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Next Up: Disemboweling by @BloggersRUs

Next Up: Disemboweling

by Tom Sullivan

Greg Sargent gets at a problem Republicans face ahead of November 6:

They need Trump to go full Trumpist to get out his voters, because his policies aren’t getting the job done — yet these displays are simultaneously strengthening the anti-Trump backlash among the constituencies most likely to deliver the House to Democrats.

[...]

A single quote from a GOP consultant tells the whole story. Republican Lou Barletta is trailing Sen. Bob Casey (D) by double digits — in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s win shocked the world — despite running as a full-blown Trumper. Why? A strategist for Barletta explains it to The Post this way: “One false assumption that was made was that a Trump voter from the 2016 election was necessarily a Republican voter.”

Trump's plan is to fill the media space with Trump, Sargent writes. Displays of contempt and humiliation for the losers, as Trump used on Lesley Stahl and Christine Blasey Ford, are part of the shtick. Kellyanne Conway thinks it's "Donald Trump in full" season, Sargent writes, with the sitting president doing as many rallies and unleashing "as many lies and depravities as the media space will absorb."

That the media is complicit and cannot look away says megabytes about the mindlessness of "moral" capitalism that turns the free press into Trump's vassals. Disembowelings and feeding the powerless to the lions was just as good for business at the Coliseum.

World revulsion at the disappearance/murder/dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudis seems not to have made a ripple in Trumpworld. For his part, the sitting president's Monday phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has Trump floating the idea “rogue killers” (with access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul) are responsible.

The frightening thing is how close to that edge Trump is willing to step (without having to see any blood himself, of course) to remain in the good graces of the strongmen he idolizes.

Daily Beast examines how welcome the extremist Proud Boys have become among mainstream Republicans:

Fascist skinhead groups have wreaked havoc in the U.S. for decades, but scholars of fascism have noted that those groups pose limited political threats — unless a mainstream political party embraces them.

“The skinheads, for example, would become functional equivalents of Hitler’s SA and Mussolini’s squadristi only if they aroused support instead of revulsion,” historian Robert Paxton writes in his 2004 book The Anatomy of Fascism. “If important elements of the conservative elite begin to cultivate or even tolerate them as weapons against some internal enemy, such as immigrants, we are approaching Stage Two" of what he identifies as fascist insurgency.

Like Trump, the group is careful to manage its violent elements so as not to overstep:
The frequent clashes between Proud Boys and left-wing protesters apparently haven’t damaged the Proud Boy brand enough to keep the group from gaining new members. While other groups further to the Proud Boys’ right have fractured, the Proud Boys appear to be growing, with members from United Kingdom and Australia posting beat-in videos on YouTube.

“Gavin, smartly, is holding by his fingernails to legitimacy,” Hankes said. “He knows that the second they cross over into being recognized as extreme as they are in reality, it’s all decline from there.”

Trump is already that extreme. He's just better at manipulating a media trained not to say so forcefully and responsibly.
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