Republicans Are Not Helpless Against Trump

Eric Medlin

History instructor. Writer. Rising star in the world of affordable housing.

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93 Responses

  1. James K
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    says:

    I think you’re letting the word “Republicans” do a little too much work here Eric. Because you’re right that conservative media could bury Trump, but the Republican party can’t.

    The Republican Party is controlled by cable TV now and they have no reason to cancel Trump’s circus act. After all, it’s great for ratings.Report

    • North in reply to James K
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      says:

      Yeah, conservatives (and Republicans) could stop Trump but it would cost them at least one electoral cycle; a large number of comfortable, prestigious handsomely paying elected jobs; a far greater number of lavishly paid political and think tanky sinecures and endanger an entire self contained ecosystem of graft and money extraction from credulous right wing elderly people. All they’d get in return is their souls, the long term welfare of the country and a chance to claim with a straight face that they have principles. For the modern right this is not a trade they’re willing to make and a price far too steep for them to pay.Report

      • Pinky in reply to North
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        says:

        I disagree with your and James’s analysis, but what I find interesting* is that the scenario you’re describing is a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Any political party can change its course, and it would cost only a small portion of power, but only if everyone agrees to it. Any individual member who chooses not to agree reaps all that power.

        * Note that I mean I actually find it interesting. Not coyly “gosh I find it interesting…”.Report

        • North in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          I think it’d only qualify as a prisoners dilemma if both “sides” so to speak were the prisoners and needed to take collective action. The Democratic Party, for all its various trials and troubles, isn’t struggling with the kinds of problems the GOP has in this arena. There’s not really a need for the GOP and the Dems to reach an accord. The GOP either keeps trying to ride this whole populist insurrectionist tiger or it doesn’t.
          I’d definitely agree that within the right/the GOP there’s one hell of a collective action problem. If all the significant figures of the right turned on Trump/Trumpism I expect they’d win institutionally pretty quickly. But if even a small fraction defected they could potentially make out like bandits while flattening everyone else.

          I am curious about what you disagree with? That the right/GOP is mainly controlled by their entertainment apparatus? That trying to punt Trump would cost them an election cycle? That it’s possible? Something else?Report

          • Pinky in reply to North
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            says:

            Sorry for any confusion. I was generalizing the scenario you described within the Republican Party to a Prisoner’s Dilemma, but still staying within the GOP, not treating the Democratic Party as another prisoner. I was trying to say what you said in your second paragraph.Report

      • James K in reply to North
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        says:

        The thing is though, how would the Republican leadership actually oust Trump? Nominations are controlled by the base, not the leadership and so long as the Right Wing media is on Trump’s side, anyone who challenges him will just get primaried out. In New Zealand the party leadership would just purge all the Trumpists, but US political parties don’t seem to really have leadership in that sense.

        Don’t get me wrong, they should do it anyway because the Republican Party cannot be allowed to continue to exist in its current form and besides which a coward dies a thousand times before his death but the valiant taste of death but once.

        But lets be honest, if the anti-Trump rump of the Republicans party tries to fight the Trumpists they will lose, and I understand why they are hesitant to go over the top.Report

        • Philip H in reply to James K
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          says:

          @Koz will be here any minute to disabuse you of the theory that Trump controls the Republican Party, much less matters to it . . . .Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            Trump is a symptom.

            He is not a root cause.

            When the root cause is addressed, Trump will wither away.
            If Trump grows old and senile and unable to do much of anything anymore, nothing will be resolved.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I agree, but he’s not yet been addressed as a symptom to treat by Republican politicians, much less the base, so he’s still relevant.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              The root cause seems to be social media and/or media in general. Turns out it’s possible for a charismatic demagogue to emotion his way into leadership.

              I don’t think he can get re-elected so there’s that.

              We’re dealing with this on many fronts, the anti-vaxers are another aspect.

              This is a technology+human thing and we’re still figuring out how to handle people who deliberately put out bad information.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                The Jonah Goldberg piece below illustrates Jaybird’s point.

                Notice how they behave, the “moderate Republicans”, who profess to be aghast at Trump.
                When they notice that the people are doing something they don’t like, their reaction is NOT to form alliances with other people so as to gain the electoral upper hand.

                No, his first instinct is to rig the system to prevent those people from voting and force them to submit to the minority he favors.

                Goldberg and the rest of the “moderate Republicans” ARE the rot, the root cause of Trumpism.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to James K
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          says:

          Maybe the RNC can pass a bunch of rules restricting the ability of Republican voters to participate in their primary elections, and give more power to senior members to overturn any primary election they don’t like.

