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How Long Will It Take For The Office Of The Presidency To Recover From This Obsessive MAGAt Fever?

There was never a president as bad as Trump— not a Democrat nor a Republican. We can all agree on that. But that got me thinking about Republican presidents. Was there one since Lincoln who was any good? Well, Teddy Roosevelt was OK if you don’t count the imperialism. And Eisenhower was less bad than most of them— and remember, before he ran, the Democrats tried recruiting him to run on their ticket! When Eisenhower did run as Republican, he was cast as a “moderate” by the dominant right-wingers who controlled the party. Robert Taft (OH) ran against him and Taft was backed by many prominent right-wingers like himself, who wanted to repeal the New Deal. It was a bitter, vicious convention battle about stolen delegates. Taft was endorsed by Everett Dirksen (IL), Mark Hatfield (OR) and failed former President Herbert Hoover but in the end, Eisenhower (and the mainstream faction) won and Eisenhower managed to move the GOP in a less right-wing direction, something that held up ’til Goldwater came along. And then the party went off the rails again, eventually leading to where it is now— a contest between Trump and a shadow-Trump.

Yesterday, Will Saletan wrote that “over the past decade, the the Republican party has turned its back on everything it once claimed to stand for. The party of ‘law and order’ has smeared prosecutors, attacked the justice system, and called for defunding federal law enforcement. The party of ‘limited government’ has tried to use state power to punish companies for their political views. The party of American leadership is increasingly leaning toward abandoning Europe to a Russian invasion. The party of ‘family values’ is backing a rapist for president. To that list, add one more betrayal: The party of ‘national security’ is subordinating military readiness to snowflake cultural sensitivities.”

Noah Berlastsky went further into the sordid morass: Trump’s hostile takeover of the party— its resources, heart, and soul. Rather than celebrating democratic processes, the debate is a tacit (and not so tacit) acquiescence to the authoritarian dominance rituals of the party’s singular overlord, who squats upon the face of the GOP like a giant blood-sucking orange xenomorph. The debate is not a contest, but a dominance ritual; the Republican Party’s new leader is the old leader, who feeds with much bellowing on his rivals’ vestigial spines… Trump has used the debate to show that he is not bound by party institutions or party actors, and to demonstrate how thoroughly he can flout them, and indeed destroy them, on a whim.”

"Me" by Nancy Ohanian

Trump has humiliated Fox, the RNC and DeSantis, who would like to be the 2028 nominee. “Fox would like to see itself as a kingmaker in the GOP. More than that, it wants to be the go-to source for edutainment and information on the right. But Trump has made it impossible for the network even to provide accurate information about its own debate… Adding insult to injury, Trump instead is counter-programming with a sitdown with Tucker Carlson, a recently fired Fox News host.”

Trump isn’t just playing coy. He’s issuing a threat. As political scientist Jonathan Bernstein explained on Bluesky, Trump’s “key strength within the party since spring 2016” has been that “party actors who otherwise dislike him are terrified to defy him because they know he has zero loyalty to the party.” Political scientist Seth Masket adds that “if Trump didn’t get the nomination, he would likely run as an independent or otherwise sandbag the GOP nominee.”
Trump running third party is an absolute nightmare scenario for Republicans. Trump’s hardcore supporters are about a third of the Republican electorate. If he ran as an independent, and his rabid base abandoned the GOP, Democrats would probably be favored in states like Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio, and competitive even in the deep south.
By not taking the pledge, Trump is reminding the RNC, and his Republican rivals, that he’s entirely willing to throw the election to Biden, and to destroy the GOP for a cycle, or conceivably forever.
The existential terror of such a scenario has led Republicans to a policy of what Bernstein calls “strict appeasement.” The RNC is afraid to chastise Trump or punish him in any way, lest he take his voters and put a wrecking ball through the party’s presidential and down-ballot chances. And his rivals are afraid to criticize him for the same reason. They know that he has the unilateral power to deny them the presidency, even if they somehow win the nomination.
…The run up to the GOP debate, then, has not been a way for non-Trump candidates to get attention or a moment in the spotlight. Instead, it’s been a way for Trump to reassert his control. Fox, the RNC, his rivals, the GOP as a whole; they’ve all engaged in renewed rounds of genuflection and boot-licking at Trump’s behest.
The GOP is in a pitiful state. But it’s a pitiful state it has chosen. Republicans have boasted for decades about how tough they are while they sneer at the left and the Democrats for being soft and weak. But faced with a bully of their own creation, Republicans have chosen to assiduously and consistently fold in on themselves like sad, soggy, deflating balloons. The party has had numerous opportunities to stand up to Trump and chart a new path— most notably perhaps during the impeachment vote after his coup attempt. But they’ve refused at every turn, choosing instead to kowtow, shiver, and crawl.
At some point, such prolonged and determined cravenness stops even being craven. Republicans are the party of Trump because they’ve chosen to be the party of Trump. He may not be on the debate stage, but it’s his voice we’ll hear. The only tongue Republicans speak with now is orange.

On Tuesday, writing for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Alan Abramowitz, took a stab at explaining the crucial role negative partisanship plays in understanding Republican loyalty to Trump. This example of that loyalty came out the following day:

Abramowitz wrote that “the key to understanding both Donald Trump’s domination of the Republican nomination contest and his continued competitiveness in a general election matchup with Joe Biden is negative partisanship. Negative partisanship refers to the growing dislike of the opposing party and its leaders among voters who identify with or lean toward one of the two major parties in the U.S…. One of the most important consequences of negative partisanship is that crossing party lines to support a candidate from the opposing party has become totally unacceptable to the large majority of partisans. As a result, defection rates by partisans have declined dramatically in all types of elections, and especially in presidential elections… [E]ven indictments by federal and state prosecutors on serious criminal charges have only served to reinforce the loyalty of Republican voters to Trump. Republican voters see these attacks and indictments as efforts by the hated opposition party and its allies to weaken the former president and prevent his return to the White House. Similarly, in a general election matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, even Republicans who have reservations about Trump overwhelmingly prefer him to Biden because they believe the portrayal of Biden by Republican leaders and conservative media outlets as a radical leftist and a threat to the survival of the nation. As a result, it appears likely that a rematch between Biden and Trump in 2024 will remain highly competitive with the outcome hinging on a small number of swing voters in a handful of closely contested states— an outcome that could lend itself to attacks on the integrity of the election by the former president and his allies.”

It's a fancy way of saying "owning the libs" means more to them than the livability of the earth their grandchildren inherit. Data for Progress released new polling data before the debate yesterday that shows a several policies proposed on the campaign trail by the Republican candidates-- both presidential and down-ballot-- are unpopular with most of voters. If only people cast their ballots based on their policy preferences...

1 opmerking

24 aug. 2023

infinity. the office of the fuhrer still hasn't recovered from the reagan "revolution". it just keeps flushing further and further down the sewer. dumb just keeps getting dumber and dumberer.

it isn't the fault of the pols who keep running on worser and worser platforms. it's because voters keep voting for it.

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