Donald Trump’s Supporters Are Living In #Cult45

The Republican Party is a cult with Donald Trump at the center and his ardent supporters are brainwashed cult members.

On more than one occasion, pundits have referred to the most hardcore members of the President’s base in a manner that seems more applicable to members of a cult than supporters of a politician. To a large degree, this description has become more and more accurate as time goes on. Whether it’s in encounters online, person-to-person conversations or appearances by Presidential supporters on cable news networks, the manner in which these people speak has come to resemble the manner in which one hears people who have been part of a cult describe their leaders.

As with the cult leader, the President is seen by such people as someone who can do no wrong. When he speaks or tweets the rhetoric he uses quickly becomes the common rhetoric of supporters. Any arguments that he makes, no matter how ridiculous or easily dismissed by facts they might be, are quickly adopted. Dissent, of course, is not permitted and anyone who does not support the dear leader is dismissed as a liar, ridiculed, attacked, and demeaned. The news media is referred to as an “enemy of the people” because it dares to report the truth about the leader. And, of course, the leader himself becomes positively God-like.

The extent to which this has happened with the President can be illustrated by two recent events.

First, let’s consider this comment from Energy Secretary Rick Perry contending that Donald Trump is the “Chosen One”:

Like a lot of evangelical Christians, Energy Secretary Rick Perry believes in a God who gets involved in every aspect of our lives — including the election of Donald Trump as President.

“I’m a big believer that the God of our universe is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government,” Perry told Fox News in remarks aired on Sunday

“You know, Barack Obama doesn’t get to be the President of the United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump.”Perry went on to say that being God’s instrument on Earth doesn’t mean that Trump is a perfect person. Echoing the argument of other white evangelical Christians, the Texas Republican went on to cite several biblical figures, including King David, whose private lives didn’t always align with biblical standards.

Perry is just the latest evangelical Christian in the Trump administration to say they believe the President is divinely ordained.In February, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that God “wanted Donald Trump to become president and that’s why he’s there.”

A month later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the chorus, saying it’s possible God raised Donald Trump to be President in order to protect Israel from Iran.

Perry, who has announced plans to leave his post in December, said he and other evangelicals in the Trump administration have tried to minister to Trump — even handing him a Sunday School lesson of sorts.”I actually gave the President a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago,” Perry told Fox News.”I said, ‘Mr. President, I know there are people that say — you know, you said you were the chosen one.’

And I said, ‘you were.’ I said, ‘if you’re a believing Christian, you understand God’s plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet in our government.'”Perry said he told Trump that he wanted the President to read the list of Old Testament kings and “absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it.”

Perry’s, of course, shouldn’t be unfamiliar as they mirror things we’ve heard from Evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr, as well as rank-and-file Trump supporters for years. Another example can be seen in the comments made a month ago by Dennis Prager, a radio host popular among the Evangelical crowd:

During an appearance on evangelist James Robison’s Life Today program, conservative radio host and author Dennis Prager plugged his new book, and also took an opportunity tell the world that the birth of his own children doesn’t match up to the excitement he felt when Donald Trump was elected president.

“It turned out for me, such a happy night, I have told my two sons — this will definitely lower me in your esteem, I have no doubt about this, but I will tell you anyway,” he told Robison. “I said, ‘You know boys … the nights you were born were extraordinarily happy nights in my life, but the night Trump won was happier.”

Here’s the video of Prager’s comment, and it’s clear he wasn’t joking:

This is what American politics on the so-called “conservative” side of the political aisle has been reduced to, and it is as unhealthy as it sounds. Treating political leaders as if they have been “ordained by God” is what happens in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes, not in supposedly health representative democracies. The fact that attitudes such as this are so prevalent among Trump’s Republican supporters demonstrates as clearly as anything just how far gone the Republican Party has become. It also demonstrates the reality that Donald Trump is only a symptom of the problem with the GOP, and that the problem will continue long after he’s gone.