          It would be on brand, after all.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Blog moderators:

            In light of the Jonah Goldberg piece linked below, I would like to re-categorize this comment from “Swiftian Sarcasm” to “Statement of Fact.”

            Thank you.Report

          • James K in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Maybe the RNC can pass a bunch of rules restricting the ability of Republican voters to participate in their primary elections, and give more power to senior members to overturn any primary election they don’t like.

            This, but unironically.Report

        • North in reply to James K
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          says:

          Obviously, Trump is something that would have been far easier to prevent than to cure. The GOP could very easily have prevented Trump in ’15 had they possessed the institutional health to make that decision and act. Contra Chip, Trump doesn’t command the active support of all the GOP’s voters. A very large portion of the GOP’s voting base (and the Dems voting base to be fair) are low info voters who outsource their political analysis to the party and simply vote party line. We politically engaged folk scorn those people but they are one of the reasons parties exist in the first place.

          Had the party united against Trump early on they could have stopped him by pressuring all the non-viable non-Trump candidates to drop out and endorse the remaining viable candidates. Trump won via a plurality split remember. The Democratic Party basically did this exact thing in the run up to 2000 when they united against Bernie. Then again, the Democratic Party doesn’t have the same alienation from their voters that the GOP has and it doesn’t have the GOP’s particular dysfunctions nor do they have to deal with a dedicated party propaganda/media apparatus. The Dems are a living, functional party. Their ideological canopy is still connected to their voting base roots. I am not confident the same can be said for the modern GOP.

          I agree with you that the overwhelming likelihood at this point is that trying to unite against Trump would lead to an internecide bloodbath, an electoral debacle and very likely a rolling civil war through the right. A party that had really strong principles that Trumpism violates would be willing to countenance that cost. Then again, such a party probably wouldn’t have been infested by an opportunistic infection like Trump in the first place. The GOP doesn’t reliably stand for anything right now except tax cuts for plutocrats. Having a civil war would diminish their individual abilities to continue to grift cash out of the voters on the right. It’s no big surprise they’re not interested in tackling the Trump problem. The current plan looks like they’re just going to keep on keeping on and wait to see what/if the next new big idea on the right will be.Report

          • JS in reply to North
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            says:

            I think the GOP’s problem is Trump dangled an extension of the current trap they’re in.

            He turned out a LOT of very irregular voters in 2020. He energized sections of the GOP base that don’t normally vote. In addition to pleasing a large swathe of their devoted primary voters. That’s hard to ignore for a party that hasn’t won the majority vote much lately, and who has run up against hard limits in gerrymandering. (They’ve basically tightened that nut as tight as it’ll go, to the point of blowback — a number of states have pushed redistricting to non-partisan or bipartisan commissions, a trend that I don’t think it’s going to stop).

            From the 30,000 foot level — they really need those unlikely voters. Badly. Second, from the ground level, they can’t anger their primary voters too much or they’ll just get replaced.

            The problem is two-fold — first, energizing all those unlikely voters seems to energize just as many or more unlikely Dem voters — and anger a small subset of Republican voters. (There was a significant “voted Republican down-ticket but didn’t vote for Trump” effect in 2020, enough to clearly cost him the election).

            Second, it only seems to work for Trump. There were no signs of that effect in 2018, nor in any race Trump endorsed or stumped for, nor in the GA 2021 special elections (both Democrats did significantly BETTER in January than they did in November, despite the Senate being on the line). Nor do any of the Trump copy-cats seem to be triggering that effect, no matter how hard they try.

            I don’t think the GOP can stop itself from lunging at the hope those 10 million or so unlikely voters represent, and if they tried — they’d probably lose enough incumbents in primaries to force the issue.

            Worse yet, I’m not sure that “unlikely voters” are the same on both sides. We’ve seen signs the Trump voters don’t turn out without him, but the GA special elections show that might not be the case with Democratic voters. (Which could also be age skew — I can imagine a newly energized 30-something voter might be more likely to vote again than, say, a 60 year old that only voted a handful of times in their life. Not saying that’s the case, since the biggest data point is the GA special election — it was nationalized and high stakes, and only three months from November with Trump still in office.)Report

            • North in reply to JS
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              says:

              I have very little to quibble with on your analysis. I do know that I’ll be biting my fingernails to the quick in ’22 and ’24. My complacency died in 2016*.

