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Why Republicans Falling In Line Behind Trump Was Inevitable

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Looking at this hilarious-in-retrospect call to arms from syndicated columnist William F. George, Chait concludes:

Rothman’s column, in May, told a story in which Trump was restoring progressive control of the Republican party, after conservatives had seized it. Rothman correctly equated conservatism with the movement organized around Barry Goldwater. Rothman did concede that Goldwater opposed civil rights legislation, but he dismissed this as ancillary to his beliefs. (“Goldwater’s brand of conservatism — so doctrinaire that he opposed the Civil Rights Act’s Sections II and VII because they would impose on the private sector racial quotas and could not be enforced but through a police presence.”) And so, in Rothman’s mind, Trumpism is the repudiation of Goldwater’s conservatism. But if you acknowledge that Goldwater’s rejection of civil rights was the basis of his electoral appeal rather than an extraneous detail, and that the conservative movement opposed liberal Republicans in the 1960s explicitly because the liberals favored civil rights, then you realize his narrative is upside down. Trumpism is not the revenge of the liberal Republicans against the Goldwater conservatives. Just the opposite: It’s the natural outcome of the conservative movement’s domination of the party (as I argue at more length in the magazine.)

The conservative intelligentsia is right about one thing. Trump is not a committed ideologue but a grifter who decided to use their voters for his own ends. Trump grasped from the outset that the birther issue gave him a connection to the Republican electorate. The conservative intelligentsia ignored the birthers, the freaks, and the transparent racists because they were embarrassing. It was far more flattering and heroic to imagine the whole thing was about the Constitution. The con artist swindled the perfect mark.

Why are Republican elected officials almost uniformly getting behind Trump despite his opportunistic exploitation of the party? This is explained earlier in the piece:

Ryan has since endorsed Trump and reaffirmed his decision repeatedly in the face of numerous revelations that might be considered disqualifying. As Ryan has repeatedly explained, mostly recently again this morning, Trump would sign rather than veto his bills. That is to say, on the issues conservative leaders care about most deeply, like tax cuts for high earners, repealing Obamacare, and deregulating finance and fossil-fuel emissions, Trump is in fact conservative.

The support of the Republican conference for Trump is, in fact, perfectly rational in its own way. Whether Trump has any a priori commitment to a Republican domestic policy agenda is completely irrelevant to how he’ll act as president. He will sign the legislation that McConnell and Ryan put on his desk, and he will appoint generic Republican judges McConnell will confirm. For the same reason that the stakes of the Democratic primary were much lower than many strong partisans of either candidate believed, the legislation that would be enacted by a president Trump would not be significantly different than that of President Cruz or Rubio or Kasich. There may be some other ways in which Trump is worse, but Ryan and McConnell see Trump as someone they can use to enact their agenda, and they’re not wrong. Which is why the idea of a Republican revolt against Trump has always been absurd. And if many Trump voters don’t particularly want or expect Paul Ryan’s agenda, well…surely Hillary Clinton’s emails are a far more important issue than whether we return federal economic policy and constitutionalism to the Gilded Age and destroy the planet’s climate anyway.

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  • twbb

    They do this because they know in the long term it will probably never be held against them no matter what happens. The electorate has short memories, the press only cares about long-past events if you’re a Democrat who has made it onto their Two Minutes of Hate playlist, and a large number of national Democrat politicians seem to think it’s ungentlemanly to bring up their opponents individual mistakes.

    • WEllll, I dunno about that. I think the changing demographics, and generational change in values, mean the Republicans will ultimately pay a price for Trump, win or lose. The phenomenon could also cause some soul searching on the part of corporate media. He’s a loose cannon and incompetent which will not be good for business either.

      • twbb

        The corporate media is completely anti-Trump at this point, but they still can’t keep themselves from taking unfair swipes at Clinton. And Trump feeds on the “financial elites” hating him.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Really? I thought they were too until the past two weeks. In addition to the EMAIL dominating the news the stories of Trump’s latest insanity have virtually stopped being talked about. Another sexual assault victim of Trump? Ho-hum, bury it in local news on the CNN web site.

