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Neither a Slate Pitch nor a Hot Take


Please allow me to present, the Glue Snort.

Why Liberals Should Vote for Marco Rubio
Democrats must do everything they can to prevent Donald Trump’s nomination—like supporting the one man with a chance to beat him.

Or perhaps the Meth Hit?

Marco Rubio would be a terrible president.

Agreed, bye-bye.

Still, if I lived in any of the nine Super Tuesday states that allow non-Republicans to vote in their GOP presidential primary, I would cross over—forfeiting my chance to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders—and vote for Rubio. Other liberals should do the same. Those who can should write him checks. Whatever it takes to stop the nomination of Donald Trump.

There are three arguments against what I’m proposing.

1. It’s stupid.
2. It’s really stupid.
3. If the author doesn’t know it’s stupid, it’s because he’s high.

The third argument against liberals supporting Rubio is that America will benefit if Trump destroys the Republican Party. If the GOP splits, or loses massively this fall, then perhaps moderates will regain influence and the Republican Party—or whatever supplants it—will stop denying climate change, stop refusing to vote on judges, and stop pushing the United States to the brink of financial default. Maybe as a result of Trump, the party’s “fever may break.”

I understand the argument’s allure, but it’s reckless. Although it’s highly likely Trump would lose a general election, there are no guarantees. Hillary Clinton could be indicted. Terrorists could strike two days before Americans head out to vote. If nothing else, the course of the presidential race so far should instill a healthy modesty in anyone inclined to make blanket assertions about what will happen in six months.

We just don’t know what may happen! There are too many unknown knowns! We must have the possibly electable Sen. Rubio positioned to be our fall-back president rather than the impossibly electable T-Rump in case something happens because the future is unpredictable!! Also, lines people. LINES.

But we do know this: Once Trump is nominated, America will have crossed a line.

Le gasp! This line, is it in … the sand???

A man who does not respect constitutional limits and who preys upon vulnerable minorities will lead one of the two major parties. The consequences, though hard to measure, could be profound.

Or, we could think back to the last time a Republican was in the White House.

Sometimes even a morally corrupt status quo is better than what follows. A Trump nomination would represent a leap into a terrifying political unknown.

OMG, more unknowns! What can we do??

Liberals should try to forestall it by backing Marco Rubio. And if we fail, we should implore conservatives to help stop Trump by backing Hillary Clinton.

Seriously, WTF?

Although the polarization in American politics today is vast, there are still norms that both decent liberals and decent conservatives cherish, and do not wish to see smashed. Across the ideological divide, it’s time to close ranks.

For some of us, it is time to check into rehab.

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  • DrDick

    This is indeed a meth induced fever dream. I can only assume that he is an operative for the GOP establishment desperately seeking a way to block the inevitable.

  • Nobdy

    From a strategic point of view if there’s ONE thing that will raise Rubiobot up above Trumpolini in the eyes of the GOP electorate it is a bunch of coastal liberals voting in the Republican primary in support of Rubio.

    It is my understanding that Republicans appreciate it when liberals give their views to internal Republican races, and are not at all prone to paranoia and conspiracy theories.

    This take is so hot it will IMMOLATE any who come in contact with it!

    P.S. What is the liberal version of wingnut welfare? Whatever it is, this guy is apparently a recipient if he is being paid to produce this tripe for the Atlantic. Ta-Nahisi Coates writes for them for chrissake. You could reprint literally ANYTHING HE HAS EVER WRITTEN (even as a child) and it would be one billion times more valuable than what “PCP Pete” has to say.

    • J Alfred Press

      Beinart wrote a hugely influential essay for the NYRB like five years ago, called The Failure of the Jewish Establishment, which he expanded into a book called The Crisis of Zionism a couple of years ago. I remember the essay as lucid and challenging, haven’t read the book.

      When I read this particular misguided, bewildering article I had to double check it was the same dude.

      • Aaron Morrow

        I’m so old, that I also remember the articles that became “The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again

        In the old days, we’d have gone straight to the “even-the-liberal-Peter-Beinart” catchphrase to point out that Beinart seems to be fine with Trumpism without the Trump.

      • joe from Lowell

        Peter Beinart is afraid, as we all should be, of what the rise of Donald Trump represents.

        Genuinely afraid, not just “I don’t like him.” Scared of what’s going to happen next.

        People in the grip of fear aren’t always at their best, don’t always think clearly. That’s what I think is going on with Beinart.

        If anyone cares, I’m afraid, too.

        • LosGatosCA

          Congratulations – strong post.

          Trump is a symptom of a deeper problem. Even in the richest society the world has ever known even within the favored racial cohort the veneer of civilization is very thin indeed.

          Insecure willfully ignorant people are a constant threat, not just to progress, but to common sense actions in the face of adversity. The last 8 years of lack of compassion, both in word and deed, for the unemployed and underemployed have proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. All the racism, obstruction to Obamacare, and the like have just been the icing on their barbaric cake.

          And that’s why it’s simply dumb thinking that voting for/against a Trump, a Cruz, a Rubio, or anyone else willing to pander to and represent such a vile constituency is of some differential consequence. It’s not.

          • joe from Lowell

            But of course we have to vote against them. What are you saying?

            • njorl

              I think he meant voting against one as opposed to another.
              We vote against their party, which stands for exploitation of the weak and cruelty to the “other”, not against their individuals, as odious as they might be.

          • joe from Lowell

            And thanks for the appreciation.

        • Roberta

          I think that’s right. I also think there’s very much a tendency among some centrist-liberals to confuse actual Republicans with the Republicans on Sorkin’s West Wing.

          Also, cool blog.

        • efgoldman

          Scared of what’s going to happen next.

          You of all people shouldn’t need reminding that a minority of a minority is voting for Trump and the opossum on his head.
          Now that doesn’t mean that there won’t be an Altamont at one of his events. I’m afraid there might, indeed, be. But the larger fear is unfounded. He’ll get nominated, he won’t get elected. The Republiklowns will do another introspective analysis, and figure out that they’re alienating too many people. Then they won’t do anything about it, again. Rinse and repeat.

          • joe from Lowell

            Not likely isn’t the same thing as can’t.

            We’re still too close to comfort.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Now that doesn’t mean that there won’t be an Altamont at one of his events.

            Who will be the Don McLean to write “The Day the GOP Died”?

            • N__B

              The Nuge.

  • MAJeff

    For some of us, it is time to check into rehab.

    And yet..

    There’s no bottom to hit for these folks.

    • OmerosPeanut

      Not sure about that. I don’t think they’re completely opposed to spanking or assplay.

      • efgoldman

        I don’t think they’re completely opposed to spanking or assplay.

        Only on their kids.

        • DrS

          Spoken like someone who hasn’t checked Grindr in suburban Houston.

  • Nick056

    Asking liberals to vote for a doofus who says that Bill Clinton is to blame for 9/11, the ACA nees to be repealed, and neo-con foreign policy can only be failed.

    Yeah, no. There’s a reason — maby reasons — why people don’t actually switch across the aisle to vote against bad people.

    • JG

      Honestly Trump’s “policies” are more sane than Rubio.

      • Merkwürdigliebe

        Indeed. On the social-issues front, Trump is an opportunist with no real opinion of his own. On the racial issues and immigration he’s just saying the quiet parts uncomfortably loud. And on economic issues, he’s considerably more sensible than any of the other Republican candidates.

        I’m basically rooting for Trump tomorrow, both cynically as the greater general election liability for GOP and as probably the lesser of evils should the unthinkable happen.

        • random

          Do it for the first reason. He’s not the lesser of two evils.

          • Cassiodorus

            I truly don’t see what makes him more evil than Rubio.

