Pundits are as determined to find a pivoting God-King as wingnuts are to find voter fraud. (More)

“Trump Upends 150 Years of Two-Party Rule”

So declared the New York Times headline in Peter Baker’s column last week:

Although elected as a Republican last year. Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.

So the God-King “has shown … in many ways” that he’s not really a Republican? Baker’s ‘proof’ is as imaginary as Kris Kobach’s ‘proof’ of voter fraud in New Hampshire. And I think Baker ‘found’ his ‘proof’ for the same reason Kobach did: they both believe – desperately, unrelentingly – in a myth.

In Kobach’s case, the myth is that Republicans would win every election if not for ‘voter fraud.’ These are people who still think ACORN ‘stole’ the elections for President Obama … including the 2012 election, three years after ACORN ceased to exist. Their excuse? ACORN may have shut down, but the people who ran it joined other groups. I guess mass executions are the only solution to that problem.

The Kobach Kounting Krew – no, those initials are not an accident – are convinced that the God-King ‘really’ won the 2016 popular vote, if only because votes from New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco shouldn’t count. They’re not ‘real Americans,’ after all.

In Baker’s case, the myth is that there exists some ideological ‘center’ that government should adopt. Oh sure, the God-King tried to ban Muslims, endorsed police violence, said there were “fine people” marching for white supremacy in Charlottesville, banned transgendered persons from serving in the military, urged Congress to strip tens of millions of Americans of health insurance, proposed to slash Medicaid, began the process to deport kids who grew up in the U.S., and has declared open war on science

… but he cut a deal with Democrats to not shut down the government until December!

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall dismisses that blather:

But there’s a small, more specific problem with all this talk which may be obvious but still merits saying out loud. There haven’t even been any deals! The ‘deal’ people are talking about is a minor procedural accommodation, an agreement not to go through a round of legislative hostage taking tied mainly to the need to increase the debt-limit – something that should be abolished altogether. It is important to note how minuscule this accommodation really is. Beyond that, it is important to note how much the deal itself is only over a kind of legislative misbehavior which as recently as a decade ago would have been all but unthinkable: holding the full faith and credit hostage to the right of the GOP House caucus.

In any case, the real issue is that there is no issue of ideology or policy at stake. None. It accomplished Trump’s goal of beating up congressional Republicans at no real cost – at least no cost to his supporters image of him as a far-right revanchist President. If anything it helps since the GOP congressional party or ‘the establishment’ was always Trump’s enemy and his supporters’ in the first place. Remember, this is why Boehner got tossed.

New York Magazine’s Benjamin Hart takes it further:

Almost eight months into his decidedly abnormal presidency, there remains a persistent and surprisingly widespread impulse among political journalists to transmogrify Trump into a traditional president, one who makes decisions based on long-term strategy, one not governed by pure id – a president who has something in common with men who came before him. (Perhaps there’s something comforting in that?)

This impulse animated the never-fulfilled expectation that Trump would “pivot” to a more traditional presidential pose during the 2016 election. It showed up again when Trump kind of, sort of eschewed his nuttier side during Hurricane Harvey. And it has appeared once more, now that Trump has made a very slight gesture toward bipartisanship.

Yet just three weeks ago, Trump was touting the merits of white supremacists. His dark, Manichaean view of the world is not going to change; nor will his impulsiveness, impetuousness, or any of the other characteristics that make him so ill-suited to be president. Waiting for him to transform into some semblance of a normal human being, much less a president governed by anything beyond impulse, will be a long wait indeed.

Meanwhile, Trump connected Hurricane Irma to the apparently urgent need for “tax reform” – one of the 15 things he does every day that would have counted as scandalous for any other president, but which the country has become so inured to that it barely makes a ripple.

The deeper problem, I think, is that most pundits are upper-middle-class white men whose capacity for empathy seems to extend all the way to … working-class white men.

Any issue that goes beyond that – women’s reproductive rights, sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, police violence and voter suppression that disproportionately target people of color, etc. – gets a quick tut-tut alongside warnings about “identity politics.” Oh sure, these guys care about climate change, but on Sunday morning, as the second major hurricane in two weeks hit the U.S., only one Sunday Morning host asked a guest about climate change. And no one has asked the God-King about it at all.

But a government shutdown would roil the financial markets, including the portfolios of upper-middle-class white male pundits. So avoiding for three whole months … well … that’s some real independence.



Image Credit: FiveThirtyEight.com


Good day and good nuts