As I have said in the past, the process that brought us to Donald Trump did not start suddenly in June 2015. His candidacy and its success is the end result of a transformation of conservatism from an intellectual movement built around the Cold War to the kind of nationalist paranoid populism that it has become today. Getting rid of Trump is not going to end that process and, regardless of how long he is in office or what the circumstances of his removal from office might be. Whether he leaves in 2021 or 2025 or is forced out via impeachment and removal, his departure is likely to embed Trumpist ideology even further and make the GOP base even more radical.

If Trump loses in 2020, for example, there will no doubt be allegations of “voter fraud” and claims that he was a victim of the so-called “Deep State” that, according to the Trumpidian view of things, has been targeting him from Day One. If he’s impeached and removed from office, unlikely though that is at the moment, then they’ll allege that he was removed by a “coup” even if it does result in Mike Pence becoming President. Finally, if Trump is re-elected then Trumpism will be cemented into the Republican Party for decades to come in much the same way that Ronald Reagan’s two terms helped to influence the direction of his party, although that was short-lived due to the aforementioned collapse of the anti-communist coalition that kept the peace between the various wings of conservatism. Without that to unify the movement, conservatism slowly began to mutate into a rough reflection

What will it take for the Trumpidians, and their allies the Evangelical Christians, to lose influence? The only answer to that is that Republicans must lose elections. Not just in 2020 but beyond, and not just in blue or purple states but in so-called red states as well. Only a widespread repudiation of the ideology of Trump and his allies is likely to bring about the realignment within the GOP that must come if they are to survive as anything more than a minority party in the future. Simply defeating Trump, or getting him out of the Oval Office, isn’t going to be enough. Now more than ever, the GOP is Trump’s party now and that’s going to continue whether he’s in office or not.

The Republican Party is a cult and the only way to eradicate a cult is to utterly defeat its underlying ideology. That’s not going to be easy.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    ugh… remember when Obama was the “chosen one” despite no one on the left saying it? ….

    This was a thing during Bush jr’s terms too. So this is just a natural extension of what came before. Because GOP presidents are always put there by god itself and somethingsomething…

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  2. EddieInCA says:

    Welcome to the club, Doug. It took you f**king long enough to get there.

    Jesus. Some of have been saying this since the primaries, yet we were called “unhinged.” It’s a fact, since he vanquished Cruz, Rubio, and the rest, that he was leading a cult of personality; principles, ethics, norms, and consistency be damned.

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  3. EddieInCA says:

    ‘Demonic power’: Franklin Graham claims supernatural element behind attacks on Trump

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/franklin-graham-claims-demonic-power-behind-attacks-on-trump

    Sadly, not “The Onion”.

    This man is a leader to a very large congregation of evangelicals and is considered a spiritual leader. If anyone on the Christian Right wants to understand why young people are fleeing the pews in historic numbers, see the article linked.

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  4. Kit says:

    I imagine that most readers here at OTB heard Perry‘s, ahhh… let’s honor it with the word worldview, and started drawing all the obvious logical conclusions. And I imagine that those on the Right fell into one of two categories. First, the simpletons who nodded along in agreement. Next, the non-simpletons who kept their mouths firmly shut. And that’s the Republican world in a nutshell.

    I’m guessing that this will be a troll-free thread.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It’s a deeply complex subject, and a full analysis could fill 10 of the typical length posts here. But it’s a good summary. Thank you for this post.
    Characteristics of Cult#45?
    ~Excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader
    ~Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished
    ~The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality
    ~The leader is not accountable to any authorities
    ~ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group
    These are from a list published in 2006, so not tailored specifically to Trump, by certainly apt.
    Let’s see if some of our local Cult members come out to protest being called out for their choices.

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  6. CSK says:

    There’s a direct line from Patrick Buchanan to Sarah Palin to Donald Trump.

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  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kit:

    I’m guessing that this will be a troll-free thread.

    Looks like one of the Cult members is already tossing around down-votes.