            • random

              I don’t see what makes him less, either.

              • Cassiodorus

                Less likely to take an ax to Social Security.

                • random

                  He said that a significant chunk of the recipients are leeches and he is just as likely to ‘fix’ it using his Super Business Acumen in conjunction with the GOP Congress as any other Republican. The fact that he’s elsewhere said positive things about the program pretty much puts him in George W. Bush territory.

                • twbb

                  There is no way that anything is happening to social security while the majority of boomers are alive. If Rubio won I hope he would try to gut social security, that would just guarantee a democrat victory in 2020.

                • Pseudonym

                  They could always take the Paul Ryan approach: “You hard-working Boomers earned these benefits and get to keep them, but we just can’t afford it for the subsequent generations.”

              • To me the big thing that makes Rubio worse than Cruz or Trump is that his evil plans (eliminating all tax on capital–capital gains, dividends, and estates, for instance) could imaginably be implemented, whereas Trump’s and Cruz’s are completely detached from reality.

            • Matt McIrvin

              His penchant for directly inciting violence puts him on top in the evil category, I think. The others are less likely to actually call for lynch mobs in a Presidential address.

          • efgoldman

            He’s not the lesser of two evils.

            He’s the evil of three lessers.

        • osceola

          I vote in Texas, an open state. I intend to vote for Trump because he’s closest to beating Cruz, who’s favored. I despise Cruz so fiercely I want him to not come in first in his own home state.

          • CD

            So *that’s* why Trump is doing so well.

          • Pseudonym

            My oldest sister’s also in Texas, and has the pleasure of trying to explain to a bunch of mostly Chinese and Korean postdocs how American elections work and how someone like Trump is winning. (And Texas culture as well.)

          • rea

            You can argue about Rubio, maybe, but clearly Cruz is more evil than Trump.

          • BlueLoom

            We also live in an open state (Virginia). Mr. Loom & I discussed voting for Trump (as the easiest to defeat in the fall), but in the end decide that we’d feel unclean if we did.

            We’re off to vote for Bernie in a couple of hrs. Yeah, yeah: he doesn’t have a chance, but we want to push up his numbers.

    • Matt McIrvin

      I actually knew some liberals who crossed over to vote for John McCain against George W. Bush in 2000.

      Fat lot of good that did. But, also, the Democratic primary wasn’t a very interesting contest in 2000. Gore was thrashing Bradley from early on.

      • BlueLoom

        We did (Virginia)

  • Dagmar

    Dear Democrats, Please help save the GOP from self-immolation. It’s in your best interest. Signed, Republican Santa Claus

    • tsam

      That is NOT a bag of matches in my pocket, I’m just happy to see you. (BURN)

      • DrDick

        This 5 gallon gas can is completely empty, I promise!

    • Eli Rabett

      Sure, first you get Mitch to rush Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court thu and then let;s say we talk

    • I’m cackling like an idiot in my cube. Thank you.

  • JG

    It’s really scary how Rubio has become the “sane” conservative in the media. Yes, liberals should vote for the guy who wants to end the capital gains tax, restart the Middle East wars, and provoke conflict with Russia and China.

    Making this case for Kasich would at least make sense.

    • ASV

      Ah, but you see, Rubio “can” stop Trump, while Kasich “can not.”

      • cleter

        Yes. Rubio is 0-4, which puts him on track to win the nomination, whereas poor hapless Kasich is only 0-4, meaning he’s doomed.

    • Pseudonym

      The Republican Party has a certain perverse advantage in the fact that the Republican base does not actually materially suffer when they lose elections, unlike their Democratic counterparts.

  • Mike R

    How about we vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is and screw Trump or whatever lunatic the Republican party has as a nominee. Can’t seem to see any situation that might cause me to vote for Rubio.

    • Taters

      Son, you’re a wild-eyed dreamer who sees the world as he wishes it to be, not as it is.

  • “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    – Napoleon Bonaparte

    • cpinva

      of course, he’s still dead.

      who the hell is Peter Beinart, and just how did he get so goddamned stupid? apparently not stupid enough for some rag to have published him on-line, but still really stupid. I seriously thought that was an Onion article at first, until I realized this dip shit is either a) actually serious, or b)does really, really bad parody. I’m voting for “he’s seriously stupid”.

      • Vance Maverick

        A liberal-hawk type — I’m thinking particularly of the arguments over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Used to making common cause with Republicans.

        • I have very angry, ooky feelings about Peter Beinart but I can’t be arsed to go back in time to the years when he was relevant to remember why.

          • FMguru

            Steve Gilliard (RIP) called him Peter “Prime Fightin’ Age” Beinart because he spent his early 20s being very well paid to go around lecturing and writing about how Democrats needed to get to the right of the Republicans on the War On Terror. It was the most critical issue of our time, he wrote, although it wasn’t quite critical enough for him to hang up his laptop and head on over to a recruitment office. That was for other people.

            • cpinva

              “It was the most critical issue of our time, he wrote, although it wasn’t quite critical enough for him to hang up his laptop and head on over to a recruitment office. That was for other people.”

              I remember assholes like him during Vietnam, trying to convince me and my buddies that we should all enlist, so we could go fight in Vietnam, and keep the dominoes from falling over in SE Asia, like our fathers had in Korea. they, of course, needed to stay home on student deferments, to keep up the morale and support for the war at home.

              fuck him, and the horse’s ass he rode in on.

              • FMguru

                That “horse’s ass” being the Peretz-era New Republic, naturally.

                • Ugh. Its all coming back to me.

          • bobbo1

            Maybe it was that time he wrote a long “think” piece about how the Democrats should “purge” those crazy lefties at MoveOn (!) because historical analogy.

          • JL

            He was a real hawk for a while, and then reformed, and wrote some actually interesting and worthwhile stuff from the liberal Zionist perspective, and ran the Open Zion blog. Looks like the interesting and worthwhile stuff was doomed to be confined to a couple of issues and/or short period of time.

        • Manny Kant

          He’s kind of repudiated liberal hawkery, I believe? Certainly became very dovish on Israel in recent years.

          • djw

            Mostly, yes.

            I read this as revealing of his social position and social circle. I expect he’s pretty comfortable with a lot of Republican establishment types personally, and he’s in a social and economic position that will protect him from the gruesome consequences of a Rubio Presidency.

    • petesh

      +1. Please proceed, right? I am so going to miss BHO.

      • Sometimes I actually want to cry when I think of them leaving the white house. Like really, really, cry. Even though I’m happy for them as a family that they will get out of the fishbowl.

        • The Lorax

          Me too. I love that man. He’s been a terrific president. The best since FDR and almost certainly in the top 10 ever.

          • BubbaDave

            I’d say top 5. Behind Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and probably LBJ (though that’s debatable). Who else would you rank as better?

            • The Lorax

              I guess three people who get overlooked who are tough to compare: Adams, JQ Adams, Grant.

              • Manny Kant

                Adams the elder was a pretty terrible president (Alien and Sedition Acts, anyone?). John Quincy Adams was a totally ineffectual one, though a great Secretary of State under Monroe and a great ex-president. Grant – well, it’s nice that people have stopped assessing him as one of the worst presidents and acknowledged he was relatively decent on race, but I’m not sure that makes him one of the greatest presidents ever.

        • Hogan

          I hear you, but damn. I wouldn’t wish 8 years + 1 day of that shit on anyone.

  • Taters

    As I read, I thought the author of the post was being cheeky/ snarky with the drug angle, but by the time I got to the end I was quite convinced.

    • Ktotwf

      Can you actually imagine a universe where Liberals “implore” Conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton? This guy must be getting his Ketamine mixed with his DMT.

