Krugman: Putting the Ex-Con in Conservatism

Paul Krugman—The New York Times:

To be sure, there have been plenty of crooked Democrats. But usually the revelation of their crookedness ended their political careers. What’s striking about today’s Republican landscape is that people who are obvious crooks, con men or worse continue to attract strong support from the party’s base. Moore narrowly lost in Alabama’s special election, but he received 91 percent of the votes of self-identified Republicans.

Claiming that I won’t vote for another Republican until the party is restored to something resembling its pre-Reagan intellectual and moral self is not a partisan statement.

I couldn’t fathom how anyone, let alone any self-respecting woman, could vote for a man like Mr. Trump in 2016. It turns out that the answer was self-identifying Republicans will often vote for anyone with an “R” after their name for that reason alone. That includes a man credibly accused of child molestation and another man who was convicted of conspiring to endanger the lives of coal miners, the latter in West Virginia where coal is king.

How could such obvious disqualification for voter trust succeed?

this sustained reliance on the big con has, over time, exerted a strong selection effect both on the party’s leadership and on its base. G.O.P. politicians tend disproportionately to be con men (and in some cases, con women), because playing the party’s political game requires both a willingness to and a talent for saying one thing while doing another. And the party’s base consists disproportionately of the easily conned — those who are easily fooled by claims that Those People are the problem and don’t notice how much the true Republican agenda hurts them.

Why do poor Americans so often vote Republican, when the GOP has enacted policies of upward re-direction of wealth and curtailment of social programs benefiting them? Believing others are easily fooled is the same as believing yourself of superior judgement for seeing through the con, and I’m loathe to believe myself superior to anyone. In this case, though, and as Krugman points out, the fact of GOP voter ignorance is plain. Donald Trump speaks like nothing more than a carnival barker, particularly when he’s off the teleprompter. And his base loves him for it.

The GOP hasn’t only lost its way. It’s led and populated by the morally corrupt and the willingly fooled who steadfastly march the wrong way.

#GOP #Republican #morallyCorrupt