Saturday, January 30, 2021

RUDY STEPS IN MORE SHIT

 





CRAZY BITCH

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Controversies Are Piling Up. Republicans Are Quiet.

In a video from 2018, Ms. Greene falsely suggested that 9/11 was a hoax, President Barack Obama was a Muslim and the Clintons were guilty of murder.

 

By Catie Edmondson

  • Published Jan. 29, 2021Updated Jan. 30, 2021, 11:31 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.

“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.

Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018. It provides a window into the warped worldview amplified by the freshman Republican congresswoman from Georgia, who in the three months since she was elected has created a national brand for herself as a conservative provocateur who has proudly brought the hard-right fringe to the Capitol.

In the process, Ms. Greene, 46, has also created a dilemma for Republican leaders, who for months have been unwilling to publicly rebuke or punish her in any way for her inflammatory statements, in part for fear of alienating voters delighted by her incendiary brand of politics and conspiratorial beliefs.

After avoiding the issue for months in the hope that it would resolve itself, Republicans are now facing calls from Democrats to expel Ms. Greene from Congress, pressure from a prominent group of Jewish Republicans to discipline her, and private consternation from within their own ranks.

Their reticence to take action is yet another example of how Republican leaders have allowed those forces to fester and strengthen. Some leaders have privately said they are eager to move past the fringe movements and the charged messaging used by President Donald J. Trump that fueled the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, has yet to say anything personally about Ms. Greene’s comments or conduct, even after a week in which a slew of problematic social media posts and videos have surfaced from the years before she was elected. In them, Ms. Greene circulated and endorsed a seemingly endless array of hate speech and conspiracy theories explicitly rooted in Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the belief that government actors were secretly behind a sweeping range of violence.

The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America reported last summer on the video in which Ms. Greene questioned a basic fact about the deadliest terrorist attack in history, falsely called Mr. Obama, who is Christian, a Muslim, and hinted that the Clinton family had Mr. Kennedy killed. Since then, much more has emerged about her conspiracy claims.

Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”

Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles. (She told Fox News last year that she decided to “choose another path,” and a spokesman, Nick Dyer, told The New York Times this week that she did not support QAnon.)

Sent a list of detailed questions about her beliefs and postings, Mr. Dyer declined to respond to any of them. In her own statement posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon, Ms. Greene assailed the “radical, left-wing Democrat mob” and reporters she said were trying to smear her, and claimed she was profiting politically and financially from the outrage she has provoked, saying that every negative news report “strengthens my base of support at home and across the country.”

She also issued what amounted to a threat to top Republicans who might be contemplating punishing her, warning that they would pay steep consequences.

“If Republicans cower to the mob, and let the Democrats and the fake news media take me out,” Ms. Greene said, “they’re opening the door to come after every single Republican until there’s none left.”

 

The statement came as internal pressure was mounting for Republican leaders to address Ms. Greene’s comments. The Republican Jewish Coalition, which over the summer intervened in a rare move to back Ms. Greene’s primary challenger, disavowed the congresswoman in a scathing statement and said it was “working closely with the House Republican leadership regarding next steps.”

“She repeatedly used offensive language in long online video diatribes, promoted bizarre political conspiracy theories, and refused to admit a mistake after posing for photos with a longtime white supremacist leader,” the group said. “It is unfortunate that she prevailed in her election despite this terrible record.”

A spokesman for Mr. McCarthy told Axios this week that newly surfaced Facebook posts written by Ms. Greene and reported by CNN, in which she discussed executing top Democratic politicians, were “deeply disturbing” and that Mr. McCarthy planned to “have a conversation” with her about them next week.

But Mr. McCarthy’s silence so far reflects, in part, the sway Mr. Trump still has over the Republican Party and its leaders. The former president has praised Ms. Greene effusively and refused to condemn QAnon, despite being asked to disavow it repeatedly while in office.

On Friday evening, Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the House Rules Committee, suggested Democrats could move unilaterally to strip Ms. Greene of her committees if Republicans did not act.

