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The Mahablog

The GOP Is Drowning in Entitled Narcissism

So Trump had the entertainer formerly known as Kanye West plus White supremacist/anti-Semite/Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes as dinner guests at Mar-a-Lago this week. Much hand-wringing and pearl-clutching ensued. I’m struggling to understand why anyone would find this remarkable, given that it’s Trump we’re talking about, but apparently some do.

Ye, who has announced he is running for President, reported that he asked Trump to be his running mate. Whether this was meant to be a jest I do not know, but of course Trump does not comprehend “humor.” “Trump started basically screaming” and told Ye he would lose.

By several accounts Fuentes had not been invited but was allowed in because he came with Ye. And Trump found Fuentes completely captivating. As Zack Stanton and Garrett Ross write at Politico, “The quickest way to DONALD TRUMP’s heart is flattery: Say nice things about him, and you’re in.” Trump’s advisers were aghast.

Advisers to Trump privately acknowledged that the decision to host the Tuesday dinner, just one week after Trump launched his reelection bid, was a significant concern. One adviser described it as “horrible” and another as “totally awful.” They and others in Trump’s orbit spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

David M. Friedman, who served as his ambassador to Israel, publicly took Trump to task for consorting with the troublesome pair, tweeting that the former president was “better than this.”

No, he’s not. He’s not “better than this” at all. That’s exactly who he is, and who he has been all along.

Anyway, the more interesting read is at Talking Points Memo. Josh Marshall writes Elon Musk and the Narcissism/Radicalization Maelstrom. This post isn’t so much about Elon Musk as it is about Musk and Trump, both entitled narcissists, being pulled deeper and deeper by their own egos into a hard-Right alternative universe.

It’s clear that Donald Trump had dark political impulses and beliefs going back decades. He put his cards on the table clearly enough when he announced his presidential campaign with denunciations of Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers. But the politics wasn’t as fleshed out ideologically or as clearly articulated as it would soon become. You could watch in his online interactions how his ego followed the praise and fawning. His narcissism pulled him toward the people who became his most loyal online devotees and they were routinely and unsurprisingly the most ardent white nationalists and far-right agitators. They showed up increasingly in his Twitter timeline. He started engaging with them and promoting them. The point isn’t that Trump was some kind of naif pulled into a radicalization spiral. He had all the building blocks. I doubt very much that in mid-2015 Trump had any real familiarity with the arcana of racist and radical right groups, their keywords or ideological touch-points. But they knew he was one of them, perhaps even more than he did. They pledged their undying devotion and his narcissism did the rest.

Elon Musk is on the same path. There are various theories purporting to explain Musk’s hard right turn: a childhood in apartheid South Africa, his connection with Peter Thiel, disappointments in his personal life. Whatever the truth of the matter, whatever right-leaning tendencies he may have had before a couple years ago appear to have been latent or unformed. Now the transformation is almost complete. He’s done with general “free speech” grievance and springing for alternative viewpoints. He’s routinely pushing all the far right storylines from woke groomers to great replacement.

I’ve paid little attention to Elon Musk until recently. There is copious testimony from many former employees that he is basically an entitled child with little understanding of how his cars and/or space ships work. Both he and Trump were men born into money who somehow gained reputations for being genius business people when in fact they are both a bit dim. More ego than brains.  Josh Marshall continues,

Most of us know what it’s like to be caught up in the moment. In a moment of tense confrontation or ego injury it is natural, if unlovely, to pull tight to those who are there to defend you. Some of this is simply human nature. But with the likes of Musk and Trump it operates on a qualitatively different and more explosive level, the consequence of an innate narcissism, an ingrained sense of grievance and entitlement and the unique dynamics of social media. Their power and wealth also make their meltdowns vastly more consequential than yours or mine.

Right now the Republican party is being pulled further and further into Crazy Land because of Trump. More of them now are willing to come out and say that they need to cut ties with Trump. However, they’re still afraid of him. They also don’t have much else to offer. See Jennifer Rubin on this point. For example,

In yet another entry in the poor argument sweepstakes, former vice president Mike Pence went on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday to opine, “Candidates that were focused on the issues that people are facing today and solutions for tomorrow, focused on the future did quite well. But candidates that were focused on the past, candidates that were focused on re-litigating the 2020 election did not fare as well.”

