exit polls, these voters preferred Mr. Trump over Mr. Biden by 35 percentage points.

Among voters of color without a college degree, Mr. Trump won one out of four votes, an improvement from 2016, when he won one in five of their votes.

tweet that the future of the G.O.P. was “a party built on a multi-ethnic multi-racial coalition of working AMERICANS.”

After the Trump presidency, it is an open question whether any other Republican candidates can win the same intensity of blue-collar support. “Whatever your criticisms are of Trump — and I have a lot — clearly he was able to connect to those people and they voted for him,” said Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat from the Youngstown area.

Mr. Ryan is gearing up to run in 2022 for an open Senate seat in Ohio. He agrees with Mr. Trump about taking on China, but faults him for not following up his tough language with sustained policies. “I think there’s an opportunity to have a similar message but a real agenda,” he said.

As for Republican presidential candidates aspiring to inherit Mr. Trump’s working-class followers, Mr. Ryan saw only dim prospects for them, especially if they continued to reject the Biden stimulus package, which passed the House and is now before the Senate.

Monmouth University poll on Wednesday found that six in 10 Americans supported the $1.9 trillion package in its current form, especially the $1,400 checks to people at certain income levels.

But Republicans who vote it down may not pay a political price, said Patrick Murray, the poll’s director. “They know that the checks will reach their base regardless, and they can continue to rail against Democratic excesses,” he said.

“There would only be a problem if they somehow managed to sink the bill,” he added.

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How Covid derailed the great hope of the Dutch far right | Joost de Vries

On 20 March 2019, Thierry Baudet provided Dutch television viewers with two surprises. The first was news of his landslide victory in that day’s senate elections. Baudet’s far-right Forum for Democracy (FvD) was a newcomer in parliament, holding just two seats out of 150 in the lower house. But that day, from scratch, Forum gained 12 of the senate’s 75 seats, putting it on a par with the governing liberal party (the VVD) led by prime minister Mark Rutte.

The second surprise was Baudet’s victory speech. “The owl of Athena spreads her wings as evening falls,” he started, and across the country, jaws dropped and drinks were spilled. The Netherlands is not a country noted for oratory. Our politicians would rather downplay their intellectual prowess than borrow from Greek mythology.

Back then, the future must have looked promising for the dynamic young leader: if he could win the Senate elections, could Baudet win the general elections in March 2021?

Most commentators thought he had a chance. For many years the far right of Dutch politics had been served by Geert Wilders’ PVV (Freedom party). Wilders is not known for quoting political thinkers, and tends to be coarse in his speech, for example speaking about imposing a “head-rag tax” on hijab-wearing women. For the better educated, socially conservative, small government-minded voter who is not a fan of immigration, voting for Wilders is not an option. The “civilised right”, as it’s often called in the Netherlands, would either continue to vote VVD or for one of the conservative Christian parties.

he said, “we are being demolished by the people who should have been protecting us.”

It was difficult not to interpret “boreal” as anything but a dog whistle to the extreme right, for whom the word is code for “white”. Baudet Baudet has always denied he is a racist and insisted that “boreal” was just another way of saying “northern”. People seemed to give him the benefit of the doubt. Or at least his poll numbers were growing, as was membership of FvD and its youth wing. He assembled an electoral list including seasoned establishment politicians and young upcoming conservatives. The party looked like a serious contender.

Then it all fell apart – first gradually, then suddenly. The slow decline was a direct result of the pandemic. Voters Baudet might have stolen from the liberal party rallied behind Rutte who, early on in the crisis, began enjoying a 75% approval rating.

Baudet questioned Rutte’s increasingly strict lockdown policies as a “corona dictatorship”, then questioned the virus itself. Wasn’t it just a little flu? Wasn’t the World Health Organization trying to control the political order?

The more seasoned politicians in his party started to get anxious. Embracing conspiracy theories would lose them the ear of “the civilised right”.

And then it all blew up in a Death Star kind of way. In November, antisemitic remarks from the Forum youth wing’s WhatsApp groups were leaked to the press. Instead of investigating the claims of antisemitism, Baudet expelled the whistleblowers.

This did not sit well with others on his electoral list, and a few days later it was leaked to the press that Baudet had said that George Soros “invented” Covid, and that “practically everyone” he knew was an antisemite.

In the controversy that followed, Baudet stunned everyone by stepping down as party leader but then reversed, demanding a party referendum on his position. Flabbergasted, most of the party’s remaining candidates now wanted him out altogether. It was mayhem. In one of the more media-savvy moments, they had the locks changed to the party headquarters, so Baudet couldn’t come in again.

