Thursday, October 04, 2018


2016 #NeverTrumper and likely 2020 Trump voter Bret Stephens previews his probable abandonment of Trump opposition in the next election:
For Once, I’m Grateful for Trump

In the president, one big bully stands up to others.

For the first time since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I find myself grateful that he’s in it. I’m reluctant to admit it and astonished to say it, especially since the president mocked Christine Blasey Ford in his ugly and gratuitous way at a rally on Tuesday. Perhaps it’s worth unpacking this admission for those who might be equally astonished to read it.

I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life, and never more so than in the face of sly moral bullying. I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger.
Translation of this passage, which shouldn't have "astonished" anyone: I'm grateful because Trump is being a thug on behalf of a party hack from my traditionalist wing of the GOP. Kavanaugh's a Bushie who was a pure corporatist and an opponent of the rights of minorities and women back when Trump was still writing checks to Chuck Schumer.

I don't know if it was eleven-dimensional chess or just lazy dumb luck -- I think the latter is more likely -- but if Trump really is "re-uniting the right" and increasing Republican voter enthusiasm, in part it's because he's using his dark arts on behalf of a Supreme Court nominee who doesn't really interest him, but who is very important to the religious right and the rest of the permanent vast right-wing conspiracy that predated Trump. What's more, Trump clearly inspired Brett Kavanaugh to become a mini-version of himself in last week's Senate hearing. The assimilation process is nearing completion -- it's now impossible to see a difference between the Trump party and the pre-Trump party.

Stephens will shriek "Socialism!" in response to whoever gets the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, then write columns explaining why -- to his own surprise! -- he's feeling more favorably disposed toward Trump. He'll probably cite this moment as the beginning of his (reluctant!) conversion. I don't know if he knows that will happen, but it's obvious to the rest of us.

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