          The big tell to me was with the shooting of the Iowa police officers. Initially it was THE top story in the nation – headlining the web sites (even CNN and MSNBC) and their TV coverage. Then they found that the killer was a white Trump supporter so the story got dropped in record time. You have to scroll down several pages in news feeds to find it. Basically, the networks were ready to spend the rest of the week leading up to the election megaphoning about how a black man killed white cops, and dropped the topic when the story didn’t go the way Trump would want.

          I think we can anticipate a November Surprise story tomorrow – negative for Clinton – and the press to megaphone it all the way up to Tuesday morning.

          By contrast, the press conference scheduled yesterday by the woman who has sued Trump for rape got ZERO mention on any of the major networks (it was cancelled). I guarantee that if Trump’s team had set up a similar conference for a Bill Clinton accuser it would have been one of the top stories of the hour.

          • postmodulator

            By contrast, the press conference scheduled yesterday by the woman who has sued Trump for rape got ZERO mention on any of the major networks (it was cancelled).

            Jezebel had a write-up about that that implied that media outlets aren’t covering it because they dug into it and it’s fishy. I suppose Jezebel could have become rape apologists or something.

            • Definitely very fishy. Here’s the Jezebel write-up, there’s no way the corporate media will touch this. Very likely a hoax.

            • Manny Kant

              The fact that it was cancelled may have played a role in it not being covered.

          • Just_Dropping_By

            By contrast, the press conference scheduled yesterday by the woman who has sued Trump for rape got ZERO mention on any of the major networks (it was cancelled).

            Given that the woman didn’t show up for the press conference, I would think you’d be glad that they didn’t cover it. There is not going to be any positive coverage of a press conference where the “guest of honor” doesn’t show up.

        • DAS

          Perhaps I’m reading too much into things, but it’s kind of odd how even Fox News ads about campaign coverage are edited so it sounds like Trump is responding poorly to on-target Clinton attacks and yet “even the liberal” media are treating this election as a complete horse-race and besides, Clinton e-mails, yadda, yadda, yadda (while ignoring Trump’s deplorable actions). I wonder if what is going on is that the media may prefer Clinton to Trump but they want the race to be close not only because they need a close race for the dramatic value of it and not only because they dislike Clinton but also because they don’t want the Democrats to have any sort of mandate.

      • Rob in CT

        Yes. There is solid research showing that voters tend to stick with the party they favor when they enter adulthood.

        The GOP has spent the past 15 years showing their asses, and the Youngs (who are, of course, less white than every before) have noticed. Trump is an escalation of the existing trend in ass-showing.

        I think it’s reasonable to hope for (not expect, but hope for) a pretty strong Dem voting preference in the electorate over the next couple of decades.

        That doesn’t help us today, of course.

    • The electorate has short memories…

      On both sides. Just go to 538 and look at the poll vs. time. It’s like the electorate has to be visually reminded of how much an asshole Trump is every couple of weeks before they forget and the polls start narrowing again.

      • cleek

        i was thinking something similar.

        i was thinking that people have to see Clinton and Trump interacting. when they see that, they see cool, controlled Clinton and idiotic, thin-skinned Trump. and it never works in Trump’s favor. it started with the convention – big boost for Clinton, when people saw the difference. then that waned until the debates when people got to see them again – another big boost for Clinton. but now that the debates are done, people aren’t seeing that contrast any more. they’re back to their instincts.

        • Rob in CT

          Base instincts, apparently.

      • ASV

        There’s very little reason to think those swings are indicative of people changing their minds, and very good reason to think they’re driven by non-response bias given good or bad news for either candidate. That doesn’t mean it’s meaningless, but it means it’s going to manifest in terms of turnout rather than candidate choice. So go work GOTV.

    • CP

      That and there’s been a coordinated campaign between the MSM and the “establishment” GOP to insist that Trump is a freak accident and not at all in any way a conservative, so that if he loses as seems (knock on wood) likely, they can just sweep the entire thing under the rug.

    • rewenzo

      No Republican has ever suffered even any reputational harm for lying to the country to get us to fight a war that has cost us trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, etc. etc. I really don’t see this topping that. Those who know, know all Republicans are irredeemable pieces of shit. Those who don’t, will find out at some point.

