The Mahablog

Politics. Society. Group Therapy.

The Mahablog

Republican Blame Game

On the day Trump is expected to announce he’s running for the White House again in 2024, the Guardian is reporting that Rupert Murdoch really won’t be backing Trump any more. And some guy who is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute has an op ed in the Washington Post blaming Trump for a whole lot of losses in competitive House districts.

In short, Trump remains quite popular among Republican voters, and his endorsement was decisive in plenty of House primaries this summer. But close association with the twice-impeached president was a clear liability in competitive 2022 House races, turning what would have been a modest-but-solid Republican majority into (at best) a razor-thin one. … the evidence from this year’s House races overwhelmingly suggests that conforming the party to Trump’s vision is an electoral dead end.

I wasn’t aware Trump has a “vision” other than him being King of the World. It’s like when a Trump supporter claims they know Trump isn’t perfect but appreciate what he accomplished in the White House. I honestly can’t think of anything he “accomplished.” Can you? But even now the wingnuts are still trying to pretend his tenure as POTUS was not just a four-year-long embarrassment for the GOP. And the nation. Hell, our species.

It came out yesterday that Trump really did have the FBI audit people who annoyed him. Trump also made noises that Ron DeSantis should be grateful for his sending the FBI to be sure DeSantis was elected governor of Florida in 2018.

“After the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott,” Trump wrote, “I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win. I stopped his Election from being stolen.…”

I am inclined to think this is utter bullshit, but the DoJ probably needs to check to be sure.

A large part of the GOP seems to be working itself toward a consensus that everything that went wrong in the midterms was just the fault of a few people. Trump is one. Mitch McConnell, inexplicably, is another. I’d normally be the first person to blame Mitch for anything, but he really wasn’t running the circus this time. And nobody seems to be standing up for Kevin McCarthy these days.

[Update: Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has just announced he is challenging Mitch McConnell for the minority leader position. So the guy who was in charge of electing senators, and failed, thinks he can do a better job gumming up the works of government than Mitch? It’ll be fun if Scott wins, though.]

Paul Waldman writes that the Republican party is preparing to tear itself apart.

One of the notable features of all this conflict is how disorganized it is. Some people have a beef with McCarthy or McConnell. Some are upset with Trump. Some want to put all their election denialism behind them. And many are just angling for their own advantage. Unlike in previous moments of tumult, it’s hard to draw a clear line between the establishment and the insurgents.

That’s partly because the person who still leads the party — Trump — always presented himself as a scourge of the old guard. Trump loyalists, no matter how high their position, fancy themselves rebels, iconoclasts or brave opponents of the stodgy and self-satisfied. …

… At the moment, it’s far less clear just what Republicans are fighting about. It certainly isn’t substantive issues; the party remains remarkably unified on policy, partly because outside of tax cuts and immigration, they don’t care much about policy at all. Instead, policy debates are increasingly about how radical Republicans should be to achieve their goals.

What is clear is that they now have a leader around whom all their political problems revolve.

And then there’s Josh Hawley, who declared “The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new.” By the “old party” I assume he means the old Washington establishment. Later he tweeted, “Washington Republicanism lost big Tuesday night. When your ‘agenda’ is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal (‘infrastructure’), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose.”

So what about abortion rights and election denialism, Josh? Those were the issues that really cost your tribe last week.

The fact is that it’s the insurgents who seem to be even more out of the loop than the old guard. Michelle Goldberg:

A common rap on liberals is that they’re trapped in their own ideological bubble, unable to connect with normal people who don’t share their niche concerns. This cycle, that was much truer of conservatives. The ultimate example of this was the Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, the human incarnation of a right-wing message board, who lauded the Unabomber manifesto and put out gun fetishist campaign ads that made him look like a serial killer.

[Losing House GOP candidate Joe] Kent suffered from a similar sort of insularity. He attacked sports fans, suggesting it’s not masculine for men to “watch other men compete in a silly game,” a view common in corners of the alt-right but unintelligible to normies. [Winning House Dem candidate Marie] Gluesenkamp Perez said Kent seemed shocked when, during a debate, his line about vaccines as “experimental gene therapy” didn’t go over well, which she took as a sign that he’d spent too much time “operating in the chat rooms.”

The ultimate expression of the right-wing echo chamber was the Stop the Steal movement itself. Conservatives might have been less credulous about it if they weren’t so out of touch with the Biden-voting majority.

Goldberg’s column is worth reading all the way through.

The Trump monster in heels known as “Kari Lake” has lost her bid to be governor of Arizona. Right-wing media is in meltdown mode over this one. Some of them are talking about a recall effort against governor-elect Katie Hobbs. Lake may be the one loser to launch a “stop the steal” effort. See Philip Bump, Reality waits to see if it has a new supporter.