They Can’t Avoid The Trump Stench And They Know It
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
In the past, presidents have told big lies mostly for one of two reasons. In the midst of scandal or failure, they told lies to protect themselves and deny that they had done wrong: I am not a crook, we did not trade arms for hostages, I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Or they lied to convince the public to go along with a policy initiative, whether a war or a tax cut or a new program, when the truth was insufficiently persuasive.
Unlike his predecessors, President Trump lies for any reason at all.
I imagine the sinking feeling his aides get when he blurts out another whopper. “Now I’m going to have to go out and defend this,” they say with a sigh, then huddle together to arrive at the least laughable spin they can come up with, so they can rationalize the lie which Trump will of course be unwilling to retreat from.
White House staff have little choice but to reinforce, justify, and repeat their boss’ lies, though I suppose they could retain some shred of dignity and integrity by quitting. But what about Trump’s fellow Republicans, particularly the ones in Congress? They’re in an uncomfortable position, knowing that he’s still popular with the GOP base and so not having his back could have electoral costs. Being a “maverick” might sound appealing, but not when it’s going to cost you lots of votes or hinder your ability to work with the rest of the party on your legislative priorities.
Donald J. Trump
Taking The Perspective Of Others Proved To Be Really Hard
The divide in the United States is wide, and one indication of that is how difficult our question proved for many thoughtful citizens. A 77-year-old Republican woman from Pennsylvania was typical of the voters who struggled with this question, telling us, This is really hard for me to even try to think like a devilcrat!, I am sorry but I in all honesty cannot answer this question. I cannot even wrap my mind around any reason they would be good for this country.
Similarly, a 53-year-old Republican from Virginia said, I honestly cannot even pretend to be a Democrat and try to come up with anything positive at all, but, I guess they would vote Democrat because they are illegal immigrants and they are promised many benefits to voting for that party. Also, just to follow what others are doing. And third would be just because they hate Trump so much. The picture she paints of the typical Democratic voter being an immigrant, who goes along with their party or simply hates Trump will seem like a strange caricature to most Democratic voters. But her answer seems to lack the animus of many.
Democrats struggled just as much as Republicans. A 33-year-old woman from California told said, i really am going to have a hard time doing this but then offered that Republicans are morally right as in values, going to protect us from terrorest and immigrants, going to create jobs.
The Partys Core Activists Dont Want To Shift Gears
This is the simplest and most obvious explanation: The GOP isnt changing directions because the people driving the car dont want to.
When we think of Republicans, we tend to think of either rank-and-file GOP voters or the partys highest-profile elected officials, particularly its leaders in Congress. But in many ways, the partys direction is driven by a group between those two: conservative organizations like Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation, GOP officials at the local and state level and right-wing media outlets. That segment of the party has been especially resistant to the GOP abandoning its current mix of tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, opposition to expansions of programs that benefit the poor and an identity politics that centers white Americans and conservative Christians.
You could see the power and preferences of this group in the response to the Capitol insurrection.
In the days immediately following Jan. 6, many GOP elected officials, most notably McConnell, signaled that the party should make a permanent break from Trump. an increased number of rank-and-file GOP voters were dissatisfied with the outgoing president. But by the time the Senate held its trial over Trumps actions a month later, it was clear that the party was basically back in line with Trump.
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The Religious Right Traded Morals For Supreme Court Seats Was Trump Worth It
Succumbing to the worst tendencies of ones party isnt new or unprecedented weve been here before. Moral crises have repeatedly tested the will of our great nation. This country has battled through the dark days of slavery, segregation, McCarthyism and Watergate, and still we stand. Not because of magic pixie dust but thanks to brave patriots, willing to take unpopular yet principled stands because our social contract demands it.
And America has always managed to find its way back from the brink because of our ability to come together, in search of a shared purpose, when we as a country need it the most. We are edging toward a brink now, not of violence necessarily but certainly of near-intractable partisanship. Just look at the differing ways the impeachment inquiry is being covered. I may be foolish, but I still believe in our shared purpose. I still believe that, in spite of those who have turned their back on our motto, e pluribus unum, principled conservatives will find their way back home.
Bu Today: Whatever You Call Todays Violent Racist Antidemocratic Forces In The United States Are There Lessons History Offers For Thwarting Them
Jonathan Zatlin:You dont make compromises with them. You have to call these things out. Its important to call conspiracy theories out and debunk them. Its a difficult thing to do, but all these things need to be called out. You cannot make alliances with people like this, because these ideas are so corrosive. will swallow you whole. You cannot make idiotic statements like violence is part of democratic discourse. Conservatives believed they could contain fascists in the interwar period, and seem to think the same thing today. They bear responsibility not only for generating some of the ideas, but for collaborating with, and tolerating, a lot of the violence and racism. I see conservatives walking down a really precarious path, one that will endanger us all.
