Jennifer Rubin: Pro-Trump Republicans will get nothing, not even retention of a House majority – The Washington Post

Quinnipiac finds: “By a 54 – 38 percent margin, American voters want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the widest margin ever measured for this question in a Quinnipiac University poll, exceeding a 5 percentage point margin for Republicans in 2013.” You wonder whether that number has to hit 20 percent before Republicans stop circling the wagon around an incompetent, scandal-plagued and uniquely dishonest administration. (At least Richard Nixon’s White House could keep its story straight.)

And yet Republicans (in Congress and in right-leaning media) by and large embarrass themselves by defending the president, eschewing calls for a special counsel, remaining unconcerned with the precedent of firing an FBI director investigating the White House and confirming some of the worst nominees in history, including an attorney general who appears to have reneged on his promise to recuse himself and raised questions about his participation in a scheme to fire Comey under false pretexts.

You do wonder when a political survival instinct will kick in.

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bob
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P Ryan’s first assessment of the AHCA’s chances of passage, something like “this is our only shot” seems to express a greater anxiety that they only have the WH and Con. majorities because of a variety manipulations they’ve been able to make to the electoral process, and to the biases of the processes itself. And they these are not durable against the long term trends. So it’s “now or never” ie there is a basic desperation to their political calculus. My experience is that people do not make consistently good decisions under the duress of desperation. So a variant of political survival has already kicked in, and for the time being seems to be crowding out the form That JR wonders about

Wade McKenzie
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Wade McKenzie

Bob, I really can’t help but marvel at the stated assumption of your comment: namely, that the Republican control of the Presidency and Congress is “not durable against the long term trends.” Granted, there’s been a lot of talk on that line over the past fifteen years or so, much of it plainly self-serving. But what we saw in the last national election was a veritable collapse of the Democratic Party on a national basis–a showing that really ought to alarm every committed Democrat but apparently does not, given the paucity of self-critical analysis from that quarter.

We hear endlessly about how Russia “stole” the election (by releasing internal comments of Clinton campaign and DNC insiders that were widely viewed as being offensive) and how Jim Comey disrupted Hillary’s sure-fire election prospects at the eleventh hour. We’ve heard relatively little about how moribund Hillary was as a presidential candidate and as a corollary how moribund the Democratic National Committee cum Politburo is–the Wikileaks documents exposed the way in which the DNC rigged the outcome of the nomination process in the face of a groundswell of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders. By contrast, we surely learned that the Republican National Committee played fair and square by their candidates–and proceeded to win a major victory.

Yes, the Democrats are strong in certain prominent urban enclaves on the West and East coasts. Yet, the fact that the Democrats failed to win the last election against a candidate widely presumed to be unelectable, that they lost the Senate to boot, and that they suffered a calamitous decline in their representation in state legislatures would seem to testify to the widespread unpopularity of the Democratic Party across an extensive geographic distribution–and, unfortunately for the Democrats, popularity across an extensive geographic distribution is just how elections for both the President and Congress are structured in this country. Whether talk of “long term trends” disfavoring the Republican Party turns out to be true or false, those long term trends won’t affect the short term of the 2018 or 2020 elections.

If one is going to speculate on the imminent demise of the Republican Party on the national level, one can only do so by positing the correlative rise of the Democrats. It really doesn’t matter much if millions of Hispanics keep piling up in California or if thousands of Somalis keep piling up in Minnesota. Long term trends like that don’t help the Democrats win the Presidency or the Congress; and, in the meantime, those same trends antagonize the white working class throughout the country–and the white working class really is a critical constituency. Right now, President Trump has a lock on that constituency (witness the continuing enthusiasm of his rallies), which isn’t concentrated in a few enclaves but is evenly distributed throughout the states. Will the Democrats do anything to pick that lock or will they double down on the same elite bourgeois ideology of “diversity” that lost them the white working class in the first place? All signs point to the latter prospect.

As for Speaker Ryan’s comments on the “one shot” of passage for the AHCA, that seems to me a reference only to internal dynamics of the Republicans in Congress vis a vis Obamacare, not to their electoral prospects overall. I can’t imagine that any Republican official at this point in time is sweating the party’s prospects against a moribund Democratic Party that is in process of losing its historically core constituency.

bob
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Wade you raise a lot of good points pointing to the frequent political dynamic of not only both the R’s and D’s, but pols everywhere through all time ie snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. While I don’t agree with a number of your specifics, the general point remains.

However what I had in mind especially in my comment, and for some time now, is how many people seem to vote R but want the D program to a significant degree. The current health care debate illustrates this.

Many people voted for Trump, and R in general, but want the benefits and protections of the ACA. Or rather want, enhanced benefits and at least the current protections of the ACA.

R’s frame this as “of course people want to keep stuff once they get it” as if the task of the R’s is to protect people from themselves. Most people don’t like the ACA not because it impinges on their liberty, but because it doesn’t sufficiently solve the problem of obtaining medical insurance for people in the individual market.

Building on CK’s comment, the R’s sunk costs in the ideology of negative liberty have made it quite difficult for them to propose govt actions to even begin to solve the problems people identify themselves.

Put another way, Paul Ryan’s frequent appeal for “conservative solutions” just about always, to this observer, privilege “conservative” over “solutions”.

Wade McKenzie
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Wade McKenzie

It occurs to me that, in my preceding comment, I said that the Democrats “lost the Senate to boot” in last year’s election. I’d like to think that anyone reading along would take my larger meaning despite the mistaken expression, but before anyone corrects me, permit me to acknowledge the mistake. If I could revise that clause it would read something like “failed to take either chamber of Congress” or some such.

