So let’s think about this seriously for a minute.
What could Trump get out of a new party?
Trump loves attention, chaos and suckers giving him money he doesn’t have to return or do anything for.
If he forms a party, a lot of his current followers will at minimum pay a lot of attention to him and show up at his rallies to get their infusion of emotional gratification by being with people who hate the same things and people that they hate. All the news networks will continue to report about him. Fox News, OANN and Breitbart won’t take the spotlight off of him. He’ll get the attention he needs like normal people need oxygen and water.
If he forms a party, he’ll take perhaps 10–15% of the electorate with him. His final job approval rating was 29%, but a lot of those people are tribal Republicans who loved Trump, not random people off the street. 10–15%, however, is enough to screw up political calculus in enormous numbers of states, which is of course sufficient to get lots of news and analyst attention (like this question and these answers, but writ large and glowing). Massive disruptions in electoral balance are chaos. He’ll have Republican families split down the middle and feuding. He’ll have Republicans fighting Republicans, with some joining him and some attacking him. He’ll revel in it. All that chaos, all his doing.
If he forms a party, he’ll be able to continue to spread his messages of chaos, disunity, hatred and white grievance. He’ll say that the Republican deep state kept him from meeting the needs of his flock, and while he’ll be pretty generic, the most extreme elements of the right such as the Proud Boys and the militias will think he’s talking directly to them. They’ll be even more emboldened, and buy into the notion that he’s their leader. There will be more right-wing extremism and insurrectionist acts inflamed by his rhetoric. More chaos.
And he’ll create a secular prosperity gospel movement, with him as the megachurch owner. He’ll invoke god, but it will mostly be the god of bling, the literal golden calf. He’ll undoubtedly continue to have all the evangelical leaders show up along with the pillow guy at his events and in his media drops, to give the illusion that he cares about Christians. And he’ll have all of those people send him money. He’ll get churches donating to him. He’ll get white Christian business owners donating to him. He’ll get a bunch of lottery-ticket scratching poor white people sending him their money. And he won’t have to give them a thing in return except feeding the howling void of biased ignorance inside them with things that make them feel good about themselves by pointing at all of the people they hate and supporting their loathing of them.
It will be a reality-tv political party, World Wrestling Entertainment-quality mental pablum, with all the histrionics and flamboyance, but none of the athletics. A lot of Americans will latch onto that and suck mightily at the teat of bile and disinformation. The Republicans have spent over 60 years creating and feeding those ignorant wedges, and Trump exploited them to take their party away from them in 2015. Now that he’s free of the inconvenience of actually having to do the job of President — however fitfully, poorly and incompetently — he’s free to exploit those wedges for the remainder of his life.
And he’ll have lots of help. Trump has no problem attracting venal, amoral people, leeches in human form, to his efforts. They arrogantly think that they’ll be able to get in, make their millions off the drippings from the table, and escape with their mostly non-existent souls and reputations intact.
As I said, arrogant, but not wrong in many cases about making millions. There are innumerable people who will line up to carve off as much of the proceedings of the long con into their coffers as possible. There’s been a steady conveyor line of them coming and going over the past 6 years, in and out of the Trump camp, in and out of Trump’s favor. Many of them will end up bankrupt because they’ll foolishly think that they can make deals and contracts with Trump and have them honored, greed blinding them to Trump’s entire history. He’ll con them too.
So how will this be different than the Republican Party?
Well, the RNC completely caved to Trump. Prior to the primaries last summer, they voted to be Trump’s lapdogs and support whatever he wanted, while continuing to block anything from the Democratic Party because partisan nonsense.
WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;
RESOVLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;
Yeah, covfefe-level typo and all. Truly an inspiring document, laying out their positive vision for America. (Sarcasm mode off). It’s remarkable how sycophantic it is, which is probably why the RNC no longer allows people to see it on their site, and people like me have to cite it from Ballotpedia and other independent sources now.
So what are their options?
The first choice is to out-Trump Trump.
That would be to have Tom Cotton or Matt Gaetz or Tucker Carlson be the new Donald Trump, attacking him, attempting to be even more Trump-like than Trump. More brazen, more ignorant, more crude, more jingoistic, more nationalistic, more fact-free, more hating. That’s an entirely possible and probable path for the GOP. They aren’t winning Red states with reasonable and thoughtful policies, after all.
The second choice is to pivot to being a 21st Century center-right party.
The GOP has an amazing history, which they started unravelling in 1956 with In God We Trust. They were the party that freed the slaves, voted 76% to give women the vote, supported a strong Fourth Estate, were strongly for separation of church and state, were good fiscal managers of government, started the EPA, fought polio to the ground and established the national parks.
They could return to their roots, but in a 21st Century context. They could rebuild themselves as a credible alternative to the Democratic Party. They could accept climate change and offer center-right policies that were seriously thought through and communicated. They could reject the anti-vaxxers, leaving them to Trump. They could maintain an ecumenical council to gain the thoughts of religious groups, but stop pandering 24/7 to evangelicals. They could reject educational policies which intentionally made things horrible for the bottom 40% of the socioeconomic classes. They could embrace universal health care, something every western democracy has successfully done, something which has better outcomes at much lower costs. They could embrace police reform and demilitarization, but with differentiation.
