Beating back Trump’s Asshole Nation

Beating back Trump’s Asshole Nation


Trump’s Asshole Nation is outrageous—and belligerent about it. That is in the nature of assholery, as we established here and here.

In the face of this outrageous belligerence (which, by the way, is about twenty years old, being the legacy of Newt Gingrich, disgraced Speaker of the House, together with the rabid anti-Clinton Republicans of the 1990s), it is bemusing to hear wistful calls for civility in Congress. Oh, for the days of comity! Government can only work through compromise!

It’s time for that to stop. There is another way to make Congress work. I’ll come to that in a moment.

But first, here’s why comity and compromise are a pipe dream in the current phase of our politics:

Old-timers remember the blissful Congresses of the Reagan / Tip O’Neill years as models of civility. What they forget is that Republicans had been in the political wilderness for fifty years at that time. Everyone thought of them as the permanent minority.

This was their punishment for bringing on the crash of 1929. When FDR produced massive improvements for average Joes in the 1930s, the country turned against Republicans. In order to get even scraps of what they wanted they were forced to compromise. They were used to it.

But by the end of the Reagan years, Republicans had cemented together the Asshole-American coalition of capitalist assholes, supremacist/heritage assholes, cowboy assholes, and religious assholes. (See this post for the taxonomy.)

By the late 1980s, Republicans were a force again. And in 1994, they retook both houses of Congress on November 8. That was the day comity died.

It had to. Assholes don’t compromise. They browbeat and bully others into compliance. That’s been the Republican modus operandi for nearly a quarter of a century. Republicans have gotten so used to it that they now behave like assholes toward one another.

So that’s why, at this stage, civility is a pipe dream.

But there is another way to make Congress work. It’s perfectly possible to pull off, but it seems to have receded from the minds of most Americans:


If liberals and progressives really want to move American forward again, they have to marshall every single voter who is onboard with the program to turn Republicans out of Congress.

This will not be easy. The Republicans have used their stranglehold on Congress to pile up money, gerrymander everything they can, suppress voting, and generally make it hard for liberals and progressives to prevail-—even though there are far more liberals and progressive than conservatives. (Trump lost the popular vote by three million—ten million if you count votes for third-party candidates.)

If non-asshole voters can be mobilized energetically, if they come out in larger numbers than at the last election, and if they can stop bickering about ideological purity, they can swamp the Republicans. They could get an unstoppable majority, and, like FDR, ram through a lot of legislation that will immediately improve the lives of ordinary people.

Then maybe the Republican coalition of Asshole-Americans will be returned to the permanent minority. And after all, the minority is the proper place of “conservatives,” whose instinctive, fear-induced impulses are to stop progress, which is our only hope of keeping up with a world that changes faster than ever before.

Next post: Why no Republicans should get a pass on Trump and his Asshole Nation

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