Moore v. Harper and the Emerging Divisions in the Revanchist Coalition
MAGA-friendly capitalists don't always see eye to eye with their white Christian nationalist allies.
Note: This is an archive post from my off-the-record “Weekend Reading” newsletter.
The oral arguments in Moore v. Harper surprised some in that there did not seem to be even five votes for the worst case position – the jettisoning of all state supreme court oversight of state legislatures. I believe that to be another sign of an emerging fault line between the two factions within the revanchist coalition against the 20th century.1 One faction consists of MAGA white Christian nationalists who seek to reverse the progress in civil and human rights made in the last half of the 20th century. The other faction consists of the capitalists who seek to reverse the New Deal economic order. As I’ve written in several contexts, MAGA presents the previously dominant capitalist faction of the Republican Party with a “dog catches the car” problem. I would argue that the arguments in Moore – as well as who was making them – indicated a growing discomfort within the capitalist wing about the MAGA faction’s latest gains, which now include a hold on many state legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives.
The emergence of this fault line can be seen in other ways as well, including campaign contributions. Incredibly, we don’t see coverage of this in the mainstream media, even though the Open Secrets website makes it straightforward to track the contributions by eleven industries since 1990. I’ve divided them into three categories:
Always Blue. Communications/Electronics and Lawyers and Lobbyists have always given a majority of their contributions to Democrats.
Always Red. Agribusiness, Construction, Energy/Natural Resources and Transportation have always given a majority of their contributions to Republicans.
Moving Blue. These industries gave a majority of their contributions to Republicans until 2012, and have been giving an increasing share of their contributions to Democrats since then. The industries in this group are Defense, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, Health and Other.
As you see, significant sectors of the economy are moving in opposite partisan directions in reaction to MAGA’s growing power within the Republican coalition.
Given the increasing aggressiveness of Red State politicians like Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley among others to take on “woke capitalism,” it seems fairly plain that we should expect increasing resistance to them and their MAGA ilk from the sectors that have been moving Blue since 2010.
Among the most interesting things to note in passing is the health industry’s Blue shift. From Clinton to Obama, Democrats averaged 41 percent of health industry contributions. But since Obamacare, Democrats have averaged 53 percent of their contributions, growing to 61 percent in 2022, clarifying the health industry’s satisfaction with the current health regime, and perhaps shedding more light on Roberts’ decision in NFIB v. Sebelius.
All of which is to say that, should the eventual Moore decision fall short of our worst fears, we should credit neither the strength of our legal arguments nor our canny strategy. We should certainly not emulate those who just celebrated the midterms as a victory for democracy, since those who were complicit in the criminal conspiracy to overthrow the legitimate government in 2020 took control of the House of Representatives in elections conducted under laws passed by gerrymandered MAGA state legislatures to make it more difficult for millions of people of color to vote and less likely that their votes would count, all while giving partisan election officials more unchecked power.
These many offenses against democracy were made possible by a Federalist Society majority on the Supreme Court which dismantled the Voting Rights Act, opened the floodgates to billionaires’ campaign spending, and greenlighted the egregious partisan gerrymandering that enabled Republican line drawers to keep all but one of 90 of their number who voted against certifying the results from running in a remotely competitive district. The one who did have to run in a competitive district, Steve Chabot, lost. We must stop normalizing those decisions by treating each election as if it were as free and fair as the ones before those decisions; “democracy advocates” do MAGA’s work for them when they grandfather those injustices. Monty Python explained this problem brilliantly here – every time the Federalist Society justices hack off another limb of democracy, we keep insisting ‘tis but a scratch and move on.
Link has been updated to the newer Substack version of a previous post.