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The Strange Republican World Where The Big Lie Lives On And Trump Is Fighting To Save Democracy
Welcome to the the grassroots CPAC summit, where conservatives see themselves not as dismantlers of democracy, but as saviors
On stage in a hotel ballroom glowing red, white and blue, Ron DeSantis was recalling his days in Congress and a book he wrote about Americas troubles. It was read by about a dozen people, the Florida governor said with rare self-deprecation.
DeSantis then told a gathering of grassroots conservatives on Thursday: I look back at that time, it almost seems a little quaint to me because the threats we face to freedom, the threats we face to a just society, are much more pervasive than they were just 10 years ago.
Many Americans across the political spectrum would agree that something has gone terribly wrong over the past decade. Liberals might point to deepening inequality, a rise of white nationalism and an existential threat to democracy from the authoritarian right.
But DeSantis and fellow travellers at this weeks Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, see themselves not as dismantlers of democracy but its saviours. In their worldview, the true danger comes not from former president Donald Trumps big lie of a stolen election but a radical left minority imposing socialism, cancel culture and woke ideology on the majority.
Opinion: How Can Republicans Defend Trump Because Of The Clintons
Of all the desperate defenses that Republicans were forced to try as the impeachment hearings wore on, the strangest was that President Trump was just doing his job fighting corruption in Ukraine. Even his supporters have to concede that Trumps interest in corruption began and ended with one Ukrainian company.
After all, if Trump cared about family members using their connections to the presidency for personal enrichment, hed have been investigating son-in-law Jared Kushners family for wooing Chinese investors by playing up its familial ties to the Oval Office, or investigating his own administration for attempting to divert a major global summit to one of his properties. No one can reasonably believe the president cares about corruption, unless fighting it might help him win elections.
Unfortunately, Democratic outrage against political corruption, pretextual investigations and the use of vested powers to help your party win elections sounds a little hollow. For three years, impeachment, for many Democrats, has been an effect searching for a cause. Ukraine may have fit the bill perfectly, but anything else would have done just as well.
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Bu Today: Is There Any Fascist Analog On The American Left
Jonathan Zatlin:Thats one of those rhetorical questions thats easily disposed of. There is no such thing as fascism on the American left. There might be violence on the American left, although theres far less than there is on the right. This is a tactical move on the right to deny its own responsibility.
What About Overturning Roe V Wade
To women under 50, abortion is just as important an issue as the economy and inflation.
Two-thirds of women under 50 describe the Republican Party as “extreme,” the descriptor they most often selected to use for the GOP.
But the Democrats may not have all the answers for them, either: most of them think Democrats are not doing enough to protect abortion rights.
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Americans Not Only Divided But Baffled By What Motivates Their Opponents
As it became clear that Democrats would win control of the U.S. House of Representatives, pundits immediately began explaining the Blue Wave. Some said it was rooted in concerns that President Trump was leading the nation into dangerous territory others pointed to alarm about health care, or compassion for citizens of color and refugees. But Republican voters were having none of this, according to a recent Penn State Mood of the Nation Poll.
The nationally representative poll of 1,000 citizens included 307 voters who cast votes for Republican Congressional candidates in the midterm elections. We asked them, In your opinion, how many citizens voting for the Democrats did so because they sincerely believe that the Democratic party is best for the country?
Trump Is Still A Force In The Party
After the 2012 elections, prominent Republicans sharply criticized Mitt Romney and his campaign. Democrats did the same to Hillary Clinton after 2016 and sometimes included former President Barack Obama in their criticisms, too. For a political party to change direction, it nearly always has to distance itself from past leaders.
Or put another way: For there to be an autopsy, there has to be a dead body.
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There Arent Real Forces Within The Gop Leading Change
There is some appetite for change within the GOP. In those 2024 polls, at least a third of Republicans either were supporting a GOP presidential candidate other than Trump or were undecided.
In YouGov Blues polling, only about 40 percent of Republicans identified themselves as Trump Republicans. A recent survey from Fabrizio, Lee and Associates, a GOP-leaning firm that worked on Trumps presidential campaigns, found that about 40 percent of Republican voters didnt want Trump to continue to be a leader in the party. Those numbers dont necessarily mean that those voters want the GOP to change drastically. But there is a substantial number of Trump-skeptical/ready-to-move-on-from-Trump Republican voters. But that sentiment isnt really showing up in the Republican Partys actions during the last three months basically everything GOP officials in states and in Washington are doing lines up with the Trumpian approach. So what gives?
