‘Now the party is Trump’

Is anyone surprised?

“There has been close to no introspection in the G.O.P. conference and really no coming to grips with the shifting demographics that get to why we lost those seats,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, an upstate New York Republican who is planning to repurpose her political action committee to help Republican women win primaries in 2020. “I’m very frustrated and I know other members are frustrated.”

Ms. Stefanik said there had been “robust private conversations” but she urged Republicans to conduct a formal assessment of their midterm effort.

The Republican response, or lack thereof, to the midterm backlash stands in stark contrast to the shake-ups and soul-searching that followed its loss of Congress in 2006 and consecutive presidential defeats in 2012.House officials indicate that they will pursue an after-action report, but it is unclear how far it will go in diagnosing why they lost the popular vote by more raw votes than any time in history.

Many of the lawmakers who lost their races or did not run again say the party has a profound structural challenge that incumbents are unwilling to fully face: Mr. Trump’s deep toxicity among moderate voters, especially women.

With most of the Republicans who lost hailing from suburban seats, those who remain represent red-hued districts where the president is still well liked.

“Now the party is Trump,” said Representative Tom Rooney of Florida, who at 48 decided to retire, “so we follow his lead.”

Yes, the “controversial and bold” GOP autopsy report released in 2012 that did naught to change anyone’s mind. And nothing will happen in January 2019 either.

‘You’re disgusting’

A gay couple and their adopted black son move into a community close to Tampa Bay. Neighbors didn’t acknowledge them. A mother yanked their daughter away from the boy. Then it escalated:

The yard had been transformed into a graveyard. “CNN,’’ was written on one white cross, with a gruesome gray skull at its base. Other crosses bore the names of Democrats Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. A firepit contained a jumble of bones and a cross marked “George Soros,’’ the Jewish billionaire who supports liberal causes.

All had been critics of President Donald J. Trump.

Kidd was so appalled that he took to Nextdoor, the social media site on which residents of a neighborhood can post messages, whether offering items for sale or reporting suspicious behavior. Kidd’s message was more pointed.

“This is pathetic,” he said of the graveyard display. “Can’t we take the politics out of Halloween?”

That elicited a quick response: “You’re disgusting. If you don’t like it why don’t you move

Now, a person can put a graven image of Paul Ryan licking Ronald Reagan and there’s nothing you and I can do about it because This is America and so on, but I wouldn’t do it because I don’t want to offend neighbors — indeed, what would be the point of such a display if not to offend?

Two days.

Fear and trolling in Florida, five days before Election Day

About a couple hundred miles northwest of Miami-Dade County, Estero is a municipality that gets lumped with Fort Myers. For me Estero is what I drive past on my way to Sanibel and Captiva islands, where my family has vacationed for decades. Lee County is a conservative bastion, home to snowbirds from the Midwest. The president addressed them last night.

But for all the criticism that Trump has received for his divisive rhetoric the last week — telling CNN to blame itself for being targeted with a bomb and suggesting that the Tree of Life synagogue would have been better off had it had armed security — his supporters felt like Trump is leading the country in the right direction, and that it’s Trump and his supporters who are being attacked.

 

“The crazy lefties want to make us afraid to show our opinion,” Jeff Augustine, dressed in a light blue colonial costume, said as he passed out palm cards urging Republicans to wear their Make America Great Again gear on “MAGA Day” this Saturday. “Don’t be afraid to express your opinions. The violent left wants to make you afraid.”

Augustine, 34, says he’s voting Republican on Election Day in St. Petersburg. Gilfedder will do the same.

 

“Trump is what I’m all about in the elections. He needs help, people that are on his team,” said Gilfedder, who’s not enamored with DeSantis but says he will support him anyway. “He’s Republican. He supports Trump and that’s enough for me.”

Ron DeSantis, the non-racist who happens to speak at conferences where racists gather, promised that a vote for him is a vote for a governor who can get the federal resources “to clean our water and clean our rivers and protect our way of life.”

A fascinating choice of words. Exactly three months ago we canceled a Sanibel vacation because the red tide menace had strengthened; only now has the algae on the east coast started to dissipate, thanks to cooler weather, not the state response. In the hurricane-ravaged Panhandle, a homeless problem grows, FEMA drags its feet.

But five days before an election facts don’t matter anymore if they ever did. Keeping the base motivated matters, even when the base is a vise around your neck.

Bomb suspect in custody — explanations needed

Patty Smyth and the ever reliable Don Henley had an answer twenty-five years ago:

But there’s a danger in loving somebody to much,
and it’s bad when you know it’s your heart you can’t trust.
There’s a reason why people don’t stay where they are.
Baby, sometimes love just ain’t enough.

At any rate raise those false flags high!

‘Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits’

Remember these halcyon days?

Mr. Trump is now the leading candidate for president in the Republican primary, which has traditionally been dominated by hopefuls eager to show how deeply conservative they are on social issues like gay rights and marriage.

