“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups,” Trump said.
Since he was forced to do the right thing, it took 48 hours for him to get to it, and he didn’t even say Heather Heyer’s name, the Nazis and Klansmen won’t take it personally – or be convinced that he means any of it.
I just wrote about Greg Gianforte’s assault of Ben Jacobs, which in and of itself is a shocking incident but taken within the broader scope of growing anti-media violence is a cultural alarm bell.
The actual assault is evidence that Gianforte is unfit to hold elected office. That’s not really even debatable.
What’s more troubling, however, than a single individual––who’s clearly unfit for office––winning an election is the is moral decay of the a political party which enthusiastically embraces such an unfit person.
Certainly during the presidential election Donald Trump destroyed cultural and political norms about what we expect of elected officials – monogamy, personal integrity, shared epxierence, similar core values, etc. But he also destroyed the moral credibility (however questionable it was in the first place) of the Republican Party’s gatekeepers; the elder statesmen, as it were, of the organization who, in “normal” times, are responsible for maintaining an ethos within the party.
He did this by repeatedly breaking promises (i.e, “the pledge”), personally slandering the GOP field of candidates (all of them), usurping party processes and leadership structures, and with his conduct as a candidate – bragging about his penis size during a debate, for example.
To reinforce the point, once in office Trump hired Bannon, Flynn, Gorka and Miller. And he nominated Sesions and Pruitt.
That the party’s voters and leaders supported (and still support him) anyway created a clear permission structure for all manner of bad actors to try their hand at Trump’s version of Republican politics. Greg Gianforte is just the first; by function of a special election, of many who will attempt to follow in Trump’s footsteps in an explicit way.
Gianforte tied himself directly to Trump as a campaign strategy. That wasn’t the case for the Republican candidate in the Kansas special congressional election or in the Georgia 6th.
In the 24 hours after the assault of Ben Jacobs Gianforte raised $100,000 according to reports. And, multiple reporters then reported personal ancedotes of interactions with voters who supported Gianforte’s actions - “Jacobs (and the media) had it coming.”
Moreover, while his campaign initially lied about the assulat in their press release, national GOP leaders remained silent. Upon direction questioning, not one elected congressional Republican backed away from Gianforte after the assault.
Vice President Mike Pence hid from the media and the public so as to avoid being asked questions. Speaker Ryan made a tepid statement through a spokesperson.
What’s clear, to me, is that even if they had––as a party leaders––decided to confront Gianforte publicly for his criminal actions no one would’ve cared. Not after they looked the other way on Trump’s sexual assulat. Not after vitcitim-shaming/blaming the women who came forward to disclose their encouters with Trump. Not after they’d adopted his anti-media playbook as their own.
What’s unclear to me is whether or not Repubcalian leaders realize their own moral decay?
Regadlress, it’s going to get harder for Republicans in the future, not easier. Gianforte is, by-and-large, a mainstream Trump-Republican (so much as that taxonomy can be applied). He’s a billionaire businessman. He’s on the board of a local Christian school. He ran for governor (and lost). He’s still married. He checks the boxes of a tranditional conservative who’s chosen to cast-in with Trump.
But given the party’s lack of moral fortitude, and the reality that there just aren’t that many Greg Gianforte’s in the country, what mechanisms exist to prevent the Republican Party from becoming, say, an alt-right apparatus?
In districts across the Midwest and South alt-right candidates could viably compete for congressional seats in the next two to three election cycles. What’s to stop them from running as Trump-Republicans? Will Speaker Ryan denounce them? Will the NRCC field competing candidates? These things seem highly unlikely given what we’ve just expierenced.
Republicans are on the same “slippery slope” they frequently fear-monger about liberals creating regarding “alternative lifestyles.” That is to say, they’ve opened a door to the future that they might not be able to close –– even if they wanted to (which I’m not convinced they would want to close because in a lot of ways this door to the future is actually a door to their desired [mythological] past).
One Congressman has been wounded in a mass shooting at a baseball field as GOP House members practiced baseball in a field in Alexandria, Virginia, according to multiple reports.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that House Whip Steve Scalise was shot when the gunman opened fire with a rifle shortly after 7 a.m. at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks told CNN that up to 20 rounds were fired and that Scalise, from Louisiana, and two members of his protective detail were hit.
