite happened.

And seemingly overnight he went from an advocate for the vaccine to an anti vaccine Republican. And I, and I, I just, I think, I don't, I don't mean that in a literal sense, but in somewhat of a figurative sense and somewhat, I guess, of a literal sense also, he, he became anti vaccine overnight. And that was a shock.

And a jolt because even as a MAGA person, I was not anti vaccine. I didn't think that COVID was some Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates bioweapon. As a side note, which I'll get to in a moment, I also didn't believe that the 2020 election was [00:48:00] stolen. So when I saw DeSantis do that, when I saw him become ardently in in opposition, the vaccine.

It shocked me and jolted me to the point where pretty quickly I started to doubt my support for him because of that topic. And the reason is because I just think that there are certain topics, there are certain issues rather that when there's a line of demarcation, if that line of demarcation is crossed, I don't think there's any coming back from it.

And I think with, with the vaccine and COVID, I think the line of demarcation that the Santa's crossed and subsequently so many other Republicans in the party that what, and of course many of their voters, the line of demarcation that was crossed was he went. From pro vaccine to someone who then said, even though he may not have literally said these words, but he said that it was that avoidable death and suffering were [00:49:00] acceptable when that line is crossed.

You cannot come back from that. Yeah, you cannot realize.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And you realize that he was doing this deliberately that, because he saw a political advantage. Into becoming anti vaccine and it wasn't, and I don't want to put words in your mouth. So you tell me what you thought, but, it's like you realize that this was not sincere, like his motivations were purely.

Calculating and not based on altruism, not based on leadership, just based on, well, this will get me more Republican support. So I'm going to do it.

LOGIS: There started to be an uptick in, in notoriety with Trump getting booed at his rallies over the vaccine. Very clearly there [00:50:00] was information and knowledge that the Santas had that the, the MAGA, because you can't win a primary without MAGA.

It's new. It's mathematically impossible. I mean, right now it's mathematically impossible. There's not enough time to go and get those apolitical Republicans to vote in primaries. So mathematically right in the here and now it is statistically impossible. I mean, 0 percent chance of winning a primary when you're talking about statewide or, or, or, or even in certain cases, certain even local state seats, local seats, it's not possible.

So he very clearly saw that shift. And he just immediately adapted his rhetoric. I did not believe then that and I do not believe right now to this day that Rhonda Sanchez, that he believes that that the covid vaccine is what is what he says it is that there that there were these. [00:51:00] unmarked adverse effects, that it was some bio weapon biome.

He calls it the bio medical state, that it was some form of tyranny to oppress us. And then he hires a a surgeon general for our state who in any reasonable context would be left out of a hospital, left out of a medical school classroom. Deep down, I know that Ron DeSantis doesn't believe what he says about the vaccine.

I know that he doesn't believe What he says about how, how, how kindergartners and elementary school and all kids of all different ages are being indoctrinated to be, to being made gay and being made transgender. I mean, I know teachers, okay. They, they're so busy. Like they don't have any time to make kids gay.

I mean, even if they wanted to, they're just, they don't have the time or the, neither the time nor the energy to do it. I know that deep down, he does not believe this. [00:52:00] And as I started to see that. Insincerity unfold. I mean, it's one thing for a politician to change his stance, flip flop and lie, because we almost expect that, right, of a lot of politicians.

But again, I'm going to come back to this point, because it was the first prong, the two prong reason that I, that I left MAGA, because I always say with my MAGA egress, to paraphrase Hemingway, it happened gradually and then suddenly all at once. Once I started to realize with the Sanchez and then subsequently later on the Republican party, even Trump himself, because he, he kind of waivers right on the vaccine.

Sometimes he's proud of it. Sometimes he doesn't want to talk about it. I saw that line of demarcation being that the Republican party said that it, that, that avoidable death and suffering. are acceptable. And I think there's other topics that I will add to that. For example, firearm related deaths.

That's that's another area where where Maga and and and by extension, the [00:53:00] Republican Party, they've adopted a stance that avoidable death and suffering. It's okay. It's acceptable. It's acceptable to do that of all ages, not just Children of all ages. I don't believe you. I don't believe you can come back from that.

And then the other two prong, the second prong of this, Matt, was that when January six happened, okay, for many, many months, I was in the, well, it wasn't good, but what's the big deal camp? That was some, some idiots who went and rioted. They were a bunch of idiots. They were dopes. They, most of the people there were peaceful.

