Tuesday, February 20, 2024


This worries me, though I'm not sure it will really happen if Trump wins:
An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him. Vought, who is frequently cited as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump White House, is president of The Center for Renewing America think tank, a leading group in a conservative consortium preparing for a second Trump term....

The documents obtained by POLITICO do not outline specific Christian nationalist policies. But Vought has promoted a restrictionist immigration agenda, saying a person’s background doesn’t define who can enter the U.S., but rather, citing Biblical teachings, whether that person “accept[ed] Israel’s God, laws and understanding of history.”

Vought has a close affiliation with Christian nationalist William Wolfe, a former Trump administration official who has advocated for overturning same-sex marriage, ending abortion and reducing access to contraceptives....

America should be recognized as a Christian nation “where our rights and duties are understood to come from God,” Vought wrote two years ago in Newsweek.
It's quite possible that Trump will let these people do everything they want to do if he's president again -- but it's also possible that these people are boasting to Politico and other news outlets about how much clout they'll have in a Trump White House, with no proof that they'll actually run the show. The story includes a quote from the Trump campaign about whisperings like this:
The Trump campaign has said repeatedly that it alone is responsible for assembling a policy platform and staffing for a future administration. In response to various news articles about how conservatives are preparing for a second Trump term, campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said in a memo late last year: “Despite our being crystal clear, some ‘allies’ haven’t gotten the hint, and the media, in their anti-Trump zeal, has been all-too-willing to continue using anonymous sourcing and speculation about a second Trump administration in an effort to prevent a second Trump administration.”
Trump doesn't really care about any of these issues. He works with these people because he thinks they can help him get elected. Maybe he'll give them free rein if he's president again. Maybe he won't.

But let's assume the worst. Let's assume that plans being cooked up by the Center for Renewing America and the Heritage Foundation and other evil villains will be the Trump agenda if he wins. What can prevent the erosion of freedom and pluralism in America?

The answer might be: celebrities.

Trump is easily distracted by celebrities, particularly celebrities who say mean things about him. Rolling Stone tells us that in his final days in office in January 2021, Trump allowed himself to be distracted by insults from -- yes, really -- Snoop Dogg.

Snoop was working with the White House to obtain clemency for an imprisoned friend, Michael "Harry-O" Harris. But then a Daily Beast story appeared with an old anti-Trump quote from Snoop, and a reminder of an anti-Trump scene in a Snoop video:
“I don’t give a fuck, I tell ’em straight up, motherfucker: If you like that nigga, you motherfuckin’ racist,” Snoop Dogg said about Trump, his MAGA fans, and the president’s pal Kanye West in 2018. “Fuck you and fuck him. Now what?” In March 2017, Trump had tweeted, “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!” (Trump was referring to a music video — in which Snoop aims a toy gun at a clown who looks like the 45th U.S. president — that had clearly gotten the leader of the free world worked up.)
Trump reversed course on clemency for Harris, saying of Snoop, "Well, fuck him."

A later clip of Snoop saying nice things about Trump was forwarded to the White House. It came from a documentary film about Harris that was in the works.
Trump was indeed shown the documentary footage, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter, and a handful of senior administration officials who still had Trump’s ear and trust after the Jan. 6 riot personally vouched for Harris and Snoop in the hectic final moments of Trump’s term.

The president said he appreciated what he saw as Snoop Dogg’s sincerity and plaudits, the source with direct knowledge and a former Trump official say. About 24 hours before he was to step down from power, Trump instructed his advisers to re-add Harris’ name to the pardon and commutations list.
This tells me that anti-Trump celebrities have a patriotic duty if Trump wins again. They need to get into beefs with Trump on a regular basis. They need to distract him repeatedly. They need to direct so much of his attention to them that he neglects to sign off on fascist policy proposals.

Rosie O'Donnell? Kathy Griffin? Rob Reiner? Jon Legend and Chrissy Teigen? You need to be soldiers in the resistance army. You need to keep Trump focused on you, not Christian nationalism or unitary-executive authoritarianism. It might not work -- but it might be our only hope.

Your country needs you, anti-Trump celebrities. Please do your patriotic duty.

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