Im A Citizen With No Country: Mark Sanford On Turning Against Trump And His Party
Former South Carolina governor talks about his memoir that links his decision to lessons learned from an extramarital affair in 2009 and his attempt to cover it up
is not the first Republican to turn against former US president Donald Trump and pay a political price. But he is unique in publishing a memoir that links his decision to lessons learned from an extramarital affair and his attempt to cover it up.
Sanford was the governor of South Carolina when, in 2009, he flew to Argentina to be with a woman who was not his wife but told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. The falsehood was rapidly exposed, made lurid headlines and ended his 20-year marriage.
The story is retold in frank detail in Sanfords book, Two Roads Diverged, published on 24 August, which charts how the Christian conservatives personal and political journey led him to follow his conscience and make a stand against his beloved Republican partys moral capitulation to Trump.
I just figured, if you want to have a conversation about trust and where the party goes from here, I needed to come clean and say, hey, Im not trying to hide something, the 61-year-old explains by phone from home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. We all got stuff but heres my stuff. Heres how it went down. Heres what happened. But heres why it gave me an acute appreciation for the truth.
The reason: Trump.
Most Americans Feel Anger Fear About The State Of The Nation
About seven-in-ten Americans say they feel angry about the state of the country these days, while roughly two-thirds say they feel fearful. While majorities in both parties say this, these views are more widespread among Democrats than Republicans. Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats report feeling angry about the state of the nation; 63% of Republicans say the same. And while 75% of Democrats say they feel fearful thinking about the state of the country these days, a narrower majority of Republicans say this.
Far smaller shares of Americans report feeling hopeful or proud thinking about current national conditions 46% say they feel hopeful, while just 17% report feeling proud.
Republicans are modestly more likely than Democrats to say they are hopeful . Only a quarter of Republicans report feeling proud thinking about the country these days. Still, that is substantially higher than the share of Democrats saying this .
There are only minor demographic differences in reported emotional reactions about the state of the country. Two-thirds or more across all age groups say they are angry about the state of the nation, with those ages 18 to 29; modestly more likely than older groups to say this . And roughly two-thirds across age groups say they are fearful about the state of the country these days. There are similarly no significant age differences in the shares saying they are hopeful or proud.
Republicans Are Suddenly Afraid Of Democracy
Were not a democracy, Republican Senator Mike Lee tweeted in the middle of Wednesday nights vice-presidential debate. He was reacting to something hed heard onstage there, in his home state of Utah. Another tweet: The word democracy appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. Its a constitutional republic. To me it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few. Hours after the debate Lee was still worrying the thought: Democracy isnt the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.
Why did Lee choose this momentless than four weeks before an election in which his party seems likely to suffer defeatto make the familiar, even pedantic, point that we live in a republic rather than a pure democracy? Why did he insist on the point so vehemently that he neglected to mention that power in the American system ultimately lies with the people, which means that our system could also be called a representative democracy? Did he mean rank as in foul, rancid, or outright? If the last, does that mean the tyranny of the majority leading to perverse rule by the few? What did this short, misleading course in Civics 101 have to do with anything?
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Trump Aides Aim To Build Gop Opposition To Afghan Refugees
WASHINGTON As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban arrive in the U.S., a handful of former Trump administration officials are working to turn Republicans against them.
The former officials are writing position papers, appearing on conservative television outlets and meeting privately with GOP lawmakers all in an effort to turn the collapse of Afghanistan into another opportunity to push a hard-line immigration agenda.
It is a collaboration based on mutual conviction, said Stephen Miller, the architect of President Donald Trumps most conservative immigration policies and among those engaged on the issue. My emphasis has been in talking to members of Congress to build support for opposing the Biden administrations overall refugee plans.
The approach isnt embraced by all Republican leaders, with some calling it mean-spirited and at odds with Christian teachings that are important to the white evangelicals who play a critical role in the partys base. The strategy relies on tactics that were commonplace during Trumps tenure and that turned off many voters, including racist tropes, fear-mongering and false allegations.
And the hard-liners pay little heed to the human reality unfolding in Afghanistan, where those who worked with Americans during the war and many others are desperate to flee for fear they could be killed by the new Taliban regime.
Trump Voters Far More Likely To See Their Vote As For Their Candidate
Trump and Biden supporters differ substantially on whether they view their vote as more of an expression of support for their preferred candidate or against his opponent.