Why are we still talking about this? Okay. Why are we still mentioning all this? Just move on from it. And this was happening right around the time when DeSantis made his, made his flip on the vaccine, summer 21, the continued stolen election rhetoric of Trump. I started to more and more realize just how, and again, to use this adjective, how traumatic it really was [00:54:00] for the country, for MAGA voters.

So I decided to do something which was to question and challenge my own understanding of what really led to January 6th. And so I decided to delve deep into some of those, some of the conspiracies that have since... permeated across MAGA, but are overtly and publicly endorsed by Trump himself, whether it's QAnon or Oath Keepers or Three Percenters or Proud Boys.

Once I started to get into the rabbit hole of these organizations, these conspiracies, it started to make a lot more sense why January 6th happened. So I had. I had this road to Damascus moment where I had to make one of two choices. I either continue to support this, the support of acceptable [00:55:00] deaths, the support of acceptable suffering, the support of this trauma based on, on conspiracies and hysteria and paranoia that have resulted in loss of life, that have resulted in Widows that have resolved resulted in permanently injured police officers.

I had to, I came to, I came to the line and I made, I had to make one or two choices, thankfully. And I give thanks for this, Matt, every day I give gratitude for this. I didn't cross over that line because I often think to myself, I often think about this, what if Trump had won in 2020? I don't. Really want to think about.

I have thought about and I don't have a pretty picture of how I would have continued to think about all of these traumatic [00:56:00] mythologies. I think it's extremely unlikely that I would have had this political and personal epiphany had trump won in 2020. I think I would have simply Carried on with as bad as everything that Trump might've said, or the Republican Party does, or how much I can't stand the establishment Republicans and the RINOs, I, I dislike them almost as much as the Democratic Party.

However, having said all that, if I, if Trump wins and I'm still in that world, which I think almost certainly I remain in that world, I'm still unified against the never ending existential threat. And I think a lot of people, Matt, I can't say this for certain, but I have a, I've got a pretty strong inkling about this that I think some people came to their own line.

Some decided not to cross it, but unfortunately and sadly, some did. And democratically, that's the first step [00:57:00] to. And I'm going to use this, put in kind of quotes, defeating MAGA, because I don't, I don't really think that ideologies can be defeated in the way we think about simple wins, simple losses. But democratically is the first way to do it.

I'll come back to the point about unlikely, but necessary alliances. I believe that MAGA is going to be democratically defeated next year. I think that the Republican Party knows that their party is terminally ill. I believe that the Republican Party is expecting, they are preparing, they're, they're building the bunker, so to speak, going to the mattresses to quote the Godfather, that they are expecting massive, even perhaps historic electoral losses up and down the ballot next year.

If that happens, which I believe that it will, it's, it's what my wish is, because even though I am not registered with any political party, I am registered to vote. I, I cannot, I, I, I must support Democrat [00:58:00] candidates next year, whatever my reservations or qualms about some of what I think about the Democratic party and some of their candidates and some of their activism, I don't really see a choice, I mean, theoretically we have a choice, but I don't really see a choice and I will support Democrats up and down the ballot.

And once the Republican Party, I believe is in its current form, once it is mercy killed, now there's another challenge. And that challenge is a really uncomfortable one. And that uncomfortable challenge is those who decided to form those unlikely but necessary alliances are going to have to be the ones who lead the national reconciliation.

With the MAGA voters who, who will, I, I, I do think some are going to come to the conclusion that they have to leave behind that world. Maybe that sounds naively optimistic. I don't mean for it to sound utopian. I don't mean for it to sound Pollyannish in [00:59:00] any kind of way, but I, I really do think that it's going to happen.

And I'm not making an exact comparison between the Confederacy and MAGA. But. After the Civil War in postbellum America, it was, it was the goal of Abe Lincoln, who was assassinated three days after the surrendered Appomattox, and sadly, it's one of history's saddest urges that Lincoln did not get to see some of the fruits of his labor reconciled, and, but two presidents later, we had U.

S. C. 's S. Grant, and even right after the war ended, and then as president, U. S. Grant led the reconciliation reconciliation. amongst the Northern Union residents and former soldiers and the Confederate soldiers. And that was really hard for Lincoln. I mean, I can only imagine how difficult it was, how difficult it was for Lincoln, for, for Grant.

And I'm telling you, Matt, I think we are in that moment right now. I, for as much as people will talk about, make these comparisons about the Civil War and right now, I actually think the better comparison [01:00:00] Is what happened after the Civil War and what I believe will and has to happen after democratically MAGA is defeated next year, and I know a lot of Maybe Democrats or Trump loathing Republicans who hear that.

