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Do the Republicans Need a Message?

Oft-repeated wisdom going into the 2018 midterms: “Democrats need to run on something other than opposition to Trump.” Unstated assumption of the 2018 midterms: “Republicans must run on Trump and only Trump.”

The message that the Republicans are sending by not having a message is: “We don’t really believe in our cause. We fear losing our seats if we speak out against a rotten president that we privately decry. We repeatedly cave to policies that are in diametric opposition to our preferences. We reject the idea that our political philosophy has any ounce of merit that will inevitably be evolutionarily selected for its merits and virtues. Also, please send clean pants.”

Speaking as a fairly moderate leaning-liberal type, I lament many of the horrible policies of Muralism, as I have the bad policies of Republicans, of George W. Bush’s administration, and so on. But I still believe, deep down, that the sun will come out tomorrow, that sanity and reason do triumph over tyranny, corruption, racism, sexism, and stupidity in general.

The Republicans don’t seem to believe that about their policies. Well, to be fair, they have hard evidence in the form of their cuckoo standard bearer. But surely, they must believe in the long term, that their small-government plans would be useful? That they could achieve a safety net without taxes, instead based on responsibility and all that? Apparently not, because they are not standing up to someone that represents none of those interests as he takes a giant dump on their whole tradition.

The RNC still employs Michael Cohen. The head of the RNC still holds tight to the president. In the Senate, nobody wants to “poke the bear” to use Corker’s language. In the House, the Republicans want to feed the bear.

Republicans have long been split on immigration, but until Trump, nobody knew they could support taking children away without cause. Even those opposing the separation have taken no real legislative or political action.

The same goes for trade. There has long been a wing of the Republican party skeptical of trade, but even as a trade war heats up, the believers (excepting a few like Corker) have not sought to protect trade.

On any issue that Republicans largely believe, you can guess what they will do when Trump acts against it.

Republicans don’t need a message. They need an exorcist.

To paraphrase Robert De Niro, fuck family separation. The fact that the Republicans are not speaking out about this practice is asinine. All of their family values go right out the window when they don’t care about actually reuniting children with their parents, when they’re down with usurping the parental rights under color of law.

2016 DNC Preview, RNC Review: The Republicans Went Vegetarian

The Trump convention served fake red meat, and some thoughts about what to expect from the Democratic Convention.

Sure, there was lots of red meat at this convention, but there was no beef. This election cycle the Republicans have gone full vegetarian, substituting hate for what used to pass as red meat.

There was hatred of Hillary Clinton. A typical convention would treat the crowds to plenty of vitriol against a candidate through an assault on their policy proposals. They want to fund the IRS or whatever. Instead, the assaults to Clinton focus on trumped-up scandals like Benghazi. They’re snakeoil-level with this stuff, as I actually encountered an advertisement for fermented wheat germ extract that claimed that Hillary Clinton is involved in a conspiracy with Big Pharma that kills 100,000 people per year (“If you want to keep your teeth for good, you better throw away your toothpaste!”).

There was hatred of Black Lives Matter, a movement whose main goal is the reduction of the number of people killed by police. Again, the fake meat here is the fact that it’s all taste-and-texture attacks, focused not on why policy recommendations might be problematic, but on how awful people are for wanting to not get shot by cops and daring to say something about it.

There was hatred of people who unlawfully immigrate, with a focus on the worst-of-the-worst as proxy for all. The reality is that there are millions of people who work hard for low wages, both immigrants and citizens, and the policies the Republicans support do nothing for any of them. Crime is a separate issue from immigration, and to conflate the two is as contrived as can be.

Fake and disgusting dish after dish of food-colored-red tofu. Grilled to abjection. Smothered in a secret sauce, by the nominee, where he insanely promised lower taxes, debt reduction, higher wages, and massive infrastructure spending, all immediately.

Hillary Clinton also announced her running mate ahead of the convention, which is one fewer thing to make news during the convention. Regardless, one expects a much cleaner show from the Democrats than the Republicans managed, but there could still be some fireworks.

For one, we will see how much beef the Democrats bring, versus how much meat analogue. Will the convention be as anti-Trump as the RNC was anti-Hillary, or will the focus be on governance?

For another, while there was a formal Never Trump movement, there was also a Not Hillary movement from the Bernie Sanders side of the party. That activist-heavy wing may actually teach the Republican insurgents a thing or two.

Instead of the ‘Make America _____ Again’ themes, the Democrats have ‘________ Together’ (except for Tuesday, which will be “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families”—I guess ‘Fighting Together’ wasn’t deemed worthy?), and we’ll see if they can actually stay on message.

Other things to watch for:

  • Hillary Clinton will be sitting in at the hotsauce dunking booth from 10-2 each morning, as penance for her email mishap; tickets start at $2K for three balls
  • Judicial Watch immediately granted a motion to depose Tim Kaine for information about Hillary Clinton’s use of email as Secretary of State
  • Bill Clinton under fire after plagiarizing part of his speech from My Little Pony
  • Confetti (made of shredded emails) and balloons