Wednesday, June 22, 2022

How Can Republicans Live With Themselves

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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.

Trump Slams ‘wayward’ Republicans For Capitol Riot Vote

Former US president Donald Trump blasted “wayward Republicans” after lawmakers made a rare bipartisan push to investigate the Capitol riot.

With the support of 35 Republicans, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted 252-175 to look into the events of 6 January.

Party leaders had urged Republicans to oppose the bill, with Mr Trump labelling it a “Democrat trap”.

The bill appears to lack the Republican support it needs to pass in the Senate.

It seeks to create an independent inquiry modelled on the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The legislation establishes a 10-member body, evenly split between the two main parties, that would make recommendations by the end of the year on how to prevent any repeat of the Capitol invasion.

Trump supporters stormed Congress on 6 January in a failed bid to thwart certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in November’s election.

Wednesday’s vote was seen as a loyalty test to the former president for members of his party.

All 10 of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the days after the Capitol riot for incitement of insurrection were among the 35 who voted for the commission.

In a statement after the vote, Mr Trump hit out at the “wayward” Republican group, saying, “they just can’t help themselves”.

“Sometimes there are consequences to being ineffective and weak,” Mr Trump added.

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But Trumps continued popularity among key GOP constituencies prevents Republican insiders from undertaking a formal, public discussion about his political shortcomings and how the party should move on from him. Everyone in the GOP knows that irritating Trump could result in the former president attacking them, which would make them vulnerable to a primary challenge, with conservative activists likely backing their opponent. So there will be no autopsy of the post-Trump Republican Party, akin to the Republican National Committees report in 2013 following Romneys defeat, at least not in public. 

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. 

Democrats Return The Favor: Republicans Uninformed Or Self

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The 429 Democratic voters in our sample returned the favor and raised many of the same themes. Democrats inferred that Republicans must be VERY ill-informed, or that Fox news told me to vote for Republicans.  Or that Republicans are uneducated and misguided people guided by what the media is feeding them.

Many also attributed votes to individual self-interest whereas GOP voters feel Democrats want free stuff, many Democrats believe Republicans think that I got mine and dont want the libs to take it away, or that some day I will be rich and then I can get the benefits that rich people get now.

Many used the question to express their anger and outrage at the other side.  Rather than really try to take the position of their opponents, they said things like, I like a dictatorial system of Government, Im a racist, I hate non-whites. 

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.

The latest updates in the Trump impeachment hearings

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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Conservative Intellectuals Were Blind To The Truth About The Gop Hence Trump

The available evidence compiled by historians and political scientists suggests that 1964 really was a pivotal political moment, in exactly the way Roy describes.

Yet Republican intellectuals have long denied this, fabricating a revisionist history in which Republicans were and always have been the party of civil rights. In 2012, ran a lengthy cover story arguing that the standard history recounted by Roy was popular but indefensible.

This revisionism, according to Roy, points to a much bigger conservative delusion: They cannot admit that their partys voters are motivated far more by white identity politics than by conservative ideals.

Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble, Roy says. Weve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.

Conservative intellectuals, for the most part, are horrified by racism. When they talk about believing in individual rights and equality, they really mean it. Because the Republican Party is the vehicle through which their ideas can be implemented, they need to believe that the party isnt racist.

Its the power of wishful thinking. None of us want to accept that opposition to civil rights is the legacy that weve inherited, Roy says.

Beneath The Hood Of Trump’s Support Base

Trump’s victory in 2016 came on the back of a surge in voter turnout among white Americans without a college degree, a group he won by better than a 2-1 margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump won 6.5 million more voters over the age of 45, despite losing the national popular vote by almost three million.

But that “demographic blowback” which saw some older Americans cast a vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan was on the ballot, was never a long-term strategy they are literally dying off.

But they aren’t dead yet, and neither is Trump’s support base.

AP: Julio Cortez

A found 89 per cent of voters without a college degree and 74 per cent of Republicans want Trump to stay active in politics in some way. Almost half of Republicans want Trump to remain head of their party, while 11 per cent want him to break away and start his own party. It’s that final figure that probably worries Republicans more than any other.

Trump has already flirted with the idea of starting his own “Patriot Party” to rival both Republicans and Democrats, and provide a vehicle for a potential third presidential campaign in 2024.

The only time a former president tried to return to office under the banner of a new party, Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, he consigned his former Republican Party to a distant third place.

‘this Is Not A Political Campaign This Is Deadly Serious’: Cheney Speaks After Jan 6 Committee

Those Republicans were not in the room. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and his fellow GOP leaders decided not to appoint members to the select committee investigating the riot. They will neither defend nor condemn the Capitol riot in the historical annals of the Congressional Record.

