Of course Chuck Todd said the GOP is keeping silent about the pardoning of Joe Arpaio. I can lay the encouragement of Arpaio’s sadism across the lap of a generation of Republican legislators. Scott Lemieux:
Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio, like Trump’s success in the Republican primary, is an outgrowth and an emblem of the GOP’s decision to foster the intellectual and cultural climates of Fox News across the country—concentrated in heavily gerrymandered congressional districts—to help them win elections. On its own terms, that project has been an incomparable success, but it has also been a moral abomination, forcing one of America’s two major political parties into complicity with the worst actors in the country. Conservatives finally discovered a vocal distaste for Arpaio after Trump pardoned him, but for decades they have done nothing to kick Arpaioites out of the coalition. Some Republicans may be genuinely uncomfortable with this arrangement, but nearly all of them represent parts of the country that are walled off from dissent.
Trump is a culmination, not an aberration. Jack Balkin wrote one of this week’s must-reads: an absorbing, fluent thesis arguing for Trump’s role in destroying the Reagan coalition. Like many theses, Balkin’s essay depends on formulas and a conceptual patness. Because the New Deal coalition began to fray in the seventies, he argues, the Reagan one must too: it’s been more than thirty years, after all. It reminds me of the late Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and his fetish for political cycles. Trump’s boorishness, racism, hair trigger temper, and contempt for governing norms may endanger the GOP legislative agenda, but as Balkin admits and I wrote a few months ago, President Romney, President Jeb!, and President Plankton would’ve tried to kill the ACA too. They would have appointed judges hatched in the Federalist Society incubator (Justice Neil Gorsuch had been on short lists for years). They would have nominated a Scott Pruitt as official liasion between the petrol community and the Oval Office.
And, alas, as Texans crawl out of the Hurricane Harvey murk and Felix Sater’s real estate cunning and skills with a broken margarita glass start to interest Robert Mueller, I turn to the polls and see that while his support has slipped among Republicans the president is still not going anywhere. House Republicans will not send articles of impeachment to the Senate. They will not turn on him – how can they turn on a president who talks and thinks like them? Not since the 1920s have we seen a more grievous assembly of charlatans, grifters, and morons sent to Capitol Hill – sent to Washington, I must add, because voters want to stick it to the liberals, to the fags, to the women, to the blacks, to the media. Voters will vote for Donald Trump again because they appreciate indiscriminately deployed malevolence. Economic anxiety doesn’t unsettle them; anxiety about liberals and the media calling them out for their small minds does. The more “Morning” Joe and “Mika” pick on him, the more cable news anchors show their contempt, the longer lines you’ll see in November 2020 for citizens to cast an enthusiastic, delighted vote for Trump.
It doesn’t have to be this way if Democrats and liberals plan for 2018.