Our guest blogger this morning is Hans, from the other side of the pond. Hans writes,
A modest proposal from Germany: Why separate the children from their parents? It is costlier to put them in foster care than to have their parents (if there is an identifiable father) or their mothers take care of them. Much better to concentrate the illegal immigrants with their offspring in camps. There are proven designs for such camps, formerly used for descendants of undesirable settlers from Palestine, communists, socialists, social democrats, homosexuals, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. There, the illegals could live in extremely close proximity to each other, which would suit their natural predispositions.
An article by Stanley Greenberg puts some flesh on the bones of my recent post on Trump’s genius at driving wedges—right through the Republican Party.
Mr. Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, divides Republican voters into five categories—and identifies two of these five categories as a super-category, the “Trump Base.” The remaining three he lumps together in another super-category, “Less Enthusiastic Republicans.” The terminology is awkward and unsatisfying, because majorities in each of the five categories tell pollsters that they are either “strong supporters” of Trump, or at least “somewhat supportive.”
You will benefit from reading Greenberg’s article for yourself, but here, I think, is the gist of it. In his terminology, 41 percent of Republican supporters comprise the “Trump Base.” (That’s Evangelicals, 26 percent, plus Tea Party voters, at 15 percent, adding up to 41 percent.)
Better than “Trump Base,” it would be more precise to call these people Trump Bullshit Lovers. They are folks whose souls deeply resonate to Trump’s racist, cultural, and intellectual resentments. It’s their heroin, and By God, they want more and more of it. When Trump turns up the bullshit volume, these folks turn up the Trump love. And, more significantly, they turn up their enthusiasm for voting.
Of all categories of voters, their enthusiasm for voting is the highest. These folks will definitely show up for the midterms. But Trump’s problems are, first, that there are not enough of them actually to win elections in most districts, and, two, that his bullshit not only energizes Democrats but also reduces the enthusiasm of the remaining Republican voters.
According to Greenberg, after the “Trump Base,” Democrats are the next most energized group of voters.
Lagging significantly behind Democrats in enthusiasm are the remaining 59 percent of Republican voters, comprised of “Catholic conservatives, “Conservative, nonreligious,” and “Moderate Republicans.” Majorities of each group express “support” for Trump, but their enthusiasm is flagging—and every time Trump does something outrageous, their voting enthusiasm suffers a further drop.
One can only imagine how the “Catholic conservatives” are reacting to the family separation policy.
Meanwhile, Paul Waldman asks, Has Trump Overestimated the Cruelty of His Own Supporters?
While most of us would not characterize Donald Trump as a particularly smart man, he has long possessed a kind of dark genius for locating and exploiting what is worst in people. As a businessman he harnessed people’s greed and envy to enrich himself, while as a politician he cultivated resentment, hatred, and fear. Few people realized that those malevolent forces could be so powerful they would overcome any hesitation voters might have about electing such an obviously corrupt con artist to the most powerful position on earth, but about that at least, he was right.
Yet today he’s testing the limits of the voters and Republican politicians who helped him become president. How much hypocrisy will the “family values” party tolerate? How much cruelty can they stomach? Do they really see immigrants, even children, as subhuman?
The reaction to this ongoing controversy suggests that as a group, conservatives may not be quite as sadistic as the president hoped they would be. It’s hard to find more than a few Republicans not in Trump’s direct employ who are willing to publicly defend this policy, even if most of them respond in that tone we’ve gotten used to, the one that says, “I’m deeply uncomfortable with this, but please don’t ask me if I’m going to do anything about it.”
Thanks to Vasari for calling our attention to this article:
We are not stealing kids at the borders,
We’re not giving them panic disorders,
And those screams that you hear
Aren’t from children in fear,
But we won’t be admitting reporters.
Even back in the dark middle ages,
People rarely put children in cages,
But our motives aren’t tribal,
We’re inspired by the bible:
The part that says sin pays good wages. …
The immigrant threat must be banished,
Even if a few toddlers get vanished.
If their parents had cared,
They would never have dared,
To have come over here speaking Spanish.
I have been away for a few days, celebrating Uncle Louis’ one hundredth birthday. I found him in good health, considering his advanced age, and with a mind that remains sharp. He was, as ever, a keen observer of human foibles, with many prescient insights.
There were around 100 people at the big party: four generations of my uncle’s descendants, and a large number of his late wife’s relatives. The came from all over the South. Almost everyone in the room was descended from Confederate soldiers. I am sure that a very large portion of them voted for Trump.
A first cousin once removed led us in a pious prayer. Everyone said amen. He then reminded of Uncle Louis’s renown for his prodigious memory and ability to recite works of literature.
Uncle Louis arose, thanked us all for coming, expressed other appropriate sentiments, and proceeded to recite some poems. He then announced that his last recitation would be the Gettysburg Address—delivered, as Uncle Louis said, by our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln.
And so now, gentle readers, let us listen with open hearts and minds as we hear Uncle Louis recite the Gettysburg Address to a room full of Trump supporters:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
In an earlier post, I spoke of my uncle, who thought that if the recommended dose of the once highly advertised iron supplement Geritol would do him some good, then a whole lot more would do him a whole lot more good.
Likewise, some think that if a little inhumanity to asylum seekers will be good for you politically, then full-blown thuggery must be just what the doctor ordered.
Both conclusions are wrong.
Pence gave a speech to the Southern Baptists, who promptly voted to condemn the family separation policy. Oh, and the Pence speech really pissed them off, too.
And then there’s this:
Consider the source: Politico, the house organ of what used to be the Republican Establishment:
Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP.
The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears.
They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain. They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan.
And each time they watch another of their own go down, they wince, try to move on. Don’t look back. Try to forget. …
Sanford is a former governor of his state and well established member of the House. He’s broken with his party many times over other issues. He’d been around forever. He was durable. But he couldn’t withstand fighting Trump.
So, Republicans wonder, why would anyone else — especially a backbencher — even try?
“People become disenchanted with the way democracies work. A strongman comes along, says, ‘You’ve got to give up some freedoms, but if you do, I’ll take care of these problems for you,’” Sanford said late Tuesday in his concession speech. “We’ve got to stay true to this notion of the democratic principles that our founding fathers laid out.” …
The party of free trade has gone protectionist. The party of spreading freedom and never negotiating with dictators is now full of praise for chumming it up with Kim Jong-un. The party of fighting deficits has blown a trillion dollar hole in the budget.
Family values and moralizing have been replaced by porn stars and Twitter tantrums. Trump goes to war with the G-7, and the sum of the Republican reaction is a statement from John McCain and a few comments on Sunday TV from Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
There aren’t committee hearings. There aren’t bills put on the floor. There aren’t votes that force the president’s hand. It’s well into cliché that the only people who speak out against Trump are the ones who’ve already been chased out of reelection and are heading to their cushy cable and lobbying gigs. …
Sanford declared in his concession speech that “we are a nation of laws, and not men. It is part of my creed that I believe in as a Republican: that I am indeed to cower before god, but no man.” He described his primary as part of “an inflection point” for the country and the GOP. “There’s been too much made of, ‘Are you for one personality, or against it?’ What we’re about as a nation is not being for one, or against one personality.”
“I stand by that belief although in this case it may have had significant electoral consequence,” he said.
Then Sanford walked away from the microphone and headed back to his final months in Congress. Meanwhile at her victory party, Sanford’s opponent, state legislator Katie Arrington, said, “We are the party of President Donald J. Trump.”