Wade McKenzie
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Wade McKenzie

Quinnipiac finds: “By a 54 – 38 percent margin, American voters want the Democratic Party to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the widest margin ever measured for this question in a Quinnipiac University poll, exceeding a 5 percentage point margin for Republicans in 2013.” You wonder whether that number has to hit 20 percent before Republicans, etc.

I’d like to think the flaw in this–regarding “control of the U.S. House of Representatives”–would go without saying.

When voters on a district by district basis begin to evince a similar tendency, then we’ll know Republican control of the House is endangered, but not before then.

an incompetent, scandal-plagued and uniquely dishonest administration.

That’s right, folks. More dishonest and scandal-plagued than the Nixon administration during the Watergate crisis–more dishonest than LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin–more dishonest than JFK and his serial adulteries and concealed health problems–more dishonest than Bill Clinton and “that woman, Ms. Lewinsky”–

remaining unconcerned with the precedent of firing an FBI director

There was widespread and bipartisan dissatisfaction with Jim Comey. As to “the precedent” of firing an FBI director, it certainly isn’t unprecendented–and if it were, it would probably be desirable to establish one, since the position of FBI director itself has a somewhat chequered history.

confirming some of the worst nominees in history

Gee, that’s “fairly described”, isn’t it? That’s not a sectarian perspective.

including an attorney general who appears to have reneged on his promise to recuse himself

Really? So an attorney general who recuses himself from a particular investigation can no longer superintend the FBI director?

Well, even were that the case–which, of course, it isn’t–that doesn’t prevent the deputy attorney general (let alone the President of the United States himself) from superintending the FBI director.

Wade McKenzie
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Wade McKenzie

If we view the character of the US government to be of, by, and for the people rather than of, by, and for the acres, the map points to a distorted view of electoral support for the President in November 2016.

My point, of course, had nothing to do with “government of, by, and for the acres” (a clever formulation, I’ll grant) but rather with the Democrats’ failure to win a crucial national election for the lack of a few more acres. Given the stakes, is the expectation that the Democrats ought to have been able to win a few more acres out in the dreary, retrograde and bigoted heartland–the “Jesusland” of liberal cartography–so unreasonable? And I submit that their inability to do so has everything to do with their myopia.

As to “government of, by, and for the people”–according to Harry Jaffa in A New Birth of Freedom, Lincoln’s ideal of popular government which that famous phrase embodies has everything to do with strict conformity to law, with the “rule of law” as such, and the reason Lincoln associated the secession of the South with an assault on the ideal of “government of, by, and for the people” was that they did not seek to secede via a legal process, they just unilaterally decreed it.

On that reading, “government of, by, and for the people” really has little to do with the ostensible injustice of the will of the voters of L.A. County being frustrated as regards their choice for President of the United States–since a mound of ten million human beings doesn’t really get at the ideal of “government of, by, and for the people”–and everything to do with “strict conformity to law”. And that necessarily–and obviously–means the law pertaining to Presidential elections which mandates the Electoral College, and the laws pertaining to Congressional elections which, unfortunately for the Democrats, have an awful lot to do with acres and counties and states.

Wade McKenzie
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Wade McKenzie

I don’t know, CK, if you or anyone reading along has had a chance to see this yet, but it’s so relevant to the discussion you and bob and I were having here, that I’d like to append it to the thread if I may.

I think it squares nicely with the position I took in the exchange–especially the idea that the Democratic Party is deeply troubled electorally, and that the roots of that trouble lie in the party’s subscription to alienating ideologies.

Sifting through the wreckage of the 2016 election, Democratic pollsters, strategists and sympathetic academics have reached some unnerving conclusions.

What the autopsy reveals is that Democratic losses among working class voters were not limited to whites; that crucial constituencies within the party see its leaders as alien; and that unity over economic populism may not be able to turn back the conservative tide.

Equally disturbing, winning back former party loyalists who switched to Trump will be tough: these white voters’ views on immigration and race are in direct conflict with fundamental Democratic tenets.

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Noted & Quoted

So, does Mitchell make any money on the work, which has been shared so many times? He uploaded a high-res image of the symbol and granted permission for anyone to use it personally for free. But for those who want to support his work or simply want something readymade, you can also buy T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and journals emblazoned with the symbol through Threadless.“I really just want to spread the image as much as possible and cement it in history,” Mitchell says. “In all honesty, the amount I’ve made from my Threadless shop so far is still less than my hourly rate, so I don’t really see it as a big deal. If you look at my Twitter, half the replies are people wanting to know where they can buy a shirt. Threadless is happy to help them out with that, and so I’m happy to let that happen.”Now that the symbol has flooded our streets and our timelines, Mitchell just has one request: “Impeach this idiot already,” he says.

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This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance.  They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

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One seasoned Democrat told me that among the reasons Trump won in 2016 was that a long year of Crooked Hillary talk, about emails and Goldman Sachs and the like, had steadily demoralised and demobilised the liberal base. If sustaining fury at Trump helps keep those same voters energised, so they eventually turn out to defeat him, it’ll be worth it, he says.

But it can’t just be in the form of world-weary, if witty, tweets. What’s needed is a coherent argument, one that explains why Trump’s repulsive behaviour matters. For Americans, that will surely centre on the state of their society. The civic realm is being degraded by Trump’s lies, vanities and insults. The national conversation is being coarsened. The basic democratic assumption, that disagreements can be resolved through discussion rather than coercion and violence, is being eroded from the very top. Note the language of Scaramucci’s outburst: “I want to fucking kill all the leakers.”

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+ BTW, I recently upgraded some this and that on the back end of the blog, and it does seem to make comments post much faster [. . .]
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