So what are the effects of this delusion of America as a center-right nation?
Hertel-Fernandez et al note correctly that the Trump tax cut has proved consistently unpopular; they don’t point out that at first Republicans were sure that it would be a big political winner: “If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” declared Mitch McConnell. But they couldn’t sell it, and the tax cut has virtually disappeared from GOP messaging.
Which brings me to something David Roberts wrote yesterday, which complements something I’ve been thinking for a while. He notes, in regard to the frame-Mueller debacle, that we’re dealing with the “second generation of Fox News conservatives,” who grew up entirely inside the right-wing bubble and don’t understand how people outside that bubble talk, think, and behave.
I’d say that this goes even more for professional GOP politicos, who are all apparatchiks. They don’t even realize that their party’s success has been based on racial antagonism, that most people want to raise taxes on the rich and maintain social benefits.
And this, by the way, is where Trump has an advantage. He didn’t grow up in the conservative hothouse; his very crudity means that he understands that his electoral chances depend not on repeating conservative pieties but on maximum ugliness.
Writes for The New York Times.