Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Politico tells us that President Trump has a "wrenching" decision to make about the Alabama Senate race:
White House officials plan to convene a meeting to talk through their options soon, and Trump is widely expected to address the predicament publicly when he returns from abroad. In order for the president to get involved, some aides to the president say, he would need an airtight plan that limits his political exposure to any fallout.
I don't understand. Republicans love Trump. What's the potential "fallout" for him?
It’s a vexing call for Trump. If he tries to pressure Moore out of the race, as some people close to the White House expect him to do, there’s no guarantee that the candidate will oblige.
I know Trump didn't endorse Moore in the primary, but Moore and Trump are both Republicans and Trump is the president of the United States. Not only is Trump the president, he's admired and loved by voters in his party. At least that's what we're told. It ought to be Moore -- a man who hold no political office right now -- who's in the vulnerable position. You'd think it would be risky for him to defy a man whose approval rating in his state is nearly 60%. And yet Moore probably would defy him.
Intervening in a race against the candidate backed by conservative activists could also be seen as at odds with Trump’s own insurgent campaign in 2016.
But it's Trump. It's supposedly his movement. The slogans are his: Drain the swamp. Make America great again. Why wouldn't he be given leeway to define what his movement does and doesn't stand for?

But that's the problem for Trump: It really isn't his movement.
“The establishment did everything they could to destroy Trump, and we the people stood with him. It would be very disappointing to see Trump believe these lies and turn on a rock-solid conservative like Roy Moore,” said GOP state Rep. Ed Henry.
What Henry is saying here is what Steve Bannon has said: that "we the [wingnut] people" define what the Trump movement is, and true believers can say at any time that Trump is disloyal to Trumpism. Trump may have altered the contours of conservatism -- it's now protectionist and pro-Russia -- but his ability to shape conservatism only goes so far. He can't say that Moore has to go. Backing Moore is a #MAGA litmus test right now. Even Trump has to pass it.


This week Frank Rich wrote about America once Trump is out of office. Rich believes that Trumpism will survive Trump because it predates Trump -- Rich says that we can see Trumpism in the audience for Father Coughlin's anti-FDR radio shows in the 1930s, and especially in George Wallace's campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s.
What we should be worrying about ... is the remarkable staying power of the American voters who put [Trump and Mike Pence] in office. They’re in for the long game no matter the fate of the current administration. Trumpism predates Trump and Pence by decades and is a more powerful, enduring, and scary force than either of them.
Rich believes the Trumpists will still be angry once Trump is gone, and will continue to look for a jackbooted thug to lead them:
The toxic anger that defines Trumpism — a rage at America’s cultural and economic elites in both political parties as well as at minorities and immigrants — will only grow darker and fiercer once its namesake leaves office, no matter how he does so. If Trump departs involuntarily, his followers will elevate him to martyrdom as the victim of a coup perpetrated by the scoundrels of “fake news” and “the swamp.” If Trump serves one or two full terms, his base will still be livid because he will not have bestowed the lavish gifts he promised, from a Rust Belt manufacturing comeback to a border wall. His voters won’t pin these failures on Trump but on the same swamp creatures they’ll hold responsible if he’s run out of office. They’re already blaming the cratering of “repeal and replace” and other broken Trump promises on what Bannon and his allies call “the McConnell-industrial complex.”
I disagree with Rich on only one point: I think these voters might ultimately blame Trump. It will take them years to become disillusioned with him -- I hope to God it won't require two terms -- but I think they might eventually conclude that he was a "swamp creature," or was too easily coopted by the swamp. They'll conclude that what they need is a real Make America Great Again conservative, someone who'll fight, not like that cuck Donald Trump. I shudder to think who'll be nominated by the GOP under those circumstances. Maybe it'll be Roy Moore.

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