That's probably, they're probably not going to really like how that sounds. Right. They're going to say, screw them. They, they made the bed when I'm lying in it. It's not our responsibility to reconcile with them. I understand those points. And I'm not saying that there aren't some similarities between right now and antebellum America in the lead up.

to the Civil War. But there is going to be a necessary reconciliation because you're talking about tens and tens of millions of Americans. And our democracy, we, we cannot keep moving forward in the perfection of this union with tens upon tens upon tens of millions of Americans who are living in a balance of reality.

We can have disagreements about policy. We can have disagreements about approach. We can, we can argue data and studies [01:01:00] and America is a big place. We have a lot of room for beliefs and opinions and facts and data, but we have to come to a place in the country where there are more of us who agree on basic sets of facts, and that's going to be really, really hard.

But I, I, I, and I, I think that the idea of saving is again, well intended, but I think it's one of the more Sisyphean delusional endeavors of mankind, the idea that we can save someone or save something. But having said that, I think that MAGA voters need to be saved from themselves because what that, that, what that world, what that, what that world has done to them, both pre MAGA and during it.

What that world has done to, they, they have harmed themselves. They have, they have, they have, they have harmed their, their communities. And I'm trying to say this without casting aspersions [01:02:00] or judgment, but they've, they've harmed their own lives. And as a result of that, the country has been harmed. And as someone who was a former MAGA voter, I am imploring those out there who are going to hear this.

And I guarantee Matt, they're going to know someone, probably close to them. And they're going to say, I can't get through to my, to my mother. I can't get through to my dad. I can't get through to my wife. I can't get through to my, my, my son. I don't invite my daughter anymore to, to Thanksgiving. That is trauma, and it's not going to be easy, can be healed.

Democratically is the first step. After that, now we're going to need leaders on the side of reconciliation. And that's going to be, again, that's going to be a really arduous task, but anything that is worth it in the long run typically is arduous, right? It, it, it's, it's going to be, and we, and [01:03:00] we are gonna need to have innovative ways of figuring out how to rebuild and, and mend again, these civic and communal ties.

We're going to need to, we're going to need to do that. And just one other point, man, I think this is very important to note this. When I write these, whenever written, these mea culpas, I, I, I, I'd be remiss if, if I, if I omit that there is some trauma on the Democrat side because it's, it's not that uncommon.

It doesn't happen a lot, but it isn't. That rare where I'll receive a comment from someone who identifies as either a democrat or some anti trump voter And they will say to me rich, I You know, I just go away you you voted twice for this guy Actually, I voted four times for trump because it was twice in the primary also, I voted two hampton's primary in general election.

I did not vote for him in last year's election I'll have democrats or those traumatized from trump. Tell me just stop talking. Shut up Go away. You're, you're a, [01:04:00] you're a Nazi in sheep's clothing. I had a, someone say that to me and, and these are people who right now I'm, I'm aligned with them broadly speaking on, on the, on the importance of strengthening our democracy and our democratic lowercase d institutions.

So it exists not there too. It's not absent on the side of the world. Left where, where, where there is this trauma, and I think some of those individuals as well, I want to be invitational to them to invite them back into, in, in, into, into more of that mending that civic tie because I think there's gonna be some reconciliation needed with those who, no matter how many times I, I'm remorseful and say I was wrong, some of the anti-Trump voters are, are, are gonna say to me, I don't care.

What you did was unforgivable. We have to somehow move on from that too. It's going to be hard, but we need to figure out ways to do it. Yeah,

Why Democrats are trying to divide MAGA from Republicans

SHEFFIELD: And it is interesting when you look at [01:05:00] some of the political strategizing from Joe Biden during the 2020 election. That he did, make it a point to differentiate between what he called the ultra mega.

Republicans and, just kind of the habitual ones. And that is, it is, it is an important thing to, to note. And but another thing that's going to have to be part of this reconciliation is that, people who live outside of the right wing media ecosystem.

And it's, it's got to be pierced in many different ways because, if, and I, and I, I agree that, it seems likely that Trump is not going to prevail in 2024, but you never know. I mean, Biden could have some physical ailment or who knows what. And, but let's say that happens, the, the right wing media media [01:06:00] ecosystem is going to go into overdrive after that moment to try to blame, to, to cast aspersions on the rest of America, because I mean, it's important to note here that basically, these far right media outlets like Fox news or daily wire or gateway pundit or any of these other ones.

