Sunday, April 08, 2018


I'm not enough of an eleven-dimensional chess grandmaster to know whether this will work, but it certainly doesn't surprise me that Republicans are thinking about it:
As Republican leaders scramble to stave off a Democratic wave or at least mitigate their party’s losses in November, a strategy is emerging on the right for how to energize conservatives and drive a wedge between the anti-Trump left and moderate voters: warn that Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump if they capture the House.
The story comes from Jonathan Martin of The New York Times. He seems amazed that what he's reporting on is about to happen.
What began last year as blaring political hyperbole on the right — the stuff of bold-lettered direct mail fund-raising pitches from little-known groups warning of a looming American “coup” — is now steadily drifting into the main currents of the 2018 message for Republicans....

The group [Ralph] Reed runs, the Faith & Freedom Coalition, recently sent out a fund-raising solicitation seeking small contributions that warned about what it called the “Impeachment Election!”

... Other groups, some even more marginal, have filled the mailboxes of grass-roots conservatives with similar high-decibel appeals.

But what is notable is how this fire-and-brimstone approach is making its way into the party’s mainstream.

Last week, America Rising, a Washington-area candidate-tracking and opposition-research firm that assists Republicans, sent out a fund-raising email that read, “Right now the only thing standing between the president and the Democrats’ underhanded impeachment attempts is the Republican majority in the House fighting to defend our president.”

Or as Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, a Republican, put in last week in a talk radio interview: “Do you think that the far-left Resist movement base of the Democrat Party would accept anything other than impeachment?”
I don't think being pro-impeachment is particularly radical, though a conviction in the Senate is all but impossible, given the need for a two-thirds vote, so it's probably not worth campaigning on impeachment -- and, in fact, most Democrats aren't planning to campaign on it. I don't know whether the right-wing media will be able to rally the faithful with alarmist talk about impeachment -- are there many voters who are likely to stay home unless they're reminded that, oh yeah, Democrats are anti-Trump and would prefer to have him out of office? Don't GOP voters already assume that?

But here's my question about Martin's story: What's so surprising about GOP strategists relying on a supposedly extreme, alarmist talking point? Don't the majority of Republican candidates say (or at least imply) to their voters that if Democrats have their way, all privately owned guns will be confiscated? Don't Republicans routinely run on the notion that Democratic rule equals rampant crime, terrorism, and illegal immigration, as well as "politically correct" suppression of Christianity, capitalism, heterosexuality, and "Southern heritage"? Wasn't a vote for Democrats supposed to be a vote for widespread Ebola in 2014?

A "fire-and-brimstone approach is making its way into the party’s mainstream," Martin says. Doesn't that happen every election year?

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