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Bouie writes: "Republican leaders will challenge Trump's statements and hope that he 'pivots' to a more sober-minded approach. But they won't undermine him in ways that hurt; they won't rebuke him in the kind of language they used to attack Democrats and ideological opponents."

Rep. Paul Ryan. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty)
Rep. Paul Ryan. (photo: Joe Raedle/Getty)

Is Trump Really a GOP Anomaly?

By Jamelle Bouie, Slate

03 August 16


If he is, why are the denunciations from Republican leaders so soft and mealy-mouthed?

t’s not hard to find Republicans to speak out against Donald Trump. On Sunday, Paul Ryan condemned the Republican presidential nominee for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Humayun Khan, a Muslim American Army captain who was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, praising his son’s valor and condemning Trump for his statements against Muslims, as well as his proposed ban on Muslim entry into the United States.

Trump lashed out in anger, accusing Khizr of silencing his wife, which drew him into a battle of words with both the Khans and other families of fallen soldiers. Sensing a need to distance themselves from Trump’s rhetoric, Republican leaders such as Ryan moved quickly. “America’s greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it,” said the House speaker in a statement. “Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military and made the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued. “Capt. Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a similar response. “All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services. And as I have long made clear, I agree with the Khans and families across the country that a travel ban on all members of a religion is simply contrary to American values,” he wrote, restating his opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban.

On Monday, Sen. John McCain entered the fray with an even stronger statement. “Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party,” wrote McCain. “While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”

These are strong words from McCain, a former prisoner of war who won the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2008 presidential election. But you don’t have to look too carefully to see that something is missing from both this statement and those from Ryan and McConnell.

There’s no bite.

These statements have strong language, no doubt. But neither Ryan nor McConnell nor McCain is prepared to withdraw his endorsement or add any conditions to his support. The GOP’s nominee, their nominee, is railing against the parents of a dead soldier, and still they refuse to budge.

To a degree, this is understandable. Trump is not the only candidate on the Republican ticket this fall. There are hundreds of down-ballot races and dozens of candidates who stand a real chance of winning. But their successes depend on strong and ample turnout from Republican voters—turnout that may not happen if congressional leaders abandon the party’s nominee for president. So, in the name of preserving a GOP majority in Congress—and maybe even of electing a president who will sign off on tax cuts and other conservative legislation—key Republicans are sticking with the Trump ticket, even as their nominee weakens their party’s national standing. Even Marco Rubio, who blasted Trump as unfit to handle the nuclear codes, is on board. As of this week, he’s campaigning for Trump. “We have to make sure that Donald wins this election,” he said.

At best, these half-measures are a failure of political imagination, as dedicated partisans struggle to reconcile their commitment to the Republican Party as an institution with their obvious disgust with a nominee who rejects their ideals in favor of raw, bigoted appeals to an angry and embittered group of Americans. At worst, they are acts of cowardice.

Either way, the lackluster responses from Ryan, McConnell, and McCain and the outright submission of Rubio act as a confession of sorts. In their mind’s eye, the Republican Party is a vehicle for ideological conservatism, a tribune of limited government and traditional values. Trump has shown the extent to which this is not true. He has demonstrated that Republican voters will forgive any kind of ideological deviance as long as it’s paired with explicit prejudice toward assorted others, from Hispanic immigrants to Muslims to black protesters.

Republican leaders will challenge Trump’s statements and hope that he “pivots” to a more sober-minded approach. But they won’t undermine him in ways that hurt; they won’t rebuke him in the kind of language they used to attack Democrats and ideological opponents. They won’t deny the truth of what Trump has shown about their party.

Instead, GOP leaders—Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and others—have opted to reconcile themselves to that truth. Under Trump, the Republican Party is the party of ethno-nationalist rage, and its most prominent voices are OK with it. your social media marketing partner


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+5 # ER444 2016-08-03 14:29
and they are going to get their asses kicked in November.
+1 # CL38 2016-08-05 18:11
"Is Trump Really a GOP Anomaly?"

Quick answer: No--he's the current incarnation/res ult of 40 years of a GOP-driven agenda:

1. women-hating--d estroying reproductive choice;

2. tax cuts for rich oligarchs (socialism) and austerity and job outsourcing for workers (raging capitalism);

3. decades of stagnant wages and economic enslavement for workers (working 2-3 low wage jobs to barely survive, without benefits or sick time) vs up to a 700 x's increase in CEO salaries and perks vs workers compensation;

4. war as the #1 profit-making venture for the US and military;

5. election theft (both Bush elections); the GOP demonstrated for the benefit of the DP: how to steal elections .... and get away with it!;

6. homophobia, xenophobia,

7. hate; fear

8. toxins injected into food, water and land: long-term strategy for U.S. population decrease;

9. decimating our planet for profit

10. The New 1% Democrat Oligarchy and US of A.
-9 # guomashi 2016-08-03 16:54
Trump did not lash out in anger at Mrs. Khan.
If you have to lie to make a point, you don't have any point.
0 # Buddha 2016-08-04 08:56
Quoting guomashi:
If you have to lie to make a point, you don't have any point.

You clearly don't have any point.
0 # RnR 2016-08-06 08:20
Absolutely correct +1
-7 # guomashi 2016-08-03 16:56
“America’s greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it,” said the House speaker in a statement. “Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military and made the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued. “Capt. Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period.”