When the party leadership gave in to the referendum the more seasoned members simply quit. As did many Forum politicians in local councils and in the Senate. Of the 12 senators who won seats in the 2019 election, only two are still attached to his party.

More leaked WhatsApp conversations followed, this time of Baudet himself allegedly making racist remarks. On live TV Baudet disclosed that he’d had a romantic entanglement with Eva Vlaardingerbroek, a young woman on his electoral list, who was engaged to a French associate of Marine Le Pen. The TV show then played an audio clip of Vlaardingerbroek speaking about her disappointment in Baudet’s antics and what she claimed was “callous racism”. Baudet looked briefly shaken and in a small voice said that he had to “readjust himself to this news”.

The introspection didn’t last long. Instead of backtracking, with the elections less than a fortnight away, Baudet has now gone into full Trump mode. His anti-lockdown, anti-vaxxer rhetoric has become more extreme, more conspiracy minded, more anti-media, even suggesting that his followers use “creative” solutions to optimise proxy voting to the party’s advantage.

Since last week he’s even been donning a baseball cap.

The one thing that was constantly said about Covid last year, was that it was a great revealer; it revealed the gap between rich and poor, the employed and the unemployed, the old and the young. Covid has also now revealed what Baudet really is; not just the flamboyant and outspoken intellectual that he wanted people to believe he is, but a conspiracy-mongering antisemitic populist, willing to undermine facts, health care, the free press and even democracy, to remain a focal point in Dutch politics.

Is it working? Half of Forum voters now believe Covid was developed to suppress the civilian population.

The problem for Baudet is there are not too many Forum voters left. He is marginalised in the polls and the media have moved on. Don’t be fooled by overblown reporting of the recent anti-lockdown, anti-curfew riots which are not a factor in the election. Baudet’s radical turn has lost him the support of more mainstream voters, because that’s also what Covid revealed: that the Netherlands is not a country for baseball caps and a paranoid style of politics. In times of crisis, we like to stay close to what we know. So the mainstream Rutte, in charge for 11 years now, commands a lead in the polls that seems insurmountable by any party.

Baudet’s demise has helped Wilders’ support to recover. His party is expected to take 20 seats, more or less the same level of support he’s had for a decade. But these are seats that are next to useless, since no mainstream party is willing to work with him, just as he is not willing to work with them. Wilders seems happiest when he is far away from government responsibility.

Baudet will probably keep his current two seats in parliament, if he’s lucky he might gain a couple. But he’s no longer a contender.

Then again: like Trump, Baudet doesn’t believe in the polls.

Joost de Vries is a Dutch author

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Variation is the stuff of life. So why can it make us uncomfortable? | Lisa Feldman Barrett

Most people enjoy variety. We like to eat different foods from meal to meal. We wear different clothes. We like to try new activities and visit new places, which may be hard to remember right now in our tiny, socially isolated rooms, but it’s true. Likewise, with too little variety we become bored. Your favourite food might be duck à l’orange, but you wouldn’t want to eat it for three meals a day, every day.

Nevertheless, there’s one place we tend to dislike variety, and that’s in each other. We often have a hard time with people who look different from us, practise different rituals, wear unfamiliar clothes, or hold beliefs or values that we do not share.

There are biological reasons for this discomfort. When you’re exposed to new and different things, your brain works a bit harder than usual. Your neurons require more resources when you’re learning, such as water, salt, glucose and various other chemicals. This extra metabolic activity can feel unsettling and unpleasant. And it can feel worse if your nervous system is already under pressure, such as right now in the midst of a pandemic.

This sort of variation may be uncomfortable for individuals, but it’s actually critical for the survival of any species. If all finches were identical, for example, and their environment changed in some significant, detrimental way, such as an increase in temperature or a decrease in water, all of them would be equally vulnerable and the species might become extinct. But if finch bodies and brains have enough variety, then some individuals may be more suited to a hotter climate or more parched surroundings, and the species is more likely to survive. This insight about variation comes from Charles Darwin, and it’s known as population thinking. Most people associate Darwin with his evolutionary theory of natural selection, but population thinking may be an even greater scientific achievement. The idea of “survival of the fittest” implies that individuals must vary. Some are more suited than others for a given environment, making it easier for them to survive, thrive, and reproduce. Variation is therefore a prerequisite for natural selection to work at all.

