As much as certain Democrats stand in the spotlight fighting against Trump, like Rep Adam Schiff and Rep Eric Swalwell, the loudest and most urgent voices of dissent have come from a small band of Republicans describing themselves as Never Trumpers. These include Steve Schmidt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Flake and Ana Navarro.
Another is Tom Nichols, author and professor at the Naval War College, who posted an interesting Twitter thread yesterday that went viral and got a lot of attention. Here it is in full:
It’s not that I disagree about policy with Trump supporters. It’s that I know they don’t give a shit about policy. There’s no way to have a policy argument with people whose eyes are always looking up to the television for a cue from Dear Leader about what to say next.
@JVLast once said, Trumpism is non-falsifiable. Whatever Trump does is right. There are no principled arguments to be had, because if Trump changes his mind or tweets something off the wall, Trumpers change their position immediately.
This would basically be a cult except for one thing: most Trumpers do not believe their own bullshit. Yes, some of them really are stupid enough to think Trump is a good man and all that crap, but most of them are only interested in Trump as a vehicle of social disruption.
Trump’s smarter enablers see him as an equalizer, a way to put them on an equal footing with “elites” – oh, that word – who they think look down on them. Thing is, the elites *do* look down on them. For good reason. Most of Trump’s sycophants are second raters, at best.
For them, Trump is their shot. They know he’s, um, emotionally disordered, to use
@Peter_Wehner‘s term, but they don’t care: this is their one chance to grab the car keys and throw a kegger before Mom and Dad get back home. That makes talking with them about policy impossible.
So if it seems like I don’t engage Trump’s enablers on the merits of this or that Trump policy, it’s because I can’t take Trump’s “policies” any more seriously than Trump or his minions do. It’s either pure stupidity or pure careerism, and either way, it’s a waste of time.
Yes, there are people in government trying to hold everything together. I salute them and hope they can keep the ship afloat. But they can’t make policy either. They can issue directives and hope for the best, mostly hoping Trump doesn’t notice and overrule them via tweet.
I think we’d all be less exhausted if the Trumpers would just admit that what they value from Trump is the social leveling effect he has, forcing intelligent people to respond endlessly to stupid comments and bad ideas, than continue pretending they care about “policy.”
For myself, I am resigned that Trump will be president for as long as he’s president. How it ends is up to the voters. But I don’t see the need to engage in the cynical bullshittery of arguing policy with people who will change their minds on anything in nanoseconds.
And for the love of God, don’t tell me about what Trump’s Real ‘Muricans in the Heartland want. I know what they want: more government action, including money, delivered with a smile, inflated respect, and pity, earned or not. Those are utterly pointless discussions too.
Trump is going to do what Trump is going to do. He’s not liberal or conservative. It’s all just the blurted thoughts of an angry, frightened man who won an office he didn’t really want. We have to get through it, but we don’t have to pretend we’re arguing about real things. – TomNichols@RadioFreeTom
It seems likely that the voters will ultimately determine how long Trump stays in office. And it also seems correct that Trumps base cares very little about policy details or facts. They know their opponents are angered by the things Trump says and does, and they love it. The more angry we get, the better. If burning the country and the Constitution to the ground will make us even more angry, they are fine with it. If ruining their own safety net and economic protections will make us even more angry, they are fine with it. For decades, they have suffered the slow, steady march of equality, which to them has felt like oppression. They are motivated by resentment and vengeance because for decades they have lived with the shame of being racists or bigots or chauvinists or polluters or know-nothings or homophobes, but Trump came along and said “it’s okay to be those things, and it’s okay to hate the people who won’t tolerate those things”.
It’s laudable that certain Republicans rail against Trump and Trumpism, but it’s also lamentable that more Democrats aren’t screaming about the daily insults and corruption streaming from the White House. It’s not about policy details, but about a moral imperative to stop a corrupt threat to our institution of government. Aside from late-night comedians, who is our eloquent public figure that speaks of Trump with urgent concern, if not spitting rage? Who is our politician who speaks of Trump as a threat to Democracy and the rule of law? There are far too few.
We must demand our leaders and our candidates address the Trump catastrophe in dire terms equal to the threat it represents. This doesn’t require hysteria or melodrama, but it does require energized passion, which has been plentiful on social media and from cable TV pundits, but mostly missing from Democratic leadership in public.
Leadership certainly won’t come from Rep John Faso, who might politely disagree with a Trump policy, but will never address the corruption of the administration, nor the fact that Trump is temperamentally unfit for office. Let’s keep working to Fire Feckless Faso and hire a Rep who will show moral leadership by resisting a corrupt authoritarian in the White House.