Hmmm. Which prominent Republican laid out a rational anti-inflation policy or a jobs policy or anything of substance that might have a prayer of passage? It seems the party spent more time running away from the extreme agenda outlined by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, than explaining what it would do if elected.

The Republicans for too long have leaned on fear mongering and dirty politics to win elections, going back to the 1950s. They started out with McCarthyism and Red baiting, and then they learned to use racism and sexism and homophobia to keep the base marching to the voting booth. For a long time there were still “serious” Republicans who could write legislation and who had some understanding of policy issues, but now that group has mostly been replaced by Internet trolls. Even Jim Geraghty, a National Review guy who also writes for the Washington Post, has realized they’ve hit a wall.

Yes, the GOP underperformed in a lot of places this year, but the limits of “angertainment” were perhaps most vividly illustrated here, a rough lesson in the diminishing returns from an approach to governing that mistakes “owning the libs” for getting things done for constituents.

The razor-thin near-rejection of Boebert — from a district that Donald Trump won by eight percentage points in 2020, covering much of the western half of the state — demonstrates that Trump-esque style of turning the performative outrage up to 11 hit a hard ceiling among the electorate, repelling not just Democrats and independents but apparently a thin but decisive slice of Republicans. It likely isn’t a coincidence that the last good year for Colorado Republicans was the one before Trump announced his 2016 presidential campaign.

Geraghty has realized that the cheapest and easiest way for a Republican politician to gain attention is to be controversial and crazy. The problem is that not enough of the voting public watches Fox News.

But now the GOP finds itself in something like a perfect storm. Too much of “the base” is seething with bigotry and grievance and really is just about owning the Libs. They have no discernible interest in policy other than knee-jerk opposition to whatever the Democrats are trying to do. They dismiss Republicans who aren’t as radical as they are as RINOs. And they alienate centrist and conventionally conservative voters.

It’s like riding a tiger. How do you get off without being eaten?

See also At Protests, Guns Are Doing the Talking. Gun-carrying at public demonstrations is becoming more and more common, but only among right-wingers.

A partisan divide — with Democrats largely eschewing firearms and Republicans embracing them — has warped civic discourse. Deploying the Second Amendment in service of the First has become a way to buttress a policy argument, a sort of silent, if intimidating, bullhorn.

“It’s disappointing we’ve gotten to that state in our country,” said Kevin Thompson, executive director of the Museum of Science & History in Memphis, Tenn., where armed protesters led to the cancellation of an L.G.B.T.Q. event in September. “What I saw was a group of folks who did not want to engage in any sort of dialogue and just wanted to impose their belief.”

A New York Times analysis of more than 700 armed demonstrations found that, at about 77 percent of them, people openly carrying guns represented right-wing views, such as opposition to L.G.B.T.Q. rights and abortion access, hostility to racial justice rallies and support for former President Donald J. Trump’s lie of winning the 2020 election.

They believe themselves to be right, but they won’t, or can’t, engage in dialog because they honestly have no arguments. And I don’t know where the nation will go from here.

22 thoughts on “The GOP Is Drowning in Entitled Narcissism

  1. When you resort to bringing a gun, you're pretty much ackowledging that you've lost the argument.

    You bring that gun to force your will.

    It's like a dumb caveman bringing his biggest club.

  2. Spot on, C U N D Gulag.  I hope we avoid the fate that your handle has accurately warned us about for many years now when fascist and/or treasonist GOPers are in power.

  3. The psychology of the rich narcissist born into wealth has been discussed a lot. It is interesting. What's been discussed less is the psychology of the masses who bow to aristocrats born to extreme wealth. I'm not sure there's a cookie-cutter answer to explain all of them but I'm sure the mental defect that motivated hundreds of thousands of poor peasants to fight for slavery in the 1860s is the same defect that explains the worship of Trump. 

    You would think that a libertarian who believes that democrats thwart the just rewards of a true meritocracy would be the first to ban hereditary wealth. Don and Elon didn't create their fortunes, they were both made rich by daddy. But your Libertarian is the most entrenched person you will find on hereditary wealth. 