              *God(ess?) damn it Hillary, you had one job!Report

  2. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Is there any evidence that the “Republicans” who want to be rid of Trump amount to more than a handful of pundits and bloggers?

    It just seems weird how we keep seeing these essays about how “the party” wants to be rid of the guy who is supported by 90% of the party.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Is there any evidence that the mainstream of the Republican Party supports a coup, as you asserted a few days ago?Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        Gee I don’t know – Trump seems to be saying he will be “reinstated” in August; Gen. Flynn said we could have a Myanmar style coup in the US. And not one single Republican has yet told either of them to sit down and shut up.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          Flynn already told himself to sit down and shut up, or at least he’s been backpedaling. And does anyone other than Haberman make the claim about Trump?Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            It happened so quickly that I’ve about decided someone high at the Pentagon called him and said, “Last time we let you keep your retired rank and your pension. Advocate treason and this time we won’t.”Report

            • Pinky in reply to Michael Cain
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              says:

              I remember earlier this year when a survey showed that more Democrats than Republicans had heard of Q-Anon. I didn’t understand that at the time; it was only later that I realized that liberal outlets cover it far more than conservative ones. It’s symmetrical to the recent OT discussion about Portland violence. Nobody believes that there are people that stupid on their half of the board.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            Well-known leftist Charles Cooke.

            https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/06/maggie-haberman-is-right/amp/

            Instead, they should have listened — because Haberman’s reporting was correct. I can attest, from speaking to an array of different sources, that Donald Trump does indeed believe quite genuinely that he — along with former senators David Perdue and Martha McSally — will be “reinstated” to office this summer after “audits” of the 2020 elections in Arizona, Georgia, and a handful of other states have been completed.

            Report

            • JS in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Trump I can believe actually believes it. Maybe the MyPillow guy.

              Powell and Wood and Flynn? They’re making bank off dangling a grand prize in front of the crowd. They’re walking in the well-worn footsteps of any cult leader. Keep making promises, and when they don’t happen, blame insufficient faith, or the Enemy, and make another promise — one that will require everyone to donate some more, of course.

              Fighting evil is expensive.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        They all, to a man, offer support to the people who tried to overthrow the government on Jan 6, so yeah, there’s plenty of evidence.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      If believing that the election was stolen is a good measurement of Trump support, then it’s something like a third to two thirds.

      And I don’t want delegate rule rewrites, that’s unethical and way more likely to blow up and get him back than it is to keep him out.

      If he runs again, he’ll have a primary challenge, hopefully a successful one. If he wins the nod then he wins the nod and we’ll see him lose the reelection in a landslide.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      No and if they write for the Bulwark, they more or less admit to being moderate Democrats now.

      https://thebulwark.com/why-are-these-people-calling-me-a-whore/

      “If you have that perspective and you see people whom you thought were your allies enabling and making excuses for these fascistic shitbirds, it really pisses you off. You will forgive me if I get kind of hot when I hear people talk about voting for Edmund Burke and Ronny Reagan’s ghost when the actual choices on the table were a replacement-level capitalist Democrat and an inveterate liar with authoritarian aspirations who threatens everything you hold dear.”Report

  3. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    This ties in nicely with this story”

    https://www.thefire.org/law-students-graduation-in-jeopardy-as-stanford-investigates-satirical-email-lampooning-federalist-society-sen-hawley-and-jan-6/

    Stanford University law student Nicholas Wallace was set to graduate this month, but his degree is now in jeopardy. After receiving a complaint about a satirical email that Wallace sent to his peers in January, Stanford launched an investigation into Wallace. His degree is now on hold while the university determines whether he violated school policies by mocking Sen. Josh Hawley, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and the law school’s chapter of the Federalist Society.

    That is, the Stanford Federalist Society is holding up a fellow student’s graduation for exercising his free speech rights to make fun of them.

    The Right had made itself over in Trump’s image: grift, cowardice, and malice.Report

  4. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    I spent most of the Trump years reading Robert Reich’s blog posts, essays and Facebook posts touting his unnamed Republican friends who all said that as long a Trump served Republican purposes they would tolerate him. There’s nothing here that says that equation has changed. Republican politicians are still closing in on their goal of permanent minority rule with significant wealth transfers to the top 1%. Trump continues to enable that. They have no need to jettison him, no matter how many of them regret riding the tornado he harnessed.Report

  5. Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Jonah thinks the Primary needs to go.
    https://gfile.thedispatch.com/p/conservatism-not-populismReport

    • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      That seems to be a very good way to get even more people to wander away from the party.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Sure, but it’ll be the Trump-ists who wander away. They can go start their own party. I’ve been told it’s easy and doable, if you have enough of a following.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          Some will try (and fail). Some will join the Democrats and change that party from the inside.