They have chosen official silence refusing to defend the indefensible while signaling tacit and docile support for former President Donald Trump and the rioters who stormed the Capitol in his name.

Former Rep. David Jolly, who left the GOP in 2018, said the Republican leadership is trying to divert public attention away from the hearings.

“The committee is set up to get to the truth about Jan. 6,” Jolly said. “Republican opposition to its work is clearly an effort to obstruct that truth from reaching voters.”

Still, by threatening to punish fellow Republicans Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Kinzinger, McCarthy has made clear to Americans that in his House Republican Conference, it is better to back a riot than to buck Trump.

Choosing not to send Republican allies to sit on the committee McCarthy opted to abstain after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected two of his picks because they have spread lies about the riot may be an act of political cowardice. But it is certainly a political miscalculation.

We may have our deep differences on other policy issues,” Kinzinger said. “But we are all Americans today.

The Social Media Effect

Social media platforms provide us a personalized way to receive news and commentary from anyone and everyone with whom we are connected. In theory, this could mean that users see a cross section of their community’s political views, representing the full range of perspectives within their network. Unfortunately, our study’s findings paint a less encouraging picture. First, only 26% of American report sharing social media posts about politics. Second, these Americans have higher Perception Gaps than the national average. While those who do not post on social media have an average Perception Gap of 18, those who do post on social media have an average Perception Gap of 29. The political content we see on social media is therefore disproportionately from people with a more distorted understanding of the other side, further adding to the problem.

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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Sen Mazie Hirono Wonders How Some Republicans Live With Themselves

Even after being elected to the Senate in 2012, the Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono was, by her own choosing, a politician little known outside her home state. Then, around 2016 and the election of a particularly divisive president, Hirono, who was born in Japan and is the Senates only immigrant, decided that staying under the radar was unsustainable. She frequently made herself available to the national media. She publicly said President Trump was a misogynist and a liar and called for his resignation . She unabashedly punctuated her comments with salty language. And it wasnt just her unexpected transition that raised her profile: Senator Hironos forceful questioning during the Kavanaugh and Barrett Supreme Court confirmation hearings, as well as, more recently, calling on President Biden to nominate more diverse people for senior positions in his administration, have also been central to her earning national stature. Its not the easiest thing for political people to speak candidly with the national media, says Senator Hirono, who is 73 and whose memoir, Heart of Fire, will be published on April 20. Im not doing it for effect. I dont go out there and spew things. Ive thought things through.

Garland said that to you about the Garza case? No, I said that to Garland. He just kind of looked at me like, Yeah. I knew that he was astounded.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from two conversations.

Republicans Are Trying To Rebrand Themselves As Working Class Heroes

A black GOP operative says Donald Trump can reach 20% of ...

About a week after he was busted for taking a trip to Cancun amid a historic power crisis in his home state, Ted Cruz made a bold declaration: The Republican Party is not the party of the country clubs, he . Its the party of hardworking, blue-collar men and women. The GOP, he claimed at the yearly jamboree of right-wing nutjobs last week, was not a party for the mostly rich, mostly white men who represent it in Washington. On the contrary, he the Conservative Political Action Conference, where the cost of admission ranged from the mid-hundreds of dollars to , Republicans are the party of steel workers and construction workers and taxi drivers and cops and firefighters and waitresses.

These deplorables, the Texas Senator told big ticket CPAC attendees in February, are here to stay.

This characterization, of course, is ridiculous on its face; how can you claim your party is not the party of country clubs when its deified leader, Donald Trump, literally in a private club he owns. But its an aggressive branding exercise that Republicans have engaged in throughout the Trump years, and that they appear to be ramping up since he was defeated by Joe Biden in November, when the insurrectionist Senator Josh Hawley wrote that we are a working class party now.

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Making The Audience Laugh And Cry

It has become a cliché to declare that Republicans and Democrats live in two different worlds these days, but it turns out there is some truth to the observation.

New research on political behavior finds that most Democratic and Republican voters live in partisan bubbles, with little daily exposure to those who belong to the other party. For instance the typical Democrat has almost zero interactions with Republicans in their neighborhood, according to an by Harvard doctoral student Jacob R. Brown and government Professor Ryan D. Enos published March 8 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Theres a lot of evidence that any separation between groups has a lot of negative consequences. We see this in race; we see this in religion; we see this in all kinds of things, said Enos. And increasingly, we see this in partisanship in the United States.

Using geolocation data and the exact addresses of all 180 million registered voters in the U.S. as of June 2018, the two were able to precisely map, for the first time, where Democrats and Republicans live in relation to each other in every town, city, and state in the U.S. Then, rather than rely on the usual precinct or data aggregations, they used weighted measures and recorded the distance between voters to show how people are divided by geography and partisanship across the country.