    The underlying difference in how I think and how they think… I've had more than one conservative declare that no poor man ever gave them a job. Translation: Rich men are the source of wealth. But the liberal believes the regular person invariably is the source of the rich man's wealth. 

    In the Civil War, poor white men were willing to fight and die to protect the 'right' of rich white plantation owners to use abducted African natives as forced labor to create wealth for the rich man. It was moral, ethical, and ordained by God. Look at the white conservative on the subject of labor unions. They find the idea of an organization with the power to withhold labor which the white rich owners need to produce wealth to be immoral. Labor unions are unethical, immoral, and satanic. 

    I'm not sure that racism is always the driving force. It's a consistent symptom but is it the cause? Are the white cultists responding to some primal need to defend the royals? I think the defense of the aristocracy is a stronger drive than racism. The racial component today is the result of elections raising non-white, non-male, non-conservative people to positions of power. In the future, demographic shift will empower people of color to a greater degree – to a point, possibly in my lifetime, when people of color can use democracy to displace the aristocrats.

    There's a desperate attempt to put the genie back in the bottle. Women are voting and mostly voting liberal. The demographic shift is elevating Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Voter suppression isn't getting it done. So we're seeing the guns – they are running out of time and options. Brandishing guns won't be enough, so some will engage in domestic terrorism. How many will die? I don't know. But when the random horror becomes specific acts of terrorism for a deliberate goal, I think we'll see decent Americans come to their senses.  

    "Specific" means linking murder to an offer to end the killing in exchange for political compromise. They want to raise the voting age, they want to (somehow) limit the vote of women. They want to link the voting franchise to property ownership. They want Senators appointed, rather than elected. All these ideas have been floated but can't be done through the popular vote or through candidates elected by popular vote. When voters see murder linked to these demands, voters will limit access to firearms and take power from those politicians associated with an attack on democracy.

    • Libertarians are like house cats. There is an entire technological and social ecosystem that support the libertarian in their native habitat (the McMansion) that they are blind to. This ecosystem of comfort, that the libertarians snuggle into in and make their own, is built on the backs of a lot of folks who sacrifice their labor and who know no better (due to good propaganda).

      The other day I was reminded of Sun City and the retirees who live in an air-conditioned box in the desert (115 is too hot to golf) with fox news pumped in. Talk about captive audience. 

  4. Argumentation assumes all parties involved have human qualities.  You can't argue with a moral argument to one without morals.  You can't argue with reason to one without logic or sometimes with faulty logic.  An argument to emotions won't work with those who's emotions are twisted or self-centered. 

    We are now up against people who will not respect a legal argument because they are above all that.  The only example they set is a bad example…at times by those who they invite to dinner.  You can tell much about a person by who they socially associate with and who they exclude.  I for one prefer the company of those who exhibit human qualities.  In the honor of Hunter Tompson, let us just call people who lack human qualities as swine.  If this trend keeps up the republican party should plan to hold their next convention in a pigsty.



    • Bernie, plz don't fall into the trap of demonizing our political enemies as less than human, lacking any moral code.

      That's exactly the technique used by the GOP propaganda machine to train its Mob to hate Democrats.

      Hate the GOP Machine, not the pawns it has infected.

      • I didn't call them devils, just swine.  They dehumanize themselves when they socialize with bigots.  They more merit pity than hate.  It would be nice if they would recognize how pathetically they behave.  


        • You implied that they don't have [any] "human qualities", and clearly stated that they are "without morals".  Technically, that's "dehumanizing" rather than "demonizing", but it's just as bad.

          The vast majority of GOP – and Trump – voters are not subhuman monsters.  They are *people* who have been programmed for decades to hate – and dehumanize – Democrats and Progressives.

          They believe that *we* are the ones "without morals" – that we are Godless baby killers and child rapers, bent on destroying everything they hold dear.  

          Yes, they deserve some responsibility for falling for all that right-wing propaganda, but I reserve my hatred the organizations which orchestrated this: FOX, the GOP, and its pet Think Tanks. 

          Well, I must admit that I do also hate the Zillionaires who fund it all, though I hate hating people even more than I hate hating in general.

