Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Is It the End of the Republi-CONs?, CONt.

UPDATE V:  "Why have our politics gone haywire, why have our political arguments turned so bitter, and why was Donald Trump able to win the Republican nomination and, eventually, the presidency?

A central reason has been the mainstreaming of a style of extremist conservative politics that for decades was regarded as unacceptable by most in the GOP.

The extremist approach is built on a belief in dreadful conspiracies and hidden motives. It indulges the wildest charges aimed at associating political foes with evil and subversive forces. What’s striking about our current moment is that such groundless and reckless accusations have become a routine part of politics — all the way to the top.

Read the Washington Post, The mainstreaming of right-wing extremism.

UPDATE IV:  With Twitter and small donations, can anyone stop The Donald?

Read USA Today, Trump now Twitter's most followed world leader.

Then read the Washington Post, Trump supporters eager to ‘drain the swamp’ help fill Republican Party coffers, which notes "angered by the sense that the president is being treated unfairly, thousands of his loyal backers are helping redefine a party that has long cultivated rich contributors — one small donation at a time."

UPDATE III:  "Republican leaders in Congress are under attack from all sides of their own party, battered by voters from the right and left, spurned by frustrated donors and even threatened by the Trump White House for ineffective leadership and insufficient loyalty.

Since last week, Senate Republicans lost one of their own when Roy S. Moore, the firebrand former state judge, trounced Senator Luther Strange in a Senate runoff in Alabama. The retirement of Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee kicked off a potentially fratricidal fight for his seat, with the establishment’s preferred successor, Gov. Bill Haslam, declining to run on Thursday.

An audiotape surfaced of Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, lambasting Republican leaders and urging conservative donors to close their wallets to lawmakers who are disloyal to President Trump. And a House Republican, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, was forced to resign this week after a text from his mistress became public in which she mocked him for trumpeting his staunch opposition to abortion as he pressured her to terminate a pregnancy.

Former Representative Michael Grimm of New York has also resurfaced after serving time for felony tax fraud to challenge his Republican successor on Staten Island — with the backing of Mr. Trump’s former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, who was first elected to Congress in 1978, said he had never seen rank-and-file Republicans so stirred up against the party’s leaders in Congress.

'Right now, the Moore-Bannon faction prevails,' Mr. Shelby said.

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are making no attempt to mask their fear, predicting that failure to pass a tax overhaul in the coming months will lead to a wipeout in next year’s midterm elections. For the first time, some senators are contemplating whether their advantages on the electoral map next year could crumble amid a wave of primary challenges and other departures, putting their two-seat majority in jeopardy next year.

Republicans are increasingly mystified by their own grass roots, an electorate they thought they knew, and distressed that a wave of turnover in their ranks could fundamentally change the character of Congress. They fear that the inchoate populism that Mr. Trump personifies, and which Mr. Bannon is attempting to weaponize against incumbents, is on the march.

Mr. Trump is not helping. . .

All of that indicates that 2018 could bring back the ferocious infighting of the Tea Party insurgency."

Read The New York Times, For Republican Leaders in Congress, the Headaches Keep Mounting.

UPDATE II:  Where would the Republi-CON party be without fear, anger and hate?

And how long can it last?

Read the Washington Post, Trump just pumped his ugly sleaze into the Virginia gubernatorial race.

UPDATE:  "Seven years after Republicans first seized on the unruly rise of the Tea Party as a vehicle for winning elections, GOP leaders are confronting a stark reality: They have lost all control and comprehension of the populist movement they were supposed to be marshaling—and they may soon be facing a mutiny.

The volatile dynamic inside the Republican Party was thrown into sharp relief last week when Roy Moore—a fringe relic of the fading religious right—emerged victorious in Alabama’s GOP Senate primary, defeating the establishment incumbent President Trump had endorsed.

With the dust still settling, many Washington Republicans are mystified—and alarmed—by the fact that not even Donald 'Drain the Swamp' Trump had enough populist cred to swing a primary race to his candidate in deep-red Alabama. While the GOP’s class of professional strategists are generally ambivalent at best when it comes to the president, they had taken a certain comfort in believing that he was fully in command of his base. The assumption allowed them to draw conclusions about what his voters wanted, how to cater to them—and how to avoid drawing their wrath.

But Alabama fully punctured the illusion that Trump was in control. For all the race’s idiosyncrasies—Trump’s endorsement of the more establishment-friendly candidate was uncharacteristic for him, and his support often seemed conflicted—it seemed to reveal that there was a limit to his supporters’ loyalty."