But Mr. Trump is far more accepting of sexual minorities than his party’s leaders have been. On Thursday, he startled some Republicans by saying on NBC’s “Today” show that he opposed a recently passed North Carolina law that prohibits people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to the gender they were born with, striking down a Charlotte ordinance.

Two and a half years later, the same newspaper publishes the following revelations:

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times….

…“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.

There is no reason for this other than spite: the Trump administration will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to wipe the memory of Barack Hussein Obama. Yet even if Obama had ignored the transgender population the political appointees in the Trump Justice Department and Department of Education would’ve done the same. A President Rubio or President Jeb! too.

Wipe them out.

Cuban-Americans: lived long, learned nothing

The Miami Herald made too much of this protest, but, still, don’t ever accuse Cuban-Americans of living in the past:

Some of the demonstrators also condemned Democrats because they said they ignore how Cubans on the island and other oppressed people suffer — some lacking basic needs like toilet paper. It’s a charge members of the party, especially those in Miami, strongly deny.

No matter. The protesters denounced Democrats as “commies” and waved signs supporting Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor, and running mate Jeanette Núñez. But Miami-Dade County Republican Party Chairman Nelson Diaz said protesters weren’t officially affiliated with any group, and that, as far as he knew, nobody had paid them to be there.

Diaz said the group came together because they’re all against dictators in countries such as Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. Protesters acted angrily, he said, because they’re offended that Shalala and Mucarsel-Powell invited Lee to Miami. Opponent Maria Elvira Salazar was quoted in the Miami Herald Wednesday explaining that she’d like President Donald Trump to meet with Raúl Castro, but the protestors had no vitriol for the Republican candidate.

“There is nothing worse in this country than Barbara Lee,” Diaz said.

Barbara Lee is worse than Ron DeSantis, who addresses racists; Rick Scott, CEO of a company responsible for the largest Medicare fraud in American history ; and, of course, Donald Trump, who adores the strongmen whom they deplore. Cuban-Americans of my grandmother’s generation, this confirms, would replace one dictator with another. They consider themselves white because the United States has encouraged them to think so. They have lived long and learned nothing.

As for the protest, remember the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000?

What is a neoconf?

After reading W.E.B. Du Bois, Eric Foner, and Lawrence Goldstone, I’ve distilled decades of scholarship about the ways in which the Democratic Party looked the other way when the South defied the federal government and encouraged racist violence while maintaining a kind of apartheid. Starting in 1968, the two political parties switched its worst members. In January 1981 the acceleration took place and onward through Newt Gingrich, the equal protection claims of the Rehnquist majority on the Supreme Court, George W. Bush and his cabal, and Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan.

A neo-Confederate believes in:

1. Minority rule.
2. “States rights”
3. A return to constitutional norms before 1860, i.e. before the passage of the Civil War and Reconstruction amendments.
4. The inferiority of certain classes of people.
5. The imposition of federal taxes as an infringement on liberty.

I should point out that “states rights” is the portmanteau for every canon I’ve mentioned.

“Neoconf” looks ungainly, but so did “neocon” in 2003.

A political party dedicated to hating women

Last week’s truce has ended. Now the GOP can return to hating women and hating women who have sex. First, the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee attack the lowest hanging fruit: Julie Swetnick.

The statement, which was circulated to the hundreds of journalists on the Judiciary Committee’s press list, was from Dennis Ketterer, a former Democratic congressional candidate and television meteorologist who said he was involved in a brief relationship with Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick in 1993.

Swetnick said last week in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape, a claim he vehemently denies.

In his statement, Ketterer said Swetnick once told him that she sometimes enjoyed group sex with multiple men and had first engaged in it during high school. Ketterer said the remark “derailed” their relationship, which he described as involving “physical contact” but no intercourse.

Ketterer said Swetnick “never said anything about being sexually assaulted, raped, gang-raped or having sex against her will” and “never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity.” He described their relationship as lasting for a “couple of weeks.”

It was highly unusual for a congressional committee to release a statement that included such explicit and unconfirmed details about a member of the public. The Republican side of the panel, which said the statement was provided by Ketterer “under penalty of felony,” emailed excerpts to journalists and posted the full statement on its website.

Right on schedule, the president unbuckled his belt, kicked off his shoes, and relaxed like he hadn’t in two weeks.

Before the crowd Tuesday night in Southaven, Mississippi, Trump imitated Ford during her testimony, mocking her for not knowing the answers to questions such as how she had gotten to the high school party where she says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer,” Trump said, mimicking Ford’s testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.”

Trump’s comments were met with laughter and applause from the crowd.

We have moved to a point in our history when the electorate laughs at the president imitating an assault victim, supports a nominee to the Supreme Court even if he did assault a woman, and has no interest in how tariffs and coal policy affect their health and livelihood. They elected a president who incarnates their rage at the fags, blacks, and Mexicans. And women. Trump, let me stress, has female support, and they’ve demonstrated a remarkable lack of empathy for their sisters, mothers, daughters, and nieces.