Surely This Is Rock Bottom for Republicans?

The United States Capitol in Washington DC at night, September 18, 2014
The United States Capitol in Washington DC at night, September 18, 2014 (Thomas Hawk)

I thought Republicans hit rock bottom when they elected a president with neither knowledge of nor interest in world affairs, a man who confessed to groping women, mocked a war hero despite himself dodging the Vietnam draft and who disparaged all Mexican immigrants as murders and rapists — but clearly I was wrong.

In Alabama, they have nominated for the Senate a man who was removed as the state’s chief justice for refusing to recognize the supremacy of the law over his own religious beliefs, who perpetuated the racist lie that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, who believes homosexuality should be illegal, that Muslims can’t serve in government and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were God’s punishment for America’s heathen ways.

And that’s not even the worst about Roy Moore. Read more

How Significant Is Latest Republican Criticism of Trump?

Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee meets with then-Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece in Athens, June 1, 2010
Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee meets with then-Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece in Athens, June 1, 2010 (Greek Prime Minister’s Office)

Senior Republicans have castigated President Donald Trump in the last week, some implicitly, others explicitly.

  • George W. Bush, former president: “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. … We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. … We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism — forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. … Our identity as a nation […] is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility.”
  • John McCain, Arizona senator, former presidential candidate and chairman of the Armed Services Committee: “To fear the world we have organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of Earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
  • Bob Corker, Tennessee senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee: “The president has great difficulty with the truth. … I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in a way that he does, but he does. … He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona senator: “We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency.” Read more

Trump Declares War on Republicans. Will Republicans Fight Back?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Now that Donald Trump’s Rasputin, Steve Bannon, has declared open season on Republicans, will the party finally see its president for the saboteur he is?

Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan report for Axios that Bannon is recruiting right-wing primary challengers against every incumbent Republican senator running for reelection next year except Ted Cruz. He told Fox News: “Nobody’s safe. We’re coming after all of them.”

Opposing the leadership of Trump critic Mitch McConnell is “a de facto litmus test in Bannon’s recruitment.”

Allen and Swan conclude:

If Bannon were to field the slate he envisions, the Republican Party would have a civil war on its hands that makes 2010 look like a tea party.

Read more

Trump Would Let Democratic Voters Pay for His Tax Cuts

American president Donald Trump listens to a speech outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, July 12
American president Donald Trump listens to a speech outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, July 12 (DoD/Dominique A. Pineiro)

It’s not hard to characterize American president Donald Trump’s tax plan as taking from the poor and giving to the rich. That’s what it does.

But it’s more insidious than that: the reforms would specifically hurt Democratic voters.

Megan McArdle writes for Bloomberg View that the plan (such as it is; many details have yet to be filled in) would punish two groups:

  1. The lowest-income Americans, who see their marginal tax rate go up from 10 to 12 percent and only get a small increase in the standard deduction in return; and
  2. Upper-middle-class professionals in high-taxed blue states, who get creamed by the loss of their deduction for state and local taxes. Read more

Trump Is Taking Over Republican Party, Making Realignment More Likely

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Donald Trump is splitting America’s Republican Party in two — and his side is winning.

NBC News and The Wall Street Journal asked Republican voters if they consider themselves to be a supporter of the president first or a supporter of the Republican Party. 58 percent said Trump, 38 percent the party.

The Trump supporters are more likely to hail from rural areas and to be men while Republican Party supporters are more likely to be women and residents of the suburbs.

CNN found a similar divide: Trump’s support is strongest among old white voters without a college education. Republicans under the age of fifty with a degree are disappointed in him.

These trends portend a realignment of America’s two-party system in which the Democrats become the party of the affluent and the optimistic and the Republicans a coalition of the left behind.

Before such a realignment can happen, though, the Republicans need to break up. Read more

The Many Scenarios of a Republican Civil War

Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008
Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008 (PBS/Tom LeGro)

In August 2016, I was penning an article titled “The Coming Republican Civil War”. The premise was simple: after a self-inflicted Trumpian defeat in November, the party of Lincoln would tear itself asunder assigning blame and shedding factions.

But Hillary lost. For a few brief months, the Grand Old Party looked triumphant.

Not so much anymore.

The long-term trajectory of the Republican Party isn’t great; factional infighting has already sunk several attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and by the end of the month we’ll know just how deep the divides go should tax reform and the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill fail. Read more

Democrats, Republicans Split on Diversity and Immigration

Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005
Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005 (Thomas Hawk)

Americans overall have very liberal views of immigration, but there is a partisan divide:

  • An NBC News-The Wall Street Journal poll found that more than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, feel comfortable with societal changes that have made the country more diverse.
  • Democrats, only 29 percent of whom are white and Christian anymore, embrace ethnic and religious diversity as central to the American idea. Republicans, nearly three quarters of whom are white and Christian, see these changes as eroding what they believe America to be about.
  • Not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s supporters worry the most. The Pew Research Center found (PDF) that only 39 percent of them agree diversity makes America stronger.
  • Analysis of post-election survey data by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that 79 percent of Americans who agree with the statement “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country” voted for Trump. Read more