          Some will merely grow more disaffected.

          History has a handful of stories where that sort of thing happens.Report

        • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          It depends on how smart the party is in its selection of candidates. Do it well and they become the Tories, and completely annihilate the vestiges of blue collar Democrats while staying respectable enough to win with squishy liberalish suburbanites who like their taxes low. Turn the Dems into the stuffy, over educated HR directors on the coasts Fox News says they are. Nominate a bunch of Paul Ryan types on the other hand? Then they gracefully lose realignment for the next decade.Report

          • Philip H in reply to InMD
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            says:

            yes, well recent history doesn’t bode well now then does it? There were what – 12, 16 – Republican candidates in ’16. We got Trump by pluralities. Now wins, pluralities. In a split field.Report

            • InMD in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              If they ran it today I think Trump would win another GOP primary. Of course I also think he could quite possibly win another general against any of the D primary candidates we saw, except for Joe Biden. But maybe that’s just my own (terror and) cynicism speaking.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I don’t know that Biden will be running again in 2024.

                I don’t know how the economy will be doing in 2024.

                Let’s hope that everything remains awesome.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I wouldn’t vote for him this time.

                He’s massively increased his faults and risks.

                Disavowing the election results and flirting with overthrowing the country are big things. They put him firmly into “not a serious candidate/option” territory.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                The question isn’t, “Would you vote for him?”, it’s “Would you vote against him?”.

                If he won the primaries and ran for the office again, would you not vote, or would you pull for team blue?Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I vote every election, so not voting isn’t an option. It’s a civic duty.

                The real question is, “Team Blue or Libertarian (Protest Vote)”.

                Short answer is “it depends”. Am I in a swing state (almost certainly yes), what kind of Dem is running, and so on.

                I’d be fine with Mayor Pete or (assuming he doesn’t mess up too bad) Biden. Harris I know less about. Warren or Bernie I wouldn’t vote for.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                I don’t think this matters as much as it could, or frankly, should, for structural reasons. To Oscar’s point, all he has to do is win pluralities of primary voters to get the nod. His support base is probably big enough to do that absent a really unified opposition within the GOP that I don’t believe exists.

                So succeed there and it becomes a binary choice, subject of course to the particulars of the electoral college of which we’re all very familiar. This is why anyone who doesn’t want Trump should be very hopeful about ol’ Sleepy Joe’s health holding out. I don’t think Kamala could beat him if it played out that she had to.Report

              • North in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I want to say you’re wrong but I look at 2000 and 2016 and a chill goes down my spine. In 2024 the Left Wing Purity dragon is slated to awaken and rampage in search of the perfect pure left wing candidate.

                And the huge question, as you note, is what happens in ’24 if Joe decides he’s too tired and calls it quits*. I happen to think/hope the Democratic Party is still capable of mustering and nominating a decent candidate.

                *It bears noting that if Trump himself actually runs or looks like he’s going to seriously run then I suspect Joe would muster the will to fight him and in that scenario-absent an economic collapse or a war, an incumbent Joe should beat him like a drum.Report

              • InMD in reply to North
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                says:

                I would hope that Biden would do it for the good of the country. If the economy is good and it remains implausible to paint him as some sort of radical to shaky parts of the coalition in the Midwest I think he’d win again. Hopefully after that time will have permanently ended any hope for Trump himself.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I strongly suspect a “generic republican” could beat Trump in the primary in a 2 person race.

                The problem with that is we could have too many people running and splitting the vote to make that work.

                Trump’s voters are solid, although they’re only something like a third of the GOP, that’s more than enough if we don’t have a unity candidate and I’ve no clue who that would be.Report

              • InMD in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Exactly. Entire party unified behind 1 candidate against Trump/his base could maybe win. But if the race is between Trump, a relict SoCon, a Zombie Reagan or two, and a McCain or Kasich style ‘maverick’ Republican, Trump wins.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                “… a “generic republican” could beat Trump in the primary in a 2 person race.”

                And then what happens?

                Imagine for a moment that the Republicans control the House and Senate in January 2025.

                Imagine the Presidential election is as close as 2020, coming down to a handful of votes in a handful of states.

                Does anyone here trust the state level Republicans to fairly and accurately record and certify the votes even if it tips the election to a Democrat?

