I hope you'll tune in for my fascinating, informative conversation on today's BradCast with a man who spent years as a self-identified "Ultra-MAGA" --- he voted in both 2016 and 2020 for Trump and had more than a dozen Trump hats and shirts to prove it. He is now working to rebuild his life after finally escaping the "cult" to become what he describes as a "born-again human being". [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
First up, however, the latest news from the Israel-Hamas war and the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza, including Biden's trip to Israel and his warning about mistakes made by the U.S. when reacting out of rage following 9/11. There is also encouraging news today that Israel and Egypt will allow some 20 truckloads of desperately needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, following the bombing of a hospital on Tuesday which Israel claims to be the work of a terrorist group allied with Hamas. Both dispute the evidence presented by Israel, who they blame for the tragedy that took hundreds of civilian lives.
Also, in his remarks from Tel Aviv, the President announced the U.S. will be sending some $100 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, which presumably he will discuss more in a prime-time Oval Office address now set for Thursday night. It's unclear whether that money is already available to the White House or whether Congress will be needed to allocate it. If so, it may take a while...
The House GOP failed yet again on Wednesday to elect a new Speaker after deposing their previous one two weeks ago. In this week's second try, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan received even more GOP votes against him than he did on the first ballot on Tuesday. The House remains all but shut down now until Republicans can agree on a new Speaker or until Democrats decide to save them again. That is apparently becoming more of a possibility with each passing hour as the mess continues and as a government shutdown looms on November 17.
None of this comes as a surprise to those of us who have covered --- and have been warning about --- the Republican Party's long descent into madness and chaos over the years. It didn't begin with Trump by a long shot, but the manipulation by the narcissistic egomaniac and the rightwing media outlets which fostered it have left millions of otherwise well-meaning Americans in the MAGA lurch, as our guest today details.
RICH LOGIS was formerly a rightwing pundit and dyed-in-the-wool Trumper. He even wrote for the The Federalist Society. As he recently explained in Newsweek, he was a "four-time Donald Trump voter (twice in the primaries, and twice in the general elections)" and voted for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in both the primary and general election in 2018. "And I am here to tell you that I was wrong about all of it," he now concedes.
Today he joins us on the program to explain both how he was sucked into MAGA World before the 2016 election and what it finally took to shake him out of it in 2021, after years of damage that his obsession with Trump caused to both his family and friendships.
As a reformed "Ultra-MAGA," Logis tells me today that, as I was introducing my conversation with him, he was "thinking to myself, I cannot believe that I actually thought so much of that."
In short --- and none of this will do it justice, so please tune in to listen to our conversation --- his "skepticism of the two-party system" was the initial reason he was attracted to Trump. He notes that he says "none of this as a self defense," but being drawn in he allowed himself "to be influenced by many others, which is why that rabbit hole kept getting deeper and deeper for me as I stayed in MAGA."
He describes the "really toxic, perfect storm and amalgam of factors" that initially sucked him in. "It was a confluence of factors that all aligned themselves --- between Trump being brash, not giving a you-know-what, my dislike of the two-party system, those I was around who were influencing me --- and I came to conclude, and I know that it's going to really sound illogical, the more and more that I was around others who were in the MAGA world, in the rightwing world, the more I came to conclude that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton needed to be stopped. Because, if they won the election, they would never lose another election ever again. And anyone who was not a Democrat was going to be rendered irrelevant in their own country. If someone really believes that, as I genuinely believed that, that person will support anyone or anything."
Logis, as you'll hear, is anything but an uneducated rube. So how could he fall victim to what he now describes as "a cult"? He tells me that "when I woke up in the morning, I thought about MAGA. I went through my day thinking about MAGA. I went to bed thinking about MAGA. God knows I probably dreamt about MAGA. And then I got up the next day and did it all over again. It was all-consuming for me. And the more I was involved in the MAGA world, the more I came to see, and believe and conclude, that I and we in MAGA were on the correct side of history, and everybody else was on the wrong side of history."
In 2021, however, as DeSantis took a right turn regarding COVID, something began to give way for Logis, as you will hear him detail, along with how he was finally able to crawl his way out of the rabbit hole.
"One of the strategies I enacted, which is so simple," he explains, "I began to diversify my information sources. I lowered the defense mechanism of the black-and-white world of MAGA, which was that everything in the national press is out to get us. I started to realize, and very painfully, that so many of the rightwing mythologies that I believed, were actually the exact opposite. The Democrats were not coming for our guns. They were not trying to replace white people. They were not trying to render anyone who was a Republican or a conservative irrelevant in their own nation."
There is much more, of course, as discussed. But Logis has, since becoming a "born-again human being," formed Perfect Our Union, "an organization dedicated to healing political traumatization" and "building diverse, pro-democracy alliances" and writes for many outlets, including progressive ones like Daily Kos, where he is known as "@Leaving MAGA".
He offers advice today on how to approach your own friends and family members who may be similarly brainwashed by the MAGA cult, and explains that while he is now a registered independent, he plans to vote for Democrats for the foreseeable future because "MAGA must be electorally defeated."
"The Republican Party is a party in name only. They are a MAGA Party. That is a party that must be electorally mercy-killed so we can then enable responsible Republicans to think about how they're going to come back and rebuild that Republican Party."
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)