Among registered voters who say they would vote for Donald Trump, a large majority say that their choice of Trump is more a vote for Trump, while just 24% say their choice is more of a vote against Biden.
Biden supporters, by contrast, are far more likely than Trump supporters to see their vote as a vote against the opponent: 67% say their choice is more of a vote against Trump, while only about half as many say it is more of a vote for Biden.
There are sizable demographic divides among Biden supporters in views of whether they see their vote more as for Biden or against Trump. By contrast, there are only modest differences in these views among Trump voters.
Younger Biden voters are more likely to say their choice is a vote against Trump. An overwhelming majority of those ages 18 to 29 say their vote is against Trump, while just 16% say it is more a vote for Biden. Among Biden supporters ages 50 and older, a narrower majority say their vote is more a vote against Trump.
While large shares of white and Hispanic Biden voters say their vote is more against Trump , Black voters who support Biden are divided on whether their vote is more for Biden or against Trump .
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The Goal Is To Undermine Confidence In Elections
Underscoring the point, Rep. Jim Banks , the chair of the Republican Study Committee, made an extraordinarily disingenuous appearance on Fox News Sunday. Banks had endorsed the Texas lawsuit, which would have invalidated millions of votes in four states based on fictions, and voted to overturn President Bidens electors in Congress.
Pressed by Foxs Chris Wallace to admit Biden won fair and square, Banks kinda sorta acknowledged it, but immediately pivoted to claiming those actions were entirely justified, by insisting that his serious concerns about the election were still valid.
This is not the act of a coward who fears Trump, and would vouch for the integrity of the election if only he could do so without consequences.
Rather, it is the act of someone who is fully devoted to the project of continuing to undermine confidence in our elections going forward.
This is for purely instrumental purposes. Republicans are employing their own invented doubts about 2020 to justify intensified voter suppression everywhere. Banks neatly crystallized the point on Fox, saying those doubts required more voting restrictions after reinforcing them himself.
Indeed, with all this, Republicans may be in the process of creating a kind of permanent justification for maximal efforts to invalidate future election outcomes by whatever means are within reach.
Does Trump Have A Responsibility To Release His Tax Returns
Partisans take opposing views on this question: 78% of Republicans and Republican leaners say Trump does not have a responsibility to release his tax returns; an even larger share of Democrats and Democratic leaners say he does have this responsibility.
Among Republicans, conservatives are 20 points more likely than moderates and liberals to say Trump does not have a responsibility to reduce his tax returns . There is a more modest ideological gap among Democrats.
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Opinion: Why Republicans Are More Afraid Of Change Than Ever
When your partys presidential candidate is trailing in the polls by nearly 10 points with a little over three months to go, its natural to start worrying about what will happen if he loses. And if youre a Republican, theres an entire cable network devoted to filling your evenings with terror.
Consider what Tucker Carlson, the highest-rated cable TV host of the moment, told his viewers Thursday night:
The presidential election, in fact, believe it or not, is almost right here. In some places, early voting begins in just over a month. The results of that voting will define the countrys future. If Democrats take both the Senate and the White House, and they could, you will not recognize America a year from now.
This kind of message has particular resonance for conservatives, since by definition theyre inclined against change. And those who seek to mobilize them such as Republican candidates or right-wing TV hosts will almost inevitably wind up telling them that the change that will come will be not just unpleasant but downright cataclysmic. We hear this every four years, without fail.
Its not that Democrats dont predict disaster if they lose, because they do. But the conservative warnings of doom have a particular theme: the end of America as we know it.
No, its because Trump has failed.
And guess what: Donald Trump couldnt do a thing about any of it.
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Why White Nationalists Are Turning On Trump Republicans
Last week, Charlie Kirk, 26-year-old spokesman for the deep-pocketed Republican youth group Turning Point USA, held an event called Prove Me Wrong at the University of Houston. Billed as a chance to watch Kirk debate the merits of capitalism vs. Socialism in his signature blustering style, it ended in chaos. A hostile throng materialized around the small tableadorned with a poster that said, Im pro-choice. You can pick your gunat which Kirk was sitting and chased him bodily from the area, shouting, America first!
It was the latest in a series of escalating disruptions of conservative events that amounted to a piecemeal showdown between the corporate wing of the Republican establishment and an insurgent faction of white nationalists, an outgrowth of the alt-right. The events underscored the perils engendered by the Trump-era Republican Partys willingness to accede to the goals of white nationalism, even as it attempts to keep the ideologys most strident proponents at a careful, corporate-friendly arms length.
