Sometimes I look at the field of Republican candidates serving or running for office and wonder if they are part of a nefarious joke on the American people. Like there is a Wizard of Oz behind the “conservative” curtain secretly laughing at their constituents, pushing the line to see how far people will go in supporting the dimmest bulbs.
Maybe it’s all a series of tests. If they believe Herschel Walker when he claims that China’s “bad air” is replacing our “good air” which in turn requires an endless cycle of some kind of clean up (it’s not clear from the original quote) then maybe they’ll believe the elitist policy arm of the party when they say that privatized social programs and upper income tax cuts are good things. Maybe not knowing the three branches of government, like one sitting senator, is irrelevant if it means people will support regressive gender policies. Maybe there is a correlation between believing that a magic book should govern life and immigrants are the root of evil or just an impediment to success. Both require the denial of objective reality and basic empathy for fellow human beings.
I recently read Mark Leibovich’s latest book, Thank You for Your Servitude, which details the ways formerly sober politicians became subservient to Trump in public, but in private maintained they fully understood that we has a joke of a person and politician. They got the joke but were willing to look the other way to achieve whatever political end they were after. What I think they miss is their entire platform, to the extent that it’s written or talked about in any coherent detail, is itself a joke on the American people. It’s nothing more than a mix belligerent attitudes towards anyone they don’t think is worth caring about and cruelty cloaked in the language of freedom and prosperity.
If the base doesn’t get the joke, or know that any of it is a joke, then what happens when the joke becomes true, for most? It becomes a meta-joke I think.