Read The Atlantic, 'Nobody’s in Control'.

"In Alabama’s Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, Steve Bannon defeated Donald Trump. The state’s GOP voters showed how sharply divided their party is. And right-wing insurgents were given a license to challenge Republican incumbents all over the country in 2018.

Former judge Roy Moore’s victory over Sen. Luther Strange was a sign of just how extreme Republican rank-and-filers have become. Moore, who believes biblical law should override the Constitution, beat Strange 55 percent to 45 percent. Contrast that with the 2006 gubernatorial primary in which then-Gov. Bob Riley trounced Moore by a margin of 2-to-1.

Moore is now 70 years old and was twice suspended as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey laws he saw as at odds with his religious beliefs. Normally all this would be career-ending. But that was before the Age of Trump. “What Donald Trump has done,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, 'is embolden the Roy Moores of the world.' . .

Bannon saw the Alabama contest as an occasion for teaching his former boss a lesson. Trump seems to think that his support base is so loyal to him that it will follow him anywhere. Bannon would beg to differ. He threw his all behind Moore’s candidacy to show that Trump’s movement is attached even more to a rebellious right-wing ideology than it is to the president himself.

Bannon got exactly what he wanted. 'Ironically, given who Trump supported, what got Moore nominated is what got Trump nominated,' said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster. 'What’s going on is bigger than Trump, and he is just a vehicle.'

The good news for Bannon is very bad news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who put millions of dollars behind the campaign to defeat Moore. Strange’s defeat came on the same day that McConnell was forced to back off his latest effort to repeal Obamacare. Taken together, the two events showed how the GOP is fractured several ways at once. . .

Moore’s triumph, in the meantime, presents Democrats with opportunities — and a hard choice. . .

Jones has the potential to be a strong candidate, but some Democratic strategists have counseled against committing substantial resources to a state where successes for their party have been scarce. Advocates of a major undertaking on behalf of Jones see this as precisely why taking on Moore would be worth the gamble. Jones could do in Alabama this year what Republican Scott Brown did in a 2010 special election in Massachusetts: demonstrate the dominant party’s vulnerability going into the midterm elections by capturing a Senate seat far inside opposition territory. A Jones win would also cut the Republicans’ already tough-to-manage Senate majority to a bare 51 seats.

And whatever happens in December, Bannon himself is determined to make the job of Congress’s current GOP leadership as difficult as possible. At an election eve Moore rally, Bannon called out McConnell and Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s top political adviser, by name.

'Your day of reckoning is coming,' Bannon declared.

It’s a statement that also applies to Trump. The message from Alabama is clear; he and his party have unleashed forces they cannot control."

Read the Washington Post, How Steve Bannon just defeated Trump.

So, after whipping them into a frenzy for years (as former House Speaker John Boehner said), what goes around comes around!

The inmates taken over.  

Ain't karma a you-know-what?


Read also Trump's Big CON: Is It the End of the Republi-CONs?

Trump's BIB CON: He Distracts With Outrage

"Addiction compels you to chase a high that only makes you feel worse; it reduces you to a lesser version of yourself. And you can’t stop because deep down you don’t really want to change.

Too many Americans are controversy junkies. . .

And the dealers know that, rather than endure the misery of withdrawal, the junkies will return again and again for future fixes.

This is a business. An ugly business, but a lucrative one. Controversy, real or manufactured, juices ratings at cable “news” networks. It drives readers to partisan websites and listeners to talk radio. It pumps up speaker fees and inflates book advances. When Russians wanted to mess with the heads of American voters, they trafficked in hyped conflict, Facebook informed Congress this week.

No ignorant remark by a city council member or grade-school teacher concerning guns, God or gays is immune to exploitation. No hurtful graffiti scrawled by drunk teenagers is wiped away without a round of Internet hand-wringing. The oversupply of controversy is bottomless, because some human somewhere is always indulging a thoughtless blurt, and social media seduces us to publish our blurts for the world to overhear.

In better times, our leaders would model a more sober discourse. Unfortunately, President Trump is the El Chapo of addictive controversy, the kingpin of ginned-up division.

So we’re left to get ourselves sober. Switch away from the televised outrage orgies that masquerade as news. Resist the urge to get worked up about stupid stuff that knuckleheads say."

Read the Washington Post, Americans are addicted to outrage.