My new book, 'MAGA Republicans Are Already Normal - And Other Shocking Notions,' out now
By Gary Abernathy
Commentary on Trump, Biden, guns, abortion and more
I’m happy to announce that my new book, “MAGA Republicans Are Already Normal — And Other Shocking Notions,” is now available on Amazon.
Here’s a link to our website dedicated to the book. And here’s a sneak preview of the press release going out tomorrow:
Former Washington Post contributing columnist Gary Abernathy’s new book, “MAGA Republicans Are Already Normal – And Other Shocking Notions,” is now available in hardcover, paperback and eBook on Amazon.
With Donald J. Trump again the likely Republican nominee for president in 2024 and “MAGA Republicans” again under attack from President Biden and others, the book offers timely insight and analysis on how Trump voters are too often disparaged. The book also details why the MAGA movement has become the driving force within the modern Republican Party, and why it will likely remain so for years to come, with or without Trump.
From 2017-23, Abernathy wrote nearly 200 columns for The Washington Post, having been invited to join the Opinion roster when the newspaper expanded the voices representing voters who put Donald Trump in the White House. The book is a compilation of many of his columns, with new section introductions.
Abernathy is a veteran of both journalism and politics. In 2015, he was serving as publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro) Times-Gazette, a small newspaper in southern Ohio, when he began writing columns about Trump, recognizing the shift happening in the GOP. He predicted early in the process that the billionaire businessman and reality TV star would win the GOP presidential nomination.
In October 2016, his newspaper became only the sixth in the country to endorse Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and the endorsement drew national attention. Throughout the campaign and in the months following Trump’s historic upset victory, Abernathy continued writing about Trump. ”MAGA Republicans Are Already Normal” opens with a collection of the columns written for the Times-Gazette that caught the attention of the Post.
In June 2017, Abernathy was invited to join the Post as a contributing columnist. Over the next six years, he wrote on Trump, covid, guns, abortion, immigration, and countless other hot-button issues. He regularly appeared as an analyst on other media platforms, especially on PBS’ “NewsHour.”
“While I wrote on many topics for the Post – and wrote favorably and unfavorably about Trump himself -- I returned often to defending the people who supported Trump against frequent allegations of racism, ignorance and even being ‘threats to democracy,’” Abernathy said. “We’re hearing those same accusations today. I wanted to present a more accurate portrayal of these Americans as the honest, hardworking, patriotic and caring citizens they are.”
Abernathy’s goal was to they counter the claim expressed often that “normalizing” Trump supporters through positive media portrayals is somehow dangerous. Among many other topics, “MAGA Republicans Are Already Normal,” available now from Amazon, presents a collection of essays arguing that Trump supporters are unfairly disparaged – it’s often their critics who are outside the real mainstream of American thought.
Biden’s abilities are a legitimate concern, but Haley is taking the wrong approach by mocking older Americans
The special counsel’s report detailing the decision not to charge President Biden in regard to his possession of classified documents did more damage to Biden than if charges had been brought.
By pointing out the degree to which Biden’s cognitive decline played into the decision not to charge him, the report put an official stamp on a concern that is already top of mind for voters. Biden will have a difficult time surviving it politically, as grumbling from within his own party will likely result in the president being forced to step aside.
It’s not good news for Republicans; Biden is the weakest candidate they could face. Replacing Biden with a more electable candidate will make the path to victory much more difficult for Donald Trump — and let’s face facts, Trump will be the GOP nominee.
Nikki Haley would be a strong General Election candidate. But her decision to mock both Biden and Trump for their age is not a smart tactic. It’s legitimate to express concern about electing a president in the 80 age range. It’s insulting to disparage them with a campaign calling them “Grumpy Old Men” (as a Haley TV ad does) or saying that the first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate will win. The most dependable voters in the country are older Americans — they can agree about the challenges of dealing with old age, but they don’t appreciate being the objects of ridicule.
While Trump is the master of insults — with the passing of Don Rickles — he has been careful to say that Biden is not a bad president because of his age, but because of his mental and physical decline. Yes, it’s self-serving for Trump to make such an argument, but it’s also a better approach than Haley’s “let’s disparage all old people” tactic.
As columnist Steve Lopez wrote in the Los Angeles Times:
The problem with the “grumpy” ad is that it crosses a line, mocking the front-runners as fumbling old fools and stooping to stereotypes about aging that further reinforce stereotypes about aging.
The stumbles from Biden — who has a speech impediment, by the way — and Trump are followed by memes with clips of sitcom and movie actors helping to make the point, and laugh lines such as “say what?” or “I’m so confused.”
In other words, the ad is telling us these guys appear to be suffering from dementia, so let’s make fun of them.
Lopez is correct. But Haley’s approach is also a nod to the fact that so many politicians these days — on both sides — have taken cues from Trump when it comes to rudeness and insults.
As Super Bowl ads show, we can’t be funny anymore
As we watched the Super Bowl, my wife, Lora, mentioned that the ads weren’t as funny as they used to be. She was right. (I’ve learned to always say that, btw.)
I think it’s because in this PC world of ours, so many things are off limits that we’ve lost the ability to be funny. Humor often requires the ability not just to laugh at others, but to laugh at ourselves and our sacred cows. Fewer people, or groups of people, can take a joke or laugh at themselves or the things they take (way too) seriously. So the best — and safest — ideas ad-makers can come up with involve stuffing their messages with as many fleeting famous cameos as possible, hoping that makes it funny. It doesn’t.
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