      • Aren’t we, in fact, imploring the theoretically “sane” republicans to vote for the democratic nominee? This isn’t really at all surprising–its practically part of every election cycle.

        • Hogan

          Not in the Democratic primary, we don’t.

          • Warren Terra

            And even if we were to ask Republicans to back someone in a Democratic primary, this would presumably be in the interest of nominating someone those Republicans could conceivably support in the general election, basically a way of asking them to become Democrats or sometimes-Democrats. That’s rather different from asking them to interfere in the selection of a candidate they would never support.

      • Matt McIrvin

        Remember Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos in 2008? I think he was trying to get Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton to destroy Obama, unless it was the reverse. Either way I am sure it totally made sense.

        • NonyNony

          IIRC, the plan was to get Gopers to vote for whoever was losing to prolong the Dem primary as long as possible. I don’t recall his excuse for them not voting in their own primaries.

  • twbb

    “Although the polarization in American politics today is vast, there are still norms that both decent liberals and decent conservatives cherish, and do not wish to see smashed.”

    So, it doesn’t matter how cruel, reckless, and dangerous right-wing policies have been, because their proponents kept a slight veneer of respectability then it’s all good then.

    • efgoldman

      their proponents kept a slight veneer of respectability then it’s all good then.

      What veneer is that, prey, tell?
      The one where the majority leader and senior senators refuse even to consider a SCOTUS nominee because s/he might not be nihilistic enough?
      The one where the house actually was serious about letting the US default on its obligations?
      The one where the governor of a major state approved the poisoning of one of his cities?
      Or some other one, of which I’ve not heard?

      • twbb

        To a lot of people, yes, that counts as a veneer.

        • Lee Rudolph

          To a lot of people—in fact, to the VERY SAME people—a coating of shit counts as a veneer.

          • N__B

            Shit is more of a parge coat than a veneer.

    • Gabriel Ratchet

      Decent conservatives? That’s a thing?

      • Mike R

        Yes it is but they are about as common as unicorns.

  • John F

    Marco Rubio would be a terrible president.

    Yes, yes he would be, as bad as Cruz? No, I think not. As bad as a President Trump? Yes, if not more so.

    Yes Trump is openly bigoted and racist, but you know what, his policies are no more bigoted and racist than the GOP as a whole’s are. Trump being so open in his bigotry- saying the quiet parts aloud so to speak- is “good” in a sense-
    it shines a light where the GOP does not want light – many in the GOP want Trump muzzled/neutered for the same reason some in law enforcement/government are opposed to filming the police (or inside food processing plants)

    What “line” will be crossed if Trump is the nominee? Not a line demarcating how racist the US is or has become, but the plausibility deniability line- if the GOP base elects Trump in all his open race baiting glory it becomes that much harder for them to deny the racism in their movement’s ranks.

    • Lee Rudolph

      if the GOP base elects Trump in all his open race baiting glory it becomes that much harder for them to deny the racism in their movement’s ranks

      I have no doubt that they are up to the task (and that much of the media will happily collaborate with them on the heavier lifting).

    • random

      If Trump wins the White House by saying the loud parts loud, that indicates that a cardinal rule that has governed elections for around two generations is no longer applicable.

      It signifies a very dark social shift has happened in the white population….it means they’ve actually regressed back several decades, and the future of demographic change in the US is going to be a lot more painful than we anticipated.

      I’m fine with him getting the nomination and think that is great for exposing the monster that is the soul of the GOP. If that monster then wins the White House anyway, that’s….that’s really bad.

      • Pseudonym


      • SNF

        I’d say Trump has already done a lot to weaken the norm that explocit racism is bad. People don’t realize how fragile of a norm that is.

        • Fragile? Its like powdered corn starch at this point.

        • There used to be a norm that torturing suspects and their families is bad. Now you have Republican candidates with competing calls for boiling alive versus burning alive.

          • Lee Rudolph

            I’m waiting for the new norm that torturing other candidates and their families is good!

            • Everyone in the bar


        • Manny Kant

          On the other hand, I think Trump has forced a lot of people to confront the extent to which the modern Republican Party has been based on implicit racism.

          • efgoldman

            Trump has forced a lot of people to confront the extent to which the modern Republican Party has been based on implicit racism.

            Not, unfortunately, the “base”, most definitely including his voters.

    • The Lorax

      Fortunately we won’t have to worry about that, as it will be 1964 all over again. You could even rerun the Daisy ad for Trump.

      And think of how sane Goldwater seems compared to the current crop.

    • CD

      It’s like choosing between catshit and dogshit for lunch. I agree there are reasons to be especially alarmed by Trump, but I don’t see strategic voting voting doing much good here.

      • random

        I totally agree that it’s two plates of shit. And I’m right there with you on the utter strategic, moral, and in some places probably legal wrongness of Beinart’s recommendations.

        The only part I maybe agree with him about is that Trump is a particular type of shit that we were supposed to have learned to not eat decades ago, so eating that shit is a bad sign of mental regression for white voters.

    • Manny Kant

      Arguably worse than Cruz, in that they’re both signing whatever awful garbage a Republican congress passes, but Rubio is actually worse than Cruz on foreign policy. Also: Cruz’s terrible personal relationships with members of congress could make the legislative process somewhat less harmonious than it would be with Rubio. I think that arguably Rubio would do more damage as president than any of the others.

      • Malaclypse

        but Rubio is actually worse than Cruz on foreign policy.

        Considering that Cruz advocates the carpet-bombing of population centers and testing the idea that one can “make sand glow” which implies nukes, that’s a really high bar.

  • Greg

    If you have a choice between an extremely conservative Republican and an actual fascist, the responsible thing to do is to elect the extremely conservative Republican. The harm Donald Trump is capable of if he wins the presidency is much, much greater than the harm Rubio is capable of. It goes back to the perennially debated question around these parts of whether it is better or more moral to choose the lesser of two evils or to abstain from voting entirely or vote for a third party. We don’t normally confront this issue because Republicans are usually not different enough from each other on any issue we care about for it to matter, but that is not true now. Rubio doesn’t sic his supporters on protesters at his rallies. He doesn’t cozy up to the KKK. He doesn’t threaten the press when they are critical of him.

    The primaries and the general election present two opportunities to stop Trump from becoming president. When the stakes are this high, why not try to take both of them?

    To quote djw:

    The moral purpose of democracy is not to keep my hands clean and feel good about myself, no matter how much politicians and other demagogues claim otherwise. The moral purpose of democracy is the reduction of abusive power in the world. Unfortunately there’s a lot of it, and democracy’s pretty clearly an insufficient tool to address it, but that’s no reason not to use the tool, when and where you can.

    • Manny Kant

      If Trump is elected and starts routinely violating the Constitution, presumably Democrats and Republicans in Congress can work together to impeach and remove him and install his VP or, if necessary, Speaker Ryan, as his replacement. Until that happens, I see no particular reason to think he’d be worse than Marco Rubio.

      • Manny Kant

        To which I will add: if congressional Republicans are unwilling to do this, that more or less proves Rubio is no better than Trump.

      • random

        Awesome, the best-case scenario with Trump is we can go through a series of escalating Constitutional crises culminating in Presidential impeachment (I’m sure his brownshirts won’t do anything crazy when we forcibly remove their ubergropenfuerher) en route to getting to the same place we’d be if we’d just elected Rubio to begin with.

        Hard to see how Trump isn’t at least as bad as any of the other Republicans.

        • Manny Kant

          No, I believe that’s the worst case scenario.

          • rea

            that’s the worst case scenario.

            Apart from nuclear war.

