Tuesday, May 02, 2017


We know that some progressive voters decided that they simply couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. It's not clear whether they cost Clinton the election, or cost Democrats the Senate, but it's possible.

If events in Washington continue the way they're going now, Republicans might have a "puritopian" moment of their own in the next midterm cycle. There's a lot of anger out there in Wingnut Land -- and most of it is being directed at congressional Republicans, who are being accused of not fighting hard enough for the Cause.

Here's what Rush Limbaugh told his listeners yesterday:
Here is the headline. I don’t care where you see it, this is the headline: “Congress Deal Funds Sanctuary Cities, Obamacare, EPA, Planned Parenthood; Does Not Provide Money for the Wall.”

... if you’re asking yourself, “Why am I voting Republican?” you have a good question.

Why is anybody voting Republican, if this is what happens when we win?

We won the House, we won the Senate, we won the White House, and the Democrats thwarted everything we supposedly said we were going to do with our victory.

... There’s no reason to keep electing Republicans if this is what we’re gonna get with this budget deal, which pays — continually pays — for sanctuary cities, funds Obamacare, funds the EPA, gives money to Planned Parenthood and no money for the wall. If you’re asking, “What am I voting for Republicans for?” you have a legitimate question. This is one of the reasons Donald Trump was elected. This is the swamp. This is what needs to be drained: The way the budget happens, the way legislation happens, who’s responsible for it.
Limbaugh thinks the problem is that Republicans are beholden to K Street lobbyists, who are, in his view, all Democrats, because K Street is in D.C. and only 4% of D.C. voters chose Trump. (Apparently Limbaugh is unaware of the fact that wealthy people often live in suburbs miles away from the cities where they work.) In any case, he thinks everyone in Congress is sold out to K Street, while Trump is still pure. He thinks Trump should drive the bus, seize the day, write the legislation.

I love that. As if that's ever going to happen.

Republicans are in trouble because (a) Trump doesn't know anything about getting legislation written and passed, and (b) GOP policy priorities that aren't fantasy are broadly unpopular, and are unacceptable even to some Republican voters. Republican voters have been angry about Obamacare for years, but when they hear about actual GOP alternatives, they're even angrier. Republican voters want a wall paid for by Mexico, but not one paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Republican voters want government cut down to size -- but they don't want to get rid of all the government programs they happen to like.

There are now splits in the GOP -- some Republicans really feel that they can't support a mean-spirited health care bill without risking defeat at the polls, while others are determined to rid the world of every word of the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans -- probably most -- support every tax cut and non-military budget cut imaginable, while others may actually now believe all the rhetoric about deficits and debt that was really meant as a stick to beat Democrats with. So Republicans might continue to fight with one another. Many congressional incumbents might continue to be seen as RINOs and cucks.

And so maybe, just maybe, hardcore conservatives will stay home in 2018, or use the primaries to force out electable incumbents in favor of crazy extremists. I wouldn't count on this, but it's a possibility.

It isn't just Limbaugh. Here's how Mark Levin's Conservative Review sums up the budget agreement: "Betrayal Beyond Belief: Dem Priorities Funded; Trump’s Scuttled." And here's congressman turned radio and Twitter blowhard Joe Walsh:

It's possible that Trumpist mad dogs will run and win GOP primaries and that they'll actually fire up GOP voters. It's also possible that they'll lose primaries, and that will inspire some pro-Trump voters to give up on the GOP, at least for one election cycle. And maybe right-wing third parties will siphon off some of the GOP vote.

Or maybe the GOP will do what it usually does, which is close ranks against the hated Democrats. That's quite conceivable. But maybe this time is different.

... Also, I wonder what a possible effect the housecleaning at Fox News will have, especially if, as is being rumored, a rival conservative network emerges. Will Fox 2.0 be a less effective propaganda wing for the GOP? Will the new channel tell its viewers that the GOP is too RINO? Hard to say.

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