  • Steve

    The marriage of libertarian fiscal policy with white nationalism in policing/immigration and civil rights, deep social conservatism in the judiciary, and paranoid warmongering in the international sphere. What’s not to love?

    • Colin Day

      Would they approve of a four-person marriage?

  • There may be some other ways in which Trump is worse, but Ryan and McConnell see Trump as someone they can use to enact their agenda, and they’re not wrong.

    What makes you think they can control this monster when nothing they have done in the past year demonstrates any type of control over the rabid Republican base? Trump is going to do what Trump is going to do. Maybe some things will be in alignment, but it will have absolutely nothing to do with control.

    • twbb

      Trump is a narcissistic monster with ADHD. As long as they go hat in hand and flatter him beforehand, do you think he’s going to even care enough to read the bill?

      • You mean like he listens to his handlers now?

        • Well, they keep asking him to do hard and boring stuff like read from a teleprompter. Putting down his signature is easy (as long as it’s not on a check).

        • twbb

          If they’re praising him, absolutely.

          “Mr. President! Here’s the latest bill that Paul Ryan says he based on your campaign promises. He is really excited about your ideas and is fully on board! If you want to sign it, we can get you to your golf game!”

    • Trump has made it pretty clear that he has no interest in the actual business of being president. He’d sign whatever the legislative bodies and his staff put in front of him. The only real issue would be getting him to sit still long enough, and even then, there’s an auto-pen.

      (I will reiterate my previously-stated position that I’d be really interested in observing an alternate universe in which Trump became president, but I would never want to live there, and happily it’s looking as if I’ll never have to.)

      • (I will reiterate my previously-stated position that I’d be really interested in observing an alternate universe in which Trump became president, but I would never want to live there, and happily it’s looking as if I’ll never have to.)

        It’s not Trump I worry about. It’s the person who comes after him.

        • It’s not Trump I worry about. It’s the person who comes after him.

          Yep. I don’t know if demographics are changing fast enough to prevent a clean-cut racist who has never committed a sexual assault from mounting a serious challenge in 2020.

        • CP

          Yeah. For worse or for worse, the genie isn’t going back in the bottle.

    • NonyNony

      They don’t have to control him. They just have to give him what he wants.

      Ryan: The House and Senate are passing a bill that will repeal all of the ACA in one fell swoop.
      Trump: What’s in it for me?
      Ryan: Oh, I’m sorry – the House and Senate are passing a bill that will repeal Obamacare in one fell swoop. You get to stick your finger into Obama’s eye one more time.
      Trump: Where’s my pen?

      Ryan: Congress is passing a bill that will make abortion illegal in all 50 states.
      Trump: Meh – that sounds like something I don’t care about.
      Ryan: We’ve included a provision that erects a Trump monument in Washington DC. We’re thinking next to the Lincoln Memorial.
      Trump: Make it gold-plated and you’ve got a deal. Also there needs to be one in Central Park.

      And so on. Trump can’t be controlled, but he certainly can be bribed.

      • They don’t have to control him. They just have to give him what he wants.

        I don’t know. It seems a lot like dangling some meat in front of a great white shark and expecting to come away with your arm intack.

        • cleek

          Trump never goes after people who flatter him.

          • As when asked about Vladimir Vladimirovich: “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.” That’s even more important to him than not paying taxes.

        • NonyNony

          It seems a lot like dangling some meat in front of a great white shark and expecting to come away with your arm intack.

          I didn’t say that they were very smart. Just that that’s how they’d get their agenda passed.

          They can probably get the shark to pull the boat for a while – that doesn’t mean that they don’t eventually end up getting mauled.

        • twbb

          It’s easy for the shark to eat your arm. Do you think Trump is actually going to have the attention span to read the bill, the intelligence to understand it, or the patience to identify the issues he has with it?

          • NonyNony

            But none of that actually matters anyway. Because his issues with anything he signs will basically boil down to – “what’s in it for me”. He might – MIGHT – go as far as to think about what it will do for his 2020 re-election campaign (Grod help me that I type that phrase), but I suspect he’ll be more interested in instant gratification.