            • Manny Kant


        • John F

          Awesome, the best-case scenario with Trump is

          The best case scenario with Trump is that in office he is purely pragmatic and makes deals with whoever he can make deals with.

          • random

            Sure but that ends up being indistinguishable from ‘conservative Republicans get everything’. Only they got everything as a result of hugging David Duke.

            Trump’s at least as bad as any Republican out there. He is not materially going to be less harmful than Cruz or Rubio.

            • Manny Kant

              Not necessarily. At any rate, that’s not worse than Rubio.

              • random

                The only people with any power to negotiate anything with a Trump Presidency are the GOP Congressional leadership, who would likely control Congress for all 4 years. They will get everything they want from him. Scalia clones, you name it, whatever they want, including cuts to Social Security which Trump won’t hesitate to sign.

                • Manny Kant

                  If they can get their own fucking caucus to agree to anything coherent. Which is not at all a given. (And Democrats will likely be able to filibuster at least some Republican priorities)

          • IM

            or that he is all talk and no action and won’T effect anyting

      • He’d have to be pretty darn bad before I’d want to see Ryan appointed as President.

        Like, grilling a live infant in the Oval Office on national television bad.

        • Manny Kant

          Well, yes, but the same applies to Rubio.

      • The Lorax

        Well, I take the point to be this: It’s likely that Trump will be better than Rubio. But there is some much-higher-than-nonzero probability that he becomes Mussolini. The probability that Rubio becomes Mussolini is close to zero (though the probability he’s like the dudes who left Walter Bonatti out on K2 is close to 1).

        • Manny Kant

          My point, I think, is that if we are to believe that Rubio and the Republican establishment are in any way preferable to Trump, the chance that Trump *successfully* becomes Mussolini should be close to zero, because any genuine attempt to establish a dictatorship ought to be met with impeachment and removal from office.

    • efgoldman

      The harm Donald Trump is capable of if he wins the presidency is much, much greater than the harm Rubio is capable of.

      I’m not sure of that at all, given that a Republiklown president will likely have a Republiklown house and senate.

      • Boots Day

        It’s hard to overstate just how incompetent President Trump would be. He has no idea of how the government actually works, he has no idea what the president is actually capable of doing, and he has no allies who would help him achieve his ends.

        Rubio and Cruz would at least have some idea of how to inflict their policies on America; Trump thinks he just has to talk real loud. For that reason alone, Trump scares me less than the alternatives do.

        • tsam

          I swear that’s part of his appeal. We’re talking about the SHUT UP BEFORE I BLISTER YOUR ASS/BECAUSE I SAID SO parents. The people who think that the federal budget works just like a household budget. In other words, people who are basically incompetent derps who can’t be bothered to read a fucking book or think about something past pondering what was “good enough for my daddy”.

        • random

          Neither of those guys armed with a Senate seat has exerted nearly as much influence over the GOP as Trump talking real loud.

          • Boots Day

            I don’t think that’s true at all. Trump will have tremendous influence over the GOP if he is somehow elected president, but otherwise, I think his influence on the rest of the party is negligible.

            • Depends on if he can assemble some brown shirts. Trumpentroopers?

              • dmsilev

                I belive ‘stormtrumpers’ is the preferred term.

                • Philip

                  Drawn from the Trumpenproletariat

              • Pseudonym
            • random

              I don’t think that’s true at all. Trump will have tremendous influence over the GOP if he is somehow elected president, but otherwise, I think his influence on the rest of the party is negligible.

              Trump has already had a massive impact on that party, much more so than McCain, or Romney or Cruz or Rubio ever have (both Rubio and especially Cruz have been following his lead the entire primary actually).

              He consolidated a voting block that overthrew Fox News and the RNC for the role of king-maker in the party. It’s kind of a big deal and not something that either McCain or Romney could have pulled off. By 2020 there’s a good chance there’ll be a ‘Trump lane’ where candidates try to emulate his politics and style to win over that block of voters.

              • bobbyp

                Yes. Especially after 4 years of being whipped into a blind frenzy under President Hillary.

        • John F

          He has no idea of how the government actually works

          I sure he does (well much more of an idea than his average supporter anyway)- but knowing what the government can/cannot do has no effect when he spouts what he thinks voters want to hear.

          he has no idea what the president is actually capable of doing

          I’m sure he does as well, but again he doesn’t allow his knowledge of what a POTUS can do from interfering with him telling his supporters what they want to hear- all POTUS candidates tell voters they will do things as POTUS that a POTUS doesn’t actually have the power to do- he just does more of it

          and he has no allies who would help him achieve his ends.

          Sadly that’s not entirely true…

          I agree with your last thought though

          • That’s true, isn’t it. He’s been working and socializing with and getting favors from people in government his whole life. He knows plenty about it, more, in some ways, than George Bush did even after he’d served as Texas governor. His ridiculous statements don’t reflect what he knows but what he thinks his voters don’t know, and I’m sure he’s right to some extent (you also hear fans who know he’s talking nonsense but don’t care, the genuine nihilists). But in that sense the speeches don’t tell you anything about what he intends to do at all.

        • Davis X. Machina

          …he has no allies who would help him achieve his ends.

          But he’d find allies who would help him achieve their ends, for sure

        • UserGoogol

          You don’t need to understand the levers of power to nuke Mexico. It’s a lot easier to fuck everything up than to achieve substantive goals, and since Trump doesn’t really have substantive goals besides some vague idea of national greatness and winning, that makes him very dangerous.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        That’s exactly right. It is not at all clear that Rubio would be better in any meaningful way. Also, Rubio is probably a better general election candidate. So voting for him in a Republican primary is, frankly, counterproductive for anyone who wants to see a Democratic president.

    • a choice between an extremely conservative Republican and an actual fascist

      I am unclear on the differences between Fascism and “extremely conservative Republicanism”.

      • Manny Kant

        Clarke’s law: A sufficiently conservative Republicanism is indistinguishable from fascism.

      • petesh

        The façade

        • Lee Rudolph

          The tailoring!

          • petesh

            The hats

            • bobbo1

              The chores!
              The stores!
              Fresh Air!
              Times Square!

              • Hogan

                Tastes great!
                Less filling!

              • Gregor Sansa

                It’s the nominee
                For the GOP
                Or “gop”

      • xq

        The fascist wing of the Republican party isn’t really interested in destroying social security

        • Pseudonym

          …for white people.

          • random

            …exactly. Trump has said several things about it being mismanaged and full of fraud and corruption, which is pretty much a code-word. There’s no reason to think he’d be any slower to run a bulldozer over the program than Rubio and Cruz.

      • NonyNony

        The fascist makes the trains run on time while the extremely conservative Republican hates public transit in all its forms?

    • Cassiodorus

      Rubio is perfectly fine cozying up to the Klan as a matter of policy. He just wouldn’t like people knowing that’s what he’s doing.

    • Murc

      Greg, you would be absolutely correct if it were actually the case that Trump were appreciably worse than Rubio.

      He is not. The single difference between Trump and Rubio is that Trump says the quiet parts loud. And that’s it.

      And that’s not enough of a difference for me to feel obligated to help the Republican Party save itself. Especially since the bleg is to save it from itself.

      Trump isn’t mounting some sort of coup. He’s winning a leadership election and winning it fair and square. The Republican Party wants Trump. Who are we to say otherwise?

      • SamInMpls

        Yes. Trump plays a kazoo. Rubio plays a dog whistle.

      • John F

        Trump isn’t mounting some sort of coup.

        Yes he is, but it’s more akin to a palace coup, meaning the outcome doesn’t really matter to masses…

        • Murc

          He’s really not.

          Trump is… winning a primary.