Trumps own statements and policies are the strongest argument that his vision aligns with that of white nationalists. One wonders how, precisely, someone like Charlie Kirk could have answered a question posed by Fuentes in his channel: Why does the president prefer immigrants from Norway vs. Haiti?
Talia Lavinis a writer based in Brooklyn. Her first book, Culture Warlords, is forthcoming in 2020 from Hachette Books.
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Analysis: Exodus Of Republican Voters Tired Of Trump Could Push Party Further Right
6 Min Read
WASHINGTON – A surge of Republicans quitting the party to renounce Donald Trump after the deadly Capitol riot could hurt moderates in next years primaries, adding a capstone to Trumps legacy as president: A potentially lasting rightward push on the party.
More than 68,000 Republicans have left the party in recent weeks in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, crucial states for Democrats hopes of keeping control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 2022, state voter data shows.
Thats about three times the roughly 23,000 Democrats who left their party in the same states over the same time period.
Compared to the Republicans who stayed put, those who fled were more concentrated in the left-leaning counties around big cities, which political analysts said suggested moderate Republicans could be leading the defections.
If the exodus is sustained, it will be to the advantage of candidates in the Republican Partys nomination contests who espouse views that play well with its Trump-supporting base but not with a broader electorate.
That could make it harder for Republican candidates to beat Democrats in November, said Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University.
If these voters are leaving the party permanently, its really bad news for Republicans, Fiorina said.
U.S. elections are administered by state governments rather than by Washington.
Have Expressed Reluctance Or Misgivings But Havent Openly Dropped Their Backing
Paul Ryan and John Boehner, the former speakers of the House: Both have expressed their dislike of the president, but have not said whom they will support in November.
John Kelly, a former chief of staff to the president: Mr. Kelly has not said whom he plans to vote for, but did say he wished we had some additional choices.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: She has said that shes grappling with whether to support Mr. Trump in November. She told reporters on Capitol Hill in June: I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.
She said: I think right now, as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately, questions about who Im going to vote for or not going to vote for, I think, are distracting at the moment. I know people might think thats a dodge, but I think there are important conversations that we need to have as an American people among ourselves about where we are right now.
Mr. Sanford briefly challenged the president in this cycles Republican primary, and said last year that he would support Mr. Trump if the president won the nomination .
That has since changed.
Hes treading on very thin ice, Mr. Sanford said in June, worrying that the president is threatening the stability of the country.
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.
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Officer Goes From Sadness To Rage
Sicknicks partner on the Capitol police, Sandra Garza, wrote an essay about the attack and the aftermath in which she said in part, I saw officers being brutalized and beaten, and protesters defying orders to stay back from entering the Capitol. All the while, I kept thinking, Where is the President? Why is it taking so long for the National Guard to arrive? Where is the cavalry!?
She added, As the months passed, my deep sadness turned to outright rage as I watched Republican members of Congress lie on TV and in remarks to reporters and constituents about what happened that day. Over and over they denied the monstrous acts committed by violent protesters.;
For example, when Gosar called the Jan. 6 attackers peaceful patriots.
During the Benghazi hearings, Republicans were laser-focused on trying to place blame on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But after four years of investigations, most of them purely partisan affairs, they found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on her part.
Republicans dont want anything close to that type of scrutiny on the Capitol attacks of Jan. 6. In fact, they dont seem to want any scrutiny at all.
Almost as if they know what will be found.
Almost as if I didnt have to use the word almost.
Reach Montini at .
Republicans Turn On Trump
Politico: The immediate recrimination is emblematic of the complicated GOP dynamics that have emerged after Trumps loss in the November election. Fissures are forming as Republicans decide whether its useful to cling to Trump even as he tries to subvert an election or to distance themselves. And if the Georgia races are any indication, it appears Republicans are willing to turn on Trump if he cant reliably turn out the vote for candidates in the months and years ahead.
When asked why Republicans didnt prevail on Tuesday, a senior Senate Republican aide simply said: Donald J. Trump.’
The frustration stems from the days after the Nov. 3 election. While Republicans tried to reset in Georgia and prepare for the two runoff races, the president set off a civil war within his own party as he launched a divisive campaign to overturn the 2020 election.
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About Political Wire
Taegan Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites. He also runs Political Job Hunt, Electoral Vote Map and the Political Dictionary.
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