Tuesday, March 20, 2018

National Review: The Coming GOP Shellacking

As a former Republican, at times I am shocked at all of the values the Republican Party has thrown on the trash heap.  Respect for knowledge and science, separation of church and state, putting nation over political party, basic morality, fiscal conservatism, some measure of honesty, and common decency have all been discarded like refuse.  In their place is a series of endless lies, religious extremism, the embrace of celebration of ignorance, open racism, partisanship seemingly turning a blind eye to treason, and the rejection of any semblance of moral standards.  Leading the charge in the race to depths of dishonesty and depravity is, of course,  Donald Trump.  But Trump has many enablers and sycophants that range from Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to local party committee chairs. What's baffling is how the GOP thinks there will be no consequence for it and/or its candidates, a majority of whom seemingly embrace this rejection of honesty, decency and morality.  A piece in National Review - hardly a hotbed of liberalism - that predicts November, 2018, will be  a bloodbath for the GOP.   Unfortunately, the piece would place all blame on Trump and is blind to the responsibility many other Republicans who knowingly embraced religious extremists, white supremacists, misogynists and now possible treason - bear in what I hope will be an utter nightmare for the GOP.  Here are article highlights:
Two years ago Donald Trump hijacked the Republican party. Now it’s time to think about what steps might have to be taken to regain control of it. 
The tocsin of doom that sounded this week in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District could hardly have been more clear in its meaning: This November the GOP is headed for a mega-shellacking with a side order of drubbing sauce. The fault for this lies almost solely with President Trump. Losing the House looks like a foregone conclusion. Losing the Senate, while unlikely, no longer appears unthinkable. After the Democrats take the House, they will be implacably opposed to making deals, and would we want those anyway? Legislatively, President Trump will be finished. Getting appointments through the Senate won’t be easy.
So what? say the voters in PA-18, a district Trump won by 20 points, where the Republican candidate Rick Saccone had no major defects (and the Democratic winner Conor Lamb can be expected to vote with Nancy Pelosi on nearly all occasions) and where Trump’s economically illiterate faith in tariffs is popular. Saccone lost the district anyway. To borrow language from the anthem of Trump’s hometown, if the GOP can’t make it there, it can’t make it anywhere. It’s because of Trump that the (R) next to Saccone’s name was too great a burden to overcome.
The behavior of the president shouldn’t be all that salient to, say, the candidacies of Democrats who ran and won in the Virginia House of Delegates. But voters can’t be counted on to be rational. There’s essentially only one issue on their minds this year: It’s the personality, stupid. The Chernobyl cloud of noxious presidential behavior is poisoning the party from coast to coast. . . . . he’s supplying the Democrats with a turnout motivator like no other.
You think he sounds erratic, angry, and frustrated now? How will he be when Congress becomes intransigent to his calls? It will almost certainly be the case that the incessant wobble that was 2017 goes down in the books as Trump’s best year.
All presidents face crises. There’s bound to be an oil spill, a stock market crash, a major terrorist attack, a foreign-policy showdown. Is there any figure whose temperament is worse-suited to leading the nation through such a tense moment? As Douthat put it, the Trump Unbound we’re about to see will make it “more likely that we get more extreme and destabilizing outcomes, somewhere.”
After the November debacle, it’ll be smoke-filled-room time for the senior lawmakers and other grandees of Abraham Lincoln’s party.  . . . How much longer can the GOP tolerate having a de facto party leader — much less a president — who recklessly taunts the North Koreans, brazenly makes up facts even when meeting with the leaders of other countries, picks silly fights with celebrities and television personalities and even his own cabinet members, is too impatient to read briefing books, and possesses the moral compass of a crocodile? I could go on, but this column is supposed to be 900 words, not 157,000.
A presidential candidate even marginally better at politics than Hillary Clinton would easily defeat Trump in 2020, which also aligns as an extremely auspicious year for the Democrats in the Senate, presenting a high degree of likelihood that the Democrats will enjoy unchecked power in Washington.
Surely the most vigorous of Trump fans cannot help noticing that he is burning down everything around him. What good is a president who makes it impossible for the rest of his party? Even Tom Brady couldn’t win a game if he looked to his line and discovered there were only three teammates left. Trump has a proven inability to help other Republican candidates get elected, and most will ask him not to try. The president is a cement jumpsuit that is dragging us all to the bottom. 

Yes, Trump is toxic and the best motivation for the Democrat base to get out and vote against every Republican on the ballot.  And, if the Republican Party will not act to restrain or remove him after setting the stage for his rise, then, yes, every Republican needs to be defeated.  Every single Republican is now complicity in this attack on America's democracy and the rule of law. 

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