Opinion What’s the Matter With Republicans?

18:52  19 may  2017
18:52  19 may  2017 Source:   The New York Times

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I know firsthand what it’ s like to campaign in an environment that many found unimaginable only a few months ago—a country in which Donald Trump occupies the White House and Republicans have majorities in both chambers of Congress.

Why Kansans Asked What ' s the Matter With Republicans . Rep. Ron Estes, Wall Street Journal May 4, 2017.

Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, followed by Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, on Wednesday.© J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, followed by Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, on Wednesday.

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On Wednesday, Paul Ryan held a press conference just after the revelation that Donald Trump had pushed James Comey to kill the investigation into Michael Flynn — you know, the guy Trump appointed as national security adviser even though his team knew that Flynn’s highly suspicious foreign ties were under investigation.

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Last week I had the honor of being sworn in at the House of Representatives, where I’ll represent Kansas’ Fourth Congressional District. I’m brand new and eager to learn. But I do have a perspective none

And while what Kobach and Brownback have been able to accomplish in Kansas may give some non-Kansas residents smug satisfaction at living elsewhere, the problem with Republicans is that they are very good at infiltrating our governing bureaucracies in order to get what they want.

Faced with questions about the Flynn scandal and the Comey firing, Ryan waved them away: “I don’t worry about things that are outside my control.”

This might sound like a reasonable philosophy — unless you realize that Ryan is speaker of the House of Representatives, a legislative body with the power to issue subpoenas, compel testimony and, yes, impeach the president. In fact, under the Constitution, Ryan and his congressional colleagues are effectively the only check on a rogue chief executive.

It has become painfully clear, however, that Republicans have no intention of exercising any real oversight over a president who is obviously emotionally unstable, seems to have cognitive issues and is doing a very good imitation of being an agent of a hostile foreign power.

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crazywater on October 8, 2014 at 8:14 PM. What ’ s the matter with Kansas ( Republicans )? As a native son of Emporia who has sat many times atop William Allen White’s capacious bronze head smoking dope and throwing M-80s into Peter Pan lake, I beg of you all: PLEASE stop using that old

What ' s the Matter With Republicans ? Paul Krugman, New York Times May 19, 2017. On Wednesday, Paul Ryan held a press conference just after the revelation that Donald Trump had pushed James Comey to kill the investigation into Michael Flynn — you know

They may make a few gestures toward accountability in the face of bad poll numbers, but there is not a hint that any important figures in the party care enough about the Constitution or the national interest to take a stand.

  What’s the Matter With Republicans? © Earl Wilson/The New York Times And the big question we should be asking is how that happened. At this point we know who and what Trump is, and have a pretty good idea of what he has been doing. If we had two patriotic parties in the country, impeachment proceedings would already be underway. But we don’t. What’s the matter with Republicans?

Obviously I can’t offer a full theory here, but there’s a lot we do know about the larger picture.

First, Republicans are professional politicians. Yes, so are most Democrats. But the parties are not the same.

The Democratic Party is a coalition of interest groups, with some shared views but also a lot of conflicts, and politicians get ahead through their success in striking compromises and finding acceptable solutions.

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With Republicans holding a 30-20 majority in the state Senate, Republican votes will be needed to pass a severance tax and if a deal is struck, Senate President Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9), and the rest of leadership will be voting for it.

And only if more white people wake up to what they’ve let the Republican Party do to the country in the last 40 years, in the name of holding on to what they think they have. …. So what is the matter with white people, anyway?

The G.O.P., by contrast, is one branch of a monolithic structure, movement conservatism, with a rigid ideology — tax cuts for the rich above all else. Other branches of the structure include a captive media that parrots the party line every step of the way. Compare the coverage of recent political developments on Fox News with almost everywhere else; we’re talking North Korea levels of alternative reality.

And this monolithic structure — lavishly supported by a small number of very, very wealthy families — rewards, indeed insists on, absolute fealty. Furthermore, the structure has been in place for a long time: It has been 36 years since Reagan was elected, 22 years since the Gingrich takeover of Congress. What this means is that nearly all Republicans in today’s Congress are apparatchiks, political creatures with no higher principle beyond party loyalty.

The fact that the G.O.P. is a party of apparatchiks was one crucial factor in last year’s election. Why did Marine Le Pen, often portrayed as the French equivalent of Trump, lose by a huge margin? Because France’s conservatives were only willing to go so far; they simply would not support a candidate whose motives and qualifications they distrusted. Republicans, however, went all in behind Trump, knowing full well that he was totally unqualified, strongly suspecting that he was corrupt and even speculating that he might be in Russian pay, simply because there was an “R” after his name on the ballot.

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Thomas Frank’s What ’ s the Matter with Kansas? asserts that the Republican Party has forged a new “dominant political coalition” by attracting working-class white voters on the basis of “class animus” and “cultural wedge issues like guns and abortion.”

• Individual voters within states: to what extent do richer voters support the Republicans , within any given state? In other words, how much does context matter ? Scaring the Democrats: what ’ s the matter with Thomas Frank’s argument?

And even now, with the Trump/Flynn/Comey story getting worse by the hour, there has been no significant breaking of ranks. If you’re waiting to find the modern version of Howard Baker, the Republican senator who asked “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” you’re wasting your time. Men like that left the G.O.P. a long time ago.

Does this mean that Trump will be able to hold on despite his multiple scandals and abuses of power? Actually, yes, he might. The answer probably hinges on the next few special elections: Republicans won’t turn on Trump unless he has become such a political liability that he must be dumped.

And even if Trump goes, one way or another, the threat to the Republic will be far from over.

In a perverse way, we should count ourselves lucky that Trump is as terrible as he is. Think of what it has taken to get us to this point — his Twitter addiction, his bizarre loyalty to Flynn and affection for Putin, the raw exploitation of his office to enrich his family, the business dealings, whatever they were, he’s evidently trying to cover up by refusing to release his taxes.

The point is that given the character of the Republican Party, we’d be well on the way to autocracy if the man in the White House had even slightly more self-control. Trump may have done himself in; but it can still happen here.

Read my blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, and follow me on Twitter, @PaulKrugman.

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Analysis | Young Republicans were the most likely to bail on their party over the past year .
Warning bells for the GOP.

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