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It is hard to see Republicans changing course, even if a meaningful minority of voters in the party wants changes, without some elite institutions and powerful people in the party pushing a new vision. And its hard to see real anti-Trumpism forces emerging in the GOP right now.
Can Republicans Handle The Aftermath Of Donald Trump
In the wake of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crisis, President Bush was broadly unpopular. American troops were coming home in body bags with no end in sight and no way to measure victory. American citizens were called refugees in their own country and dying from the failed White House response to a disaster. The economy was about to collapse as a result of insufficient Wall Street oversight.
Heading into the 2008 election, Republicans were not just worried over losing the White House, they were worried about being completely run out of Washington. After suffering historic losses in the midterms, there was a common question asked among reporters and politicos inside the Beltway. How can Republicans stop the hemorrhaging? The answer was they could not. Democrats took additional seats in the House, won the Senate, and recaptured the White House with Barack Obama.
Heading into the 2020 election, Republicans find themselves in a similar conundrum. American troops are dying from the conflict in Afghanistan. American citizens are losing their lives thanks to the failed White House response to the coronavirus crisis. The economy is left in shambles with severe unemployment and an uncertain road ahead to recovery.
Michael Starr Hopkins is the founder of Northern Starr Strategies and the host of âThe Starr Reportâ podcast. Follow his updates @TheOnlyHonest.
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In Both Swing States And Safe Seats Gop Candidates Say That Liberals Hate Them Personally And May Turn Rioters Or A Police State On People Who Disobey Them
Days before Marylands July 19 primary, Michael Peroutka stood up at an Italian restaurant in Rockville and imagined how a foreign enemy might attack America.
We would expect them to make our borders porous, Peroutka told the crowd, which had come to hear the Republicans running for state attorney general. We would expect them to make our cities unsafe places to live. We would expect them to try to ruin our economy. The country was at war, he explained, and the enemy has co-opted members and agencies and agents of our government.
On Tuesday, Peroutka easily dispatched a more moderate Republican to win the nomination. State Del. Dan Cox, who won Donald Trumps endorsement after supporting the former presidents effort to subvert the 2020 election, also dispatched a Republican endorsed by the states popular governor, Larry Hogan.
Both candidates described a country that was not merely in trouble, but being destroyed by leaders who despise most Americans effectively part of a civil war. In both swing states and safe seats, many Republicans say that liberals hate them personally and may turn rioters or a police state on people who disobey them.
Many Democrats saw the backlash to Obama as specific to his race, and saw Biden as unlikely to inspire mass opposition to Trump in the presidential election. But many Republicans also portray Biden as a malevolent figure a vessel for a hateful leftist campaign to weaken America.
The Practical Implications Of Overturning Roe V Wade
The overturning of Roe v Wade is not the winning issue Republicans hoped it would be. While the right-wing Christian contingent on the Supreme Court has no head for practical considerations health care professionals and the rest of us do including at least one Republican.
Representative Neal Collins of South Carolina was forced to confront the reality of life without Roe v Wade just two weeks after the Fetal Heartbeat Bill became law in his home state. Heres what he had to say.
The second week that this that the Fetal Heartbeat Bill became law, a doctor called me. A 19-year-old girl appeared at the ER. She was 15 weeks pregnant. Her water broke. The fetus was unviable. The attorneys told the doctors that because of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill because that 15-week-old had a heartbeat the doctors could not extract.
They discharged that 19-year-old. The doctor told me at that point there is a 50% chance well, first shes going to pass this fetus in the toilet. Shes going to have to deal with that on her own. Theres a 50% chance greater than 50% chance that shes going to lose her uterus. Theres a 10% chance that she will develop sepsis and herself, die.
That weighs on me. I voted for that bill.
Thats the thing, though, isnt it? Right-wing, holier-than-thou Christian lawmakers dont think. They judge, pontificate, and attempt to control, but they dont think. And now that weve done their thinking for them, they realize theyre in trouble.
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Jonathan Zatlin:If you look at the interwar period, theres no question that the civil serviceespecially in Germany, where democracy was linked to economic crises and the defeat of the Warwas opposed to democracy. And thats simply not the case in the United States. I dont think that has anything to do with Republicans, actually I think its that weve all been taught that democracy is a really important value. That said, the last president did tryand it seems Republican parties locally as well as on the state level are tryingto put public officials into office who dont have democracy as a value, who believe violence is a legitimate part of public discourse, which it obviously isnt. Its a form of politics that is deeply disturbing, because it means the Republican Party has allied itself with antidemocratic values, violence, and racism.