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  8. CSK says:
  9. Joe says:

    “I said, ‘You know boys … the nights you were born were extraordinarily happy nights in my life, but the night Trump won was happier.”

    I don’t know if Praeger was also pushing the chosen by God trope, but, if he was, he should have been equally ecstatic by a Hillary election. Somehow I doubt he would have been.

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  10. Steve V says:

    I think it’s more of a symbiotic relationship between Trump and then right wing media complex. Trump basically parrots what they say. They (and their audience), then, think he’s amazing.

    Oh and two words: Jon McNaughton

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  11. john430 says:

    Hey Doug: What flavor of Kool Aid are you drinking these days? Be careful, we Republicans are hiding under your bed. LOL!

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  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @john430:

    What flavor of Kool Aid are you drinking these days?

    Your total lack of self-awareness is amusing.
    I refer you to this list of characteristics…which fit you to a tee.
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

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  13. DrDaveT says:

    @john430:

    Be careful, we Republicans are hiding under your bed.

    God, that would be such a huge improvement for everyone over what you are actually doing…

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  14. Kurtz says:

    @Steve V:

    His campaign said that at the beginning, they just took whatever Fox News highlighted and made that the planks of their platform.

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  15. Kathy says:

    Maybe the Christian god(s) ordained Trump as president to destroy the US? Or maybe to test the people, to see if they’d follow an immoral poser or stand up to him?

    What if the GOP is letting their god(s) down?

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  16. EddieInCA says:

    This past weekend, the CNN show “Reliable Sources”, did a small montage of Sean Hannity “reporting” on the impeachment witnesses. It was amazing to watch. Hannity, literally, said the opposite of what the witnesses said.

    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-stelter-after-damning-impeachment-evidence-hannity-just-presented-a-completely-different-set-of-facts/

    Skip to 3:30 of the video for that part. But the whole segment is worth watching.

    How any corporation can allow such gaslighting is beyond me. I genuinely don’t understand how it’s allowed. It’s subverting democracy.

    Watch it if you want to get pissed off.

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  17. CSK says:

    The more I hear about Trump being God’s chosen, the happier I am not to have been raised in any religion. Stuff like this makes my skin crawl.

    My late father didn’t hate many people, but he loathed Billy Graham.

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  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    In a cult, you say? Why, I never.

    Cult45 is a direct outgrowth of white evangelical Christianity with a big assist from Fox News. It seems evangelicals got tired of waiting for Jesus and traded him in for a dog turd. Well, to each his own, though I always thought Jesus had some useful insights. Not something anyone accuses Trump of.

    The depths of their stupidity is increased by virtue of the fact that while these people can’t manage college they’ve been on the receiving end of thousands of sermons on the Golden Calf specifically and idolatry in general. And yet. . .

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  19. DrDaveT says:

    @EddieInCA:

    How any corporation can allow such gaslighting is beyond me. I genuinely don’t understand how it’s allowed. It’s subverting democracy.

    I’m surprised it’s not a violation of FCC regulations. Opinion is one thing, but flat out lies about verifiable facts are a different kindle of kittens.

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  20. mattbernius says:

    Off, but yet on-topic — the CDC recommended that migrants be vaccinated for the flu while in custody. Border patrol said “no.” Now at least 2 children have died, in US custody, from the flu since that decision:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/cdc-recommended-that-migrants-receive-flu-vaccine-but-cbp-rejected-the-idea/2019/11/25/8aba198e-0fb8-11ea-b0fc-62cc38411ebb_story.html

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  21. David M says:

    @mattbernius:

    I think the Border Patrol refusing to immunize migrants in custody is more of a “cruelty is the point” problem. It’s our current wonderful reality, ping-ponging between aggressively ignorant policies and the willfully cruel, depending on Trump’s latest tweetstorm.

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  22. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It seems evangelicals got tired of waiting for Jesus and traded him in for a dog turd.

    As writer and comedian John Fugelsang says: Trump is Jesus for followers of Jesus who have rejected the teachings of Jesus.

