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Burning a witch


Commenter Random pointed out something yesterday that’s worth pondering further:

One of the great mysteries to me is how thorough and complete the press has been in erasing every single aspect of the Bush years from public memory, including the part where his primary campaign was spreading lies about McCain being a traitor and accusing him of fathering illegitimate non-white kids.

Everybody acted all shocked like Trump somehow was the first person to take the low road with McCain, but it’s always been a crowd-pleaser with GOP primary voters.

One thing can be predicted with almost absolute certainty: if Trump loses in 2020, it will be instantly discovered that he was never really a conservative, let alone a genuine Republican, and every bit of his bottomless awfulness will be attributed not to his public ideological commitments — every one of which is nothing but a reflection of the deepest commitments of the GOP base, which of course is the main reason he has adopted them — but to his idiosyncratic personality and background.

And this won’t be true just for GOP politicians and pundits. It will go without saying that none of them ever truly supported Trump, but merely tried to minimize the damage he was doing, which required acting like they were totally in the tank for him.  We will also see the elite media sell that same fairy tale with tremendous enthusiasm, since they are collectively dying to get back to the good old days (aka 2016) of pretending that the Republican party hasn’t been evolving into a revanchist proto-fascist reactionary tool of white supremacist sentiment for more than half a century now.

What hardly anyone is going to want to acknowledge is that Trump’s political success is a product of giving Republican party voters pretty much exactly what they want, which is ethno-nationalist white supremacy straight up, no chaser.  Even Trump’s complete lack of qualifications for the job of president of the United States is not some freakish coincidence: it’s a predictable consequence of a political movement which is a product of a reactionary anti-intellectualism that hates professional expertise in particular, and critical thought in general.

Trump, in other words, is no accident.  He is the natural if not inevitable outcome of what the Republican party has been trending towards since 1964 and Barry Goldwater’s candidacy.  Getting rid of him is essential, but he is a symptom of a political disease much more than the cause of it.  The political movement he leads must be destroyed, and that’s a far more difficult task, that will take many decades to complete.


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