Step 1 in the collapse of empire: professional army
Step 2 in the collapse of empire:
staff your army with foreigners so citizens don'th ave to fight.
Step 3 in the collapse of empire:
the foreign army takes over. They have no loyalty to the state, and they get tired of bearing the brunt of abuse.
+19 # MainStreetMentor 2016-08-03 18:53
Trump is not, obviously, an anomaly to/within the eyes of the GOP. He can’t be – due to the horrendous amount of supporters he has attracted. Were he an anomaly, he would have no supporters, for he would be seen as a polar opposite to what they believe – and he’s not seen as such. It’s the GOP base which is twisted and askew – Trump is just their welcomed figurehead. It is the rest of the world, including the USA, who see Trump as an anomaly to the acceptable standards of nearly every other culture on the planet. His supporters, of course, see only his twisted viewpoints, because those viewpoints are the ones they share – so to them, it’s all quite normal. No one knew there was this much dormant, latent hate harbored within the minds of so many people – all of them evidently aligned with Republican/cons ervative views/philosoph ies. It is those mindsets which should garner our concerned attentions – not Donald Trump.
+5 # Larry 2016-08-04 08:35
Right on. Trump is not the problem. He is a malignant symptom of the twisted, degenerate values and attitudes long embraced by a significant portion of our electorate. Such un-American values, promoted relentlessly by Limbaugh, Murdoch's Faux "News" and their ilk, have thoroughly infected our political discourse, our laws, and our social policies. Infected to the point that our Senate Majority Leader could announce with political impunity, in announcing his primary, seditious goal: With America at war, to "See President Obama fail,"

After decades of this, is it any surprise that a fascistic, megalomaniacal demagogue would see an opportunity to seize the GOP bullhorn and replace traditional code-speak and dog-whistling with with a full-throated fascist rant? Trump or a candidate just like him was inevitable.

Trite but true: You reap what you sow.
+2 # RMDC 2016-08-04 16:27
Trump's pandering to the xenophobic masses is truly a malignant symptom of the values republicans have long espoused. But his questioning of NATO, TPP, NAFTA, Bush's wars, trade policies, and others is not republican at all. It is non-partisan populism. Sanders supporters like these things too. They don't like the twisted, degenerate social values of Trump and republicans,

The republican party is really messed up. It has screwed its base so badly that they have made Trump the republican nominee. Now the leadership of the republican party does not know what to do.
+11 # guomashi 2016-08-03 16:59
The article misses the main point of the question it asks.
Trump is the party.
The elected party officials are not.
They are the con men, who have conned the voters for too long.
They got found out, and they know it.
So, they keep on conning on, hoping not to be thrown off the gravy train.
What else is new?
+3 # RMDC 2016-08-03 19:02
All those rank and file republicans are just trying to bring Trump into the fold. If they were Hillree, they'd be talking about bring an uppity orange boy "to heel." Taking control of people is what rank and file democrats and republicans do. They took control of Obama.

Trump started as an outsider to the republican party. He was not even a republican until recently. I hope they never gain control of him. It is the only thing good about him. He knows how to tell two-bit Randian tyrants like Ryan to fuck off.

This is really a stupid article. This author has nothing to say. He's just stirring the pot.
+7 # chapdrum 2016-08-03 23:24
He is not an anomaly. He now replaces the previous "vice president" as the ultimate Republican.

On another note: How is it that we are not reminded by our responsible media, that Don has zero experience at any level of government?
+3 # suziemama 2016-08-03 23:36
It seems to me that the Democratic "leadership" are even more hesitant to hold Hillary Clinton accountable, than the Republicans are to reign in Donald Trump. Clinton may not spew out hateful rhetoric like Trump, but she has done criminal things both at home and abroad, and yet she gets a "free pass" from much of the Democratic Party.
-2 # RMDC 2016-08-04 06:47
suzie -- good points. The Clintons own the democratic party. Very many democrats in congress or in the government bureaucracy owe their jobs to the Clintons and they know for certain that if they criticize the Clintons they will lose their careers. This is how a political machine works. For me, it is more important to smash the Clinton political machine than it is to keep Trump out of the white house. However, I realize that HIllary will be president. The oligarchs want her. She will do their work. Trump is a loner. Loners don't have political power. Trump is on his way down.
+3 # librarian1984 2016-08-04 06:24
I agree with suziemama. Why is everyone so shocked at Trump while HRC is not held accountable, or even questioned, about her problems?

The newest polls show HRC ahead in battleground states by about 10 points. Assuming these are post-convention numbers, and considering the Trump performance these past two weeks -- a ten point lead should be very concerning to Dems.

The GOP establishment may be up in arms about Trump but the base is not with them, and probably see their panic as further evidence that Trump will shake things up.
+4 # AUCHMANNOCH 2016-08-04 07:08
I think the civilized world is simply agog with wonder, amazement and a little disgust at the choices the political elite's manoeuvrings and cheating, in what passes for politics in the U.S.A. has presented to the American people. Cousins - is this really the best the U.S.A. can do? Can there possibly be a more blatant example that the American people are not in control of their own destiny. Two power hungry, lying egotists with a finger that could destroy the world are your choices. Heaven help us all.
+2 # economagic 2016-08-04 07:32
I was wondering whether anyone would mention the absurdity of this situation, but I would place the emphasis a little differently. Republican voters had plenty of alternatives to choose from, and they chose Trump. Granted that none of the people who chose to run for the nomination were potentially sober, reasonable statesmen or women, and that's the problem. Our entire political apparatus has become so debased, in many respects through conscious action although often without regard for the consequences, that the occasional potentially sober and reasonable statesman who would seek high office appears so out of place that s/he arouses suspicion.

We seem to have found a new way for an entire people to descend into madness -- or at least enough of them to foil the efforts of those who recognize the problem.
0 # Lloyd Wagner 2016-08-04 20:51
Donald Trump is the stalking horse to make the s-election of war criminal Hillary Clinton a bit more believable to the world.

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