Wednesday, November 10, 2021


Jim VandeHei of Axios tells us this with a straight face:
Republicans — reshaped, controlled and defined by Donald Trump since 2015 — are slowly but surely charting a post-Trump ideology and platform.
Yes, the GOP's Age of Trump is almost over! Again!

VandeHei lists five components of this "post-Trump" "platform." Number 1 is hilarious:
1. Quit corporate America: A new breed of Republicans — led by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who last week called on the party to divorce Big Business — is championing the working class against the party's traditional boardroom allies. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a plan to "Bust Up Anti-Competitive Big Businesses."
As is Number 3:
Terrorize tech: If Republicans win back the House and/or Senate majorities, curbs on Big Tech — including new taxes — will be a Day 1 priority.... J.D. Vance, the "Hillbilly Elegy" author running for Senate in Ohio, is pushing to dismantle the "Big Tech Oligarchy."
If you believe any of this, we should discuss whether you'd like to purchase this large bridge that I own.

These guys will talk smack about Corporate America and Big Tech until the moment comes to replace action with talk. Then all this will go away, because if a few of them try to break up tech monopolies, or come after big corporations in any other way, the handful of Republicans who are positioning themselves this way will find themsleves abandoned by their fellow Republicans and embraced by many Democrats, up to and including the president. They can't allow that, can they? Why would Republicans with designs on the presidency risk having to grin their way through a signing ceremony with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders? Not going to happen.

Items 2, 4, and 5 are more legitimate GOP obsessions right now: "Pound parental rights" (anti-CRT), "Malign mandates" (vaccines, masks), and "Fan fear" (but hasn't that been a central GOP message going back to Reagan, Nixon, Goldwater, and McCarthy?). I'm puzzled as to how stoking fear of "rising inflation, illegal immigration and crime" is a post-Trump strategy.

On these three points -- and to a lesser extent on the phony bait-and-switch points 1 and 3 -- Trump can step right back into the conversation at any time and comfortably pick up the talking points. This is post-Trump only in the sense that Republicans have learned how to enrage voters Trump-style without Trump's direct involvement. (Since they get most of their messages from Fox News just the way Trump does, it's no surprise that they've managed to do this.)

But does VandeHei truly believe points 1 and 3? I can never tell whether mainstream journalists fall for "Republicans are really pro-worker now!" nonsense over and over again, like Charlie Brown expecting Lucy to keep the football teed up, whether they cynically feed it to us because they know we'll fall for it, or whether they just don't care about the truth value of what Republican sources say -- if a GOP source tells them, "This is the message we want out there," they dutifully and uncritically type it up. Just do yourself a favor and don't fall for it.

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