Through the Looking Glass on October 9, 2018

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Paul Krugman tells us that Republicans are an authoritarian regime in waiting. Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole.

Christopher Browning, emeritus professor of history at Chapel Hill, finds our situation similar to the circumstances that gave rise to fascism.

Politico, which used to be the house organ of the Republican Establishment. posts POLITICO race ratings: The GOP House is crumbling. May it be so.

A post on the Washington Monthly web site collects the now-familiar but still welcome story of how many self-proclaimed Republican intellectuals have jumped from the Trump train: Neocons Paved the Way for Trump. Finally, One Admits It. Max Boot charts his journey through—and out of—the conservative intellectual movement. See also my earlier post.

There are several reports digging into the stories of traditional Republican women who, likewise, are bailing out. For example, Jennifer Pate and Julie Vann:

“He is just the most amoral person,” said Jennifer Pate, a recently married 31-year-old devoted churchgoer in San Antonio, raised in that city by what she called “very conservative” parents in a church where women still can’t be pastors. “He is everything—I don’t have kids yet—everything I don’t want my kids to grow up to be. He’s entitled. He’s pompous,” Pate told me.

“His honesty is in question,” said Julie Vann, a 68-year-old in Beavercreek, Ohio. She points to Trump’s company’s multiple bankruptcy filings. “That was just his way of doing business,” she says. “And that’s the same way he thinks now. He doesn’t care who gets hurt as long as he wins.” Vann is still a registered Republican, but she has been supporting Democrat Theresa Gasper against incumbent Republican Mike Turner in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District.

Donald, meanwhile, has concluded that his path to victory lies in keeping the progressives hopping-up-and-down mad, not just simmering along at a slow bubble on the back burner. In that manner, he clearly believes, he can point to the “liberal mob” and thus motivate his own rabble to get to the polls.

The Trump strategy is hatred on steroids, magical thinking on steroids, fear on steroids, cruelty on steroids. His problem is that it also means cognitive dissonance on steroids. So it isn’t going to work with Tom Nichols or with Jennifer Pate or with Julie Vann. Their cognitive dissonance reached the breaking point, so they broke.

We will just have to wait for the election to find out how many former Republicans are of like mind with Julie, Jennifer, and Tom, and how many are prepared to abandon reality, to ignore logic, to decry decency, and to embrace the magical thinking of the Cult of Trump.

While we work for the right side in the election, and while we await the results, here’s a word of advice from your Dutch Uncle Arius: righteous anger is justified in response to stupidity and cruelty, but some humor can be a very potent weapon, too.

Siamese beard