“We could break precedent,” Mr. McGovern said on CNN. “We should talk about that if nothing changes.”

In her own telling, Ms. Greene became more outspoken about her politics in 2016, after she sold the CrossFit gym she owned and felt she no longer needed to worry about alienating her customers by stating her beliefs.

She began traveling to Washington for conservative events, including a prayer rally hosted by the White House, and to lobby lawmakers against passing gun safety measures. On one such trip, Ms. Greene accosted David Hogg, a student who had survived a 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., who was also on Capitol Hill, but to lobby in support of stricter gun laws. In a video that CNN reported this week, Ms. Greene follows Mr. Hogg as he walks toward the Capitol, calling him a “coward” and accusing him of “using kids” to promote his own political agenda.

When Ms. Greene decided to run for Congress, she initially started her campaign in a Georgia district held by Representative Lucy McBath, a Democrat. But after Representative Tom Graves, a Republican, announced he would retire, Ms. Greene moved her campaign to his more conservative district. She eventually placed first in a crowded primary race, and advanced to a runoff election against Dr. John Cowan, a mild-mannered neurosurgeon.

On the campaign trail, Ms. Greene presented herself as a deeply conservative, pro-Trump Christian mother and business owner, arguing that her work in the construction industry had imbued her with the toughness that comes from working in a male-dominated field. She railed against the ascendant progressive wing in Congress, emphasized the importance of the Second Amendment while toting an AR-15, and warned of “thousands” of immigrants “pouring over” the southwestern border.

Ms. Greene largely veered away from the conspiratorial on the trail, though she did cut a campaign ad claiming that “‘Deep State’ actors tried to sabotage President Donald J. Trump before he even took office” and claimed on her campaign accounts that George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor, was “bankrolling left-wing movements worldwide who want to destroy Israel.”

The messaging raised alarm at the time among House Republican leaders and some members of the Georgia delegation who worried that if elected, Ms. Greene could create a grave problem for their party. But they never mobilized to defeat her. While the top three House Republicans condemned a series of racist videos Ms. Greene made, surfaced by Politico, only Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 Republican, endorsed Dr. Cowan. Mr. McCarthy and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking leader, stayed neutral.

Privately, according to a person familiar with their thinking, top Republicans hoped that outside groups would swoop into the primary race in support of Dr. Cowan and weaponize Ms. Greene’s incendiary comments against her, dooming her candidacy. But the outside effort never materialized.

Instead, Ms. Greene’s campaign received an important boost when the political arm of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus endorsed her, as did Representatives Andy Biggs of Arizona, the group’s chairman, and Jim Jordan of Ohio, a founder. She handily won the runoff in August and cruised to victory in November.

That left Republican leaders hoping that, once sworn in, Ms. Greene would clean up her act, disavowing her past comments and dialing back her outlandish rhetoric.

Instead, she charged into Congress and immediately faced scrutiny for her support of the “Stop the Steal” campaign that falsely claimed that Mr. Trump had won the 2020 presidential election.

She referred to Jan. 6, the day Congress was slated to formalize the election results, as Republicans’ “1776 moment” in the lead up to the violent storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. After the rampage, she pledged that Mr. Trump would “remain in office” and that attempts to remove him from the White House constituted “an attack on every American who voted for him.”

Days later, she announced she would file articles of impeachment against President Biden.

“Troll level: EXPERT,” Dinesh D’Souza, a right-wing firebrand, wrote on Twitter.

Ms. Greene liked the post.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Republican weakness enables domestic terrorism

 


Opinion: Republican weakness enables domestic terrorism

 

 

Opinion by 

Jennifer Rubin

Columnist

Jan. 28, 2021 at 6:45 a.m. CST

 

The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged what most Republicans do not: Mobs of white supremacists who have aligned themselves with the MAGA party are a threat to national security.