Human variety is also important in our everyday lives. Take the workplace, for example, where variation is more commonly called “diversity.” “Companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially,” notes a well-cited 2015 research report by McKinsey. Data suggests that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national averages”. This isn’t a huge surprise, given that staff with a range of perspectives will be able spot a wider array of both problems and opportunities, helping the organisation to thrive.

A range of perspectives is vital to our trust in science as a way of learning about the world, too. The historian Naomi Oreskes writes: “A community with diverse values is more likely to identify and challenge prejudicial beliefs embedded in, or masquerading as, scientific theory.” Science is more objective and useful as a tool for living when people from different backgrounds, with different starting beliefs and different experiences, interrogate their observations through free and open debate.

Moreover, variation is crucial for the survival of a culture. A working democracy, for example, is necessarily a compromise among diverse views. Too much sameness may breed authoritarianism or even totalitarianism. The founders of the United States understood this, and they built checks and balances into the governance of their fledgling country to encourage debate and compromise among its citizens. (Except for certain people who weren’t granted a voice at all. Tolerance of variety in 1787 had its limits.)

Variation is even wired into our brains at a microscopic level. All humans share a single, basic brain plan with about 120bn neurons and two hemispheres, right and left. But the neurons inside every skull wire themselves differently depending on the environments they are raised in – varied environments that are curated by our varied fellow humans. In this manner, we wire the brains of the next generation, passing down our values, behaviours and norms. It’s a major reason we can maintain a wide variety of cultures around the world, and survive and thrive in so many physical environments. A single brain plan creates many kinds of minds.

Even within a single mind, variation is a good thing. For example, people vary in how finely they experience emotions. Some people experience surprise, amazement, astonishment, bewilderment, consternation and awe as distinctive instances of emotion, whereas others experience them all as equivalent. The ability to construct finer-grained emotions, called higher emotional granularity, is linked to better mental and physical health, and faster recovery from physical illness. The more tools you have in your emotion toolbox, the more precisely your brain can plan your actions and shape everything you experience.

Human variety is vital for our species, so it’s important for us to learn to deal with the more challenging kinds of variation that we find in each other. This is particularly relevant in today’s polarised world, where people with different beliefs or opinions have difficulty even being civil to one another. So I offer you a challenge. Pick a controversial political issue that you feel strongly about: religion, immigration, the climate crisis, Covid-19 lockdowns, Brexit, or perhaps a local issue that’s important to you. Spend five minutes a day deliberately considering the issue from the perspective of people you disagree with – not to argue with them in your head, but to understand how someone who’s just as smart as you can believe the opposite of what you do. I’m not asking you to change your mind, just to truly embody someone else’s point of view. If you can honestly say, “I absolutely disagree with that view, but I understand why people might believe it,” then you’re actively helping to create a less polarised world.

Dealing with the vast variety of humankind can be demanding and unsettling, and even maddening at times, but it’s a good investment, sort of like exercise for your brain. When you meet someone who looks or thinks differently than you, treat your discomfort as a cue to be curious and learn, not as a signal of a problem or that the other person should be silenced. Ultimately, this mindset can make you more flexible in adapting to challenging situations, more resilient in the face of change.

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US House passes most ambitious police reform effort in decades

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The US House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the most ambitious police reform effort in decades, for the second time on Wednesday.

The sweeping legislation would ban chokeholds and “qualified immunity” for law enforcement and create national standards for policing in a bid to bolster accountability. Nine months after Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed by Minneapolis police, lawmakers voted to approve the reform measure named after him 220-212, along party lines. However, the only Republican who voted in favor said he did so in error, and has changed the official record to reflect his opposition.

The House had passed a version of the bill last year, but the Republican-controlled Senate never took it up. This time around, Democrats have the support of the White House and a slight edge in the Senate. But they will have to win over at least 10 Republican senators to overcome a filibuster and pass the measure – which is unlikely to happen.

The bill includes prohibitions on so-called qualified immunity, which shields law enforcement from certain lawsuits, and is one of the main provisions that will likely need to be negotiated in any compromise with Republican senators.

Police unions and other law enforcement groups have argued that, without such legal protections, fears of lawsuits will stop people from becoming police officers – even though the measure permits such suits only against law enforcement agencies, rather than all public employees.

The California congresswoman Karen Bass, who authored the bill, called provisions limiting qualified immunity and easing standards for prosecution “the only measures that hold police accountable, that will actually decrease the number of times we have to see people killed on videotape”.

She also acknowledged the challenges Democrats faced last November, and may likely see again, when former Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and other leading Republicans crowded the airwaves with images of cities around the country burning.

