Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). An idealist who believes the American Experiment will succeed. I tweet about the law, books, politics, and history. Sep. 25, 2018 3 min read

(Thread) The Cultural War

@stucam7771 asks why the GOP insists on Kavanaugh, despite credible allegations of sexual assault.

🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️I have an explanation for why Trump is digging in.

He WANTS this to be a cultural war.

2/ Think back. Past GOP nominees moved right during the primaries to appeal to the “base,” and then moved to the center.

Trump never moved to the center. After his “Mexico . . they’re rapists” speech—he shocked everyone (even more) by doubling down.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/06/16/theyre-rapists-presidents-trump-campaign-launch-speech-two-years-later-annotated/?utm_term=.f2a900f4d596 

3/ Doubling down on "Mexicans are rapists" was the first sign that we were in unchartered waters: Trump has no interest in being everyone's president.

Doubling down on whatever shocks liberals has been Trump’s strategy ever since.

Because he wants his hardcore base fired up.

4/ After WWII, Nazism fell into disrepute. The KKK was forced underground by an outpouring of disgust.

Imagine how ecstatic the neo-Nazis / KKK are now to have a candidate of their own in the White House.
They’ll follow him to the ends of the earth! They’ll help spread his lies!

5/ Not all Trump supporters are white supremacists, of course.

Many are victims of top notch propaganda. Others don’t understand what Trump stands for. Some aren't paying attention.

But the more liberals dislike Kavanaugh, the more Trump will want to dig in.

6/ Kavanaugh—a SCOTUS nominee who is supposed to be impartial (he’s not running for office)—made an ‘exclusive’ appearance on Fox, a partisan news outlet. He's trying his case in the Court of Public Opinion.

Actually, worse: The Court of Fox Opinion.

7/ But holding on to Kavanaugh will cost the GOP “decent female” voters, @stucam7771 says.

Trump doesn’t WANT those voters, because if he woos liberals, he’ll lose the part of his base that hates liberals.

Remember: they think liberals are the enemy.

8/ Besides, at this point he can’t win over the liberals or the moderates. He lost them a long time ago.

“But he doesn’t have anywhere near majority support!” you say.

He doesn’t need a majority. He’s already in the White House.

9/ “What about Mueller?” you ask. Doesn't he want K. to protect him from Mueller?

Certainly K's views are part of it—but not all. He's not the only judge with these views.

Moreover, Trump believes the only tribunal he will face is in the Senate.

10/ Remember: impeachment requires a majority of the House, but removal takes 2/3 of the Senate—such a high bar that no president has ever been removed.

And senate trials are held mostly in the Court of Public Opinion—a fight Trump is ready for with his well-oiled media loop.

11/ Another reason he doesn't need a majority: authoritarians are better organized than liberals.
They fall in line.
They can be dangerous.
In the past, authoritarians were spread out over both parties. Now they're all in the GOP. (What do I mean? See👇)

12/ The Trump-GOP strategy: Keep the radicalized base fired up & play dirty. Cheat. Lie.

From👇Strongmen assault the laws & democratic norms until they crumble. Citizens become numb to the battering and often don’t know the democratic norms have crumbled until it is too late.

13/ A chilling statistic: Hitler came to power with 33% of the vote, and then battered the democratic institutions until they crumbled.

Don't get too alarmed by the comparison: Germany was an imperial government until 1918, so democratic institutions weren't firmly rooted.

14/ We’re either witnessing the last stand of white male dominance, or America returns to the 1920s.

Will he win? Nah.
Our institutions firmly rooted. And there are way more of us.

But doubling down is Trump’s smartest move.

Adding: Of course, this isn't only reason Trump is doubling down.
There are always multiple reasons.

But I see a lot of people asking Stu Cameron's question.

And I think it's vital to understand this part of the Trump-GOP strategy.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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