                Does anyone here trust Mitch McConnell and Josh Hawley to certify the state electors and a Democratic President?

                And if they didn’t, if they blatantly thwart the will of the people and select a Republican, does anyone here trust the “Generic Republicans” to do anything other than furrow their brow?

                Bottom line- Are there any Republicans, anywhere in any sufficient numbers that can be trusted to behave in good faith to safeguard American democracy?Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Whether we trust em or not is academic at this point. The filibuster ain’t going anywhere which means that no voting reform is passable at a federal level, neither a narrowly tailored bill nor the overstuffed left wing wish list of HR1 is possible. So the only option is to raise hell, keep attention focused on it and swamp the barriers in the next election. Gerrymandering is a dicey game if you incorrectly calculate turnout and the other measures the GOP has been playing footsie with mostly fiddle with the margins which is useless if the election ends up not being close.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North
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                says:

                Well yes of course this is all the Democrats can do to preserve American democracy.

                What can Republicans do?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If you only said you didn’t trust Hawley, I’d have to look up what he said and did. If you say you don’t trust Mitch McConnell to ensure a fair election, then you’re not basing your feelings on history and experience.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Does anyone here trust the state level Republicans to fairly and accurately record and certify the votes even if it tips the election to a Democrat?

                What you mean is, when Team Blue’s equiv of Trump proclaims he won or that Blue votes need to be counted extra special, will Blue pull out this and will we have a problem?

                Maybe. Maybe not.

                This has not been a Constitutional crisis. This has mostly been lots and lots of drama where people pretend the other side is stealing the election and/or suppress the vote. That’s why the Courts have been mostly quiet and/or said there’s nothing going on.

                By historical standards our elections are amazingly open, fair, and accessible. We could slip a bit and they’d still be. Witness Team Blue’s hysteria over adopting Europe’s voter laws.

                Really good chance the Capital Riot will be the high point of this madness.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                @Pinky and @Dark Matter;

                I really expected (or hoped for) disagreement with my assertion, not concurrence.

                For everyone else, take a good long look at what is awaiting us all if the Republicans take control.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I did disagree with your assertion.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I don’t think it’s a new thing to point out that the sides both don’t trust each other, can’t really be trusted when their own interests are at stake, and lie about how bad the other side is.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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            says:

            Personally I don’t think the Republican apparatus knows what ‘good candidates’ or ‘good policy objectives’ would be to win a realignment… but I suppose we can see what Glenn Youngkin comes up with as a trial balloon.

            At the moment his website doesn’t have any info other than the obligatory picture of him and his family… and how to give them money. But eventually we’ll see what VA Republican party thinks is a winning message from their curated pick.Report

            • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              That’s the challenge of being in a party where the voters and the financiers are hopelessly out of alignment. I guess they could hope for the Democrats nominating unknown weirdos and obvious buffoons. Not like it doesn’t happen. That’s how we’ve gotten 2 terms of a RINO governor here.

              But obviously the situation is a different in a one party state. What happens on your side of the river will be way more telling for what can happen nationally.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Yeah… on the one hand, Glenn Youngkin (recently) CEO of Carlyle Group is probably friends with lots of NOVA voters… on the other hand, what exactly is the ex-CEO of the Carlyle Group going to do to connect with the rest of the voters?

                Will he go the way of ex-Bain Capital CEO’s Tribune to the people or forge a new ex-Carlyle Group CEO to the rabble? Either way, I don’t think there’s any Republican realignment in the offing that’s led by Bain/Carlyle folks.

                I mean, I know a lot of VA Republican operators and a couple of Pols… they are all pre-Trump figures… they have no idea what Trump is, was, or will be. They are the reason there’s a Trump at all. So… hard for me to see these folks navigating their way out of this mess.Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              Let’s be fair. NONE of us know what a good candidate/policy combination is on the right. It’s zombie Reaganism, burnt out libertarianism and Trumpian raging ID populism all the way down at the moment. The left has a distinct voter advantage at the moment but it’s inconveniently geographically located.

