Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trump Deserves No Loyalty-- Quite The Opposite


Michael Gerson, Bush's chief speech-write and a self-described "pro-life conservative," got it right at the Washington Post yesterday, when he described his elation at the defeat of Roy Moore and the election of Doug Jones in Alabama. "Trump and his admirers," he wrote, "are not just putting forth an agenda; they are littering the civic arena with deception and cruelty. They are discrediting even the good causes they claim to care about. They are condemning the country to durable social division. In Trump’s GOP, loyalty requires corruption. So loyalty itself must be reconceived."
What would weaken the grip of Trump on the GOP? Obviously not moral considerations. The president has crossed line after line of decency and ethics with only scattered Republican bleats of protest. Most of the party remains in complicit silence. The few elected officials who have broken with Trump have become targets of the conservative media complex-- savaged as an example to the others.

This is the sad logic of Republican politics today: The only way that elected Republicans will abandon Trump is if they see it as in their self-interest. And the only way they will believe it is in their self-interest is to watch a considerable number of their fellow Republicans lose.

It is necessary to look these facts full in the face. In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections. It will require Republican voters-- as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia-- to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro-Trump Republicans. It may require Republicans to lose control of the House (now very plausible) and to lose control of the Senate (still unlikely). It will certainly require Trump to lose control of the presidency. In the near term, this is what victory for Republicans will look like: strategic defeat. Recovery will be found only on the other side of loss.

Even if moral arguments do not suffice, the political ones are compelling. Trump and his allies are solidifying the support of rural, blue-collar and evangelical Christian whites at the expense of alienating minorities, women, suburbanites and the young. This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the Republican Party, which seems complicit in its own decline. It falls to Republican voters to end this complicity.

...In GOP losses such as the Alabama Senate race, it is not rogue Republican voters (or non-voters) who are at fault. It is the blind ideologues who gave them an impossible choice. Similarly, if Republicans lose the House, the Senate, the presidency and (for a time) the country-- and incur some policy losses in the process-- Trump’s Republican opponents will not be to blame. It would be Trump and his supporters, who turned the Republican Party into a sleazy, derelict fun house, unsafe for children, women and minorities.

A healthy, responsible, appealing GOP can be built only on the ruins of this one.

Such political disloyalty to the president is now the substance of true loyalty to the Republican Party-- and reason enough to welcome Sen. Jones with cheerful relief.
Sounds like he's no fan of Steve Bannon, but before we get to Bannon, let's take a little detour over to Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight and the mathematics that show an anti-Trump/anti-GOP wave forming. The Alabama debacle for the GOP wasn't just because of what a terrible candidate Moore was, but "part of a larger pattern we’ve seen in special elections so far this year, one in which Democrats have greatly outperformed expectations." He wrote that the Democratic margin in the 70 special elections for state and federal legislative seats in 2017 has been 12 percentage points better, on average, than the partisan lean in each race. "Democrats are doing better in all types of districts with all types of candidates. You don’t see this type of consistent outperformance unless there’s an overriding pro-Democratic national factor.
And to be clear, although there have been more special elections on the state level, the pro-Democratic environment is quite clear if you look only at federal special elections. There have been seven special U.S. House and U.S. Senate elections so far this year. The Democrats have outperformed the partisan lean in all of them... [T]he average Democrat has outperformed the baseline by 16 percentage points. The shift in the margin is all that matters here-- in predicting a wave election-- not who wins or loses.

The average swing in special federal elections has forecast midterm results fairly well since the 1994 cycle. We can see this below by looking at the average swing in special federal elections preceding each midterm cycle versus the national House vote in that midterm.

The cycle that looks most like this one is 2006, when Democrats gained 30 seats and control of the House from the Republicans thanks to a hefty win in the popular vote across all House races. In 2018, they need 24 seats to win back control of the lower chamber. The difference between the average swing in special federal elections and the margin of the national vote for the House has averaged just 3 percentage points since 1994. It has never differed by more than 7 points. So even if Democrats do 7 points worse in the national House vote than the average swing so far suggests, they’d still win the national House vote by 9 points, which would likely mean that they reclaim a House majority next year.

Enten is overly cautious-- drastically so, to the point of silliness. That's why these DC prognosticators are always-- always-- months behind the curveball. The discussion is way beyond if the Democrats will win back the House and now way into by how many dozens of seats and whether or not that can win back the Senate as well. Of course things could change between now and election day, but the overwhelming likelihood is that they will change for the better-- for Democrats and worse for Republicans. Trump, McConnell and Ryan will continue their roles of albatrosses around the necks of Republican incumbents and candidates and... then there's Steve Bannon, the GOP's very own Mr. Destructo. The AP's Jonathan Lemire reputed that Bannon is "catching blame from fellow Republicans for coughing up a safe Senate seat in deep-red Alabama and foisting damaging political advice" on Señor Trumpanzee. Better yet-- for Democrats-- "Bannon is showing no signs of abandoning his guerrilla war against the GOP establishment."
when Moore lost on Tuesday, handing the Democrats control of their first Senate seat in Alabama in a generation, Republicans turned on Bannon. The Breitbart News head already had made scores of enemies for declaring a siege on his own party.

"This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running," said Steven Law, head of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC for Republicans aligned with GOP leadership. "Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco."

Bannon's team vowed that its revolution would continue, insisting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should be the one to take the blame.

Bannon's allies dismissed the Alabama loss as little more than a temporary setback that would soon be forgotten. They expect that the Republicans cheering Moore's loss will simply enrage Trump's most loyal supporters nationwide, who already suspected some Republican leaders were trying to undermine the president's agenda.

"They're stomping on the very base they need to turn out for their candidates in the general election in 2018," said Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Bannon-backed Great America PAC. He contended that "the average Republican voter across the country is pointing their finger at Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment."

