“All Together Now” — ?

     I know a great number of faithful Republican voters. That is to say: they’re faithful to the Republican Party, they uncritically accept the statements of Republican politicians, and they vote the straight Republican ticket at every opportunity. And I would say, strictly from my acquaintance with them and their past behavior (I know, I know, “no guarantee of future performance”), that they’ll keep on doing so until they’re boxed and covered with dirt.

     Anyway, there’s no better example of two old maxims:

  • “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
  • “There’s a sucker born every minute – except of course the minute you was born!”

     I might be adding to that list in a moment. Bear with me.

     What distresses me is that I’d previously have thought that Donald Trump was not such a person. But this morning there’s evidence to the contrary:


     (Politico) – “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump set aside their years-long cold war during a private meeting with Republicans Thursday, a gathering McConnell described as “really positive.” (more)

     Not surprisingly, Senator Rand Paul refused to endorse President Trump, preferring to talk positively about Robert Kennedy Jr. so far.
     Factually, regardless of what any of them say, the Brutus delegation within the Senate will be sharpening their scorpion tails quietly and wait for the most vulnerable opportunity to strike. All sixteen DeceptiCons, soon to be led in 2025 by Senator John Thune, will sting viciously and simultaneously. This is the one political constant in an ever-changing universe.

     Sundance may not be absolutely correct about that, but it’s the way I’d bet.

     The behavior of what Sundance calls the DeceptiCons is founded on what they perceive to be their self-interest. Self-interest is reliably a stronger motivator than any less personal consideration. It nearly always trumps party loyalty, or encouragement to support a fellow partisan. That’s the basis of Public Choice economics, the discipline for which James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock won the Nobel Prize.

     The DeceptiCon Caucus in the Senate won’t openly oppose a Trump initiative – at least, not often – but they won’t support him merely because he’s a Republican President. Don’t expect them to work for Trump’s legislative agenda should it put them at odds with the GOP’s strategists and kingmakers. Don’t expect them to support Trump’s position in filibuster standoffs. And don’t expect them to fight the inclusion of anti-freedom “poison pill” amendments in Trump-supported legislation. Their personal interests in:

  • Remaining on good terms with the leadership;
  • Preserving “collegiality” to protect their prospects in a future Democrat-controlled Senate;

     …will take precedence.

     Political parties, pace David Friedman, are vote-maximizing machines. Their leadership may have deeper aims – indeed, I’d bet my house that they almost always do – but the only thing a party can do is strive to whip up votes for their candidates. To that end they compose and publicize party platforms. To that end they solicit contributions and volunteer labor. To that end they mount advertising and ground-pounder campaigns. But ultimately, their function is to get people into elective office, and to keep them there once elected.

     Or so it seems. Sometimes, a party’s leadership will undertake a covert campaign to oppose a partisan whom the voters love but the leadership deems too threatening to the status quo. Under those conditions, the party will appear to be doing one thing openly while it does another under cover. The Democrats’ kingmakers did it to Bernie Sanders. The Republicans’ kingmakers did it to Donald Trump, albeit unsuccessfully at first. Establishments are like that: they don’t like boat-rockers.

     I’m no fan of governments or politics, and with very few exceptions I’d cross the street to avoid an oncoming politician. People who like them can have them, for all of me. But I will say this to those who feel that loyalty to the Republican Party is the nation’s best hope for returning to its Constitutional roots:

Watch what they do,
Not what they say.

     And adjust your expectations – and your behavior – accordingly.

     “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” – actual author unknown; often attributed to Albert Einstein

1 comment

  1. DeceptiCons. What a great description. I’m going to have to steal that.

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