Brooks said up to five people were shot.
An Alexandria police spokeswoman confirmed to PEOPLE that officers had responded to a “multiple shooting,” but would not name any victims or confirm that a group of Congress members were attacked. The spokeswoman said victims had been transported to area hospitals.
Police said in a tweet that the suspect is in custody and “not a threat.”
Brooks told CNN that gunman was behind the dugout when he opened fire. He said the gunman was shot by members of the congressional protective detail.
Up to 25 GOP members of Congress were on hand for the baseball practice, along with several aides.
Scalese, after being hit, dragged himself across the field in an attempt to get to cover, Brooks said.
Brooks added that he saw Rep. Gary Palmer being treated at the scene.
Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Jeff Flake and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann were present when the shots rang out and Paul told ABC that Capitol Hill fired at the suspect.
Paul said he heard the shots from right field and hid behind a tree before running toward a fence. He recalled bullets hitting the ground around him, he said. Paul told ABC that he hopped a fence to escape.
For starters, Trump has already suggested the government may need to shutter U.S. mosques and create a mandatory registry to track Muslims in the United States. While many of his rivals took issue with those remarks, they don’t sound all that different from him on the stump. Many have called for the same type of no-Muslims religious test for Syrian refugees looking to resettle in the United States. Ben Carson has proposed a similar test for future presidents (while also likening Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs”). And Ted Cruz has vowed to “shut down the broken immigration system that is letting jihadists into our country.” The common conservative refrain on the campaign trail, meanwhile, has long been that the first step in fighting ISIS is to define it as “radical Islamic terrorism.” (Republicans feel noticeably differently, however, about terrorist attacks committed by Christians.) The GOP field, then, is already on the record that they believe the Islamic faith itself poses a threat to the United States. Trump’s proposal is the logical conclusion to the type of illogical belligerence that Republicans have increasingly directed at Muslims in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris and last week’s massacre in San Bernardino, California.
While many in the punditsphere are rushing to condemn Trump – and they should – keep in mind that the rest of the GOP Clown Car shares his basic views almost exactly, but they just use coded language and dog whistles to say it.
And Trump’s insanity about censoring the Internet, free speech be damned? Hillary Clinton just said pretty much the same thing.
So Officer Ben Fields damn near breaks the neck of a small 13 year girl in a fit of rage...and has Fox News and loads of Americans defending him and calling him a hero. Trayvon Martin smoked pot, liked rap and graffiti-ed some places and gets called “a thug.” Um, OK, then...
Today, 8 in 10 Hispanic voters have an unfavorable view of Trump. That includes more than 7 in 10 who have a “very unfavorable” impression of him, which is more than double the percentage of any other major candidate.
The basic problem with Hillary Clinton: She wants to be President way too badly.
Don’t get me wrong: She is WAY more smart, competent and fit to be POTUS than anyone in the GOP field. Man, she would chew up and spit out Trump or Carson in a debate with so much ease it’s embarrassing.
But she also reminds me of the old Mark Twain quote: The best person to be president? The one who never wanted it in the first place.
IMO, that’s what has always screwed her. She has many amazing qualities (brains, competence, experience) but, at the end of the day, she’s so obviously desperate to be President, it makes people weary of her. It’s suspicious.
Artifice and ambition. That’s it. The “real” Hillary, the one who was a liberal student in the ‘60s, just can’t break free from that.
Let’s not pretend that the same people justifying that cop brutalizing a passive teenage girl, nearly breaking her neck, and dragging her across the floor in front of a class of shell-shocked kids wouldn’t have been the same people who were justifying Bull Connor setting wild dogs on little children in the ‘60s.
“OK, so, yeah, the photos look bad. But what about the context? What did those kids do to provoke it? Bull has a stressful job… you know! Why can’t we talk about the context? Context!”
Seriously, people: Look me in the eye and tell me I am wrong.
Yes my friends, it looks as if the man who started wearing glasses to make himself appear to be smarter is about to exit stage left. Soon to possibly be followed by Rick Santorum or maybe even Rand Paul. That last one would be a shocker for a lot of folks.
FiveThirtyEight’s Venn diagram of the prospective GOP primary field illustrates how insane/amusing/terrible this election will be. This sucker will be more crowded (and definitely less orderly) than the Tokyo Metro.