              The real action and interesting stuff is happening on/within the right. On the left it’s still the tattered unlovable but fundamentally sound banner of liberalism and its various picayune pigmy challenges from the left wing. On the right? Who the fish knows? I don’t. If I did know I could make a flippin fortune.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
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                says:

                Eh… I don’t subscribe to that… there are plenty of options, just that there are too many path dependent choices driving options and too few mechanisms to unstick the previous paths. It’s a ‘simple’ people/process/path problem that’s the bigger reality in politics than ‘ideas’Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                So you think there’s a current strain of thought on the right that’s the “correct” one and the others are just vestigial leftovers hanging on due to path dependencies and people being set in their way? Which one do you subscribe to?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North
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                says:

                I think there’s an opening for a political narrative that’s right of center on some cultural issues, left of center on other cultural issues, and left of center on some economic issues and right of center on others.

                Which is to say… the current duopoly is ossified into untenable positions across the spectrum. And as I’ve been saying for 5-6 years, whomever get’s there first, wins.

                I wrote a piece on American Solidarity party last cycle… that would be one example of how a realignment party mixes/matches policies that confound the simple narratives.

                But if your question is whether one has to resurrect Reagan or chase libertarians or rage with the Trumpian ID? Then I say none of the above.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                I recall the American Solidarity party post you made. If I could wave a wand and have it instead of the GOP kicking around I would do so in a heart beat.

                And, to be fair, I slapped down those snide categories in a hurry. There should be at least a minimum of one more for social conservatives and a dishonorable mention for national security hawks as well. I wouldn’t expect any actual right wingers to confine themselves to those parameters or names.Report

              • Pinky in reply to North
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                says:

                I don’t find those categories helpful for taxonomy. They’re more like insults.

                Libertarianism has never made it as a significant movement within the right; it remains a significant plank within the list of principles.
                If Reaganism is a zombie, this is 28 Days Later. Trump’s biggest accomplishments were a tax cut, originalist Court nominees, and federalism during the covid crisis. Trumpian populism is what exactly? Nationalism plus obnoxious attitude. Since the Democrats are in power, it’s their turn to pretend they have an immigration bill.Report

              • North in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Oh certainly I wouldn’t expect you to contain yourselves to my decidedly less than charitably generalizations. Feel free to redefine, rename, expand, subtract and add to them all you wish- I don’t pretend to be an expert on the right.

                The secret sauce in Trumps populism was twofold- a full throated denunciation of foreign policy hawkishness and an equally full throated repudiation of the libertarian/Reaganism ideas of cutting social spending programs to pay for tax cuts. He squared the circle on the latter issue by simply cutting taxes and expanding the deficit. To give the man some bare credit, Trump did pretty purposefully prevent his administrations toadies from starting any new wars (and Jonny Bolton was very put out that Trump wouldn’t let him have that shiny new war with Iran he’s been wanting for so long).Report

              • Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think factional analysis is the right approach, at least not at the presidential level. And I think that candidates who appeal to a particular faction are at a disadvantage. Factions can matter within party dynamics, but more in the debate on issues. Republicans debate a lot. But by the time a bill gets to the president’s desk in 2025, it’s not going to be based on a particular presidential campaign speech.

                We’re definitely in an anti-hawkish phase in our national history. I’m way more hawkish than most, but I only get one vote, so who cares what I think? It’s hard to see a hawkish presidential nominee getting either party’s endorsement. And I hope not, because it’s only bad scenarios that would put the US in that mood.

                I just typed in “conservative principles” into Google, and it linked me to Rep. Mike Johnson’s “7 Core Principles” page. I don’t see anything on there that a Republican or conservative faction (with more than 100 members) would have a problem with.Report

              • North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                You have a good point there on presidential nomination fights needing to be broad based but if merely mouthing a nice broadly worded piety about each of the respective interests of the various party factions was sufficient Trump would never have gotten the nomination in the first place. Looking at your (quite excellent) referenced seven principles I’d say Trump was a full on apostate on principles 2 and 4. He was something else on principle 5; not in that he repudiated it but simply did the same thing the GOP had done before him only even more nakedly not giving a fish about it. He also basically back burnered principle 7 in a manner his predecessors had never done.

                So I think you believe these 7 principles are still the principles on the right that they can campaign and win elections on but maybe with adjusted emphasis and priority whereas I believe that the right is going to need to radically revisit/revise some of these items before them emerge from the conundrum they’re in electorally.Report

              • Philip H in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Those seven principals are a hilarious read when you look at the last 40 to 50 years of Republican policy. You can’t espouse individual freedom when you seek to regulate what a woman can do with her body via banning abortion. You can’t espouse limited government when your Party is responsible for significant debt and deficits over 40 years. You cant espouse the rule of law when you vote against a commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection because it might hurt your chances in the next election, and you vote against convicting an impeached president because he’s already out of office. You can’t espouse fiscal responsibility when you both pass major tax cuts for decades while never cutting a single government program, and spending more on national defense then he next 6 countries combined. And you sure as hell don’t get to walk around campaigning on human dignity when your party has passed bill after bill to assault the dignity of the LGBTQ community.