 

DHS bulletin released Wednesday reports: “Throughout 2020, Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) targeted individuals with opposing views engaged in First Amendment-protected, non-violent protest activity. … Long-standing racial and ethnic tension—including opposition to immigration—has driven DVE attacks, including a 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed 23 people.” (And let’s not forget the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre and the pipe bomber threats that preceded these events, both of which featured terrorists spouting anti-immigrant rhetoric.)

 

DHS specifically warns that “these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021 and some DVEs may be emboldened by the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. to target elected officials and government facilities.”

 

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells me, “This step is wildly overdue, and I applaud the Biden administration for taking it.” Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance agrees:

 

“Law enforcement has to base its work on data, not ideology.” Vance adds, “While Republicans may be ready to move on, our national security depends on facing threats and dismantling terror groups. It’s good to see the new administration taking the threat posed by white supremacist domestic terrorists seriously.”

 

Though the Senate did not have a specific “heads-up” about the bulletin, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tells me this kind of bulletin was very much expected given the rise in domestic terror and violent threats. “This is more than a red flag,” he observes. “This is a blaring warning.” The rise in white-supremacist violence, Blumenthal says, was “stoked and inflamed by four years of Donald Trump.”

 

Meanwhile, the Republican attitude about the attack on the Capitol is entirely at odds with the reality of the threat we face. As the danger of domestic terrorism rises, Senate Republicans are still foot-dragging on the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas to be homeland security secretary. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reminded his colleagues on Wednesday: "It has been three weeks since a mob of domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to thwart our democratic system of government. In the weeks since, the underlying threat of violence to our government remains a great concern.” Schumer went on: “My friends on the other side don’t have to agree with Mr. Mayorkas on the finer points of every policy, but surely we can all agree that he knows the department, he understands the threats to our nation’s security, and has what it takes to lead DHS. The Senate must confirm his nomination in very short order, and we will make sure that happens.”

 

This raises the question: Are Republicans comfortable with the moniker “weak on terror”? It seems so, at least when it is white supremacists who are the terrorists. Given the growing threat of domestic terrorists linked to the Jan. 6 action, Republicans’ indifference toward addressing domestic terrorism and punishing the former president for stoking a violent insurrection is as breathtaking as it is predictable. The Republican Party’s notion of “law and order” seems to have evaporated.

 

As Blumenthal observes, Republicans “would very much like to ‘move on’ … But there is no wishing this away.”

 

Perhaps their excuse for acquitting the former president is not so much based on the argument that the Senate cannot convict a former president (a flimsy rationale easily rebutted by precedent and the text of the Constitution), but instead on their own aversion to tackling white supremacists. After courting the MAGA crowd, doing their bidding in seeking to overturn the election and taking offense at President Biden’s innocuous comments denouncing white supremacists who attacked the Capitol, perhaps Republicans are nervous that the impeachment trial hits a little too close to home. When Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) raises a fist in solidarity with the Confederate flag-waving, noose-carrying crowd, the problem goes well beyond the former president.

 

By averting their eyes from the former president who instigated an attempted violent coup, they are “putting themselves on the wrong side of the American people and also of history,” Blumenthal says. Even if the Senate cannot convict the ex-president, “There is real virtue in a public trial regardless of the outcome.”

 

Indeed, one could make the case that it is not simply Trump who should be on trial. The Republican Party as a whole needs to be held responsible for feeding anti-immigrant sentiment, coddling armed white supremacists, perpetrating the Big Lie that the election was stolen and, yes, refusing to hold the instigator of a domestic terrorist attack responsible. They are not simply weak on domestic terrorism; their indifference makes us all less safe.

 


TWO SCUMBAGS


 

COMPLICIT ENABLERS

 


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cruz is a crook and a traitor

 


Howard Tullman appears on Fireside Chats


As part of the Fireside: Chicago initiative, each episode highlights the expertise of thought leaders and professionals in the Chicago area — including one of our most recent episodes featuring Chicago legend Howard Tullman.