But Bass said those attacks, like much of the opposition to the bill, are built on racism, promoting fears about how, “the scary Black people are going to attack you if you try to rein in the police”.

“That’s as old as apple pie in our history,” she said. “So do you not act because of that?”

Still, she conceded that changes are likely to come if the measure is to win the minimum 60 votes it will need to advance in the Senate, which is now split 50-50. Bass said she had been in contact with the South Carolina senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber, and was confident he would help deliver some GOP support.

Scott said this week that the legislation’s sticking points were qualified immunity and prosecutorial standards and that in both areas, “We have to protect individual officers.”

“That’s a red line for me,” Scott said, adding “hopefully we’ll come up with something that actually works.”

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Officials Put ‘Unusual’ Limits on D.C. National Guard Before Riot, Commander Says

WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials placed “unusual” restrictions on the D.C. National Guard before the Capitol riot, its commander told senators on Wednesday, saying the military leaders’ fears of a repeat of aggressive tactics used during racial justice protests last year slowed decision-making and squandered time as the violence by a pro-Trump mob escalated.

Military and federal security officials detailed in a joint Senate committee hearing the additional security breakdowns that led to the failure to quell the mob attack on Jan. 6. Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the D.C. National Guard commander, said he did not receive approval to mobilize troops until more than three hours after he had requested it.

The delay he outlined was longer than previously known and came to light in the latest hearing by lawmakers investigating the attack.

Days before the riot, the Pentagon had removed General Walker’s authority to quickly deploy his troops, he testified. He said he was unable to move troops even from one traffic stop to another without permission from Ryan D. McCarthy, the Army secretary. Once General Walker had approval for deployment, the Guard arrived at the Capitol only minutes later, at 5:20 p.m., and helped re-establish the security perimeter on the east side of the building.

injuries to nearly 140 police officers and left five people dead.

“That number could have made a difference,” General Walker said of the possibility of deploying his troops earlier.

“Seconds mattered,” he added. “Minutes mattered.”

In response to questions from senators, General Walker said he believed that a double standard existed in the military decision-making, pointing out differences between the quick and aggressive tactics he was authorized to use during protests last spring and summer of police killings of Black men and the slower response to the violence of Trump supporters. He said military officials had expressed concerns about the optics of sending troops into the Capitol to subdue Americans.

“The Army senior leaders did not think it looked good” and did not think “it would be a good optic,” General Walker said. “The word I kept hearing was the ‘optics’ of it.”

When asked whether a similar debate had played out last year, General Walker said no.

“It was never discussed the week of June,” he said. “It was never discussed July 4, when we were supporting the city. It was never discussed Aug. 28, when we supported the city.”

devolved into violence. He said he had received a “frantic call” at 1:49 p.m. from Steven A. Sund, then the chief of the Capitol Police, about half an hour before rioters breached the Capitol.

“Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the Capitol,” General Walker testified. “He requested the immediate assistance of as many available National Guardsmen I could muster.”

blaming the other agencies, one another and at one point even a subordinate for the breakdowns that allowed hundreds of Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.

The officials testified that the F.B.I. and the intelligence community had failed to provide adequate warnings that rioters planned to seize the Capitol and that the Pentagon was too slow to authorize Guard troops to help overwhelmed police forces after the attack began.

rioters who are members of militias and extremist groups as part of their investigation. Ms. Sanborn testified that few of the 257 rioters arrested so far were being investigated by the F.B.I. before the attack.

“I can only recall from my memory one of the individuals that was under investigation prior,” she said.

The testimony came as the Capitol Police said they were increasing security this week on Capitol Hill, warning of “potential threats toward members of Congress or toward the Capitol complex.”

Testifying at a House hearing, Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting Capitol Police chief, told lawmakers that her agency had received “concerning” intelligence about possible threats against the Capitol for Thursday. But she said the information was law-enforcement sensitive and she would share it only in a closed briefing. She assured committee members that the police force would be ready.

Chief Pittman noted that threats against lawmakers were “through the roof,” rising almost 94 percent the first two months of this year over 2020.

After Jan. 6, the Capitol Police leadership is asking for almost $620 million in total spending, an increase of nearly 21 percent over current levels to pay for new equipment, training and an additional 212 officers for assignments such as a permanent backup force. Chief Pittman also told the lawmakers that she would be working with the architect of the Capitol to design more “physical hardening” of the building after it was overrun by the rioters.

Carl Hulse contributed reporting.

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