          Now, granted, it is unusual and historic (and I fucking hate that; asshole is gonna be in the history books now, people will probably speak of him exemplifying the plutocracy of the New Gilded Age the same way people speak of Rockefeller and Carnegie, only Rockefeller and Carnegie actually build shit; Trump can’t even manage that) but people are talking about it like he’s mounting some kind of sinister takeover, and it’s like… dudes. He’s winning an election. The problem isn’t Trump, it’s that people want to vote for’im. He’s a vile specimen but he isn’t, like, stuffing ballot boxes or bribing voters.

      • UserGoogol

        Saying the quiet part loud is important. The job of the president is talking: not just in a shallow bully pulpit sense, but the practical business of speaking with advisors and issuing orders. A politician who is tactful is not just doing that in public and then discussing how to kill all the blacks in private, it shapes all their actions.

    • Anon21

      I agree with you, and I think it’s stupid to treat the argument in the OP as somehow obviously foolish. It makes a good point: a Rubio presidency would be extremely bad for all sorts of people, because his policy positions are wrong. A Trump presidency would be literally unpredictable, because Trump has no policy positions and has never thought for more than 30 seconds about the things he says. Will he defend Social Security from a GOP Congress and pull back on U.S. foreign wars? Maybe! Will he push for Nuremberg-style denationalization of Muslim Americans? Maybe! Will he start a nuclear war with Russia? Can’t exactly rule it out!

      So yeah, there’s a real difference here, and Rubio is better than Trump. Awful, but better.

      And all you folks smugly salivating at the prospect of facing Trump in the general: national elections are extremely fundamentals-driven, and although Trump is a weak general election candidate, if he were to be nominated, he could absolutely become President. That is not a risk that our country should run.

      • xq

        It’s not obvious to me that Trump has a higher probability of starting a nuclear war with Russia than Rubio does. We don’t know how Trump would act, but we do know that Rubio would pursue a more confrontational stance with Russia. Not intentionally, but there are real catastrophic risks to the neocon view of the world.

        • Manny Kant

          Yeah, Trump is the one who’s buddy buddy with Putin. Rubio is the one saying we need to confront Russia in Syria and Ukraine.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Honestly, based on the shit that Rubio has said, you cannot rule out that he won’t start a nuclear war with Russia either.

        I don’t buy that Trump’s unpredictability makes him inherently worse than Rubio. Hasn’t anyone been paying attention to the shit that Rubio actually says? We shouldn’t run the risk of a Rubio presidency either! There is no problem here that a bunch of Democrats voting in a Republican primary can fix. Whoever the Republican is has to be crushed in the general election, and the best that Democrats can do right now is boost the Democratic candidate whom they think can do it.

        • efgoldman

          I don’t buy that Trump’s unpredictability makes him inherently worse than Rubio.

          This whole conversation has taken on a “would you rather die in a fire or burned by nitric acid” flavor.
          If any Republiklown is elected, it will be a total fucking disaster, because he will surely have both houses of congress, too.
          But they all have extreme positions and severe weaknesses. It’s up to HRC’s campaign, once the nominee is selected, to go to the mountains of video and audio and show whichever klown is nominated for what he is.

      • DAS

        While I am not sure if I agree Beinert, surely whatever calculus goes into deciding whether yo cross party lines and vote for Rubio in the primary must take into account that Trump does have a chance of winning the Presidency. The question is whether Trump is enough of a greater evil than Rubio (and the potentially more electable Rubio is a lesser enough evil to make a Rubio nomination an acceptable risk) to justify helping Rubio win the nomination.

        FWIW, Trump’s mainstreaming of saying the quiet parts loud is, IMHO, more dangerous than the previous GOP dogwhistle racism as it encourages violent racists to engage in acts of violence that they may now see as having social sanction. Also Trump is more likely to accidentally cause a war than Rubio, although Rubio is more likely to cause one on purpose.

        OTOH, Rubio is guaranteed to dismantle what’s left of the safety net while Trump may leave some parts intact. A Trump victory also makes it clear that the GOP base has no interest in the conservative ideology of the GOP establishment, and that their claim conservative views are popular and all American is a lie (which is why said establishment hates Trump).

        So I really don’t know which evil is lesser. I don’t see a case for helping either win the GOP primary. Let the GOP pick its own poison and let’s concentrate our efforts on making sure people realize whomever the GOP will have picked (yay! I get to use the future perfect! How often do you get to do that?) is poison.

        • RobertL

          I can’t ever imagine an occasion when I would use the future perfect.

        • Belle Waring

          I fully support all correct uses of the future perfect but needless pedantry demands that I point out that “whomever” should be “whoever”. The pronoun’s status as subject of the predicate “is poison” overrules its status as the object of the verb “picked” and so it should be in the nominative, not the objective case. In all likelihood my attitude will have been judged ‘little-bitchy’ when all is said and done and the thread archived.

          • Malaclypse

            In all likelihood my attitude will have been judged ‘little-bitchy’ when all is said and done and the thread archived.

            Needless pedantry is never unappreciated.

    • Bruce B.

      I prefer to put my primary attention on getting success for the candidate I believe is best fit for defeating whoever the Republicans nominate, and my general election attention on campaigning on behalf of whoever ends up with the Democratic nomination. I do not believe it would be a sensible thing to give up my scrap of influence on the party I favor, particularly not when that might well involve the party selecting a candidate I think less fit to defeat the Republican nominee.

      After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided I have no opinion on who the “worst” Republican nominee might be. I think any of them would be catastrophic, in strongly overlapping ways.

    • Matt McIrvin

      If the argument were taken seriously, in future, all the Republicans would have to do to sabotage the Democratic Party would be to run a fascist candidate every time, so that Democrats would be morally obligated never to vote in their own primary.

      • Malaclypse

        in future, all the Republicans would have to do to sabotage the Democratic Party would be to run a fascist candidate every time

        Good chance they got this covered.

        • Hogan

          They have their best people working on it. Quality people.

          • The Temporary Name

            Top men.

      • Murc

        Not all primaries allow crossover voting. Indeed, there’s an argument that they shouldn’t allow crossover voting.

    • alex284

      Rubio’s foreign policy is significantly more violent than anything Trump is proposing.

      That plus the fact that Trump doesn’t even know what he’s saying half the time, much less believes it, makes me think that he’s the better of the two on policy.

      And he cozies up with white supremacists? Oh, right, because Republicans have been such staunch opponents of racism up until now!

  • BiloSagdiyev

    My inner Moe Syzlak says: Yeah, we’re still debating whether to piss in your mouth if your stomach was on fire. So, no. Get outta heah.

  • carolannie

    This tops Molly Ball’s article that Sanders and Trump are the same candidate.

  • tsam

    Ah wow, how’d ya get a car?
    Oh, my folks drove it up here from the Bahamas
    You’re kidding
    I must be, the Bahamas are islands
    Okay, the important thing here is that
    Uh, you ask me what kinda car it is
    Uh uh, what kinda car do ya’ got?
    I’ve got a bitchin’ Camaro

    Dead Milkmen.

    • fledermaus

      Punk rock girl you look so wild
      Punk rock girl let’s have a child
      We’ll name her Minnie Pearl
      Just you and me
      Eating fudge banana swirl
      Just you and me
      We’ll travel round the world
      Just you and me punk rock girl

      • dr. fancypants

        You know what Stuart, I like you. You’re not like the other people, here, in the trailer park. Oh no, don’t get me wrong, they’re fine people, good Americans. But they’re content to sit back, maybe watch a little Mork and Mindy on channel 57. Maybe kick back a cool Coors 16-ouncer. They’re good fine people, Stuart. But they don’t know what the queers are doing to the soil.