Yeah. , their goal is to get their audience to hate America. That is what their goal is.

They want you, if you believe the things that they say are true, they are telling you not only is Satan controlling the Democrats, But America is a fallen nation. It is a nation that is communist. It is a nation that is godless. It's a nation that is, dominated by insert whatever group you are terrified of the most here.

And, people who are outside of that, they can, it's I, I do think that it's [01:07:00] probably the biggest difficulty that they face in trying to oppose this mega extremism is to understand, it's totalizing, this is something that, they, it is brainwashing. That is what is going on here.

And if you're a leader. Or you have access to funding or whatever, like you need to reallocate what you're doing because, throwing some TV ads out there about how Trump is bad or whatever, like all of that's over once the election's gone, all that money you spent. Is flushed down the toilet nothing lasts from that and, you haven't really accomplished the goal if, if that's what your objective is, is to defeat this extremism.

It has to be a lasting project.

LOGIS: Well, just as Matt, just as I think that MAGA voters. Either don't realize or do realize and don't care just as MAGA voters don't realize or [01:08:00] don't care that the politicians they listen to do not believe what they're saying. I mean, whether you want to talk about, I mean, maybe Trump believes that he really.

Lost the election. I, I vacillate a little bit on that. Sometimes I think he does, sometimes I think he doesn't, but everything else that he talks about, whether it's, transgender ideology, or we're gonna, what was the one idea he had? We're gonna, we're gonna build cities, like this, like, this brave new world, Huxleyan idea, like, he doesn't believe any of this stuff.

He's a, he's a, He's a pro abortion rights, pro abortion access guy, but,

SHEFFIELD: but, supported same sex marriage.

LOGIS: Absolutely. He's, he's, he's on saying, he said, Oh yeah, I'd let a transgender person participate in my, in my pageants. But if you don't know, or you don't care, you're not realizing that, that, that these politicians are, if you're MAGA, you don't realize, or don't care that they're lying to you.

[01:09:00] They mock you in private. They are insulting your intelligence. They are, They are exploiting you, both your, your spirit and your soul and your money and your wallet. And I, I think the other side of this too, and I'm glad you brought this up with Fox because my hot take on this is I think that Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch are the two most traumatizing figures in the history of American media.

Some might argue, Rush Limbaugh, some might argue and Andrew Breitbart they're certainly. Their legacies are certainly traumatic, but I think Ailes and Murdoch are the, are the, are the ones who stand atop that very traumatic mountain and look at the Fox pundits. I mean, look at these, Sean Hannity does not believe what he said.

Laura Ingram does not believe what she says. Jesse Waters, they do not believe. And people watching that, you, you, you wonder. [01:10:00] One of the reasons that they are watching this, even if some of them think, well, I don't, yeah, that's probably not true, or, well, that might be an exaggeration, or, but again, it's the feeling of validation.

It's the feeling of, we're a, we're a, we're a browning and darkening nation. We're a diversifying nation. White Americans are projected to be a minority. in the year 2040 based on what we know about population and census demographics. And so that stuff is, is just, it's like the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange, right?

Where the eyelids are sewn open and the character is Labarge, right? I think was his name. He's just, he's being indoctrinated and propagandized with the film in front of him and his eyes are open. He can't close them. So he's seeing that. That is what. happens and what is done and continues to be done on the right wing media apparatus side.

[01:11:00] And when I was, when I was in MAGA, especially near the end of it, I was a Fox viewer pretty much every night, watch Tucker Carlson and think, wow, that's. That's awful. Or that never thinking, wow, that really happened. We're listening to a Laura Ingraham and think, and then all of a sudden coming out of that world turned Fox right off.

And once it turned off, I'm telling you that it started to clear some of the fog of my own mental state. The brain fog that I had, it started to go away. And so we can't, we cannot overlook that. I, I won't, I don't want to overlook the fact that a lot of this media that's on the right wing side, these are people who don't believe this.

They simply, they, they, they have the proverbial finger on the pulse. They, they know what is lucrative. They know what will drive. The audience and keep the audience because it's important. Retention is very, very important in media because of of of the of [01:12:00] the fleeting attention span that we is our homo sapiens species just has right.

So getting the getting them to tune in is one getting to read is one. But then there's the other about retaining them. And I think that the center center left press there, they're coming. They're trying to approach us more as actual journalists. Thank you. And I don't want their news stories to be biased.