They could embrace the better angels of their nature, returning to Lincoln for inspiration and guidance. They could look to the Angela Merkels of the world, right-wing leaders who are fully present in this century, not pining for a mythically glorious 1950s. They could reject the identity politics of being the party of white, Christian male grievance and embrace the vast diversity of America.
If they did that, they could carve off some of the Democratic Party’s more conservative members such as Klobuchar, Manchin and Edwards. They could make inroads into the cities. They could turn some purple states Red again, reversing the tide of history that’s seen them losing ground for decades.
The clearest sign that they would actually do this is if they vote to both impeach Trump in the Senate, and further invoke the option of disqualifying him for ever running for office again. This wouldn’t prevent Trump from pretending he was running, but it would divorce him utterly from the Republicans and limit the damage he could do politically to them in the future. I’m sure that at least three Republicans are advocating for this path out of the hundreds in Washington. It should be hundreds of the hundreds.
I think the Republicans becoming a 21st Century center right party is as likely as Trump fading quietly and humbly into the background, but they could do it.
Their last choice is to re-embrace Trump.
Instead of leaving him to kill their party, they reach out and negotiate to keep him in the fold. They promise him riches and adulation. They surround him with their organization and they stick their probing noses even further up the deep, deep divide between his buttocks.
This is basically the first choice, but with Trump as the even more Trumpy leader, leaving Gaetz, Cotton and Carlson frustrated from coupus interruptus. And then the spectacle continues, with even more craven and abject sycophancy from Republican leaders.
They preserve their electoral chances. All they give up is everything.
And Mitt Romney, while he talks a good game, would undoubtedly stay in the party, continue to be a gadfly with no power or influence and continue to get elected in Utah. A few more Republican congress members and Senators would elect to not run again over the next six years, and be replaced by even more craven Trump acolytes.
The only good choice for the Republicans is option 2. But the history of the past 70 years tells us that when presented with choices, they’ve inevitably taken the worst one for the long-term, but the one that gives them another shot for the next election cycle.
It’s been seven decades of craven weakness and unwise choices, not moral strength and foresight. There’s no reason to believe that they will change now.
When you realize that the prosperity gospel offers everything satan offered Christ
We are deep into campaign season with Christians on all sides becoming increasingly anxious and vocal. Phil talks with Kaitlyn Schiess, author of “The Liturgy of Politics,” about the false narratives shaping the hearts and politics of many Christians. She identifies these “false gospels” as prosperity, patriotism, security, and supremacy—and they’re far more subtle and powerful than you might think, and they affect both sides of the partisan divide. Also this week, Jerry Falwell Jr. responds to his expulsion from Liberty U. by quoting MLK’s “Free at last…” speech. And Mike Pence quotes the Bible in his RNC speech but replaces “Jesus” with “Old Glory.” Is it the clearest example of Christian Nationalism yet?
- “What Jerry Falwell Jr. Taught Me at Liberty University” by Kaitlyn Schiess: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/26/op…
- “The Liturgy of Politics” by Kaitlyn Schiess: https://www.amazon.com/Liturgy-Politi…
- “Vice President Mike Pence Swapped Out “Jesus” for “Old Glory” in His RNC Address”: https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/…
As the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe, President Trump has repeated one phrase like a mantra: It will go away.Since February Trump has said the virus will “go away” at least 15 times, most recently on May 15.“It’s going to disappear one day,” he said on February 27. “It’s like a miracle.”Invoking a miracle is an understandable response during a pandemic, but to some, the President’s insistence that the coronavirus will simply vanish sounds dangerously like magical thinking — the popular but baffling idea that we can mold the world to our liking, reality be damned.The coronavirus, despite Trump’s predictions, has not disappeared. It has spread rapidly, killing more than 90,000 Americans.In that light, Trump’s response to the pandemic, his fulsome self-praise and downplaying of mass death seems contrary to reality. But long ago, his biographers say, Trump learned how to craft his own version of reality, a lesson he learned in an unlikely place: a church.It’s called the “power of positive thinking,” and Trump heard it from the master himself: the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, a Manhattan pastor who became a self-help juggernaut, the Joel Osteen of the 1950s.“He thought I was his greatest student of all time,” Trump has said.Undoubtedly, the power of positive thinking has taken Trump a long way — through multiple business failures to the most powerful office in the world.Trump has repeatedly credited Peale — who died in 1993 — and positive thinking with helping him through rough patches.“I refused to be sucked into negative thinking on any level, even when the indications weren’t great,” Trump said of the early 1990s, when his casinos were tanking and he owed creditors billions of dollars.But during a global public health crisis there can be a negative side to positive thinking.“Trump pretending that this pandemic will just go away is not just an unacceptable fantasy,” said Christopher Lane, author of “Surge of Piety: Norman Vincent Peale and the Remaking of American Religious Life.”“It is in the realm of dangerous delusion.”
