Saturday, November 10, 2018


After the midterms, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi interviewed Senator Bernie Sanders. Among other things, Sanders said this to Taibbi:
And here’s what I think, Matt, that maybe nobody else in the world believes. As you know, Trump is a 100-percent political opportunist, who has no political views other than how he can win elections.

Well, that’s true.

Today, if he is a racist and a sexist, tomorrow he may be a great civil rights champion — if he thinks it gets him five more votes. He has no core values. I would not be shocked that if the Democrats passed popular, good legislation, that Trump would look around him and say, “Hey, why not? What do I give a damn?” And he may come on board, because ultimately he doesn’t believe in anything except winning. So I believe it’s terribly important that the Democrats come out of the gate full-steam ahead and start passing really good legislation that puts Trump and the Republicans on the defensive.
I agree with these folks that Sanders is completely off base:

But in answer to the question "Who believes that?!" I'll just point to the piece Robert Costa wrote for The Washington Post on election night. I quoted it the next day:
Conservatives who have learned to love President Trump, a relative newcomer to their movement, could emerge from Tuesday’s election anxious that he might now leave them in the cold to cut deals with newly empowered congressional Democrats.

On the horizon are an array of hot-button issues that are top priorities for conservatives but could prove tempting areas of compromise for the famously transactional Trump as he seeks to repair his presidency ahead of the 2020 election....

“He has carried the ball as effectively as anybody for the right, but the reality is, there is not a deep philosophical bent there,” said Ed Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America super PAC. “He’s always been about getting what you can get.”
Costa imagines Trump working with Democrats on infrastructure funding or reducing prescription drug costs -- but if Trump is as malleable and "transactional" as Costa and many others believe he is, then why wouldn't he also consider single payer or a $15 minimum wage?

The answer, as I said earlier this week, is that he hasn't been "transactional" at all as president, and he never will be. He's a Fox News ideologue for the most part, but with even more racism and with a lifelong distrust of foreigners and free trade (which Fox has now adopted). Even when he seems on the verge of compromise, aides or Fox itself will nudge him back to the True Path. His base hates Democrats, so he'd be at serious risk of losing his voters' love if he decided to compromise, and he knows that. It's fine -- he likes to fight, and his base is fine with few legislative accomplishments as long as there's fighting.

It's true that Sanders doesn't understand this -- but if he doesn't, it's probably because he's read too many mainstream-media articles likes Costa's.

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