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  23. Kathy says:

    Usually people of great accomplishment, and not so great accomplishment, tend to be made into heroes after their death, and any flaws and failings are erased from memory and the record. Like you wouldn’t think anyone ever said anything bad about George Washington, except the wicked Brits and maybe assorted traitors. Napoleon may be criticized and even condemned, but only outside the borders of France.

    Trump’s accomplishments are far from great. Specifically, he has accomplished little in his time in the White House by any objective measure, while at the same time endangering long-term policies, norms, and the rule of law. About his greatest accomplishment thus far, is that, despite his best efforts, the US economy keep chugging along.

    How, then, is he getting, from his base, the kind of hero-worship even the true great people in history have never been afforded?

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  24. steve says:

    I am always struck by how any criticism of Trump rises to the level of a Deep State coup or a mutiny. Over at Schuler’s place the Trump supporters think that the relatively mild criticism Trump got over the DoD issue with he SEAl is the same thing as an open mutiny. While I think that in general the right and left both have lots of problems I think this level of extremism on the part of Trump supporters is unique. When the military pushed back on Democratic proposals to have gays openly in the military there wasn’t a lot of whining about an “open mutiny.”

    Steve

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  25. grumpy realist says:

    The Republican Party is running on a platform of gaslighting and narcissism, all for their own egos. Equivalent of the 1950s and the “Red Scare”. I suspect that at some point the craziness will burn out, Hannity and Limbaugh will be jeered off the stage, and the U.S. will return to equilibrium. The only question is how much damage they will have done by then to the institutions of government and law.

    Someone really has to run on a platform emphasising ethics, speaking truth, and that no one is above the law.

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  26. andros says:

    As a devoted High Agnostic, perhaps I’ll be permitted to offer a few objections to the charge that those who prefer Trump to the “progressive” agenda are bat-guano crazy. First of all, immigration. We have witnessed hordes of unskilled, impoverished migrants surge across our border, many of them unable to utter a word of English. Most will end up as welfare recipients (63% of Non-Citizen Households Access Welfare Programs, Center for Immigration Studies, 11-20-18.) Despite their coy protests that they are not “open border” advocates, “progressives” have done everything in their power to hamstring enforcement efforts. They openly talk of “decriminalizing” unauthorized border crossings, with a view to flinging the door open to everyone who wants to come here and partake of our welfare largesse.

    At the same time, “progressives” lecture us that migrants, once settled in the interior, are subjected to intolerable abuse. They must be “brought out of the shadows,” and a “path” created for them to vote for their benefactors.

    Squealing accusations of “racism” here will have no effect. We know what you’re up to.

    “Progressives” seem to be mute when it comes to the subject of economic growth. Trump’s theory is that making the U.S. the best place to invest will result in greater investment and job creation. Pointing out examples of corporations which, for one reason or another, paid no taxes, demonstrates your ignorance of both economics and tax law. Your raw hatred of corporations is troubling. You obviously hope to inspire a Battleship Potemkin moment.

    Medicare for all: Why are “progressives” so loath to concede that, under these “single payer” schemes, those who enjoy exceptional health care will have to content themselves with mediocre care? The ignorance of healthcare economics here is appalling. If you believe that wonders can here be accomplished by eliminating insurer profits, I suggest you spend some time, as I did, researching how much large corporations are saving by parting ways with insurers and initiating self-insurance programs. The savings are negligible, maybe 5%. And to belabor the obvious, you can’t enjoy Canadian health care costs if you leave your physicians in the position of tin ducks in a carnival shooting gallery.

    I could go on, but I won’t. I assure you nothing I’ve said derives from Sacred Writ.

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  27. David M says:

    @andros:

    Seems about right that you’d quote the Center for Immigration Studies, as racist and inaccurate seems quite on brand for you.

    Reports published by CIS have been disputed by scholars on immigration, fact-checkers such as PolitiFact, FactCheck.Org, Snopes, media outlets such as Washington Post, CNN and NBC News, and immigration-research organizations….The Southern Poverty Law Center describes CIS as a hate group with ties to the American nativist movement.

