Trump’s carrots and Putin’s sticks

Dear President Trump,

Dana Milbank (WP) has it almost right – the parade of feckless GOP House members spouting dangerous nonsense, each trying to prove their special loyalty to you by out doing each other with ever more colorful invectives wholly untethered to reality, does indeed demonstrate that you’ve successfully subverted democracy by getting an entire party to line up behind lies and greed. However, where Milbank misses the mark is in that you, alone, are not skilled or smart enough to have pulled this off. Plus, you are repugnant and there was way too much nose-holding on the part of GOP politicians when they initially had to deal with you to make it a plausible argument that they suddenly found you not only tolerable, but the embodiment of the second coming of Jesus because of a few political party tricks that allowed rich people’s loaves and fishes to multiply exponentially because his acolytes controlled both branches of Congress and could steal said loaves and fishes from the poor and middle class.

I’m sorry, but fealty to you alone just doesn’t cut it as an explanation. Putin must have the lot of them by the shorthairs and I wager they’re afraid for their children and grandchildren, not to mention themselves. Yes, I do think that most all of them want a White Nationalist Amerika so they can go back to their good ol’ days of being assured and ensured of unquestioned dominance and ready access to extra-legal means of enforcing said dominance. In that sense you and your values are like wet dreams come true, for sure. And there are plenty of White people in the US who feel left behind, who are angry and confused about this and have been manipulated into believing the lies of those largely responsible for their manufacturing jobs having disappeared and the suffering quality of their schools and healthcare. Those lies slot right into the White Nationalist agenda by blaming immigrants and people who don’t look like them and this has buoyed the GOP just enough to keep them in the game. For now.

So there is synergy there, there is a deep racist, xenophobic ugliness that Putin (and quite possibly Israel and others in the Middle East, according to Seth Abramson, which he lays out in extraordinary detail in Proof of Conspiracy) has exploited to cleave the GOP closer to you and thereby to him. We’ll see what eventually gets uncovered and is ultimately shared with the American people, but the combination of existential threat (as in their existences and their family’s existences are specifically threatened) and the promise of unfettered power to reshape the country into a 1950’s version of White patriarchy on steroids appears to have been too powerful to resist. You see, I don’t think all this would work if only one or the other side of the equation was in play – all threat with no carrot isn’t going to get everyone to line up and parrot nonsense and neither is all carrot and no threat – it’s the combination that gets the job done.

I don’t know how we do it, but I think we need the Seth Abramsons of the world to communicate in plain, concise language and we need a critical mass of GOP people to break from the pack with actual truth telling. If I’m right about Putin and the hold he has over them, any GOP people who make this leap would be risking pretty much everything, and sadly, so far at least, none of them (with the possible exception of Rep. Justin Amash) have shown the slightest inclination for risky leap-taking. One possible strategy is to put some lower- to middle-echelon GOP members under extra scrutiny from investigative reporters and when untoward connections and/or unexplained wealth is uncovered, they’ll have to make a choice between falling on your sword or coming clean about what’s going on underneath all the manic posturing and parroting. That day can’t come soon enough.

May we be safe from greedy racists.
May we call out and eradicate the decades old rot that has consumed the GOP.
May we somehow make it easier for wavering GOP people to come clean.
May we have the courage to stand firm for peace and for life.

Tracy Simpson

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