    • q-tip

      It ate Stills and Nash
      Before they could shout
      Then it chewed on David Crosby but it

      All the punks are gonna scream yippee
      Cause it’s The Thing That Only Eats Hippies

  • BiloSagdiyev

    I’m still aghast that it is presumed that a terrorist attack before the election will lead to a bunch of people voting for any Republcan because Democrats = Wimpy. How many more years of foreign adventures and blowing shit up real good under a Democratic president do people need to figure out… (Tune in at the end of Hillary’s 2nd term, I guess.)

    Then again,I’m aghast at the number of hoopleheads and Juggalos who have made The Donald the leading candidate. So yeah, it is a problem, dangit.

    And if radical Islamic terrory types wanted to wreak havoc in America… oh dear.

    • joe from Lowell

      Wimpy. How many more years of foreign adventures and blowing shit up real good under a Democratic president do people need to figure out… (Tune in at the end of Hillary’s 2nd term, I guess.)

      I think people, broadly, have already figured that out. It’s the Democratic establishment that still thinks it’s always 1980 or 2002 when it comes to national security politics.

      • Pseudonym

        Isn’t Clinton the candidate most trusted on national security issues this cycle?

    • Pseudonym

      Fuckin’ magnets for support from avowed white supremacists, how do they work?

    • tsam

      And if radical Islamic terrory types wanted to wreak havoc in America… oh dear.

      We got the havoc well in hand ourselves, you terrist fuckers

    • Cassiodorus

      Because liberals are never going to be seen as Daddy types.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I do see that problem. (Just for wanting to feed the hungry… or caring about the weak… aka losahs.)

        But I say that the GOP has moved from “Daddy Party” to “Crazy Angry Drunk Uncle Party” and has been in that spot for several years now.

        • tsam

          Jesus–check the bathrooms for hidden spy cams.

    • Hells Littlest Angel

      Hoopleheads and Juggalos…

      This reminds me — the party that rises from Republicanism’s ashes is going to need a name.

      • Easy. Golem party. Or the shitweasels.One or the other.

        • The Dark God of Time

          They’ve come around full circle, from this estimate of them by the creator of Cthulhu:

          “As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          godbothering shitweasels “r” us

        • N__B

          Golem party.

          BYO mud

    • Warren Terra

      I’m still aghast that it is presumed that a terrorist attack before the election will lead to a bunch of people voting for any Republcan because Democrats = Wimpy.

      Well, I’m with you in thinking the Republican “War On Terror” is asinine, misconceived, and misled. Heck, it’s the basis for my chosen pseudonym.

      And yet: this, in some form, seems still to be the case, although possibly not because of the wimp-vs-hawk dichotomy you cite, or not only. I think it matters that the President is a Democrat, and furthermore one inclined to talking rather than bombing, at least compared to his Republican critics. It’s important to remember how much mileage Fox News and various Republican politicians got out of Obama’s failure to freak out and do stupid things in response to the recent ebola outbreak in West Africe, or out of the San Bernadino atrocity, which they have spun as a lesson against multiculturalism. Or take a look a Guantanamo Bay, where we’re still holding 90 people without rights or properly adversarial trials, and the Republicans have too many people terrified that if they’re moved to a supermax prison in the US with a perfect record on escapes they will somehow become supervillains and escape.

      Basically: fairly or not, I think we have to fear that it’s at least plausibly within the power a couple of assholes identifiably tied to Islam or the Middle East to find a couple of rifles and make a couple of pipe bombs, do something horrible in late October, and give the Republicans a huge swing at the polls.

  • The Temporary Name

    Once Trump is nominated, America will have crossed a line.

    Good old indivisible America.

    • efgoldman

      Good old indivisible America.

      One nation… with liberty and justice for all.
      [At least, if “all” is wealthy white people, that can afford good lawyers and accountants…]

      • Steppanhammer

        Maybe Metallica really were on to something.

  • marduk

    The republican primaries are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their racism and hatred will foam up about their waists and all the pundits and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll whisper “no.”

    • Maybe this is what Tsam has been looking for.

    • tsam

      OH. MY. GOD. That’s just…fucking beautiful.

  • rewenzo

    Ah, now it’s up to liberals to save the Republican Party from itself. The party of personal responsibility indeed.

    • efgoldman

      The party of personal responsibility indeed.

      Yeah, we’re all personally responsible for saving the Republiklowns from self-immolation.
      Sorry, I left my good firehose in my other jacket.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Just this afternoon on some public radio program, I heard Chester Q. Dickshnozzle, I mean, a Matt K. Lewis…

      (See pic…what a dickshnozzle)

      …blame the rise of Trump on liberalism, because of the coarseness and crudity they have unleashed on once-proper America or something. Yeah, in the words of Dick Cheney, “Go fuck yourself.”

      • Pseudonym

        Ugh, a contributor to The Week? Can’t stand those people.

      • rewenzo

        If only the President would have been nicer to Republicans and not accused them of racism for opposing Syrian refugees and acknowledged their perfectly legitimate concerns then the Republicans would not have elected a real racist. Please buy my book: Too Dumb To Fail.

      • ColBatGuano

        From his Wiki page: “Lewis is the editor of The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words, published in 2011.”

        • The Temporary Name

          So you can’t say he’s never done anything entertaining.

        • JustRuss

          “In Her Own Words”? I should hope so, attempting to translate that gibberish could cause brain damage. Just reading it would be painful enough.

        • Ah, I see, that was “the refreshing use of homespun vernacular language”, completely different from the vulgarity and coarseness with which leftists paved the way for Trump.

      • Warren Terra

        Matt Lewis is about the most smarmily disingenuous person in politics in the country. I listen to most podcasts on Bloggingheads, and I always skip his because I quickly learned he’d set up a weekly dialog with a useful idiot who’d never challenge Lewis’s carefully dishonest set-ups.

      • DAS

        Well , he’s partially right: you can blame the rise of Trump on NEO liberalism. And many people figure if moderate (neo) liberalism is bad, liberalism must be worse and socialism even worse … and hence that an anti establishment conservative is best.

  • David Hunt

    Just like your typical conservative. They fuck something up, then want liberals to come in and do the hard work of fixing it so they can fuck it up more. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they apply that rule to their own party.

    • You know how they call some elections “change” or “wave” elections? In reality every election in my recent memory has been a “clean up” election in which the Democrats were asked to clean up the misfeasance, malfeasance, criminality, corruption, and incompetence of whatever Republicans got within spitting distance of power last time around. IIRC we not only had to clean up Bush’s mess in Iraq but Bush’s destruction of FEMA which had been built up by Bill Clinton after previous Republican fuck ups.

      • twbb

        Yep; it would be such a good angle to take during campaigns but the Democratic establishment has this bizarre aversion to doing so.

        • ChrisTS

          I have a bumper sticker that reads:

          The Democrats:

          Cleaning Up Republican Messes Since 1933.

          • Roberta

            There was that Onion article after Obama won in 2008: Black Man Selected for Worst Job in Country, or something like that. Because the point of the job was to clean up white people’s messes.

          • DAS

            I have a cousin who firmly believes the Democratic party is the Mommy party and the Republican party is the Daddy party. Who let’s you stay up late and eat too much candy? Who makes you clean up the mess afterwards?

  • Nixonlandia

    Yglesias is busy on twitter making the same (Slate)pitch for Kasich.https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/704367122391175170

    • Cassiodorus


      A) His position is marginally defensible.
      B) He’s saying “if,” not that people should.

      • Oh, its a “think” piece. Are my air quotes big enough?

        • Pseudonym

          It’s a think piece. Better?

          • John Revolta

            THAT’S what this country needs- Bold Thinking!!