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  28. CSK says:

    @Kathy: The Trumpkins think that he’s one of them, a true patriot and a real American fighting against the evil elite. They don’t understand that he despises them the way no one but a failed social climber could despise them. Trump is forever the boy from Queens, with his nose pressed up against the window, yearning to be accepted by the real movers and shakers, who know he’s just a hopeless vulgarian and clown living on credit.

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    Damn, I wish I’d written that.

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  30. charon says:

    GOP may be a personality cult, for now, but it was on the way to being a cult before Trump, and it will continue as a cult once he is gone. Which will not be far off the way Trump is going downhill mentally.

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    First of all, immigration.

    Yes, we get it — you will forgive Trump anything if he will keep the scary brown people out. Thank you for being clear about the source of your fealty.

    (Still waiting for that analysis of how the hordes of penniless Jews, Irish, Italians, etc. and their lack of English trashed the American economy in the 20th century…)

    Medicare for all: Why are “progressives” so loath to concede that, under these “single payer” schemes, those who enjoy exceptional health care will have to content themselves with mediocre care?

    Because it’s not true? What do I win?

    Seriously, this is the stupidest of all your arguments, because the disproof of your claim is already out there in the half-dozen countries where health care is universal and better than the US and cheaper than the US.

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  32. charon says:

    Nikki Haley is on board for Cult45:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/atrupar/status/1199025861950873602

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  33. mattbernius says:

    @David M: My favorite thing about him is he knows how partisan his sources are, so that’s why he never cites.

    BTW, who else appreciates how quickly he transitioned from “I am a politically neutral person just asking questions about Joe Biden’s past” to full throated defenses of Trump with thinly veiled “they will not replace us” talking points sprinkled in for seasoning?

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  34. mike shupp says:

    We can do it, I think. (1) Start showing Christian characters on TV shows as decent folks who AREN’T Trump supporters. Good, rave, charitable, honorable folks who shake their heads sadly when other people act like racists or Flat Earthers or religious bigots. (2) Start showing Trump supporters who are laughable or dangerous — the sort of person who shoots at the family dog in your living room, for example, to show off his new pistol, knocking a few hairs off the beasts’ tail while blasting a hole in the picture window, and can’t pay for repairs.

    Not every episode of every show, to be sure, but now and then, to establish the characterization.

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  35. An Interested Party says:

    What flavor of Kool Aid are you drinking these days?

    Projection, as usual…it would be nice if you could come up with something better than “I know you are but what am I?”

    As a devoted High Agnostic, perhaps I’ll be permitted to offer a few objections to the charge that those who prefer Trump to the “progressive” agenda are bat-guano crazy.

    Another one who doesn’t get it…the point of this post isn’t over political preferences, but rather, how so many of Trump’s supporters are treating him as a messianic figure…as a High Agnostic, why don’t you try to square that circle…

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Those are actually good pertinent questions. I realize that you’re probably just trying to be snarky mostly, but the questions you raise are important to Christian theology because they intersect the side of the coin that includes free will. The God that I’m familiar with from my upbringing and beliefs avoids trampling on the free will of humans. What I believe that God “ordains” is not “rulers” but government because my take is that God prefers government over anarchy (and I accept that the two are opposites).

    So, when the citizens of the United State elect Barack Obama, God says, “I’m okay with that; it’s better than anarchy.” He says the same thing when the voters elect Trump–because he’s still better than anarchy (though by considerably less). The problematical element for most of us is that when Saddam Hussein, Pinochet, Stalin, Hitler, whoever seizes power by force, God still looks at it and says “still better than anarchy.” God approves of the principle. Human’s take charge of the details. This is why governments are imperfect. Every time.

    So yes, God’s children are being tested. Every day of every year–and not just about elections.