Howard Tullman is the General Managing Partner of two early-stage venture capital funds, Chicago High-Tech Investment Partners, LLC and G2T3V, LLC which focus on identifying and funding disruptive innovators. He was most recently the founding Executive Director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship as well as the first University Professor appointed at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He was previously the CEO of 1871 (a Chicago-based tech incubator which was the home of 500 digital startups) and which, under his guidance and leadership, tripled in size and was named the Number 1 private business technology incubator in the world. Prior to his role at 1871, Tullman was the Chairman and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint College and the President of Kendall College. 

Tullman is a graduate with honors of Northwestern University and of its School of Law where he served as Chairman of the Editors of the Law Review and he is admitted to the Illinois Bar and to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Tullman is a world-class serial entrepreneur and has successfully founded more than a dozen high-tech startups in his 50-year career and created more than $1 billion in investor value as well as over 10,000 new jobs. He is a tireless supporter of entrepreneurs and a mentor to many startups, growing businesses of all sizes, political leaders and government agencies as well as a board member of several of Chicago’s fastest-growing tech companies.

He has written over 30 books and writes a regular weekly column on The Perspiration Principles for INC. Magazine which reaches over 2 million website visitors a week. He lectures on technology trends, innovation, entrepreneurship and change management all across the world as well as at the Kellogg School of Management and the Law School at Northwestern University where he is an Adjunct Professor.

As a successful serial entrepreneur, Howard provides insights into types of technology companies he believes will be the most up and coming investment opportunities.

Watch the Intro Here:  https://www.linkedin.com/posts/fireside-chicago_chicago-chicagobusiness-chicagotech-activity-6760218785594032128-HrqR/  


JAIL THE CROOKED TRAITOR






 

Monday, January 25, 2021

NEW INC. MAGAZINE ARTICLE BY HOWARD TULLMAN

 

Netflix is Crushing Idiotic TV Advertising

And how can we thank them? By successfully rejecting the broadcast model, the company is dragging the traditional broadcasters with them, because consumers will pay for a quality product. 

 

BY HOWARD TULLMAN@TULLMAN

 

I've heard it said that TV ads are the penalty you pay for watching cheap and endless crap for free. Network television is effectively a tax on people who can't afford something better - they have to watch this junk and the endless ads as well if they want any sort of entertainment. Network TV has become the shop window for every creepy and frightening ad for the perils of aging and dysfunction, the threat of every newly imagined and cleverly named disease, combined with incessant reruns of shows we hated from their debut. There's also the traditional flood of car and beer ads -- never mind that the average age of a new car buyer is likely to be an aging boomer.

If you've begun to painfully realize that the aggregate number of ads, as well as time consumed, in any 30-minute slot of prime-time television seems to grow every few months, join the club. Likewise, the bulk of cable programming is no better than the rubbish the big broadcast guys promote except that - as hard as this is to accomplish - the ads are even worse, more crudely made, and dumbed down as well. But at least they provide regular employment for broken down old jocks flogging Medicare supplements and hearing aids while otherwise unemployable or shameless actors pitch reverse mortgages and end-of-life term insurance.

This is precisely what "broadcasting" was always intended to be: a tool to reach the masses via one-size-fits-all, lowest common denominator offerings with the least objectionable material, so that you don't change the channel. And all of it delivered through a framework to support the ads and advertisers that paid the bills. And the whole thing worked pretty well for all concerned except the viewers. None of us was really a loyal or grateful customer - we just didn't have a better alternative.

When cable came along, it promised massive amounts of programming choices, but there was only one distributor-- the dreaded cable company, selected by local government. This is why cable was always a grudge buy. There was no competition, you paid for a bunch of junk you didn't want, and the cable company owned the local politicians and rate-setting authorities as well. Sweet deal, but not for us.

But now, if you're willing and able to pay for the privilege, we have streaming solutions and a growing flow of podcasts (and a few well-done vodcasts) that - with the exception of Peacock, which seems like a glorified invitation to a digital root canal - represent a new attempt at narrowcasting. Smaller, more affluent, self-selecting and better identified audiences composed of folks who are actually anxious and interested in seeing the offered material and, of course, also willing to pay for it.