Trump says Peale has made him feel better about himselfThough they were professed Presbyterians, it’s more accurate to call Trump’s family Peale-ites.On Sundays, Trump’s businessman father drove the family from Queens to Peale’s pulpit at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.The centuries-old edifice was, and remains, the closest thing Trump has to a family church. Funerals for both of his parents were held there, and Peale presided over Trump’s marriage to Ivana at Marble Collegiate in 1977. Two of his siblings were also married in the sanctuary.The draw, Trump’s biographers say, was Peale, who elevated businessmen like the Trumps to saint-like status as crusaders of American capitalism.Known as “God’s Salesman,” Peale wrote many self-help books, including “The Power of Positive Thinking,” that sold millions of copies.Peale drew throngs of followers, but also sharp criticism from Christians who accused him of cherry-picking Bible verses and peddling simplistic solutions.But the young Donald Trump was hooked.“He would instill a very positive feeling about God that also made me feel positive about myself,” Trump writes in “Great Again,” one of his books. “I would literally leave that church feeling like I could listen to another three sermons.”Peale peppered his sermons with pop psychology. Sin and guilt were jettisoned in favor of “spirit-lifters,” “energy-producing thoughts” and “7 simple steps” to happy living.“Attitudes are more important than facts,” Peale preached, a virtual prophecy of our post-truth age.“Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” Peale writes in “The Power of Positive Thinking.”“Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
Peale has also influenced Trump’s spiritual advisersTo this day, Trump surrounds himself with Peale-like figures, particularly prosperity gospel preachers.One of his closest spiritual confidantes, Florida pastor Paula White, leads the White House’s faith-based office and is a spiritual descendent of Peale’s positive thinking — with a Pentecostal twist.White, a televangelist, belongs to the Word of Faith movement, which teaches that God bestows health and wealth on true believers.In a Rose Garden ceremony for the National Day of Prayer earlier this month, White quoted from the Bible’s Book of Job: “If you decree and declare a thing, it will be established.”“I declare no more delays to the deliverance of Covid-19,” White continued. “No more delays to healing and a vaccination.”The Book of Job, a parable of human suffering and powerlessness, may be a strange book for a preacher to cite while “declaring” an end to the pandemic. If it were so easy, Job’s story would involve fewer boils and tortures.But in a way, White perfectly captures the problem with positive thinking: It tries to twist every situation into a “victory,” even when reality demonstrates otherwise.“Positive thinking can help people focus on goals and affirm one’s merits,” said Lane, author of the book on Peale. “But it does need a reality check, and to be based in fact.”Sometimes, the reality is that you’ve failed and need to change course. But to Peale, that wasn’t an option. Even self-doubt was a sin, he taught, an affront to God.“He had a huge problem with failure,” Lane said. “He would berate people for even talking about it.”
Peale’s teachings can explain why Trump won’t accept criticismYou can hear echoes of Peale’s no-fail philosophy in Trump’s angry response to reporters’ questions about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.“Nothing is an exchange of ideas or discussion of facts,” D’Antonio said. “Everything is a life or death struggle for the definition of reality. For him, being wrong feels like being obliterated.”And that’s one reason why the President refuses to accept any criticism or admit to any failure. To do so would puncture his bubble of positivity, not to mention his self-image.So, despite his administration’s early missteps in preparing for and responding to the coronavirus, Trump won’t acknowledge any errors.Instead, he has misled the public, claiming in February that the situation was “under control” when it was not; promising a vaccine is coming “very soon,” which it is not; and falsely insisting that “anyone can get tested,” when they could not and many still cannot.Still, when asked in mid-March to grade his administration’s response, Trump gave himself a perfect score.“I’d rate it a 10,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job.”Trump’s self-appraisal might not match reality. But Peale would be proud.
Joel Osteen invited Trump to be his first guest on his Serius XM radio show.
.. the need to appease any angry market God.
39:09 min Is there any connection to manifest destiny (chosenness) and military. Dallas Theological Seminary uses a lot of triumphalism
43:41 Even that snatch from the Apostle Paul about true believers being more than concquerers, he is urging believers on to martyrdom, not capitalist triumph.
There’s an insane phenomenon called “prosperity gospel” where preachers tell their audiences to send them tons of money so they can live lives of luxury/private jets. Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. “If you’ve ever wondered why some Christian preachers must hopscotch the globe in fancy private jets, it’s in part so that they don’t have to get on commercial planes with the “demon” common folk. Preachers from the so-called “prosperity gospel” movement, Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, tried to explain their controversial need for their followers to give up their hard-earned dollars so they can fly in luxury in an interview posted Wednesday. Copeland then pointed out he could “scratch my flying itch” by riding around in his single-engine, open-cockpit plane. “But we’re in soul business here,” he said. “We got a dying world around us. We got a dying nation around us. And we can’t even get there on an airline.””*