Republicans Are Afraid to Stand Up to Trump for Fear of Nasty Tweets

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Over at National Review, Tim Alberta ponders “Conservatism in the Era of Trump.” It’s not a pretty picture. There’s no one more conservative than the House Freedom Caucus, but they’ve already started to cave in to Trumpism:

Consider Trump’s stated intention to seek a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure package soon after taking office. At a conservative forum one week after the election, [Raul] Labrador told reporters that any such bill “has to be paid for” with spending cuts or revenues from elsewhere…But their thinking has shifted in the weeks since. According to several members, there has been informal talk of accepting a bill that’s only 50 percent paid for, with the rest of the borrowing being offset down the road by “economic growth.” It’s an arrangement Republicans would never have endorsed under a President Hillary Clinton, and a slippery slope to go down with Trump.

This is in addition to the tax cuts for the rich, which won’t be paid for at all. But why is the HFC already bending its adamantine principles against increasing the deficit? What are they afraid of? Rachael Bade tells us:

Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.

“Nobody wants to go first,” said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who received nasty phone calls, letters and tweets after he penned an August op-ed in The New York Times, calling on Trump to release his tax returns. “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

ZOMG! Phone calls, letters, and tweets, oh my! Who would have guessed that militant conservatives were so spineless? Here’s some news: I don’t get many phone calls, but I get lots of nasty emails and tweets too. So does everyone who comments on or practices politics. That’s America these days.

People often comment about how easily groups like Nazis and fascists came to power. This is how. But hell, at least in Germany and Italy people were cowed by real threats of real violence. It’s not especially heroic, but it’s understandable. In America, we’re heading down that path because people are afraid of unpleasant tweets.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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