Okay. I want them to be as unbiased as possible. And I'm not saying that the center left and centrist pressed are the only savior there. It's not that they're going to save the day. I don't think that it's fair to put all of that, the onus on them entirely. But if we start now piecing together some of these topics we've been talking about, like Defeating MAGA democratically, unlikely, but necessary alliances a media, an adult media, I call adult media, national media, national media apparatus, who is, is not just engaging in group group think, [01:13:00] but their columnists and their op eds are, are very much clear and explicit that.

We are in a state right now where we do not have a healthy two party system and whatever my, whatever my dislike of the two party system, because I think dislike of the two party system is probably a commonly, it's probably an issue that actually binds a political and very political people right in this kind of way.

So whatever we've always been a two party system that we're always going to be, but we are not a healthy two party system right now. I don't say vote Democrat because I want one party rule, but the only way that we're going to develop a healthier two party system is we must mercy kill this current iteration of the Republican party.

And then after that happens, then the more serious considerate Republicans, whether we're talking a Mitt Romney type, or we're talking about someone like a Brian Fitzpatrick, who's in Pennsylvania. [01:14:00] He's a, he's a congressman, maybe a guy like a Spencer Cox in Utah, the governor. I saw him speak recently.

Again, don't agree with his, a lot of us don't agree with some of his policy approaches, but he's, he's an adult, right? He's sensible. Okay. I can sit down at a table and talk with a person like this, those more responsible Republicans. They're going to have a big decision to make also. Because they're going to need to figure out where do we go once this MAGA Republican party has splintered?

Because I think that's what happens after next year, Matt. I think you have a further splintering of the GOP. You have the MAGA side. You have the, more of the Mitt Romney McCain side. And then you have what I'm going to call, quote unquote, more liberal Republicans. And these are going to be Republicans whose policies are very much a purple shade of red.

So if you think about what I just said right there, that you're, you still got all these factions who are, who are still going to have to compete for the attention span of primary [01:15:00] voters. You're going to still see that. Yeah.

How multi-party voting can help disaffected people from getting seduced by reactionism

SHEFFIELD: Well, and, and some of what's got to happen is that people need to be going, pushing for rank choice voting to make.

third parties easier to win because, cause the reality is that there are a lot of people who may not like, some Trumpist Republican who ends up with a nomination. But they don't feel like there, that there is an alternative. And so, but you know, when you look at where ranked choice voting has been.

put into place, it actually has helped to defuse some of this right wing extremism. So like in Alaska, for instance, where they put in ranked choice voting for the general election and, and for their primaries that, Sarah Palin was the, was the leading Republican candidate up there, but she ended up not winning the, the general election because a lot of the supporters of the other Republican.[01:16:00]

They just couldn't stomach somebody like her. And they didn't have to, like, that's the beauty of ranked choice voting is that you can say, I don't like the Democrats but you also don't have to like who the Republicans put in front of you either. And that's the beauty of that. And, and it's, and it's really going to be something that's a really important goal.

And then the other thing is that, is getting people to accept that, you don't. Let's say, let's say you don't want to vote for the Democrats. Just don't vote for Trump or, the people that he puts forward. Like that is a thing that people are also moving to. Like when you look at, especially like in Georgia, for instance in 2020, Donald Trump got, and he got, at least I think 70, 000 fewer votes.

than the other down ballot Republicans did. And, and we saw the same thing in Arizona where Carrie Lake, when she was running for the governor's seat there, [01:17:00] she got, at least a hundred thousand fewer votes than the other Republicans did. And some of whom actually ended up winning their race.

And that's, that is something that, that people should really be thinking about as well. And, you may not be able to bring yourself to go and vote for a Democrat. And, no party's entitled to your vote. No one's entitled to get your vote, I don't think. But, at least do yourself and the country a favor and don't.

Go out and support people who want to destroy the country and have a dictatorship

LOGIS: That that's part of the logic why I've remained a. We call it in Florida, an NPA, no party affiliated voter. And I feel exactly the same way. And going all the way back to the outset of our conversation today, Ralph Nader, running as the green party.

And there was this feeling, we, and of course being in New York at the time, I realized even back then, well, [01:18:00] Al Gore was going to win the votes anyway. So it was a risk free vote for me, but there also was this feeling with, with the rate with the excuse me, the Nader. Campaign where, we were really sticking it to, to, to al Gore in particular.

