Why won’t the Republicans stand up to the President

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October 12, 2019 by epoetus

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or have they begun considering other options.

 

 

As usual, the calculus of shifting political positions is very complicated and hard to forecast. This essay is not a journey into the facts and the strengths of a legal case to see where it takes us – it is a brainstorming about the Republican brainstorming, their construction of narratives, the tabulation of opinions, focus groups and polls to see what messages stick. These Republican calculations are almost entirely political.

 

 

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But why are the Republicans supporting the president?

 
Some possible reasons:
• They are afraid of him because he has successfully primaried out Republican rivals
• They believe that Fox News is a strong source of favorable information that they can leverage
• Maybe Trump has some compromising information on them (e.g. Pence is implicated)?
• Supporting impeachment negatively aligns them with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats
• Generally the Republicans unify to support each other and rally around the figurehead
• The case against Trump has not become too toxic with their constituents yet
• Maybe it is their silence that is the key observation – they are not coming out in support of him
• They are waiting for their primaries to complete so they can secure their candidacy on the ballot

 
The Republicans appear to have changed their behavior a little bit:
• For the most part they are quiet about their support for the President
• They are struggling to find a supportive message for the mainstream media that works
• There is also an apparent growing support for impeachment amongst the Republicans
• Recent events with Syria and now Giuliani and his Ukraine helpers who were arrested for campaign finance violations are new straws on the camel’s back – and the rate at which evidence is being produced seems to be accelerating
• Combine that with Evangelicals backing away, decisions by courts coming out against hishis appeals for the border wall and hiding his tax returns, Fox News reporter Shepard Smith quitting, and you have a stream of constant bad news

 
The Republicans have become more desperate to find an effective message, and so has the President. The President’s desperation shows through his tweets, threats, foul language and even more outrageous rhetoric and behavior. Republicans seeking re-election may fear the potential of being primaried out by a Pro-Trump candidate and may have chosen to remain silent until their primaries are over. In addition the Republicans have tried but have not found a unifying, effective message to combat the Democratic impeachment strategy.

 
The surprising failure of the Fox News propaganda message machinery may be the biggest story for the Republicans right now as they heavily rely on that air cover. Maybe the situation will continue to change and evolve as the story develops, the competing narratives become more effective and as the primaries take place for these Republican candidates. Maybe, just maybe, the Republicans are quietly unifying against the President and Senate leader Mitch McConnell, and will support impeachment. If they do that it will be a united message that comes out all at once. We can only hope.

 

Final Thoughts

 
Are we just waiting for the straw that breaks the camels back? If so, is that right around the corner? Where does Democratic leadership sit in this picture? Are there now opportunities for Democratic leadership to reach across the aisle? Hopefully our Democratic leadership has seized the narrative firmly enough that they can blow up this story faster than #45IdiOTUS can tweet a retort – and that appears to be the case lately.

 
Rephrasing the sexist platitude, has the President become “Something only a parent can love?” Even parents give up on their children when they see that their own demise is connected to continued and futile support. With the acceleration of straws piling up on the camel’s back we may see a breaking point soon – or at least enough anxiety that it hastens a “plausibly appropriate” shift towards supporting justice.

 
The Republican political calculus mandates that they shift when it becomes clear that even their constituents will demand justice, but not before. Maybe the Democrats have an opportunity for some frank, tough love moments that help them reach across the aisle and break this partisan deadlock before their colleagues realize that they were too late to join the group who “did the right thing” – who historians will cast in a positive light. Let’s hope so.

 

 

This essay is about the Big Brother 1984-ish politics of seizing the narrative that shapes public opinion, which the Republicans have focused all of their money, energy and talent on over the past 40-50 years, and has nothing to do with the facts on the ground. At the risk of mixing metaphors in an appalling way, it appears that the Democrats have finally realized that they need to pull back the curtain to reveal “The Wizard,” and they seem to be doing a decent job at it too.

 

 

References

Trump’s attempts to hide his tax returns are failing too
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2019-10-11/us-appeals-court-upholds-house-subpoena-seeking-trumps-accounting-records

 

 

Even the border wall court appeals seem to be failing Trump
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/465449-federal-judge-declares-trump-border-proclamation-unlawful

 
Evangelicals criticizing Trump over sacrificing the Kurds in Syria to the Turkish military – sort of.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-religion-idUSKBN1WQ2QM

 

Fox News guy Shepard Smith quits, because … facts matter.
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2019-10-11/fox-news-veteran-shepard-smith-quits-says-hopes-facts-will-win-the-day

 
Guiliani, Ukraine, Campaign finance arrests
https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-whistleblower-factbox/factbox-the-criminal-charges-against-giulianis-associates-idUSKBN1WP2LY
Syria, Kurds, ISIS, Turkey, POTUS – the Republicans unify against the President’s decision to pull out of Syria
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-turkey-usa-trump-idUSKBN1WO2B1

 
Senator Ron Johnson jumped the shark by rambling on about Fox News conspiracy theories on Meet the Press and it didn’t work. This was after he said that he agreed that the President should not have shaken down the Ukrainian government.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-sen-ron-johnson-loses-it-on-meet-the-press-i-do-not-trust-the-fbi-or-cia

 

Republicans, and especially McConnell criticize and threaten Trump over Syria
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-turkey-usa-trump-idUSKBN1WO2B1

 

 

Rick Wilson criticizing all of the Republicans for standing beside a suicide bomber President
https://www.newsweek.com/rick-wilson-donald-trump-suicide-bomber-1462931

 

 

Paul Krugman on the fear of association with Pelosi and the Democrats
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/10/paul-krugman-nails-why-gopers-wont-turn-on-trump-and-its-not-over-fear-of-the-presidents-wrath/

 

 

The difference in media coverage during the Nixon impeachment and the Trump impeachment
https://prospect.org/impeachment/republicans-turned-on-nixon-trump-impeachment-media/?fbclid=IwAR2BOwkHYVTbbtt5mPEsGlFLyCaXeauw7paSRPJLF9X7zQmk1SNGjo0vBbg

 

 

Trump sees the lack of support as deafening
https://www.rawstory.com/2019/10/trump-is-grasping-at-straws-because-republicans-are-refusing-to-defend-his-ukraine-corruption-ex-house-intel-staffer/

 

 

Flake says 35 Republicans quietly support impeachment
https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/09/27/impeachment-inquiry-gop-jeff-flake

 

 

The threat of viral disinformation campaigns keep the Republican dissent at bay
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2019/10/03/viral-disinformation-campaigns-target-republicans-who-speak-out-trump/nEhv4p7iYm8JL2SIWspNQP/story.html

 

 

Trump is desperate
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2019/10/03/donald_trump_is_desperate_488127.html

 

 

Reich on the Republican strategy
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/05/donald-trump-impeachment-republicans-senate

 

 

Primaries impacting some Republicans
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/some-republican-senators-face-minefield-with-trump-impeachment-push

 

 

Republicans flailing on impeachment strategy
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/01/republicans-trump-impeachment-strategy

 

 

Five Thirty Eight – if the Republicans turn on Trump it will be all at once
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/if-republicans-ever-turn-on-trump-itll-happen-all-at-once/

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