                That list might reset the playing field on what Republicans SHOULD look like, but it won’t get enough votes across the aisle for winning national elections.Report

              • North in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Both of the parties, if they espoused a list of principles, would be vulnerable to charges of naked hypocrisy. You (and I!) being leftists may say that the GOP is more guilty of that than the Democratic Party is but it’s neither here nor there and, well, we would wouldn’t we?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                There are different types of hypocrisy, don’t you think?

                Like, advocating equality while sending your kids to private school is one type, while advocating democracy and supporting the violent overthrow of the government is a wholly different type.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I grant there’re degrees of hypocrisy and also that I join you in thinking the GOP is more hypocritical than the Democratic Party is. That’s beside the matter; right wingers don’t see it that way.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You’d think that the Christians would appreciate that they’ve got planks in their eyes and they’re whining about the specks in others!

                Not that I believe in any of that Jesus bullshit. But since I know that they do, they should appreciate the fact that I’m using Bible verses as a reference.Report

              • Pinky in reply to North
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                says:

                To the numbered points you mentioned:

                2 – Limited Government – Definitely not Trump’s instinct, but I have to give him credit for pursuing a federalist course of action during a national crisis. I don’t think we can realize how remarkable that was. Historians will marvel at it.

                4 – Peace through Strength – I hate the way we abandoned the Kurds. But he was aggressive during negotiations with NK and China, and he did help wipe out ISIS.

                5 – Fiscal Responsibility – Error: File not found Retry (Y/N)?

                Human Dignity – Pretty solid in rhetoric on social issues, and gave us a lot of court appointments. One can argue that he was more loyal to the pro-life base than to any other group.Report

              • North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Indeed, and the points are written broadly which means that Trump can both have met them and not met them at the same time. That being said:

                2: Trump explicitly campaigned against cutting popular government programs. That’s apostacy against point #2 and also directly contrary to how the GOP has traditionally interpreted that point.

                As to his pandemic response Trump had little choice in the matter since he lacked both the personal and administrative know how to do anything more than what he did. I doubt historians will marvel at it at all.

                4: Trump slapped down the Bush dynasty Neocon doctrines so hard in the debates that I’m pretty sure Irving Kristol sat up in his grave and rubbed his cheek. Full credit he didn’t start any wars. ISIS was simply a matter of continuing to do what was already being done. We know the Chinese didn’t care a whit about his aggressiveness and he got nothing for all his bellicosity with the Norks (which, to be fair, is the same as what previous admins got with other approaches so I don’t consider Trump guilty on that matter).

                Human Dignity, correctly translated into Social Conservativism, was an area Trump deeply underemphasized while campaigning. He was, certainly, solid during his administration on the matter obviously because he simply didn’t care and delegated the whole portfolio to whomever it was who drew up his list of judicial nominees. I’d agree social cons have absolutely nothing to complain about what they got vs what they could have expected considering candidate Trump.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to North
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                says:

                The.big government approach would have been fr the federal government to provide medical supplies to the states. As a dedicated federalist, Trump took medical supplies away from the states. I agree that historians will marvel at that.Report

              • Pinky in reply to North
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                says:

                “As to his pandemic response Trump had little choice in the matter since he lacked both the personal and administrative know how to do anything more than what he did.”

                That was a double back-flip off the balance beam and he stuck the landing, and you’re calling it a “fall”. As for the core principles being broad, well, they’re core principles. I am generally thinking more about his presidency than either of his campaigns, though. I’ll grant you that.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                During my lifetime, there’s been a reassessment of Truman. The common view used to be that he was an inconsequential man who played the hand as it was dealt. But the president sets the parameters more than anyone can notice at the time. I expect that there will be a similar reassessment of Bush Sr. with regard to the end of the Cold War, and Obama with regard to the Arab Spring.Report

              • North in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure and we can go around and round on pandemic response. I suppose you can say he didn’t institute any new broad administrative powers or organizations in response to the pandemic and liberals can say that near 600k dead people and a President who spent the pandemic alternating between claiming it was nothing and gibbering incoherently about it is not an impressive performance. The point is Trump campaigned and got the nomination and won Presidency not because of his adherence to the 7 principles of conservativism but because of his loud dramatic and emphatic deviations from them.