        • Kathleen

          That made me laugh out loud.

      • xq

        If you want to vote strategically, why would you vote for someone with no chance?

        • Warren Terra

          I guess the argument is for registering disapproval of Trump, while still disdaining to vote for someone who is no better than Trump. The pro-Kasich argument is that he is a more serious, dignified monster, while Cruz is just warming up the apocalypse and Rubio is lighter than air.

        • Manny Kant

          I suppose the argument is that if Kasich wins Ohio, and Rubio loses Florida, Rubio is done, and Kasich emerges as the remaining “establishment” alternative.

          Chait makes the case here.

  • Ktotwf

    I am not doing the dirty work the Republican establishment failed to do. Moreover, I don’t believe that Cruz or Rubio or even Kasich (who only PASSIVELY hates gays) is preferable to Trump.

    • Pat

      In the immortal words of Claire McCaskill, “They’re all the same.”

      • petesh

        For some time I have thought that Kasich would be the most formidable opponent for the Dems because he has this veneer of rationality and yet is pure nut underneath. So I am kinda hoping that The Don beats him in Ohio like a rented mule (h/t HST). That’s a yuuuge gamble but fortunately I am only kibitzing until/unless the circus reaches California.

        • twbb

          The funny thing is prior to this election cycle Kasich’s temper would probably be a liability, but in 2016 it’s a benefit.

    • NonyNony

      What makes you think that Kasich only passively hates gay people?

  • into a terrifying political unknown

    Not one of the better Bad Religion albums.

  • There’s one argument he doesn’t list: voters don’t have a responsibility to help someone else’s party get a good candidate. It’s not even obvious to me they have a right to help do that. Obviously they have a legal right in some states (like mine).

    If he’s talking about “liberals” who are actually not registered Democrats–like, for instance, independents who decide every year who to vote for, or (like I used to be) people who always vote Democrat but like the idea of not being enrolled in a party–that’s a different story, I guess. But he’s not. He explicitly says he’s talking about “crossing over.”

    eta It was actually not as bad as I’d expected . . . but that’s because I was expecting a piece by Friedersdorf telling us we should actually like Rubio.

    • FMguru

      Note that if Trump does win the nomination and then the presidency, then by Beinart’s logic it becomes the fault of liberals, who didn’t work hard enough to save the Republican party from itself.

      There’s nothing that smug centrists can’t find some way to blame on hippies. Nothing.

    • alex284

      I can already imagine it. But since I always stop reading when someone writes “team blue” or “team red”, I can’t even imagine the piece all the way through.

  • koolhand21

    Hmmm. The premise is for liberals (aka Democratic Party voters) to prevent the Republican candidate with the highest negatives from getting his party’s nomination. Well, where do I go to sign up? Nothing like obliviousness to my best interests as a course of action.

    Thanks, Atlantic. Thanks Peter. What a smart article.

  • Gwen

    I am 100 percent in favor of Hillary voters going and wasting their vote on Rubio. ::winkwink::

  • Sly

    Trump does not threaten American democracy. He is not trying to deny Americans the right to choose their leaders. But he does threaten American liberal democracy, the idea that there are certain rights so fundamental that even democratic majorities cannot undo them. Trump is not subverting public opinion. He’s exploiting and fomenting its basest aspects. In deciding how much to appeal to the public’s most hateful and bloodthirsty desires, most politicians exercise a measure of restraint born in part from a respect for legal norms and individual rights. Trump calls this restraint “political correctness” and flaunts his disdain.

    This assumes that Trump’s campaign of white resentment is inserting into American politics something that isn’t already there.

    I can respect an argument that the left should not hope for the mainstreaming of new reactionary ideologies heretofore absent from or marginalized within American politics. But that isn’t the case here, so it isn’t the argument being made. I can also respect the argument that a politics where racism must remain covert is preferable to one where a racism of the overt sort is widely tolerated – structural racism will exist regardless as to whether white people are comfortable shouting the most noxious racist garbage from the rooftops, so why subject people of color to both – but Trump isn’t saying anything that a great majority of the contemporary conservative rank-and-file haven’t said before. He’s just doing it while running for President. Trump is all symptom, no disease.

    So, no, I’m not hoping for a Rubio nomination nor do I think it efficacious for the preservation of liberal democracy to lift a finger to ensure that Rubio gets the nomination. This isn’t 1980 and you can’t be President with just 60% of white voters lining up behind you. But that’s the world in which at least a plurality of Republican voters want to live, so we might as well bury them in it.

    • tsam

      Trump does not threaten American democracy. He is not trying to deny Americans the right to choose their leaders. But he does threaten American liberal democracy, the idea that there are certain rights so fundamental that even democratic majorities cannot undo them.

      I’m trying to figure out what the difference between these concepts is. Everyone has always told me that the latter is specifically American democracy.

      • Of course he’s trying to “deny Americans the right to chose their political leaders.” It all depends on how you define Americans.That’s exactly what is at stake here. There’s a reason the White Supremacists are drawn to him. They think he’s the thin end of the wedge for White Supremacy. No more muslim or mexican immigrants means no more muslim or mexican citizens in a couple of generations. The generic republican quality of Trump means no more voting rights act and no more “wrong kind of americans” choosing political leaders. This isn’t hard to understand. Trump was spearheading (or spear hairing) the accusation that Obama wasn’t legitimately a US citizen and therefore not legitimately president. How is that not “denying americans the right to chose their political leaders?”

        • tsam

          I meant American democracy vs. liberal American democracy, which is a bit naive on my part, I suppose.

          • Malaclypse

            The word you are looking for is “Herrenvolk.”

            Why yes, that word is German.

            • N__B

              I thought that mean little salty fish people.

              The more your know…

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                the more you know the less you like what you know, is my experience

      • Sly

        It’s not even true of American democracy.

        Three quarters of the states decide to get rid of any of liberties “enshrined” in the Bill of Rights and those rights are gone. It’s not bare majoritarianism, but when has American democracy ever been about bare majoritarianism?

        And even then, the only right that American democracy can’t strip away is the right of the U.S. Senate to be anti-democratic.

        • tsam

          I really mean in spirit–theoretically we can’t send a bunch of people to Congress to decide that we don’t want a free press anymore or establish a national religion. Even if the majority wants it, this should be impossible.

          I know reality tends to differ from that, but that’s the basic premise of inalienable rights, I think.

          ETA; Oh–Amendment process. Yeah–it’s really not even true here, is it?

  • Tybalt

    Once Trump is nominated, America will have crossed a line.

    “America” won’t have done shit, genius, unless America cleaves to your brilliant plan and all goes and votes in the Republican primary.

  • Matt McIrvin

    I was so sure this was going to be Conor Friedersdorf until I clicked through. Well, that ought to have been my second guess.

    • IM

      Yes, I guessed that too. Second guess? Why not McArdle?

    • I think Conor would start with the same basic premise, but end up recommending voting for the Green Party or the Libertarian Party. Conor’s all about voting so that your own hands are clean, damn the actual consequences. Beinart is taking lesser evilism to some sort of weird new place that sounds more like a strawman of the concept.

      • humanoid.panda

        Conor is all for liberals voting for the Green Party or the Libertarian Party, or not voting. For some reason, he is not an advocate of republicans doing that. Surely, the fact that he pines for the Lochner Court has nothing to do with that.

  • IM

    Sigh. And the rehabilitation of Beinart was working so well until now.

    But in stressful situation the old TNR instincts come to the fore…

    • BiloSagdiyev

      “Mein Fuhrer… I can walk!”

      Eventheliberals punch hippies as reflexively as Dr. Strangelove raises his arm straight.

