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Removing Trump Is Not Enough

Just sayin’. Your work is not done when Trump is. We have to remove all the elected Republicans who installed him as a candidate, and all the Republicans who have placed country over party. 

If you learn nothing else from the Trump crisis, learn this: Democracy is fragile, and it needs you to make it work. Yes, you personally. The price of gaining a voice is gaining the responsibility to use it.

Trump will go, but you must not. He is the fetid product of decades of political rot promulgated and abetted by the leaders of the Republican party.

In order for democracy to work in America, we need at least two functional parties. Given the difficulty of launching a viable party in this country, we’re more likely to be stuck with the Republicans for a while yet. A malfunctioning heap of smoking rubble beats a shiny new political machine if the heap of rubble has name recognition and familiar infrastructure.

Trump is not the sole problem. Every Republican who assented to choosing Trump as its candidate is part of the problem, as is every Republican who side-steps rules and norms if they get in the way of what the party wants.

Not every Republican did those things, but too many did. Even after Trump is removed, we have to work to elect Republicans who respect facts and reality rather than making up their own versions and trying to group-think them into being.

 

The types of Republicans who have to go include:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who broke the rules by refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing as a Supreme Court nominee when Obama was president, and pushed through a far-right candidate, Neil Gorsuch, under Trump. McConnell made up a bullshit excuse about presidents not getting to choose SCOTUS candidates in the last years of their terms to bar Garland, and later refused to entertain the notion that perhaps Trump’s pick shouldn’t get consideration while he was under investigation by the FBI–a far more serious set of circumstances.

McConnell also stopped Obama from going public about the Trump-Russia revelations in 2016 in a bipartisan way, and he threatened to accuse Obama of playing politics if he tried. Anyone who radiates that much bad faith shouldn’t hold elected office at all, never mind lead the Senate.

 

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has demonstrated his lack of spine on multiple occasions. He has consistently pushed back against calls to investigate the scandals arising from Trump’s entanglements with Russia, and he has downplayed other oddities that would have him screaming bloody murder had they been done by Democrats.

A regrettably routine example of his spinelessness appeared after Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s open house seat the day after he body-slammed a reporter. Ryan decried the violence and called on Gianforte to apologize but said he would still seat him in good faith: “If he wins, he has been chosen by the people of Montana who their congressman is going to be. I’m going to let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative.”

Not seating a guy who attacks a reporter who asked him a simple question that he should have expected is a no-brainer. If Gianforte can’t handle the stress of campaigning in Montana, one of our most rural states, how will he handle having mics shoved in his face all day, every day? Ryan should have insisted that he complete some anger-management classes first, at minimum. Failing to enforce norms teaches that it’s OK to body-slam a reporter who’s just doing his job. Not only is that not OK, it eats at the very foundations of our democracy–the first amendment is first for a reason.

 

And speaking of Gianforte, he’s another Republican who has to go–not just because he attacked a reporter, but because he lied about what happened in his official statement. This fact that gets glossed over in recounting the incident, and it’s vitally important that we not lose sight of it. Here, for the record, is the statement Gianforte released:

Bozeman, Mont. — “Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.” — Shane Scanlon, spokesperson for Greg for Montana.

So, Gianforte didn’t just attack a reporter, his campaign spokesman wildly mischaracterized what happened. Anyone who’s heard the audio or read the account from the Fox news crew who saw the attack knows this statement is blatantly at odds with reality. Any candidate who lies in this manner about something so critical, knowing there are witnesses to his behavior (it’s not clear if Gianforte and his team were aware of the audio recording), is unfit for high office.

 

Yet another Republican who needs to go is Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for defending a $2 trillion error in the FY2018 and expressing confidence in the flagrantly borked numbers.

It’s no secret that the Republicans crave tax cuts for the rich like vampires crave blood, but they’ve never resorted to alternative math on quite this big a scale before. Embracing a $2 trillion error on top of math that was already a fantasy (the budget assumed a three percent growth rate, which economists say just doesn’t happen) shows that too many Republicans are just not serious-minded enough to handle the hard, tedious, unglamorous work of governing.

 

Electing Democrats is not enough. We have to work to elect sane Republicans as well. Republicans such as John McCain and Mitt Romney.

We heard that groan, and we feel you. But! We won’t be able to elect a Congress of 100 percent Democrats–not gonna happen, ever. Sorry. And sitting aside bemusedly, election after election, as sane Republicans got knocked out in primaries by mendacious loony-cuckoopants Republicans helped get us into this mess.

To be clear: sane Republicans are Republicans who you don’t agree with on much, or at all, but who act like grownups nonetheless.

They are people who would never pull the shit that McConnell did. They are people who would react far more strongly to Gianforte’s transgressions than Ryan did. They are people who would seek tax cuts through talking to the whole Congress and making their case, not by waiting till they have a majority and putting out budget numbers that are so wrong and unworkable as to be insulting.

As much as it might pain you, you need to be alert to the sane Republicans in your midst, and you need to support them with time and money. Please think about it.

 

Read about how McConnell blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and how Trump thanked him subsequently for his efforts:

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/04/trump-thanks-mcconnell-for-all-that-he-did-to-ruin-merrick-garland

 

Read about how McConnell tanked Obama’s effort to get a bi-partisan admission of Russian interference while the 2016 campaign was still live:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.763c3e1ce37c

 

Read about how Ryan said he would seat Greg Gianforte even though he assaulted a reporter:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/paul-ryan-signals-he-would-still-seat-greg-gianforte-if-he-wins-special-election/

 

Read reactions to Gianforte’s attack:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/25/15689924/greg-gianforte-defense-assault

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/may/25/parsing-statement-montana-politician-who-allegedly/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/politics/greg-gianforte-statement-defense/

 

Read about the $2 trillion budget error and Mulvaney’s admission that it’s an error, and he nonetheless stands by the numbers:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/trumps-entire-budget-is-based-on-a-2-trillion-accounting-trick

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/mick-mulvaney-tried-to-explain-math-error-in-trump-budget.html