                I’ve definitely noticed that history has been kind to Bush Sr as my own years have progressed. I don’t know if Obama will get much credit for handling the Arab spring considering Libya and I deeply doubt that Trumps term will be looked at kindly considering how he exited it.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to North
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                says:

                I deeply doubt that Trumps term will be looked at kindly considering how he exited it.

                That. That exactly.

                I thought he did a fair amount of reasonable stuff during his term. If he’d left gracefully he could have run again and maybe won in 2024 (Trump vs Harris). Instead we’re in mental instability territory.Report

              • Pinky in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not trying to assess his overall performance in the pandemic. I’m saying that there’s been a strong Democratic impulse to nationalize the response, but the unwritten rules of the game have followed federalism. I doubt even most Republicans would have followed such a classically-conservative states’ approach.

                You can say he followed that course because “he lacked both the personal and administrative know how” to do anything else. Has lack of know how ever stopped a leader from acting in a crisis? What president hasn’t turned things over to the micromanagers? The vaccines were pursued with federal support. The appropriate regulations were left to the states with CDC guidance. Calvin Coolidge would gush in praise.

                And through it all, yes, he blathered like an idiot. He always has. I tune it out – which might be part of the reason I’m not really effectively arguing about his professed policies. Dude said everything and its opposite.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Except he didn’t pursue an actual federalist response. If he had there wouldn’t have been interference with PPE purchases by states. He also wouldn’t have deridded Democratic-led states for taking a different course the Republican led states.

                Trump only cares about Trump. He is now known to have worried more about the impact of the pandemic on rich peoples stock portfolios then the lives lost. He may have slightly accidently backed into federalism but only because it served him.Report

              • InMD in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I think there’s a critical distinction to be made between stated beliefs and what people actually do. The most critical and telling episode during the Trump admin about where the right actually is was failure to ‘repeal and replace.’ The entire GOP campaigned on it for years, all factions agreed with the idea on paper, they had the votes, but when it came right down to it they balked. Why?

                I think it’s because the rump conservative elite wants to repeal but couldn’t care less about ‘replace.’ For Trump on the other hand, repeal is merely a step on the way to ‘replacing’ with something he would then happily take credit for regardless of whether it’s consistent with conservative principles. They couldn’t pull the trigger because they weren’t really unified even though they said they were.

                So to your point I think conservatives can probably still agree on judges and similar stuff but they’re operating with a very low floor/low ceiling for actual big policy accomplishments. Rumors of their demise are overstated because of our system but they have no larger policy vision they’re capable of implementing right now. They didn’t even have a platform in 2020. It all points to a weak, in flux movement. Trump is/was a symptom of that.

                I’m rambling but all of this is to say the measuring stick isn’t ‘are they capable of winning elections?’ or agreeing on a few broad principles. It’s are they capable of consolidating power and doing anything significant with it?Report

              • Philip H in reply to InMD
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                says:

                It’s are they capable of consolidating power and doing anything significant with it?

                Considering the number of down ballot Republicans either kept in office or swept into office while Joe Biden was elected, I’d say they are. McConnell has now spent the better part of a decade and a half working to do this very thing. Ditto the federal judicial appointments under Trump.

                I also believe the Republican Party has specific principals – whether they articulate them in flowery speeches is beside the point. They act on them and they act consistently on them.Report

              • InMD in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you’re wrong. They only do 2 things consistently at the federal level- appoint judges and cut taxes for the rich. Up until Trump you could theoretically add start wars and feed the security state and its private parasites but if we’re being honest that’s a bipartisan affair.Report

              • Philip H in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                They are after judicial appointments and tax cuts for the rich, and growing the military industrial complex in support of the the principal that might makes right. They ban transgender use of bathrooms and all but ban abortions outright in support of the principal that women (including transwomen) do not matter. They enact bans on protest and laws waiving prosecution of people using cars to run over protesters in support of the principal that protest in the US is illegitimate. They use republican state courts to overturn citizens initiatives legalizing medical marijuana because it takes away a tool for further controlling black people.

                And they enact highly restrictive voting laws designed to prevent people of color from voting because they vote for Democrats, and Republicans have created for them selves the bed rock principal that Democrats are neither “true Americans” nor able to win legitimate elections.

                Are they running around rolling out billboards on all this? No. But this is what the Republican Party in the US is doing and has done for most of my 5 decades of life. They show us their principals in their actions every day.Report

  6. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Comment in mod because wordpress is a prude.Report

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