          • I have often wondered why there is not a faulty product lawsuit against Fox News. It seems that they are cloaking their right wing propaganda in "news".

          • True that republicans claim the moral high road.  This is my point.  They have abandoned it and the behavior associated with having a valid claim to have most any kind of judgement much less moral judgement.  

            Yes. there are republicans who exhibit good human qualities.  Unfortunately, but a few are vocal about the party wing who condones and even encourages racist and antisemitic rhetoric and actions.  When the republicans no longer police their own members on these issues any claim to the moral high road is hypocrisy. Most in public service know to render service to all equitably not with favor based on twisted elitism.  Credit those who do stand up:

            Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday said Republicans need more voices of “reality" to “move beyond the Trump era” after he was asked about one-time Trump allies who are now criticizing the former president, including several who served in his Cabinet.

            Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union” co-anchor Dana Bash, Hutchinson said he supports vocal criticism of Trump that has recently come from former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and others in the GOP.

            “We need more of those voices, not fewer. And I expect those voices to increase,” Hutchinson said. “And it shouldn’t be in a harsh … tone. It should be in a voice of reality, that this is exactly where we are as a party and where we need to go to reach out to those independents and expand the base of the party and move beyond the Trump era.”

            Hutchinson also criticized Trump for meeting last week with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.


            Pardon me if my tone appeared too harsh.  



  5. No, he’s not. He’s not “better than this” at all. That’s exactly who he is, and who he has been all along.

    You got that right, Maha! To my mind the reason why Trump draws the nutjobs is because he validates their hate and biases. I come to that conclusion by the fact that more than once I've heard them proudly proclaiming that Trump tells it like it is. If that's the case it's clear to see that Trump only spews racism and garbage, so therefore they are kindred spirits.

  6. "By several accounts Fuentes had not been invited but was allowed in because he came with Ye"

    Well sure I mean it would be rude to turn the white N@ZI away, if your going to let the Black one in, I mean it’s thanksgiving and all? Probably just locker room talk, Trump's a serious candidate; he's just getting all sides, again.

    Happy holiday’s mahablogger’s thanks for letting me back in the comment section; I’ll try not to offend?

  7. "No, he’s not. He’s not “better than this” at all. That’s exactly who he is, and who he has been all along"

    One could argue he's way "worse than this". He knows exactly what he is doing and he’s going to burn the whole thing down. All the sudden Friedman who’s always been a rightwing nutjob is dismayed with Trump, poor thing.

    Our Corporate media seems ready to just accept a Trump run, it's normal, it's relevent, it’s just a few felonies!

  8. As for Twittler, there is no mystery. It is right in front of you.

    The Afrikaner with money from lord knows which dictators, is getting his website ready for the 2024 election.

    With Fox and Twittler , how can the haters not lose?

  9. I slept a bit more peacefully when I realized that Musk was born in South Africa, and our blessed Constitution requires the President to be born on US soil.

  10. Regarding Fuentes: Trump said several moons ago that there would be demonstrations in Atlanta, NYC, and DC if they kept picking on TFG.  The Oath Keepers are kinda busy and the other terrorist groups are infiltrated. I'm not surprised if Trump is cultivating relationships with the leaders of violent groups. If I'm right, Trump will come out in full-throated support of the Oath Keepers if they are convicted. 

    Trump thinks he can intimidate the DOJ into backing down, likewise NY and GA by "burning cities down" – you know, like ANTIFA and BLM did to force Congress to defund the police. You don't have to tell me that a) that's not what happened and b) that's not how it works. Trump believes it happened that way (sorta) and it can work that way for him.

  11. Doug, you're completely right. Trump will try to burn down the country when the law is closing in. This is 100% take it to the bank. Hitler kind of did the same thing – it was the German people’s fault, not his, that he lost the war.

  12. Libertarians, borderdenizen , are just RWNJs that are too embarrassed to admit they are republicans.

  13. “The quickest way to DONALD TRUMP’s heart is flattery: Say nice things about him, and you’re in.”

    He didn't just say nice things about him; he said the thing Trump likes to hear more than anything in the world: that he's better when he just goes off and says whatever he wants without anyone nagging him about having to seem "presidential" or "dignified" or "American" or "not a domestic abuser" or any of that boring stuff.

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