    We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed by what we have done and what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

    The prophets of the Old Testament make reference to “vessels prepared for destruction,” so yes, it would be possible for Trump to be *God’s choice* because the time of the US is ovah, but I’m not a dispensationalist, so I don’t believe that God directed the election of Donald J. Trump or that Satan is leading the opposition to him. I might be persuaded to consider the opposite proposition, but my main inclination is that Trump got elected not because of God’s will but because Evangelicals are short sighted and foolish and God didn’t send anybody to warn them–the whole not trampling on free will thing.

    So thank you, Kathy. Good questions. I hope Perry and others find someone to ask them the same questions. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

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  37. David M says:

    @andros:

    Trump’s theory is that making the U.S. the best place to invest will result in greater investment and job creation.

    It seems odd you would intentionally point out one of the biggest GOP/Trump failures, that the GOP Tax Cuts Didn’t Work: Republicans said the reform would grow the economy by up to 6 percent, stimulate business investment, and pay for itself. None of that happened.

    Oops…

    Also, we have some good news for you: Poor immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare

    the idea that immigrants come to America to live off the government is wrong. The vast majority of new immigrants are not eligible for welfare. Even green card holders must wait for years to get most benefits. The United States already rejects applications from potential immigrants who could end up on government assistance…research shows that poor, uneducated immigrants are the least likely group to use welfare…it’s actually quite hard for immigrants to get public assistance…undocumented immigrants do not qualify for the vast majority of public benefits — including food stamps, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare…Even green card holders, who are permanent residents of the US, have to wait five years to qualify for nearly all social welfare programs. There are a few exceptions, including immigrants who served in the US military or are disabled…If there is anything the data shows, it’s that poor, unskilled immigrants are the least likely people to end up on welfare

    Problem solved. You’re welcome

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  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @andros:
    Have you noticed that you never win?

    Have you noticed no one even has to break a sweat smacking you down?

    Have you been able to draw any conclusions from this?

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  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Those are actually good pertinent questions.

    I would be delighted to have an actual theological discussion here, but I’m pretty sure that the Trumpenproletariat would not have anything to contribute to such. They don’t do theology; they do Devout Belief.

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  40. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    “Progressives” seem to be mute when it comes to the subject of economic growth.

    On the contrary — we have studied history, and have observed that (1) the most recent period of explosive economic growth came at a time when the top marginal personal income tax rate was 90%, (2) wealth inequality has a measurable (and studied) damping effect on growth, and (3) “trickle down” is a myth. The facts are on our side here. Sorry about that.

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  41. Monala says:

    @mike shupp: the Netflix movie Unbelievable showed just such a character. It’s based on a true story about two women cops in pursuit of a serial rapist. One of the cops is a devout Christian, and is also strong, compassionate, and full of integrity. I do wonder whether many evangelicals would approve, since the show deals with sexual violence and has a lot of swearing. The Christian cop is also in an egalitarian marriage, with her husband, also in law enforcement, sharing equally in child care responsibilities and having dinner on the table when she works late. When one of the victims tells her that since the rape, she had been sleeping around and doesn’t know why, the Christian cop doesn’t judge her. Instead she says, “You’ve been through something very traumatic. I think you’re searching for a way to regain control in your life.”

    The story is set circa 2011, so I’m very curious what the actual officer who the character is based on thinks about Trump.

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  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    @mike shupp:
    I like that. In fact I have a sitcom pitch somewhat like that which I may get around to actually pitching someday. Or not. But my approach is a safe space, a politics free zone where we have working class characters, team red and team blue, but all politics consciously subtracted.

    I’m an atheist but in my YA books I’ve always included major characters who were believers, and I’ve done my best to treat them fairly.

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  43. David M says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve yet to see andros even acknowledge that new or contradictory information could exist, let alone try and use that to re-assess his position.

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  44. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Those are actually good pertinent questions. I realize that you’re probably just trying to be snarky mostly, but the questions you raise are important to Christian theology because they intersect the side of the coin that includes free will.

    The snark begins and ends with the implication of Christian polytheism.