The measurement of partisan sorting for 180 million voters,

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It certainly might.

And I wouldnt necessarily buy anybody who was selling that. But there are without question people in the administration who fit that criteriapeople who I know for a fact are just deeply disturbred by the president and his behavior, and some of his demagoguery, but feel as though walking away as a sign of protest would be counterproductive. Because the president needs people around him who are stable influences to help steer the ship. And if they were to walk away, maybe the ship sinks.

Theres a bit of a scarlet letter that almost everyone in the Republican party is going to wear.

The president is not oblivious to the fact that this administration is staffed with an awful lot of people who said some really nasty things about him during the campaign. Its not lost on Trump that he has a lot of staff members who were not fans of him once and probably not fans of him today. Look, if Trump was only to staff his White House with people who had never said a negative thing about him, he would be really hard-pressed to find anybody. His takeover of the Republican party was a hostile takeover.

Your book describes the Republican party in collapse. As far as establishment Republicans in DC are concerned, then, is the Trump takeover permanent?

They did this to themselves. And its way too easy ten years from now to lay it all on Trump. Theyre the ones who invited Trump in the first place.

Former Republican Voter After Capitol Riot: ‘i Want No Association With This Party Anymore’

Like so many Republicans, Im sick and tired of talking about saving a party that shows few signs of wanting redemption, which makes it increasingly hard to hold on to the tattered remnants of a once-proud party. Indeed, since the insurrection more than 30,000 Republican voters have dropped their affiliation with the GOP, with many echoing the words of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican.

Despite my own pessimisms about the Grand Old Party, I believe its salvation can still be found in our guiding principles, which do not include putting kids in cages, spewing lies and conspiracies and fermenting deadly insurrections. For those Republicans who remain behind, its time to refocus on what it means to be a Republican. While former President Donald Trump spent four years trying to reshape as much of the Republican Party into his image as possible and, failing that, setting the rest on fire, I agree with Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who said, There is a real split for the future of the party, and that epic battle has commenced. Bring it on!

My fellow Republicans must stop playing stupid.

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.

From Pig Hunting To Tea Party Meetings Former Npr Ceo Ken Stern Immersed Himself In Conservative Culture

Ken Stern did not expect to enjoy pig hunting in Texas.

As the former head of NPR, he did not expect to find common ground with the people of evangelical churches or eastern Kentucky coal mines. And he did not expect to renounce his Democratic membership.  

But after a year immersed in Republican culture, Stern learned life on the other side of the political divide is far from how it’s depicted a problem he pins on a polarized media landscape, and the very institutions he formerly called home.

‘Virtually everyone in the mainstream media is on one side of the political landscape and not the other.’ – Ken Stern

Widest Perception Gap At Political Extremes

In one of the largest national studies of Americas polarization ever conducted, More in Commons Hidden Tribes report identified seven political tribes:

The Hidden Tribes of America

The Perception Gap study builds on these insights. It finds that the most partisan, politically active Americans a group we call the Wings have deeply distorted perceptions of the other side. The two groups with the widest Perception Gaps are the Progressive Activists and the Devoted Conservativesthe most ideological and committed groups of Democrats and Republicans.

And which is the most accurate segment? Surprisingly, its the Politically Disengaged. They are fully three times more accurate in their estimates of political opponents than members of either of these Wing groups. The V-shaped Perception Gap shows that the less invested you are in politics today, the less distorted your perception of politics.

The Party Of The Country Club Tries To Embrace A New Egalitarian Economic Agenda


We are a working-class party now, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted at 10:53 p.m. Eastern time on election night in November. Thats the future. A few minutes later, Fox called Arizona for Joe Biden, beginning a string of for Donald Trump and pointing toward a future quite different than the one Hawley had probably imagined when he posted. Hawley arrived in the Senate two years into the Trump era, and since then has pitched an agenda built around the concerns of the common man and woman. Sympathizing with cultural grievances, as Hawley does in fighting internet pornography, is something at which Republicans have been skilled for decades. Addressing the economic disadvantages of the less-well-off has been a blind spot. While Hawley himself has resisted mandatory increases in the minimum wage, his political world has been heating up recently, and it is changing his politics. When he announced in December that he planned to challenge the electoral-vote tally in the Senate, a rogue Walmart social media staffer attacked him as a sore loser via the companys Twitter account. The company promptly apologized, but not before Hawley suggested to Walmart, maybe youd like to apologize for the pathetic wages you pay your workers as you drive mom and pop stores out of business.

Christopher Caldwell is a contributing editor at The Claremont Review of Books.

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