    • DAS

      What makes me personally think they can control Trump? Because if Trump doesn’t do exactly as Ryan says, Trump’ll be impeached. It’s not as if it’ll be hard to find something over which to impeach Trump considering how much of a crook he is. And if Trump doesn’t do exactly as McConnell says, when Trump is impeached, he’ll be convicted in the Senate and removed from office. And there is no doubt that Pence will enact the GOP agenda, is there?

      • tsam

        Because if Trump doesn’t do exactly as Ryan says, Trump’ll be impeached.

        There is NO WAY that Republicans are going to impeach one of their own. No way in hell is that ever going to happen unless Trump does something especially egregious. But thinking that not allowing himself to be controlled by the GOP is going to cause him to get tossed overboard is kind of weird. That would be an outright admission that they fucked up in electing/supporting him, and would likely cause a dangerous uprising among the crazy bastards that put all those Republicans in office.

        See, there’s a weird tendency to think of Trump as some kind of anomaly in the GOP. He’s not. He’s just the first candidate with the guts to shout his racism from the rooftops since Goldwater.

        • CP

          There is NO WAY that Republicans are going to impeach one of their own. No way in hell is that ever going to happen unless Trump does something especially egregious. But thinking that not allowing himself to be controlled by the GOP is going to cause him to get tossed overboard is kind of weird. That would be an outright admission that they fucked up in electing/supporting him, and would likely cause a dangerous uprising among the crazy bastards that put all those Republicans in office.

          The bolded part is crucial. Any Republican who goes against Trump is begging to be tossed out on his ass in the next election. It’s no more possible to stand against him than it was to stand against the teabaggers eight years ago, not if they want to remain in power and in the GOP, and they sure as hell aren’t giving up on that.

      • rewenzo

        Also, (1) 75% of Republican voters think Trump is great, and (2) a substantial number of House Republicans think Trump is genuinely great. The rest of the House Republicans are cowards.

      • NonyNony

        If Trump wins this election he’s unimpeachable. He could literally hand suitcases full of nuclear codes over to the Russians and you wouldn’t be able to get enough Republican votes for impeachment in the House – even if every single Democrat joins them.

        What matters to the modern Republican party is Winning. That’s it. If Trump were to prove to be a winner the rally effect around him would be so large that any politician who tried to unseat him would likely be literally taking their life into their own hands.

    • AMK

      I’m pretty sure Trump understands that the only issue that actually matters to these people–no taxes on the richest–is perfectly “aligned” for him. It’s not like any “control” is needed on that front.

      To the extent segments of the party resisted him, it was because they assumed (and continue to assume, probably correctly) that he can’t win.

    • Rufus T Firefly

      And I wouldn’t put it past Trump to publicly ‘fire’ Ryan and McConnell on Day One for failure to stop that uppity negro, and then hold auditions for the biggest bootlickers he can find to run Congress for him.

  • CP

    Trump is not a committed ideologue but a grifter who decided to use their voters for his own ends.

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the ideology the committed ideologues are committed to consists of, actually.

    • so-in-so

      This, GOP ideaology (beyond fluffing the rich) is all about power. If they could replace the Christianists with a different voter block the abortion and LGBT issues would go away overnight.

  • NewishLawyer

    538 continues giving HRC downward chances and refuses to stop. Upshot and PEC are solid for her.

    I wanna write off 538 but I am an anxious liberal and something seems wrong about that like I would possibly be denying myself and unpleasant truth or reality for the sake of comfort.

    There is also a part of me that wants to see Nate Silver written off forever after this election if and when HRC wins.

    • I don’t see how 538 can squeeze their forecast under 290 electoral votes or so, try as they might. I think they’ve finished.

    • vic rattlehead

      Yeah and of course 538 is the only place my wife and friends know of so they read it and freak out.

      Prof Wang’s meta margin has gone down, some swing states have turned a paler shade of blue. But he still has Clinton over 300. I like to think that Trump is approaching his ceiling there but we’ll see.

      Also. Sucks that Bayh and especially Feingold have been trending down so much. But McGinty supposedly has gotten more solid and MO is improving a little. I just really wanted Feingold back.

      • NewishLawyer

        HRC maintains a good lead and early voting in Wisconsin. I don’t see how Feingold losses if HRC wins the state.

