Brian Beutler puts it all together in long form:
While closing the country to foreign Muslims altogether is a radical idea relative to our founding ideals and current policy, it is but an incremental step relative to the outer bounds of legitimate debate in the GOP primary. Republican presidential candidates have supported discriminating against Muslims in our refugee policy, and opposed the very notion of a Muslim-American president, all without subjecting themselves to universal condemnation. The most surprising part of the latest Trump story is that it proves a Republican candidate can take Islamophobia too far for his party’s tastes.
For most liberals, and for the Trump-backing or Trump-curious segments of the right, the Trump phenomenon needs little further explanation. The only people who claim to be befuddled by the Trump phenomenon are officials on knife-edge in the party he leads.
On the left, the view that Republicans allowed the conservative grassroots to turn their party into a political action committee for white ressentiment has evolved over the years from an argument into a creed. Since at least 2012, liberals have been warning (at times mockingly, but never disingenuously) that by indulging and at times fanning the hostilities and procedural extremism of this part of their coalition, Republicans were letting expediency get the better of them.
When large swaths of the conservative movement resisted the notion that the GOP needed to widen its appeal to minorities, and could win by appealing to a broader base of whites, it was liberals who warned that these voters would drag the party into a racial abyss.
Trump is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Better than any Republican candidate in recent memory, he intuits the mood of the disaffected Republican electorate. Or rather, because he’s almost entirely uninterested in straddling party factions, he gives voice to their paranoia and racism without massaging it the way the pretenders to his lead do. It’s possible to imagine a more traditional politician, like Ted Cruz, taking up Trump’s mantle without ever making Reince Priebus or House Speaker Paul Ryan angry, but their platforms would look practically identical.
This is the main reason GOP protestations, five months after Trump reached the top of the polls, ring so hollow. Republicans behave as if Trump is both a self-contained phenomenon and a singular mouthpiece for the most important segment of their electorate. An unmetastasized malignancy and a vital organ, simultaneously. The former view serves to reassure the rest of the public (and GOP donors among them) that Trump is merely a passing fad—an unlovely figurehead for a perfectly lovely segment of the voting base. That once he’s gone, everything will return to normal.
Exactly, and conveniently enough we have two more data points today. First up, this lunatic:
A former bodyguard for scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested on federal weapons charges in connection with a plot to “lynch” lawmakers and “physically remove” a judge.
Schuyler Barbeau appeared Monday in federal court in Washington state after a confidential informant notified the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force about alleged threats the right-wing patriot made against law enforcement and public officials, reported the Seattle Times.***
“Nay, war against our government is inevitable,” Barbeau posted Nov. 16 on his Facebook page. “Things are going to happen soon and before election. It doesn’t matter if obama is still in office or not and if he declares martial law. Revolution will happen. Don’t be fooled, it will not be civil war. It will be revolution. Restoring the constitutional republic can only happen by removing the De facto corporate democracy through a revolution.”
He also plotted to “physically remove” a California judge overseeing an unrelated misdemeanor weapons charge Barbeau faces in that state.
Barbeau, who claims he was a member of Bundy’s security detail during an armed standoff last year with federal agents, was reportedly arrested last week on federal weapons charges while riding near Seattle with Allen Aenk — who describes himself as the leader of the “Sheepdog” militia.
Let’s go back to the wayback machine and see just how our GOP handled Cliven Bundy, a low rent scumbag who trumped up his evasion of paying for feeding his cattle into the conservative cause du jour, an armed insurgency against the federal government:
US Senator Dean Heller: Last week, during a debate with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Heller said that he thought the Bundy ranchers were patriots. “What Sen. Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots,” Heller said. He added that he wanted hearings to figure out “who’s accountable for this.”
Senator and Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz: On Tuesday, Ted Cruz called the Bundy standoff the “the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on.” He added that the reason he believed the story was “resonating” was that the Obama administration has put American liberty “under assault…we have seen our constitutional liberties eroded under the Obama administration.”
Us Senator and Presidential candidate (kinda sorta- he’s declared but the voters haven’t seemed to notice) Rand Paul: Like Abbott, Paul focused more on the policy issue. “There is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be,” Paul told Fox News earlier this week. “But I don’t think name calling is going to calm this down,” he added, referring to Reid’s “domestic terrorists” remark.
I’d say Harry Reid pretty much nailed what Bundy and his supporters are, as today’s arrest more than proves.
Data Point #2- this sociopath:
Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in the Nov. 27 attack at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, yelled in court on Wednesday that he is guilty.
“I am guilty there will be no trial. I am a warrior for the babies,” he said in an outburst in El Paso County court overheard by CBS4 reporter Rick Sallinger.
The outburst came as lawyers were starting to discuss a motion to allow a camera in the courtroom. The hearing on Wednesday was scheduled to be a formal filing of charges against Dear.
Let’s start with a little mockery of the assholes who were claiming we couldn’t tell what Dear’s motives were when he shot up and tried to blow up a Planned Parenthood.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the latest presidential candidate trying to downplay the role anti-abortion rhetoric may have played in motivating the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs Friday afternoon. When a reporter asked him at an Iowa campaign stop Sunday evening about suspect Robert Lewis Dear saying he was motivated by “no more baby parts,” Cruz countered that he’s also been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist.”
Cruz explained, “We know that he was a man registered to vote as a woman.” This discrepancy on Dear’s voter registration was first reported by The Gateway Pundit, a self-described “right-of-center news website,” under the claim that he “identifies as [a] woman.” Conservatives have since run with the claim that Dear is transgender.
There is actually no evidence to suggest that he is transgender, nor a “leftist,” nor any kind of activist. In fact, all of the available information suggests he was none of those things.
And now let’s move on to the rhetoric. I’m not even going to cut and paste it, I’ll just give you a google search string:
Have fun with that.
So let’s bring this all together- what we are seeing with Trump is not some shocking outlier. It’s simply the end result of Republicans normalizing more and more extreme positions and using crazy people to obtain political power, with no actual concern for what damage their base (said crazy people) are doing to the nation. It’s not even tangential- it’s a direct fucking line. An as soon as the crazy idea of the day becomes the received view in the wingnut echo chamber, they lurch to the right with something more outrageous.
For someone to be shocked at Trump’s latest Muslim gambit, one would have had to have ignored everything that has been said and done over the past few decades. It was only just a couple days ago that Trump was suggesting killing the families of suspected terrorists. A ban on all Muslims shouldn’t surprise anyone. As Greg Sargent reports- 61% of GOP likely voters support the ban. You built this, Dr. Frankenstein.
Related: Rachel Maddow had a clip on the Overton Window last night
that I will embed when I can find it. that was very good.