    I’m atheist, therefore I consider theology the study of what people believe and why, otherwise it would be a field of study without a subject to study. That aside, if an immortal, omnipotent being does exist, it would be impossible to divine their will or motive without a clear explanation from said being.

    Think back to your childhood or teen years or any earlier period of your life, and ask yourself whether you understood adults. I know I didn’t. Hell, from time to time I recall episodes from my youth involving some difficulty with my parents, teachers, adult relatives, etc., and I suddenly realize “Damn! That’s what they were trying to say!”

    And the only reason one grows to understand adults, is that one becomes an adult. No one becomes immortal or omnipotent.

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  45. grumpy realist says:

    @David M: Because andros is a troll, not someone interested in having a real discussion.

    The only satisfaction I have is that undoubtedly his practice of trolling will backfire on him one day, when he trolls the wrong person and gets fired/divorced/thrown in the slammer for contempt of court.

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  46. andros says:

    “These people are not well.”
    Jon Voight

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  47. Teve says:

    Multiple journalists on Twitter today or saying that Trump wants Eddie Gallagher to campaign with him.

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  48. Teve says:

    “Why do I care what’s going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious, why do I care? And why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am.”

    -Tucker Carlson, last night.

    linky

    Now he claims he was Just Kidding.

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  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Because andros is a troll, not someone interested in having a real discussion.

    andros = J-enos

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  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @andros:
    Well, as a Trumpaloon you of course have the support of all the poorly educated. You love the poorly educated, right, just like The Chosen One? Wonder why that is.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: I agree and am only doing what little I can to try to deflect the notion that all evangelicals have refrigerator temperature IQs.

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  52. JohnSF says:

    @andros:
    Some observations, not on policy preferences, but on the logic of your positions.

    First, you posit a binary choice between the agenda of the “Progessives” and that of Trump, such as it is.
    In reality the Trumpian agenda seems to be a scarcely coherent mashup of right-populism-with-a-persecution-complex, lowest common denominator Republicanism (tax cuts, corporate rights, deregulation, NRA-ism, anti-abortion judges) and occasional whiffs of the alt-Right.
    The agenda of Trump is simply the election of Trump; and firing up the “base” enough to whip the Congressionals into line.
    Besides Trumpeteers and Progressives, there are other options e.g. traditional Republicans, centrist Democrats, etc.

    First of all, immigration

    Assume it’s possible for the Trump to somehow wave a magic wand and end all illegal migration, or indeed to implement some sort of ban on migrants who are unskilled, poor and non-English speakers.

    You still have around ten million people minimum who were “illegals”; higher estimates of illegals plus children go to around thirty million.
    What are you going to do with them?
    Deport them? All of them? Get real.
    Consign them to a permanent category of “resident non-citizens” excluded from legal employment? With their children similarly excluded?
    As these persons are primarily of Hispanic demographic, do you expect that you can do treat those persons in such a fashion and not cause massive alienation among citizens of similar backgrounds?
    Do you want to ghettoize or alienate some 15% of the population of the US?

    In the real world, these persons are not going to go away.
    Doesn’t matter if you, or those who voted for Trump generally, like it or not.
    Whether the situation is, from a particular persons viewpoint good, bad or indifferent in principle is irrelevant.
    It cannot and will not be changed.
    You will have to deal with it.
    Provoking a state of ongoing low level civil strife seems a sub-optimal way of dealing.

    And if you plan on peaceful integration instead, repeated denunciations of people of similar ethno/cultural background as beyond the pale are probably counterproductive.

    the subject of economic growth

    Again, you posit a binary choice of “Trump’s theory” and “progressivism”.
    Are you sure those are the only options?

    Even on it’s own terms you explication of “Trump’s theory” has weaknesses.
    Attracting investment is not purely driven by low corporate taxes and removal of regulations.
    There are numerous other factors in play re. investment choices: markets, social peace, political stability, legal clarity, educational levels of employees, infrastructure etc. etc.
    Certainly crushing free-market capitalism would have consequences; but simply removing tax loopholes or modifying competition law etc. might not immediately bring the economic apocalypse.