        But I’m concerned by the downward Senate trend as well. Trump is making a play for some blue states where he hasn’t really campaigned before. I don’t know if this is demoralizing techniques or just Trump being kind of dumb.

        • vic rattlehead

          By the same token, how the hell did Bayh have a chance when it looks like Trump is gonna win there decisively? Indianans really like him that much?

          Not that I’m complaining. Not my favorite Dem but far from the worst Democratic senator we’ve had in recent years.

          • Hayden Arse

            Bayh has a chance in Indiana because of name recognition. His father, Birch Bayh was a Senator who served for two decades and was beloved, and sometimes that is enough (see Bush, George W., not Jeb!)

        • Colin Day

          Trump is making a play for some blue states where he hasn’t really campaigned before. I don’t know if this is demoralizing techniques or just Trump being kind of dumb.

          Trump’s razor

      • guthrie

        If they freakout in the “Oh dear I’m really going to make sure I get to the polling station and wait for hours to vote” way that’s good.

        But I have a horrible feeling a % of americans are swayed by the “I don’t want to vote for a looser” idea.

    • SIS1

      Well, Silver did proclaim Trump’s chances of winning to be higher than the chances for the Cubs to win the series – so I guess he feels mandated to increase Trumps chances.

      • vic rattlehead

        My wife was freaking out about that. I don’t see what one has to do with the other. But then again everything in statistics seems counterintuitive to me.

        • NonyNony

          I DO understand statistics and that particular headline pissed me off so much that Silver’s not getting my clicks again.

    • Arla

      There is also a part of me that wants to see Nate Silver written off forever after this election if and when HRC wins.

      Seeing as (1) he’s been pretty transparent about how his model works and the fact that is hasn’t really changed since 2008/2012, and (2) he still has a Clinton victory being more than twice as likely as a Trump victory, this seems a bit dramatic.

    • efgoldman

      I am an anxious liberal and something seems wrong about that

      Do you live with Karen24?

  • tsam

    I can’t really figure out why, after the initial shock of Trump wore off, anyone ever thought that about 99% of Republicans would fall in line behind Trump. It’s not like he’s saying anything new, he’s just saying it loud and proud, like the party base always does. So….yeah, whatever. Saying Trump is too much for Republicans is like saying Sanders is too much for Democrats. Maybe for a few, but in damn near all cases, Democrats would be just fine with a Sanders candidacy had he won the primary.

    • cleek

      he’s violated all kinds of GOP norms: his sexual and marital history; his continual disrespecting of the military; his embrace of Russia and Russian meddling in the election; his flip-flopping on taxes, abortion, conservatism, etc.; his crooked business history; he’s a transparently phony Christian; his drooling ignorance of the sacred Constitution; his praise of Putin, Saddam, Kim Jung Un and Ghadaffi; etc.. those are the kinds of things that have sunk countless other candidates.

      i thought there was a chance that that stuff was actually important to a lot of the GOP base. they do go on and on about it, after all.

      nope!

      all of that stuff is window dressing. what’s crucially important to the GOP is the dream of white male nationalism. and Trump’s cult of personality gives it to them.

      • CP

        his sexual and marital history

        Haven’t lots of their politicians failed to live up to that and still gotten elected and reelected? He’s hardly the first. They only cared about Clinton’s infidelity because he was Clinton.

        his continual disrespecting of the military

        Is he disrespecting the military, or is he disrespecting individual soldiers or veterans? The latter has a long, long, long history in the GOP.

        his embrace of Russia and Russian meddling in the election

        Yes, absolutely. That’s a big change.

        his flip-flopping on taxes, abortion, conservatism, etc.

        As is this.

        his crooked business history

        When did they start considering that a dealbreaker?

        he’s a transparently phony Christian

        Well yeah, he’s a Republican.

        his drooling ignorance of the sacred Constitution

        Like I said, he’s a Republican.

        his praise of Putin, Saddam, Kim Jung Un and Ghadaffi

        It’s not as big a leap as all that; drooling over foreign dictators has a long history in the GOP, from William F. Buckley fapping over General Franco in the 1950s National Review to the people you’ve seen on conservative websites in the Obama years muttering that the country needs a Pinochet. Even the general complaint of “oh, if only we had a real man leading us, instead of one of those limp-wristed liberal girl men,” applied while drooling over U.S. enemies, didn’t originate with him.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Trump’s “flip-flopping on taxes, abortion, conservatism, etc.” reminds me that the last two Republican candidates, McCain and Romney, did the same.

