Thursday, January 26, 2017

Donald Trump Is A Republican.

Michael Tracey, criticizing individuals who are criticizing some Democratic senators for their willingness to work with Donald Trump against the GOP Congress, argues

Can someone please explain the harm done by working with Trump to produce better policy on infrastructure, outsourcing, and trade? If the worry is about “normalizing” him, that ship has already sailed. He is president, and therefore basically about as “normalized” as you can get. 

Tracey may be confusing normalizing with legitimizing. The latter concept aside, Donald Trump has most assuredly not been normalized.  This morning on CNN's "New Day," Michael Smerconish stated that after he noted on his radio program that there is no evidence of Trump's claim of  3-5 million illegal immigrants having voted in November, a caller irrationally challenged him to "prove" that it did not occur. Tracey might as well "prove" that he did not write the paragraph above while under the influence of intoxicating substances.

God is in the details, and we do not know yet- and may not know for a long time- how any effort to play ball with the singularly megalomaniacal, highly mercurial, and far right President will turn out. However, speculation is not only reasonable, but irresisible, and the arrow is pointing in the direction Tracey is turned from.  Politico reports

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday endorsed President Donald Trump's call to launch an investigation into voter fraud in the presidential election. "I think it's fine," Ryan told MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren.

To be fair, Ryan also

made a point of saying that he has not seen any evidence to support Trump’s unsubstantiated claim, repeatedly debunked by independent fact-checkers, that his loss in the popular vote was a result of millions of people voting illegally for Hillary Clinton.

That's not much of a concession.  In 30 of 47 states, the Secretary of State is a  Republican (no such position in three states), and Ryan is hardly likely to contradict those Secretaries. If he singled out other states, it might be interpreted as an overly partisan claim, and Ryan is jealous in protecting his image with the media as knowledgeable, rational, and sensible.    Yet,

Ryan, noting that he is "sure there is some fraud," suggeted that an investigation into the issue is the right step to establishing the facts if Trump really believes the claim. 

"If he believes there's a problem to be looked at, the right thing to do is get an investigation, to get the facts," Ryan said. "I haven't seen evidence of this kind of widespread numbers that  we've been hearing about. The thing to do is to get an investigation to get the facts and then make a judgment based on the facts."

Ryan contends there is fraud and that President Trump is right to investigate it. He is perpetuating the legend.

It may matter little why Ryan is keeping this urban myth alive. Most likely he is pandering to that Smerconish caller- and other Republicans- who believe there is widespread voter impersonation fraud. Less likely, he is giving it up for the President. Conceivably- but just barely- he really believes in this pile of horse manure.

But he is doing it and he is no back-bencher, but the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, arguably the second most powerful person in American government.   And he is all-in with President Trump.

Let's remember, further, that Donald Trump became President running against a candidate boasting of support from rank-and-file Republicans and GOP foreign-policy hands.  .  Hillary Clinton beleived candidate Trump could be separated from more moderate, more reasonable Republicans. She won very few votes from Republicans, was defeated decisively among Independents, and lost an election which was hers to lose. The notion was that Donald Trump was an outlier in his party. We learned otherwise. Charlie Pierce remarks

The more stringent "gag rule" on abortion that Trump signed into place with his executive order is pure Mike Pence. While he's blathering on about crowd size and Peyton Manning, Paul Ryan is as close as he's ever been to his golden dream of dismantling the social programs that, in his mind, stopped serving a useful purpose when they got him through college. The country's environmental programs are being handed over to people who would frack their grandmother's old gray head if they thought there was a buck to be made in doing it.

Triangulation failed Hillary Clinton as it had failed President Obama.  The most effective political movement of the past quarter century was the Tea Party movement, which might as well have borrowed Nancy Reagan's drug slogan "just say no."  If Democratic officials, like Michael Tracey, does not heed that lesson, they will lose both their sould and a lot of elections.

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