The entire initial premise of Netflix was that by trading your privacy and viewing preferences and choices for automated personalization you could have the system select and deliver higher-quality, more tailored, and more entertaining suggestions, recommendations, and content for you. The content was as good as anything else out there, and the discovery element was real and serious. But what has become more and more apparent is that millions of us were looking for and willing to pay for ad-free and uninterrupted entertainment.

One of the tactical errors that some of the erstwhile and flailing Netflix competitors have made is to offer a basic, less expensive service with traditional ads along with ad-free access at an upcharge, which seems to me to simply reinforce the depressing message and reality that these days only paupers, morons and cheapskates watch ad-riven network programming. If these competitive vendors had the courage of their convictions and believed in their own offerings, they'd go with a single price structure. Thinking that you can buy eyeballs and subscribers with bait-and-switch expiring offers or deep, short-term discounts ("Get 2 issues of XXX magazine for $2 and then we'll charge you $50 for the next 6 months.") hasn't worked for the few survivors in the high-end magazine business. That pricing matrix is unlikely to be a solid, long-term strategy for streamers either.

But it's going to be very interesting to see how long the new ad-free models can be sustained and whether their managers can resist the constant pressure from the market and their investors to further monetize their captive viewer eyeballs. This is the constant debate we hear every day about Twitter and others and it's a nasty disease that no industry can withstand for too long.

But in the case of Netflix, the debate ignores a very critical data distinction. Netflix can sell actionable targeting data about its users - demographics, habits, tastes, interests, spending cycles -- to advertisers without permitting them to show a single ad on Netflix itself, which would jeopardize the customers' experiences.

You already know how this works. You look for something on Amazon or search for anything on Google and - surprise of surprises - suddenly half the other places you visit on the web are showing you ads relating to the products and services you recently researched. Targeting your travels on the internet is easy as pie. Amazon does this a lot better than Google because Amazon, unlike Google, knows your purchase behavior as well so they won't waste your time or try your patience showing you ads for stuff you bought two days ago.

But Netflix never even has to let you know how the magic works. And even if you ask, much like Facebook, they will likely tell you that all the data they sell to third parties is anonymized so that while the ad targeters "know" your interests and preferences, you should feel comfortable that they don't really know who you are.

So, the modest good news is that you're unlikely to see ads on Netflix any time soon and, if their competition has any smarts at all, they'll be careful not to put their toes in that ugly pool of sludge as well.

 

DUMBASS HYPOCRITIES FROM ARIZONA

 


Republicans Have Decided Not to Rethink Anything

 

Republicans Have Decided Not to Rethink Anything

By Jonathan Chait

 

For a few days, the Republican party appeared to be undergoing a crisis of confidence, if not an outright crack-up. First, Donald Trump lost an election, then tried to negate the outcome throughout a series of threats and increasingly absurd lawsuits, then his party lost control of the Senate in a previously red state, and then Trump whipped up an insurrectionary mob that sacked the capitol. Trump failed to check in on Pence even as his vice-president was hiding from a mob out to literally execute him, placing an understandable strain on their once-solid relationship.

Perhaps, finally, things had gone so far that the party would undertake the soul-searching it had avoided for four years. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let it be known he wished to be rid of Trump. The party “likely will face a raging internal war over policies and political leaders,” asserts longtime Washington hand Jim VandeHei. “Do not underestimate how divided and confused their party is right now,” posits David Brooks, “Do not underestimate how much Republicans trust Biden personally.”

But instead of a Glasnost for the Republican party, the days after January 6 seem instead to be a Prague Spring — a brief flowering of dissent and questioning of dogma quickly suppressed by a remorseless crackdown.