          Trump’s “embrace of Russia and Russian meddling in the election” seemed to be a norm as of 2012, but it’s not like I haven’t heard elected Republicans embracing Putin over the past four years.

        • cleek

          Haven’t lots of their politicians failed to live up to that and still gotten elected and reelected?

          surely, grab them by the pussy is in a different category? and popping into the dressing rooms of beauty contestants (including underage beauty contestants)?

          Is he disrespecting the military, or is he disrespecting individual soldiers or veterans?

          about his sex life in the 80s:

          “I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there – it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier,”

          his “I’ve always wanted a Purple Heart!” nonsense.

          even his attacks on individual soldiers and vets are way beyond what any Democrat could get away with. insulting the Khans, insulting St. McCain and all POWs. insisting he knows more than “the generals” about defeating ISIS.

          all violations of the GOP’s long-and-loudly-proclaimed values.

          • tsam

            surely, grab them by the pussy is in a different category?

            Getting caught saying it certainly is. But the sentiment surely isn’t new or unique to Trump or his Trumpanzees.

            • cleek

              getting away with saying it is the change.

          • Rob in CT

            even his attacks on individual soldiers and vets are way beyond what any Democrat could get away with

            A Democrat couldn’t get away with even the slightest hint of such a thing.

            IOKIYAR, part the eleventy millionth.

      • Rob in CT

        This.

        I mean, I really didn’t think I could have underestimated the depravity of the 21st century American Right. And yet, I did!

        • tsam

          Guess they showed you, didn’t they??

      • tsam

        I feel like there was a time when a candidate bragging about hiding his millions off shore to dodge taxes (while complaining about 47% of the country not paying federal income tax) would have sunk a candidate. I also feel like singing “bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” would have sunk a candidate. Not necessarily the sentiment, but the pure recklessness and childishness of singing and laughing about bombing a country…

        his drooling ignorance of the sacred Constitution;

        From the STATES’ RIGHTS!! party? They’re every bit as ignorant of the Constitution, and prone to inventing articles in it–like insisting that no socialism is acceptable…and of course let’s not forget their free speech rights that us PC liberals are always taking away from them when we call them on their bigotry.

        his flip-flopping on taxes, abortion, conservatism

        Bah. Nobody is listening to that garbage anyway, and lots of republicans have flirted with both sides of the abortion debate.

        his crooked business history

        Nobody is as crooked as an administration awarding an astronomical no-bid contract to a corporation he “used” to chair. Crooked is the name of the game for these FREE MARKET assholes.

        i thought there was a chance that that stuff was actually important to a lot of the GOP base

        Context–It’s a handy thing to bash Democrats with, but they neither understand nor care about these issues in a consistent, coherent or meaningful way.

        Trump’s coziness with Russia is a new thing–that one is baffling, but his base loves them a strong arm daddy figure. So I think in a subconscious way, they dig that Trump admires a fucking bully. They’re largely comprised of bullies, so it doesn’t seem all that weird.

        • cleek

          From the STATES’ RIGHTS!! party? They’re every bit as ignorant of the Constitution, and prone to inventing articles in it–like insisting that no socialism is acceptable

          i’m not saying the right is all a bunch of Constitutional scholars. but they really do make a big public show out of proclaiming its infallibility and sacred place in our society. but Trump can’t even muster that. he happily proposes to violate the parts that everybody knows. it’d be like Catholics electing a Pope who hasn’t even memorized the Ten Commandments.

          it’s not just that they’re inconsistent or hypocrites (dog bites man). it’s that they proudly claimed ownership of all those moral hilltops for so long; and now they’re tripping over each other, ass-over-teakettle, in the race to get down into the mud with Trump.

          it’s a bit of a revolution.

          • efgoldman

            it’s not just that they’re inconsistent or hypocrites

            If inconsistency and hypocrisy were disqualifying, no Republiklown would have been elected since, I don’t know, Ed Brooke? Frank Sargent?

