This is Joseph.
Mark and I have discussed Donald Trump a lot. One thing that Mark always liked to point out was that Trump's power was his willingness to destroy the party. I was pleased to see that other commentators are starting to see the same issue. Here is Matthew Yglesias in his Slow Boring blog:
The key to understanding GOP leaders’ view of the situation is that Trump has convinced them of the following:
- While he is not a popular or particularly effective face for the party, he’s not so unpopular as to put winning out of reach.
- He is sufficiently deferential to conservative policy goals so that a Trump presidency is highly preferable to a Biden presidency.
- He is sufficiently non-deferential to conservative policy goals so that if he gets angry at the GOP, he will commit his energies to destroying the party.
All pandemic, I’ve been looking forward to the release of the “Dune” movie. Near the end of the book, Paul Atreides scores some tactical military victories but could still easily enough be defeated by his rivals. But he’s able to convince them that he’s crazy enough that he really might destroy a natural resource that the whole universe depends on.
“The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it,” he says.
This is very much Mark's grenade tossing analogy of 2017. Needless to say, it is going to be a complicated and challenging process to reform the GOP away from this pattern. Yglesias suggests the way forward is increasing democratic accountability, which seems overly optimistic but which I hope proves correct. More likely is a long waiting game for the fundamentals to shift.
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