The heady predictions that the party would break free of the Trumpist grip already seem fanciful. If anybody is suffering repercussions for their response to Trump’s autogolpe, it is the Republicans who criticized it. Conservative Republicans are threatening to strip Liz Cheney of her leadership post after she voted to impeach Trump. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, an adept reader of the prevailing winds within his party, offered a non-defense of his third in command: “I support her, but I have concerns.” Adam Kinzinger, another pro-impeachment Republican, is facing censure. The Michigan Republican member of the state board of canvassers, who broke with his party to certify the state’s election results, is losing his job as a result of his refusal to go along with Trump’s lie. Fox News is firing journalists associated with its election call that Biden won Arizona.

The clearest sign of the counter-revolutionary momentum is the flagging prospects for impeaching Trump. Senate Republicans are coalescing around a technical claim that Trump cannot be impeached because he has already left office, an argument at odds with the conclusion of most scholars, but which allows them to avoid casting firm judgment on Trump’s incitement. McCarthy, who last week said Trump “bears responsibility” for the mob attack, now says, ““I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally.”

The end of the Trump era has left the party divided, broadly speaking, into three wings. On the left is a small wing of Never Trumpers who opposed Trump, believing him to be unfit for office and a threat to the republic. They are represented politically by figures like Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney, and John Kasich — and intellectually by the Bulwark and a variety of columnists at mainstream outlets. Many Never Trumpers connected their party’s embrace of Trump with a more longstanding anti-democratic turn. They represent the pro-democracy wing of the Republican Party.

On the right flank is a violent authoritarian wing of roughly equal size. These conservatives fervently support Trump, and either endorsed his insurrection, or else justified it as a false-flag operation. The violent authoritarians supported keeping Trump in office by any means necessary, and oppose any measures to hold him accountable or to punish any of his radical supporters. This wing is represented by members of Congress like QAnon supporters  Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, groups like the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, and in the media by various commentators on the Fox News evening lineup, OAN, and Newsmax.

In the middle is what you might call “soft authoritarians.” This faction’s political representation is figures like McConnell and Pence, and its views are expressed by organs like The Wall Street Journal editorial page and National Review. They have supported most of Trump’s abuses of power, firmly opposing impeachment, Congressional oversight, efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns, or any other accountability mechanism. The soft authoritarians strongly believe in the principle of minority rule, as long as it is enforced through peaceful and legal channels like gerrymandering and vote suppression.

This is the faction that has determined the party’s response to Trump. The soft authoritarians were appalled at Trump’s use of a barbarous mob to beat up police officers and smash down the Capitol’s doors and windows. They sicken at the prospect Trump might capture the party’s nomination again in 2024, which is why they remain open to convicting Trump and barring him from holding federal office again.

But the soft authoritarians are party men, not principled democrats. And they have surely noticed that Trump’s hold over their voters remains strong. A terrifying seventy percent of Republican voters agree with Trump’s lie that he received more votes than Biden. Trump’s loyalists are threatening revenge if he is convicted. (Trump adviser Jason Miller tells Ryan Lizza, “Republican senators need to think long and hard about what an impeachment vote would do to the party.” Reports that Trump is contemplating starting his own party, which would guarantee Democrats victory in 2024, are probably a bluff. But the chance that a figure as unpredictable as Trump just might follow through makes it an effective bluff.

The path of least resistance for the soft authoritarianism will be to oppose Trump’s conviction on technical grounds, and then hope he fades away quietly. As that happens, the centrifugal pressure Trump exerted on their coalition with his deranged antics will ease, to be replaced by the centripetal pressure of a Biden administration enacting Democratic priorities.

You can already see the internal Republican tension abating as they pull together in opposition. Did Trump make mistakes? Perhaps so, they will concede, but they are behind us, and now they face new dangers and outrages from Biden. No rethinking of the Republican platform — indeed, no thinking of any kind — will be needed. Republicans can simply repurpose Trump’s attacks on Biden as a corrupt, doddering crypto-socialist tool of AOC. The Republican civil war is over before it even began.

 

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