    And there are also the arguments of social equity for balancing individual and indirect taxation with corporate taxes, public expenditures at levels determined appropriate to and advanced society, and appropriate fiscal limits on deficit financing of non-investment expenditure.

    Predetermining that all political opponents are motivated by “raw hatred of corporations” might just be an error on your part.

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  53. Gustopher says:

    Is it a cult if they actually don’t care about the cult leader, but just want to trigger the libs?

    Maybe I’m just optimistic — or is that pessimistic? — but I don’t think many of them believe the shit they are spewing, because they never seem to argue in good faith (look at andros, and his “Hunter Biden is awful but we must never look at whether Trump’s actions are awful”). They just want to score points. And Trump is worth extra points.

    And they hate brown people. They will not replace us, etc.

    Oh, I mean they are economically anxious. About brown people. Replacing us.

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  54. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The “Trump is Jesus for followers of Jesus who have rejected the teachings of Jesus” line reminds me of the “Trump is a poor person’s idea of how a billionaire acts” line

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  55. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT: That a rising tide raises all boats is a commonplace. Less remarked is that raising the smaller boats seems to bring in the tide.

    Traditional econ, or at least whatever shred people remember of Econ 101, assumes capital availability is the choke point. We’re still recovering from the Great Recession, caused by a “savings glut”. The choke point is aggregate demand.

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  56. Teve says:

    @JohnSF: obviously lower state taxes means more and better business. That’s why all the hot internet startups like Google and Facebook are headquartered in Wyoming, and Goldman Sachs and Amazon are based in South Dakota. 😀 😀 😀

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  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I wonder if the down vote here is because I believe that some evangelicals don’t have refrigerator-temperature level IQs or because I acknowledged that some do.

    (I guess it might be an expression of animus toward me personally… Nah, that wouldn’t be it.)

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: Can’t answer for andros, but can for other people from the right that I’ve known over the years.

    Consign them to a permanent category of “resident non-citizens” excluded from legal employment?

    I believe we can send them all back, but since you lack the resolve to really solve the problem, I’ll settle for this.

    With their children similarly excluded?

    Absolutely. They don’t belong here any more that their parents, and if we’d followed our laws to begin with, they wouldn’t be a problem.

    As these persons are primarily of Hispanic demographic, do you expect that you can do treat those persons in such a fashion and not cause massive alienation among citizens of similar backgrounds?/Do you want to ghettoize or alienate some 15% of the population of the US?

    Call it a path to “self-deportation” if you’d like.

    And if you plan on peaceful integration instead, repeated denunciations of people of similar ethno/cultural background as beyond the pale are probably counterproductive.

    I don’t plan on integration of any sort for people who “cut in line;” they need to go back where they came from. And incidentally, the people who came here the right way and followed the rules agree with me. Don’t hate me, hate the people who caused the problem.

    I would go on to the economic issue, but I suspect that, at least to the people that I’ve known what you said sounds like, “blah, blah, blah.”

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  59. Dana Pual says:

    The definition of “Cult” is “not enough people to make up a minority” Uhhh so I guess the writer, Doug Mataconis, is high. Furthermore, Liberals (progressives) in America only make up about 23-26%. The only reason they get away with ANYTHING is because that small number will stop at nothing to destroy the careers, reputations and families of ANYONE who gets in their way. Its kind of like not wanting to piss off your psycho ex girlfriend even though she is certifiably psycho, you end up pacifying her so you don’t end up minced meat, somehow. Yeah, that pretty much sums of the Democrat party… they will ardently accuse ANY opponent that stands in their way a racist, bigot, misogynist or homophobe in order to get you to back down knowing some will believe it. That’s called “Mob Rule” we are being governed by the cult, minority rule because of their tactics. Well, this is going to stop and already is starting to because of President Trump!

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  60. DrDaveT says:

    @Dana Pual: Yep, 100% projection. Like clockwork.

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