We were, we were sticking it to 'em and, and, and we're gonna, we're gonna, we're gonna show them no. No one is owed our vote. You have to earn it. You have to work for it. And that's why I've decided to keep this NPA status. And one contradiction I want to underscore is that you've heard this talking point recently that The place to really quote unquote, indict Donald Trump is not in the courtroom.

It's at the ballot box. And I, I'd like to underscore the, the the contradictory hypocrisy of that statement because the Republican party prides itself on saying that we're a Republican, not a democracy, which actually isn't true. We're actually both. And that's a whole other conversation [01:19:00] about how the framers quite ingeniously devised a.

Complex majority rule, democratic, lowercase d republic. So when they, when I hear the GOP or MAGA or otherwise talk about we're a republic, not a democracy, I find it, I find it contradictory. And they note that it is that that same party who says we're a republic, not a democracy, wants a democratic resolution to, to, to Trump.

And so, again, I don't, I think it just comes back to as part of my. As part of my remorse, as part of the feeling of the mistake that I made, where I want to try to get through to MAGA voters is, is to say to them that, number one, I don't think, I think that most MAGA voters deep down are good people. I was at an event recently and met many MAGA voters whom I did not know, met them for the first time.[01:20:00]

And honest to God, Matt, I mean, the people I met, if I, if I were on the side of the These are people who would have pulled over in the rain, helped me change a flat tire, and wanting to take in money to do it. There is a goodness in them. There, there, there, there is a decency. And While it's going to be really difficult, we are gonna and and the right wing apparatus, we have to go up against, we're gonna have to go up against those conglomerates.

We're gonna need to go up that go against that force field, but with this good and decency that that are in them as human beings, we have to find ways of appealing to the better and braver angels of our nature, because I know that deep down that so many of them are good people. And when I've had discussions with them, I haven't tried to change their mind.

I think that's another futile endeavor, the idea of changing minds. But what I've, what I've said to them eye to eye, just like we're talking now, as I said, I don't want to, I don't want to [01:21:00] try to persuade you to change your mind, but I want, I want to ask you this question for you to think about. Is it possible that some of your, just like I thought, is it possible that some of your sincerely held beliefs, your opinions are mistaken, that they are incomplete?

That maybe they lack nuance. Maybe they're too black and white. And let me tell you what I discovered. Even though it was a small sampling size, granted, wasn't hundreds, it was not even dozens. It was a handful. Let me tell you what I discovered when I asked that question of MAGA loaders at an event I attended recently.

There was a little bit of silence and they said, it's possible. Yeah, it's possible. So right there, the door creaked open just a bit because it's, it's, it's not. It's not go even for me. It didn't happen [01:22:00] overnight. Yes, I joke it was it happened gradually and then suddenly all at once. It's going to take time because once the door once the doors open, that's where we appeal to them as fellow human beings as fellow Americans.

They are never ever to your point that you made earlier. They are never ever going to get that from most of the politicians they listen to whom they vote for to the pundits they listen to. For the most part, Matt, these are you. These are rhetorical performers and whatever, whatever my, whatever my strong, I've had strong feelings about this.

How disinformation gives permission for extremism

LOGIS: I hope that that's come through here, but whatever my feelings about some differences of opinion policy, I might have with the Democratic Party. I see their party mostly comprised of people who I think see government as a way of improving people's lives. It doesn't mean that it always, it always [01:23:00] get it right.

It doesn't mean that we're not going to disagree with how they, how they may have came, came to an outcome. But the, but the way that MAGA looks at government is they want government to be retaliatory. That's what this entire Disney episode was about here in Florida with the Santas. And the reason that they want this retaliatory government, the reason that they are, they are, they are willing to abdicate.

Some of their own freedoms into some light version of authoritarianism is because some light version of a dictatorial type government is because that's what they see the Democrats as. So they're, they're willing to, to vote for this, for this, for the MAGA side. Even if it, even if it means being mocked, having their intelligence insulted, having rights taken away, [01:24:00] especially ones that have existed for decades, like the right to abortion access.

They see the Democrats as that authoritarian dictatorial party. And so because they see the Democrats that way, they're willing to accept it on their side because they see, they see right wing retaliatory government as superior and preferable to a left wing one. And All throughout this conversation today, I think what runs consistent through it all is that there was a, there is a lot of trauma in the country and, Trump was able to capture the lightning in a bottle, so to speak, he figured out pretty quickly what These MAGA or MAGA in the making voters want it to be, it's like you said earlier about the feeling of, of, of losing their country.

