There’s a theory on Twitter (and perhaps elsewhere) that the GOP bows to Trump and does his bidding because they are being blackmailed. Proponents of this theory point to the fact that the Russians also hacked the GOP computers but never released stolen information. They point to Sen. Lindsay Graham’s abrupt turnaround after a golfing meeting with Trump.
People. This theory gives way too much credit to the GOP.
They prefer Trump’s politics to the Democrats.
Oh, I’m sure that Trump (and the Russians) have dirt on them, but nothing that GOP voters would care about. But what could the dirt be? Lawbreaking? Pedophelia? Seducing underage girls? Insider trading? Profiting off of a pandemic? None of these things matter to Fox viewers, who either don’t care or believe whatever lies they are fed.
We just found out that GOP Senators dumped stock after they learned the pandemic would hit the markets, while they were reassuring the public there was nothing to worry about. This is at the very least unethical, and more likely insider trading– a crime.
Who can seriously think that the GOP would care about a few FEC violations if they didn’t care about Trump extorting Russia. FEC violations are nothing to them.
If there is dirt, the dirt would be the extent of their willingness to work with Putin. But you know what? Their hardcore supporters wouldn’t even care about that. Wanna know why? They not only prefer Trump’s politics to the Democrats, they also prefer Putin’s Russia to liberal democracy.
Want proof? Buckle your seat belts. Here we go.
2013: Russia enacted anti-homosexual legislation.
2014: Pat Buchanan noted that Putin was “entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly city of today” and stamping out western evil like easy divorce and homosexuality
This is from Buchanan’s piece:
Paul Manafort, GOP Operator and later Trump campaign manager, strategized on behalf of the Russian-backed Ukrainian president Yanukovych. Manafort also worked on “a plan to increase Russian influence in the U.S.” (Source for quotation: Snyder, Road to Unfreedom)
2015, “Russian authorities were cooperating with the American gun lobby [NRA]” (Snyder, Road to Unfreedom, pp. 250-251, Kindle version):
Feb. 2016: Maria Butina reported to Torshin from the United States that “Trump (NRA member) is ready for cooperation with Russia.” ((Snyder, Road to Unfreedom, pp. 250-251, Kindle version)
May 2016: Torshin met with Donald Trump, Jr. in Kentucky in May. That same month, the NRA endorsed Trump and eventually gave his campaign $30 million.
After the Russians infiltrated the NRA, the NRA’s official attitude toward the Russians changed (previously they felt American policy toward Russia was ‘too weak.’)
From Snyder: “Russia’s support of the NRA resembled its support of right-wing paramilitaries in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Once Trump was in office, the NRA proclaimed in a video that “We’re coming for the New York Times.”
June 15, 2016: Rep. McCarthy (R-CA) was caught on tape saying “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Paul Ryan immediately stopped the conversation from exploring McCarthy’s assertion and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.
Sept. 9, 2016: Richard Spenser, a leading American white supremacist, called Russia the “sole white power in the world.”
In the Motion for Pre-Trial Detention for Christopher Paul Hasson (the guy planning to mass murder liberals) is quoted as saying “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes.”
Jun 14, 2018: Katie Hopkins, pictured with Ann Coulter, praises Russia as being “untouched by the myth of multiculturalism and deranged diversity.”
[Narrator: We see Russia beckoning to America’s far right wing, establishing itself as the savior of the white (Christian) race.]
That’s before we even get to the Mueller report, but I think you get the idea.
The Fox-GOP does Trump’s bidding because they want to. They didn’t care about Trump’s Russian ties because they are more closely aligned to Putin’s Russia than liberal democracy.
No doubt Trump (and Putin) has dirt on members of the GOP. But why use dirt against your allies? Why go to all that trouble when all you have to do is threaten them with a mean tweet, and they click their heels and say “yes, SIR!”
Why might the Russians have hacked GOP computers but not released what they stole?
Here’s one reason: By hacking and stealing information, and then not releasing it, they can plant the seed that powerful American leaders have their neck in Putin’s noose. What better way to increase Putin’s prestige and the perceived power? Win for Putin.
It seems to me that reason they want a Putin-style oligarchy is so they can be the oligarchs. The lawbreaking is not a separate issue. The reason the GOP keeps breaking laws and disregarding rules is because they want to destroy.
Some also like him as a person. They embrace him and his politics. Others dislike him as a person and therefore [temporarily] reject the GOP. These are the “never Trump Republicans.”
I divide the “Never Trumpers” into two categories:
- Those who see the errors that brought the GOP to the current debacle. These are what we call traditional conservatives (the GOP is now reactionary.)
- Those who dislike Trump’s methods like bullying and lying and acting like a dolt. They want to return the GOP to what it was in 2015. They want a Tea Party Republican Party without Trump. Watch out for them.