Bannon's team blamed McConnell for abandoning Moore, though it was a somewhat incongruous argument after Bannon warned McConnell to stay out of Alabama when Moore won the GOP primary. On his Sirius XM radio show Wednesday, Bannon credited Democrats with "out-hustling" the GOP on the ground in Alabama-- praise that doubled as a swipe at the lack of Senate Republican campaign committee field staff on the ground in the state.

...Bannon's group indicated they would forge forward with plans to challenge the GOP establishment in Senate races in as many as 10 states, including Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee, though one adviser suggested that a greater effort may be made on recruiting and screening candidates.

But in the hours after the stunning defeat, many Republicans reveled in Bannon's failure.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina argued that Bannon should have called off his guns and simply backed Trump's first choice.

"When it comes to Alabama politics Steve Bannon should have followed President @realDonaldTrump lead in supporting Luther Strange," Graham tweeted. "Trump's instincts on the Alabama race proved to be correct."

And Rep. Peter King, R-NY, declared that Bannon looked "like some disheveled drunk who wandered onto the political stage."

"This is not the type of person we need in politics," said King said. "(Bannon) sort of parades himself out there with his weird alt-right views that he has, and to me it's demeaning the whole government and political process. And last night's election was a manifestation of the revulsion by the American people."

Active Shooter and all the art of this post is by Nancy Ohanian

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At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that salient takedowns can and should be applied generically:

"This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the Republican Party, which seems complicit in its own decline. It falls to Republican voters to end this complicity.

...In GOP losses such as the Alabama Senate race, it is not rogue Republican voters (or non-voters) who are at fault. It is the blind ideologues who gave them an impossible choice."

can equally be said for the other side:

"This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the democrap Party, which seems complicit in its own decline. It falls to (lefty) voters to end this complicity.

...In democrap losses such as (2010, 12, 14, 16), it is not rogue (lefty) voters (or non-voters) who are at fault. It is the (corrupt) ideologues who gave them an impossible choice. "

One might wonder when, if ever, the Rs had any moral standing after Lincoln. But evangelicals claim moral standing even when they are corrupted and hypocritical. Human flaw that will doom the species to a very short run in geologic time standards.

It is also validating of my loathing of religions that the party that now overtly hates so virulently and seeks to legislatively kill (literally) millions has the most piously religious as its only base. If anyone in this maladjusted and maleducated shithole had the potential to stop and think rationally, they would realize as I did over 50 years ago that all religions, especially THAT one, is total horseshit.

Screed aside, I make no excuses for the other side either. They exist only as opportunistic scavengers who could not succeed without the piles of corpses (figurative as well as literal) left by American voters inability to choose their own leaders wisely. Their open lies, corruption and cowardice would leave them in permanent obscurity (like the first half of this year) if the Rs could even control their greed and bloodlust even a tiny bit. 2008 and obamanation was a consequence of the cheney/bush shit show. The projections of 2018 and maybe 2020 could only occur as a reaction to the trump/ryan/mcturtle shit show.

But the democraps SHALL fuck this up, just as they did in 2009-10. It's the same asswipes as 2009 after all. So look for WTT (worse than trump) in 2024.

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A healthy, responsible, appealing GOP can be built only on the ruins of this one."

The same thing can be said in regards to the DINO-Whigs, who at least as far back as the Rise of Reagan abandoned their natural base to take their places in line for lucrative corporatist handouts and indentured servitude.

"One might wonder when, if ever, the Rs had any moral standing after Lincoln."

It is my personal opinion that Lincoln was left unguarded for assassination to ensure that the newly-enriched Yankee corporatist vultures could feast on the carcass of the Confederacy without any morality-based interference.

"But the democraps SHALL fuck this up, just as they did in 2009-10. It's the same asswipes as 2009 after all. So look for WTT (worse than trump) in 2024."

The purge to ensure that these "same asswipes" have no meaningful or effective opposition against their continued selling out the American People for tarnished pieces of corporate silver has already begun. This is why Al Franken was frog-marched to his political execution while Joe Biden remains every DINO-Whigs' favorite handsy uncle. The Senator from MNBA must not be harmed!

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:59, your Lincoln comment is not without some merit. While he was ... ineffectively guarded, it is left to you to speculate. However, he was on record as being virulently against northern vultures and profiteers using reconstruction as a personal mint. Without him, nobody at all interfered with the raping. And nobody acted as guarantor for the rights of former slaves either. So they ended up screwed too.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At the end of the Civil War, when Lincoln went to see Richmond, Shelby Foote reports that people were openly calling for Lincolns assassination as he went about the ruined city - and the calls were from the Union side. I was quite surprised to discover this. This is the reason I'm fairly certain that Lincoln was set up to allow Booth to act. It's also why Booth had to die and not be tried. He would have told all he knew, which was a lot.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the results show that trump has earned the loyalty of his party.

He's normalized the Nazis and KKK, which nobody outside of the deep south had done.
He's just about to pass a self-enriching rape of the middle and poor. It's been done before, but at times of economic tenuousness. Not exactly the case today. This is a daylight rape.
Included in it will be partial repeal of New Deal and Great Society programs, which has been their wet dream for 85 years.
It will also include at least partial repeal of ACA. See wet dream comment above.
Next week he'll fire Meuller and permanently obstruct the Russia thing. He'll probably pardon everyone already plead guilty.
He's cleared the way for America's god to come back, vacuum up 1300 rich white racist assholes to heaven and torch everyone else. See also the wet dream comment above.
He's put a fellow traveler onto the supreme court to keep the 5-4 edge in place.
His every tweet promotes the Murdoch empire.

He's done more than any mere mortal (who lost by 3 million votes) could have done.


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