Our, our, our culture is being eroded. Our values are being eroded. And it comes right back to the slogan, make America great again. [01:25:00] Restore America to this constitutional mythological place where Children prayed in public schools and we kept our doors unlocked at night. Down the street from where the kids prayed and where you kept your doors unlocked were black Americans who crossed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery to ask, to ask not for preferential treatment and rights, but equal treatment and rights.

So we tend to forget the fire hosing of blacks or the stones and the pellets thrown at a Ruby Bridges or George Wallace standing in front of the school or. fill in the blank of, of, of, of gender discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation. So America was great for many people in that mythological epoch of the 50s and the 60s.

Sure it was for many, [01:26:00] but it wasn't for everyone. And that perfection of the union I think President Obama, speak so eloquently about this history doesn't move in a straight line. It zigs and it dags. It's uneven. We make progress. Then we take a step back. We make progress. We take a step back. If you look at the founding of America and the constitution itself, bill of rights, yes, it's a complicated document because our founding was complicated.

Our framers were complicated, but if you actually look at the constitution, the bill of rights, it's very much a. a progressive, meaning progress, they are compromised progress documents. They are documents that, that establish that the country over time is going to be best when there is more equal protection and equal right to quality under the law.

The constitution of framing and the framers documents do, there is, there's, there's a, there might be a Conservatism side too, but I would argue it's really more of a [01:27:00] conservation than conservative because I have a, I have, what shall we say? I love, hate with conservatism. Even when I was in the MAGA world, I actually had a little bit of a love, hate with conservatism because I think that conservatism writ large, it's not that all of the tenants of it are, are bad.

It's not that some of them aren't aspirational, but the biggest problem with conservatism over the years is that. The messengers of conservatism are Ideologically, they're malleable. They're, they're whatever that they need to be. So if conservatism is about your one is principled, no matter what one support speech, even when we don't like it, we uphold the rule of law, even if we don't like who's indicted or convicted.

If someone is a, says he or she is a conservative and stays true and consistent to that, fine, that's a message you're all listening to. But let's be honest about this. Let's be candid. If you look at the most prominent conservatives over the years, they do not, they do not follow [01:28:00] this supposed principled position that they, that they claim that they adhere to.

Yeah. Yeah.

SHEFFIELD: Well, and, and I mean, ultimately, those disempowered conservatives who, are actual believers in the rule of law. They have to accept and understand that MAGA is not conservative. It is reaction, reactionism. It is, a hatred for, because the, the point of conservatism is supposed to be sort of a way of tempering the changes demanded by.

Liberalism or, social democracy. It's supposed to say, Hey, I'm not against change. I just want to make sure we do it right. And we do it in a safe way. That's what conservatism is supposed to be. Conservatism isn't supposed to say. I want to go back to the way things were. And that's something that Dwight Eisenhower really tried to get the Republican party to [01:29:00] understand in the 1950s.

And, and ultimately, a Republican, for the Republican party to be. Become, again, a part of the American political experiment in a successful and, and healthy manner, they have to, to go back to that Eisenhower perspective and understand that the biggest threat to conservatism is reactionism, that they are coming for you first, and so you need to come for them.

LOGIS: Well, I think that's why social issues have always been so effectively traumatic for the right way. Because they are reflective of changes that we see, we see more men marrying men, more women marrying women, we see more diversity around our lives, our communities, businesses, we frequent, frequent, excuse me, our workplaces those are, those are, [01:30:00] those are, those are visuals.

And so when people start to feel like, well, this is not the, this is not the America I grew up in. And now, of course, that that way of thinking has trickled down into the right wing youth movements, right, with Turning Point, where we see that, where there's, there's young, young men and women, late teens in their 20s, who are, are basically growing up and probably the best time ever to be young, right, but they're being told.

Well, let me tell you how America used to be, let me tell you what it was like in the 60s. Let me tell you what it was like in the 50s. Boy, if we get, we get back to that, that's, that's the America I know, the Chevrolet, apple pie and baseball America, right? That's the, that's the, that's how we're, and, and so young people, right, are, are, are hearing this and thinking, yeah, I want to go back to this America, but.

They're not really asked, but you never really lived in that America. So, how, how do you know, how do you know about [01:31:00] what it really was? And you mentioned earlier a point about, the less densely populated areas of MAGA, maybe, and I think this is another blind spot with the, with the press, the centrist center left national press is that there's, there is this, I think there is this underlying.

