The Party Of Pedophiles And Plutocrats
It has been an amazing few days for Republicans and the party has finally been exposed as it possibly never has before. Unfortunately, the tribalism and near cult-like devotion of the party’s supporters probably means that not much will change.
The reaction to the revelation that the Republican party candidate for Senate in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore, has been accused of pedophilia, sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl when Moore himself was 32, has been shockingly revealing. Republican members of Congress are virtually of one voice, saying that Moore should step down “if the allegations are true”. There will be no “proof”. The incident occurred 40 years ago. The girl reported Moore’s behavior contemporaneously. Other women between the ages of 16 and 18 also report being approached by Moore, although not sexually assaulted. You either believe the women or you don’t. And the line that “if the allegations are true” just will allow Moore to deny the story, turning it into a “he said/she said” situation which essentially discounts the women’s testimony. ’Twas ever thus, although that may be finally be changing.
More disgusting is the reaction from the Republican party in Alabama which is either claiming that what Moore did was no big deal, or that it was a long time ago, or, incredibly, the Bible says it’s OK, or, even more incredibly, that it doesn’t really matter of he did molest a minor, he still needs to be elected. Predictably, Moore is playing the victim card, not only raising money off the accusation but also saying that “The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal — even inflict physical harm — if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me”. As one Republican county chairman said, “There is NO option to support to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that, you are supporting the entire Democrat party.” That is the very definition of tribalism.
That very tribalism seemingly allows the Republicans in Congress to openly admit that they are solely interested in taking care of their plutocratic donors without fear of retribution from the base. Two days ago, Representative Chris Collins said, ”My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’” Yesterday, Lindsey Graham declared that if the tax cuts don’t pass, “The party fractures, most incumbents in 2018 will get a severe primary challenge, a lot of them will probably lose, the base will fracture, the financial contributions will stop.” I’m pretty sure the base that Graham refers to here is his plutocratic backers and not the tribalists in his party. Graham and Collins aren’t the only ones talking openly about who they are really serving.
Yesterday Gary Cohn made some unusual admissions, saying, “It’s not our intention to give the wealthy a tax cut…I don’t believe that we’ve set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone’s getting a tax cut, I’m not upset that they’re getting a tax cut. I’m really not upset…When you take a corporate tax rate at 35 percent and move it to 20 percent… it’s hard for me to not imagine that they’re not going to bring businesses back to the United States. We create wage inflation, which means the workers get paid more; the workers have more disposable income, the workers spend more. And we see the whole trickle-down through the economy, and that’s good for the economy.” Cohn then added that “the most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.” All of these statements rebut his prior lies that it was all about giving more money to the middle class and we all know that those tax cuts will inevitably go to shareholders, not to increased wages for workers.
The news of the last few days leads us to a remarkable situation. The Republican party is openly supporting an alleged child molester in his run for the United States Senate. At the same time, the party is openly admitting that they are absolutely beholden to their plutocratic donors and that their tax “reform” is just trickle-down economics all over again. The tax bill is entirely skewed toward the ultra-wealthy, overly benefitting passive ownership over actual labor.
Will this mean that support for the party will erode among its base? As the reaction in Alabama shows, it most assuredly won’t. You might wonder why voting for Doug Jones, the man who prosecuted two of the perpetrators of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four young black girls and injured 22 others, would be impossible for those Alabama Republicans. The question answers itself. For the Republican base, in particular the Trump supporters, it is all about tribalism. Much of that is overtly racist white nationalism, while others are simply focused on making sure that the “other people” don’t get any more than they are getting now, which is not much. Democrats are seen as representing those “other people” and must therefore be opposed no matter what. In addition, evangelical Christians show themselves to be single issue voters on maintaining patriarchal control over women by restricting access to abortion and nothing more. The leaders of that movement are certainly not Christian and more evangelical about lining their own pockets and enhancing their power than anything else.
Michael Kruse had an insightful article in Politico where he went back and talked to the Trump supporters in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a city in the southwest part of the state that came out massively for Trump and helped him win that state. As it turns out, Trump’s promises to bring back coal and restart the steel mills were as empty as his promises about Trump University. But to these voters, that doesn’t matter. Says Kruse, “It’s not that the people who made Trump president have generously moved the goalposts for him. It’s that they have eliminated the goalposts altogether…His supporters here, it turns out, are energized by his bombast and his animus more than any actual accomplishments. For them, it’s evidently not what he’s doing so much as it is the people he’s fighting. Trump is simply and unceasingly angry on their behalf, battling the people who vex them the worst — ‘obstructionist’ Democrats, uncooperative establishment Republicans, the media, Black Lives Matter protesters and NFL players (boy oh boy do they hate kneeling NFL players) whom they see as ungrateful, disrespectful millionaires.”
Kruse, like Charles Blow, believes appealing to the Trump base, either through policies or identity politics is just a waste of time and, according to Blow, will only pervert the liberal project. Even David Brooks recognizes that the GOP is shrinking into an angry, rural, and isolated party. Policies, scandal, intellectual inconsistencies, none of this will reach these people. The only way to possibly reach them is to actually win political power with a coalition that does not include them and then implement policies that bring those rural areas back to life. But even that may not do it. The fact of the matter, we may just have to wait for them all to die off. And that’s a pretty depressing prospect.
In the wake of Tuesday’s elections, the punditocracy kept on saying, “Well, you Democrats may have won the election but tell me what the party stands for?”. Today, as clear as day, we know the Democrats do not stand for pedophiles and plutocratic tax cuts. The real question is what does the Republican party stand for anymore.
Originally published at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com on November 10, 2017.