Meadows: We will see the start of planning for the next administration and I can tell you, the people that are at the top of that list, all of them have Trump as their last name pic.twitter.com/69DMdyFSOO— Acyn (@Acyn) February 26, 2021
Monday, October 7, 2019
Out with the Wages of Strauss, in with the Great Unwinding
We have reached a point in the show which always makes the fans a little nervous. we have decided that one of our oldest and biggest storylines is starting to come to a natural conclusion so we need to begin wrapping up the loose ends and introducing the next one.
For years now, when it came to politics, the big recurring story was what you might call the wages of Strauss. we pushed the we pushed the idea that either the main cause or the essential context of almost every major political development over the past couple of decades came from the conservative movements relatively public conclusion that their agenda, while it might hold its own for a while and perhaps even surge ahead now and then, was destined to lose the battle of public opinion in the long run.
This left them with two choices, either modify their ideas so that they could win over the majority of the public, or undermine the Democratic process through a Straussian model, an approach based on controlling most of the money and increasing the influence that could be bought with that money, changing government so that an ever smaller part of the population had an ever-larger role in governing the country and creating a sophisticated three-tiered information management system where trusted sources of information were underfunded and undermined, the mainstream press was kept in line through a combination of message discipline and incentives with special emphasis placed on working the refs, and the creation of a special media bubble for the base which used spin, propaganda, and outright disinformation to keep the canon fodder angry, frightened, and loyal.
For a long time this approach worked remarkably well, but you could argue that the signs of instability were there from the beginning, particularly the difficulty of controlling the creation and flow of disinformation, the vulnerability to what you might call hostile take over, and the way the system lent itself to cults of personality.
We've had a good run with this storyline for a long time now, but it seems to be coming to a resolution and it has definitely lost a great deal of its novelty. (Lots of people are making these points now.)
The next big story, but one which we believe will dominate American politics for at least the next decade or so will be how the Republican party deals with the unwinding of the Trump cult of personality. Dismantling such a cult is tremendously difficult under the best of circumstances where the leader can be eased out gently, but you have with Donald Trump someone who has no loyalty to the party whatsoever and who is temperamentally not only capable but inclined to tear the house down should he feel betrayed.
If Trump continues to grow more erratic and public disapproval and support for his removal continues to grow, then association will be increasingly damaging to Republicans in office. However, for those same politicians, at least those who come up for election in the next two to four years, it is not at all clear that any could survive if the Trump loyalists turned on them.
But this goes beyond individual candidates. Trump's hold on the core of the base is so strong and so personal that, if he were to tell them directly that the GOP had betrayed both him and them, they would almost certainly side with him. They might form a third party, or simply boycott if you elections, or, yes, even consider voting for Democrats.. I know that last one sounds unlikely but it is within the realm of possibility if the intraparty civil war got bitter enough.
Obviously, if Trump survives this scandal and is reelected in 2020, all of this is moot, but if not, then how things break will be a story we’ll be glad to have been following.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
More on the great unwinding -- the post-Trump GOP is probably inevitable but still unimaginable
Just to reiterate a few points we've been hammering for a few years now.
1. Trump has become more and more toxic to a growing majority of the country. If things continue going the way they're headed, he will be the ultimate example of von Hoffman's rat on the kitchen floor for the Republican Party.
2. But unlike with Nixon, the base is personally loyal to Trump, not to the GOP.
No flight to Berchtesgaden for this loyal man—he's staying in the bunker https://t.co/jlZf09aIlA— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 6, 2020
3. It is difficult to describe what we're seeing as anything other than a cult of personality, complete with the Soviet style propaganda images, the assumption of mental and physical perfection and the messianic overtones.
4. Even if the base were to continue to support the party, the Republicans absolutely must broaden its appeal. After 1988, they have won the popular vote for the presidency exactly once and that was the special case of a wartime reelection.
5. But the base will not tolerate disloyalty to either Trump or his message. Keeping them happy while broadening support is impossible, but the alternative is to find a way to go from a minority to a majority party while trying to make up for the loss of around half of your supporters.
Are there scenarios where this does happen relatively quickly? Sure, but there are no obvious paths that don't require some deus ex machina plot twist. Which leads to the final and most important point.
6. With a handful of possible exceptions like the extraordinarily sharp Josh Marshall, observers are almost all underestimating the chances of profound and unexpected changes to the way American politics works. I'm not saying what's going to fall or which direction it will tip, but things are going to be different.
But don’t take your eyes off this broader calculus – one separate from Trump, his state of mind, one that is above all rational. Yes, everyone should give their 110%. Everybody get out to vote. The stakes for a second Trump term are too high to take anything for granted. But for those gaming out their own moves and post-January realities, Trump’s defeat is starting to look very likely. Under normal circumstances that would lead congressional Republicans to cut Trump loose and pitch their reelection as a check on the power of a Democratic President. That would be a great card to play for a number of endangered Republican Senators at the moment. But it’s all but impossible since loyalty to Trump is now the centerpiece of Republican identity. And any move away from him would trigger a fatal backlash.______________________________________________________
And if you thought I was exaggerating the cult of personality thing.
Immediately made me think of this. (“Sitting in the Kremlin, Stalin worries about each one of us.”) pic.twitter.com/k3P29NoyAV— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 5, 2020
QAnon signs starting to show up here outside Walter Reed pic.twitter.com/5e5zfzmVOx— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) October 4, 2020
"The President is working with documents!" was the stock phrase Yeltsin's staff used whenever he was at his dacha in Barvikha unconscious from drinking or feeling the aftereffects of a binge.— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) October 3, 2020
It was such a commonly used, thinly veiled excuse, it became a running joke in Russia. https://t.co/mAWzazBDtm
We are now at the point where what used to be a Chuck Norris joke is now used by Republicans to suck up to their Great Leader. pic.twitter.com/6WXVu4Fhy5— J.P. de Ruiter (@JPdeRuiter) October 6, 2020
‘God-tier genetics’: A stunned MAGA world offers blame, adulation after Trump’s diagnosis https://t.co/2RBd9F1Kky via @politico— Mark Palko (@MarkPalko1) October 3, 2020
COVID stood NO chance against @realDonaldTrump! pic.twitter.com/GtNPOHkDqF— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) October 5, 2020
It’s like house of saddam https://t.co/4YjOGp9vVa— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 6, 2020
2016, 2020 pic.twitter.com/xx6kL1Z72V— Dave Weigel, Re-Animator (@daveweigel) October 2, 2020
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