Maybe even almost, it's maybe a bit taboo, but there's this underlying sentiment of a lot of MAGA voters being uneducated and uncouth. I'm going to tell you something, Matt, the MAGA voters, a lot of MAGA voters I was around were anything but. They were affluent in some cases, successful. They were professionals who worked in highly regulated industries.

They were credentialed. They were educated. And they did not fit that stereotype, if you will, about who the quote unquote typical MAGA voter is. And so if the press is not even really [01:32:00] understanding the population of, of the, of the movement that they're talking about, like who actually is comprised demographically, it's going to be very hard.

If you don't even really recognize that, it's going to be really hard to kind of burrow in and, and ask why, why, why is this persist. Why does it have this appeal? Because I mentioned again the point about just like it's just like the confederacy. The confederacy was not, it was defeated. But the ideology, the lost cause of it remains to this day.

Now what's happened over time And I, I give credit to activists on this and educators what's happened over time is that there have been there have been increasingly fewer and fewer adherence to the confederacy. And I think that over time. That's a worthy goal. That's an aspirational goal that over time, as we democratically defeat them as we work toward reconciliation as we put that work in that necessary work of strengthening democracy and [01:33:00] democratic institutions.

I do believe, and again, maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think it is, I do think we'll start to see fewer and fewer adherence to MAGA over time. We have to have a sense of urgency, but we have to be patient about it. But, if MAGA is not democratically defeated, and while I generally don't like guilt by association, I don't see how we avoid it with Republican candidates and MAGA this election cycle. I'm not, I'm not really sure we can, at this point and moment in time in our history, I'm not sure we can really separate it. Not all the Confederate soldiers supported slavery. Some of them joined up to make money or help their family and they just got into a war because it was a, it was a, it was a, a financial endeavor for them.

But having said that, Lincoln and U. S. Grant didn't. Differentiate between those who were like that and those who [01:34:00] wanted slavery, not only in place, but wanted to expand it. I see that as the moment right now and Unfortunately, Matt, not to contradict myself on this, but the flip side of this conversely is that what I'm saying to you right then and there about, having to defeat MAGA and, and guilt by association.

This is, this is potentially fatal for democracy. This is not, this is not, this is a sign of a dysfunctional democracy. And, and I do, I do think. That America's democracy is stronger than weaker, but we also have to acknowledge, and I think this can come from that on those unlikely alliances. We have to acknowledge that there are always forces who are seeking to weaken it because the Republican party writ large as a party apparatus does, does not believe in as much accessibility.

to the franchise as they could. They are, they are, they are a party who sees democracy as [01:35:00] adverse. They see democracy as that, as the mechanism by which to bring in that change. And the more people, Matt, the more people who say, okay, these changes are good for the country. They don't harm me. They don't harm my livelihood.

The more people start to think about that, the more the grip of the Republican party weakens. But having said that, It is still a very, very strong grip. It is still a strong grip.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right, well, so, I think yeah, it's been a, it's been a great discussion here, Rich. Let's put up your Twitter info on the screen here.

Yeah, thank you. So you are at... Perfect our union on Twitter. And then your website address is remind me of that one again.

LOGIS: Yeah. So website you can contact me there. My writings are there as well. They're all open, no paywall to perfect our union. us and I'll just make a quick public service announcement here, Matt, if I may, anyone who's listening, who's watching this, [01:36:00] if, if they feel like they, if, if they're, if they're in a situation where they want to try to get through to a MAGA voter.

They are, they are welcome to contact me at any time. And however, whatever public service I can give here to complete strangers or those I know, I'm happy to do it. So anyone out there listening and watching I don't want you to hesitate to contact me. If you feel like my story here can, can help in how you're trying to get through and maybe reconcile in your own household or your own family or your own community with some MAGA voters.

We remember that they are, most of them are good people deep down, but they've been led astray and they've been failed and exploited. And we can change that. I do really believe that we can reverse that. So anyone out there, you are welcome to contact me at any time. You can communicate with me on my site, perfectourunion.

us.

SHEFFIELD: Okay, all right. Well, I [01:37:00] think that'll do it for us today then. It's been a great discussion. Thanks for being here.

LOGIS: My pleasure, Matt. Thank you. Anytime.

SHEFFIELD: So that is the program for today. I appreciate everybody for watching or listening or reading. Please do encourage your friends and family to know about the show as well.

Just go ahead and direct them to theoryofchange. show. Thank you very much for your support and I will see you next time. [01:38:00] [01:39:00]



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Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? Join Matthew Sheffield and his guests as they explore larger trends and intersections in politics, religion, technology, and media.