        • CP

          Trump’s coziness with Russia is a new thing–that one is baffling, but his base loves them a strong arm daddy figure. So I think in a subconscious way, they dig that Trump admires a fucking bully. They’re largely comprised of bullies, so it doesn’t seem all that weird.

          Even that isn’t entirely surprising. The loathing for Russia was largely because it identified as a “progressive” and “socialist” nation (IOW they hated it because it was left-wing, not because it was a dictatorship or even a hostile country).

          Once Russia shed even the pretense of socialism, their biggest reason to hate it are removed. In its place you’re left with a militarized and authoritarian society that’s epically homophobic, Islamophobic, and oligarch-friendly. There’s plenty of common ground there.

          • NonyNony

            In its place you’re left with a militarized and authoritarian society that’s epically homophobic, Islamophobic, and oligarch-friendly.

            It’s the new game – Putin’s Russia or the GOP’s vision for America?

    • CP

      Yep.

      Trump is who they are. Some of them deluded themselves into thinking they were more than that (and there were never as many as we think), but when push came to shove, the vast majority of them were always going to accept it.

    • NonyNony

      I’ve been saying all along that the end result of this election is “Trump performs somewhere between McCain and Romney, Clinton performs a little south of Obama in ’12”. I don’t think he’ll do as well as Romney, I think he might do as poorly as McCain. But that’s his floor. Pretty much because my expectations of Republicans are pretty low and I’ve always felt that they’d vote for Satan Himself if he had an (R) by his name.

      Republicans in the last week have pretty much rallied right to where I expected them to regarding the Trump Question. Hell my opinion of them gets to drop even further now – at least Satan would probably TRY to look like a reasonable choice if he were running on the R ticket.

  • Tom Till

    Rothman wrote this last year about Eric Garner:

    ….those who claim that Garner died as a result of an officer’s application of a prohibited choke hold must contend with the fact that the 350-pound, hyper-tense asthmatic who died in the ambulance of a heart attack is as likely to have succumbed to extreme stress and physical exertion brought about by his ordeal.

    Several police officers piling on Garner in addition to one of them applying said chokehold played only a minor role, if any.

    This is what pisses me off the most about the Never Trump crowd, especially the high-brow types: They and their forebears played a leading—maybe THE leading—role in building the Party of Trump over the past 50 years but now act as though his nomination is a freak accident in which they had no hand. (Neocons have always been one of the more anti-black factions of conservatism.) But now along comes a guy who stars shouting what what Commentary likes to couch in pseudoscholarly weasel words and they act as though he’s a betrayal rather than the affirmation of all they believe. Will, Rothman & Co. are as sleazily opportunistic as ever.

    • NewishLawyer

      Right. This is what gets me mad about Erick son of Erick and Glenn Beck.

      Erick son of Erick made his fortune as an incendiary bomb thrower who called Republican-appointed Justice Souter a “goat-fucking child molester” and made broad swipes against Asian-Americans on Pearl Harbor’s anniversary. Never mind that the Chinese and Indians were our allies in WWII.

      Glenn Beck made his fortune as an Alex Jones lite by raising the spectre of Alinsky and Agenda 21.

      Now they are shocked, shocked to see Trump as the GOP nominee for President. At least Coulter and Jones are sticking true to themselves and what they have practiced.

    • postmodulator

      I am not a lawyer, but even I know that “My attack would not have killed a healthier person” is not a defense you get to use.

    • Rob in CT

      Oh, absolutely. They built this. And now they’re whining about it.

  • Harry R. Sohl

    As Trump’s KGB handler, Melanoma must have gotten the call from Putin since she’s out campaigning like her life depends on it…

    because it does?

    She didn’t really just exclaim, “I can see Russia from my penthouse!,” did she?

  • Cassiodorus

    They’re both incredibly obnoxious, but Sam Harris’s recent podcast interview with Andrew Sullivan on the election had some pretty good points on this issue. The discussion of Clinton for the first hour or so was about as bad as you’d expect (though Harris did at least make a small effort to include a few arguments that were less cynical about the Clintons). The first part though made the discussion of Trump that much stronger. There really are strong similarities between Trump and Hitler and they lay out that argument in very compelling way.

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