Precisely: The “GOP is being blackmailed” theory assumes that without the blackmail, they’d do the right thing. It assumes that they’re siding with Trump because of blackmail. It assumes that without blackmail, they’d be good supporters of liberal democracy.
It also assumes that they (fundamentally) embrace our values. People accuse Trump of projection, but this is also projection. The people who cling to the blackmail theory and trot out their facts (they were also hacked, etc) project their own values onto GOP leadership because they cannot wrap their minds around the fact that there are people who understand what Trump is about and get behind him anyway.
The ones who are afraid, are afraid of Trump’s ridicule. Nobody in the Trump-FOX-GOP is actually afraid of facts.
If you’re not afraid of facts, you’re not afraid of blackmail because blackmail works when a person is afraid the truth will come out.
The FOX-Trump-GOP lives in a post-truth world.
This is a popular theory. I’d like to torpedo it once and for all. The answer: The tricks that didn’t work on James Comey, Andrew McCabe & Preet Bharara, but did work on Sen. LindseyGraham.
In Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he described how Trump signaled to him which lies he was supposed to tell. He described how Trump pulls people in and makes them feel like they’re part of something large.
Cohen explained how he was drawn in for more than a decade. Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself — that you were somehow changing the world.”
Trump dangles the heady prospect of power. He also manipulates. From Andrew McCabe: After Trump fired Comey, Trump summoned McCabe to a meeting and offered a “gleeful” description of what happened with the firing of Comey.
McCabe understood that he was supposed to adopt the lie. When he refused, Trump set out to destroy him. Had McCabe taken he bait, he would have been compromised. The kompromat would be taking the bait.
Preet Bharara tells a similar story. Shortly after Trump took office, Trump personally reached out to him. “It was odd,” Bharara said, “because as a general matter, Presidents don’t speak directly to United States attorneys. You know the number of times President Obama called me? Zero.”
The calls were particularly awkward because Mr. Bharara was prosecuting Russian money laundering and Russian mob crimes in Trump’s own neighborhood of Manhattan. Bharara accepted a few of Trump’s phone calls. Bharara suspected nobody knew the president was calling him.
He felt distinctly uncomfortable. The next time Trump called, he refused the call.He was fired twenty hours later. Comey had a similar story.
I include Michael Cohen’s testimony to show you that some people get pulled in. Others don’t.
McCabe and Bharara resisted.
Lindsey Graham got pulled in.
Once people are pulled in, they are hooked forever because Trump corrupts people. Comey said, “He eats your soul in pieces.” Trump gets people to lie for him. Once they lie, it’s harder to disentangle themselves. Imagine it: You lie for a friend. You get pulled in deeper and deeper. Pretty soon you’re in so deep that you have to prop up the “friend” at any cost.
In a way, the blackmail theory is true—but not the way people imagine. Because life is more complicated.
People think this: Lindsey Graham hated Trump. Trump called him to a meeting. Trump pulled out his Kompromat (or threatens to expose Graham in an embarrassing way) and Graham caved.
Mafia bosses don’t work this way. They’re more subtle and manipulative.
What happened instead was that Graham took the bait. He got pulled in. Pretty soon he was so compromised that he had no choice but to keep lying. People rationalize their behavior. They persuade themselves that they’re on the right side.
The Kompromat on Graham are the things he did AFTER Trump corrupted him and pulled him in.
Some people crave the bait. They revel in and delight in the power and wealth. Some people take it reluctantly and then soon they find their soul has been entirely eaten.
This brings me to Trump, Putin, and Kompromat. Yes, of course Putin has dirt on Trump. The dirt was Trump’s willingness to “collude” with Russia and take Russian money. This doesn’t mean that Trump kowtows to Putin because he’s afraid. What’s more likely is that he admires and emulates Putin—which is the reason there is Kompromat in the first place.
Eventually the blackmail theory falls apart, because it doesn’t work for most of the people who get pulled in. It’s too complicated.
The simpler (Occam’s Razor) theory is that many of them succumb to the methods that McCabe and Preet Bharara were able to resist. Others line up behind Trump because they want to. It’s who they are. Nobody has to point a gun at their heads.
Conclusion: Someone advanced the theory that the GOP leaders are blackmailed based on two pieces of evidence: (1) Lindsay Graham made a quick turnaround; he went from despising Trump to licking Trump’s boots and (2) The Russians hacked GOP servers and never released the stolen material.
The problem with (1) is that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and a very long list of others did abrupt about-faces.
The problem with (2) is that the idea that GOP leaders quake in their boots over the idea that someone might find out they committed a crime when their base and their voters were fine with Trump using taxpayer money to extort Ukraine for help with his reelection and the many ties is campaign cultivated with Russians is silly.
From that, liberals construct a fantastic piece of projection: The only possible way a liberal would line up behind Putin would be if there was blackmail against that liberal. They therefore assume the same must be true of the right wing fanatics who have taken over the Republican Party.
Originally posted on Musing about Law, Books, and Politics.
Re-posted with permission.
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