  • N__B

    Take on a Hot Slate Roof.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Neither a Slate Pitch nor a Hot Take be; thou canst not then be false—wait, what am I saying?

  • Dr. Waffle

    OT: This one of the best things I’ve ever read. And by “best,” I mean worst.


    • Hogan

      I get accused of being a “Naderite,” though in fact I voted for Gore in the first election I was old enough to vote in. (I’ve come to regret that decision over time.)

      OK, I’m done. Life’s too short.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        he regrets voting for *Gore*? jeez. that makes much less sense than still being proud of voting for Nader

        • Malaclypse

          I’m trying to think of who has had a better post-veep career, and am drawing a blank. How can anyone vaguely sane think less of Gore now than in 2000?

          • tsam

            Just divorcing his book-burner scumbag of a wife bumped him up a long ways in my book.

    • Malaclypse

      But I know by now to expect less than nothing from the Democrats, and they never, ever let me down.

      When did BONERS turn 26? Because I’d wager he spent time on his parents’ insurance thanks to the ACA. And either way, he doesn’t give a fuck about the literally millions of young people who can.

      • Dr. Waffle

        Didn’t you hear? The only issue that matters is Wall Street and its influence over American politics. Everything else, including the environment, civil rights, healthcare, reproductive rights, etc., is of secondary importance.

      • When did BONERS turn 26?

        Well, if he was at least 18, but not yet 22 in time to vote for Gore in 2000, he turned 26 in 2008 at the latest.

        • DAS

          Oops. Forgot to check to see if someone else did the math! As they say on a certain blue color schemed blog, I owe you a fizzy beverage. Also, while I’m at it, Belle Waring pointed out an error that I am really ashamed to have made: as they said on said baby blue blog, Simels regrets the error.

      • DAS

        FWIW, if he voted for Gore, that means he was at least 18 in 2000, so he turned 26 in 2008 at the latest.

    • Drexciya

      I ctrl+f’d “civil rights” and didn’t get anything.

    • njorl

      I’m regularly accused of believing things that I’ve never said and don’t believe. … One of the most constant of these is that I say “both parties are the same.” I’ve never said that. Ever. In my life. But over time, the claims of friends who do say that have been vindicated over and over again.

      You just said it Freddie.

      It’s amazing how often he writes self-refuting paragraphs.

      • FMguru

        You don’t spend ten straight years in a graduate program studying rhetoric without learning a trick or two.

        • tsam

          I can totally see the wires up his sleeve. Terrible trick. 2/10. Would not watch again.

      • Hogan

        Is there some Greek term for “I’m not sayin. I’m just sayin”?

    • Matty

      This is, literally, the essay where I went “no, I don’t think the LGMmentariat is too harsh on young Freddie at all.

      Although, I do also think that the conclusion to draw from that is that his friends are all really dumb. Especially his “Democrat friends.”

  • Matt McIrvin

    I have to admit, if there’s one thing that fascinates me more than bizarre, elaborate doom scenarios, it’s bizarre, counterintuitive arguments that I’m morally obligated to do something perverse.

    But I think the main thing that dooms this one is just that there’s no frickin’ way liberals who are crossover-voting because Peter Beinart told them to could make any difference to who gets the Republican nomination. It’s not even close at this point. All they’d be doing would be throwing away their Democratic primary vote, in a close race with interesting and passionate arguments on both sides, for the candidate who actually faces Trump in the fall.

  • randy khan

    A poor, deluded Republican in my very Democratic (c. 75%) neighborhood wrote a post on our listserv last week about how we all should jump over to the Republican primary and vote for – wait for it – John Kasich – to save the country from Trump. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a vote for Kasich might as well be a vote for Trump.

    • randy khan

      The poor, deluded Republican is a poll worker at my precinct. When I went to vote this morning and took a Democratic ballot ticket, he told me I was wasting my vote. It was very cute.

      • rea

        Isn’t an on-the-job poll worker legally prohibited from telling people who to vote for?

  • kayden

    Beinart always struck me as smart. Hope he gets treatment for his drug addiction soon because this article is awful.

    • The Dark God of Time

      This is your brain on brown acid.

      Any questions?

  • The Temporary Name

    There was apparently a Libertarian party debate.


    • rea

      John McAfee: The cybersecurity guru made a compelling case in why he should be the Libertarian Party’s nominee.

      Apart from, you know. those murder charges in Belize

      • Malaclypse

        Look, there’s a reasonable chance he’ll dodge those with an insanity defense.

  • AMK

    Beinart’s article makes a kind of sideways sense only when you remember that he’s talking about the Marco Rubio who exists in his mind: a Miami Beach Bob Dole, a more-or-less centrist who has been forced to sound like he’s “betraying” his supposed principles in a valiant effort to save the GOP from itself.

    Rubio rode into the Senate on a tea party wave; the guy he beat in the GOP primary was not nicknamed “chain gang” for his bleeding heart liberalism. Rubio’s entire reputation for sanity rests on the “reasonable” noises he makes on a single subject–immigration–because somewhere along the line he figured out he could get big checks from Florida moneymen who need cheap latin labor to build condos and staff resorts. That’s it.

  • BubbaDave

    I’m no fan of Beinart, although I think he’s turned much saner than his “liberal hawk” days.

    That said, is it hard to see why an American Jew would be opposed to a candidate who is making the argument that devotees of a minority religion should be blocked from entering this country; that their houses of worship should be closed down; that the nation’s spying apparatus should be directed at them; that they are a fifth column that celebrates America’s defeats and gloat when America mourns? Is it that hard to see why he considers Trump so far beyond the pale that extraordinary measures are justified in the effort to defeat him?

    • It is hard to see why one would promote extraordinary measures to defeat Trump that consist of promoting rivals who are every bit as antisemitic.

    • DAS

      “Are they talkin’ about the bordello Jews?”…”No, the burlesque house Muslims. So just keep your mouth shut.”

  • alex284

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that many democrats believe that they have more of a responsibility to stop Hitlery Clinton or Bernie Stalin than they do to stop the GOP from hitting themselves.

    Personally, I can’t be bothered to get involved in the Dem primary, so where am I going to get the motivation for the GOP primary?

    • so-in-so

      “Many Republicans who claim to be Democrats out of embarrassment” maybe. I don’t think anyone with a reasonable claim to being a “Democrat” would take that position.

    • Matt McIrvin

      I’ve just been told that many friends-of-friends are actually doing the crossover-voting thing. They seem to be centrist Democrat-ish people who aren’t particularly fond of either Sanders or Clinton but are mostly motivated by hatred of Trump. What worries me is the possibility that these people could be induced to vote third-party.

  • Shantanu Saha
    • Malaclypse

      Charlie’s version was (slightly) better.

      • Hogan

        So . . . who wants to tell him there was no presidential election in 1850?

        • Malaclypse

          Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    • Rob in CT

      Two thumbs up.

  • msnthrop

    Eight, nine years ago I heard that Rush Pukebo had used his radio program to encourage Republican voters in Florida to try to thwart Obama’s nomination by voting in the primary for Clinton. Since I live in Kentucky it didn’t mean much to me, but I figured hey why not register as a Republican and do my part to monkeywrench the Republican primary, in direct opposition to the desires of that POS. I’ve tried to vote in every Republican primary since for the worst possible candidate that I thought was also most likely to lose to whatever Democrat was running (imagine my surprise at the success of Rand Paul!) while voting for a Dem in the general. Because of the machinations of Rand the KY primary has become a caucus which will be held this Saturday. I ask…which of these Republican candidates should I “vote” for, given I want to give the absolute best chance to whomever the Democratic nominee might be (though in Kentucky it probably doesn’t matter all that much…)

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