Republicans embrace the ‘cult’ of Trump, ignoring warning signs

voters in South Carolina cast out Rep. Mark Sanford, a firmly conservative member of Congress who had survived earlier scandal, in favor of a state legislator who had condemned Sanford for publicly criticizing the president. In Virginia, Republicans nominated for senator a Trump-like candidate with a history of embracing, as the president has, Confederate symbols and white nationalists.

.. Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.

The week was marked by continued deference to Trump on the part of congressional leaders who have swallowed the president’s upending of long-standing party views on several major issues. Legislative efforts by some in the party to wrest trade authority back from Trump and rewrite the nation’s immigration laws in ways he has opposed both fell in defeat.

Meanwhile, many in the party who in the past have opposed talks with North Korea’s leader this week praised Trump for his summit with Kim Jong Un.

As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man

.. Republican voters, who have swiftly adopted the president’s issue positions and looked the other way at a progression of missteps and conflicts that would have doomed prior presidents.

.. Despite misgivings about Trump’s behavior, Republican voters have rewarded him with support unmatched by a Republican president since George W. Bush’s tenure in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And they have rained down punishment on those who disagree with Trump.

.. Anthony Scaramucci. “He doesn’t speak with an elitist vocabulary and the savoir faire that Washingtonians are used to,”

.. I don’t think we, or any president, demanded personal loyalty to the degree Trump has,” said David Axelrod, an Obama adviser during his first campaign and term. “We made appeals around shared goals, ideals and agendas.

.. Trump has one of Obama’s most vexing problems, the inability to transfer power down the ballot.

.. In Michigan, two Republican candidates have spent weeks squabbling over how one of them abandoned Trump after the pre-election release of a recording of Trump bragging about sexual assault.

.. Tim Pawlenty is seeking a comeback by running against benefits for undocumented immigrants and recanting the criticism he made of Trump after the tape’s release.

.. In Nevada, brothel owner Dennis Hof, the star of a TV show about prostitution and the author of “The Art of the Pimp,” blew past a Republican incumbent to win the nomination for a seat in the state legislature. In an interview, Hof said that Trump “blazed the trail” for him.

“He gave me the confidence that I could do this — I could be a reality TV star, an author and a brothel owner and then be elected to serve,” said Hof.

Limbaugh: Reaction to Trump ‘Shithole’ Remarks ‘Faux Rage,’ ‘Made Up’ for Cameras, Microphones

Limbaugh called it “faux rage” and said much of it was an act for the cameras and microphone.

“All I can tell you is I have been there,” Limbaugh said. “I have been in the midst of these kinds of firestorms, folks. And I can tell you this is all faux rage. It is faux anger. It is faux outrage. It is made up. It is for the cameras. It’s for the microphones. It’s for the audience. It’s based on the presumption everybody finds Trump reprehensible and always has and this is just the final straw. And I don’t believe these people are sincerely outraged. They are sincerely excited because it is yet what they believe is another opportunity to get rid of Trump.”

You can’t turn on the televisions without being bombarded by trash. You’ve been told that you have to accept all sorts of junk under the guise of enlightenment from the schools your kids go to. You’ve been told to shut up, forced to accept the cultural rot, the mocking of your religion, with malice and impunity. People who mock and insult your religion are praised. They call you idiots, prudes, small-minded. And these people who are responsible for all this, claim to be offended over the use of a slang word.

Let’s say that Obama starts trashing talk radio.

I’m trying to expose the double standard of the deviancy ..

What Toronto Knows About Trump After Living Through Rob Ford

Ford, who died just over a year ago, from cancer, lied constantly and consistently and railed against the media and liberal élites. As one scandal led to another, he surrounded himself with cronies and family loyalists and, when truly tested, fell back on the flag-waving rallies that fired up his base.

.. In a city of immigrants, Ford’s message wasn’t built along racial divisions but along economic and social ones. Toronto’s inner suburbs were his Appalachia, less wealthy than the downtown core of the city, which served as his proxy for a sort of coastal élite. Ford created a culture war, presenting himself as an advocate for the hardworking everyman with the long commute behind the wheel on potholed roads and against the coddled, bike-riding latte sippers who lived downtown. Ford evoked his “war on the car” as brazenly as Trump’s own “war on coal.”

.. He effectively adopted this posture despite the fact that he inherited millions of dollars from his family

.. His typical supporter was the small-business owner fed up with taxes and traffic, who believed that he was ignored by a political class focussed on high-minded ideals of global urbanism and walkable cities. His campaign slogan was “Respect for Taxpayers,” and he promised to stop the city’s “gravy train” of runaway spending, on behalf of the little guy.

.. His swearing-in ceremony was conducted by the hockey commentator Don Cherry, who wore a pink double-breasted paisley suit in mockery of the “left-wing pinkos” opposed to Ford

..he included the city’s newspaper reporters, a group of people “that ride bicycles and everything,” Cherry said, implying a host of liberal sins.

.. When, three years into his tenure, journalists reported the existence of a video showing the mayor smoking crack, Ford fell back to his base and the comforts of the culture war.

.. Post-truth was a hallmark of his administration. He peddled in falsehoods (for example, a repeatedly disproved claim that he’d saved the city a billion Canadian dollars) and flat-out lies (he claimed not to have smoked crack, even though the video had been seen by numerous journalists, police, and others who described it in detail), and reiterated them loudly and unashamedly. Efforts to debunk his lies were dismissed by Ford as nothing more than the jealous desperation of the liberal élites. His Breitbart was a weekly call-in afternoon radio talk show that he hosted with Doug, coupled with friendly columnists at the right-wing Sun tabloid newspaper

.. The more Rob Ford’s lies were flagged and earnestly debunked, the more he was perceived as a straight shooter by his base.

.. Ford’s foibles were, to them, a big middle finger to Toronto’s status quo.

.. Jimmy Kimmel mocked him nightly. But nothing stuck. He was shameless, and that shamelessness coated him like Teflon.

.. but as the months wore on and Ford stayed the course it all felt a bit futile. Why bother writing articles, mounting investigations, and uncovering facts if they had no discernible impact?

.. What we couldn’t see at the time is that politics is a long game. Yes, Ford held onto office, but, by the time he was forced to bow out of his reëlection campaign, because of illness, his political career was already damaged. His name was a global punch line, he retained few political allies, and many of his formal powers had been stripped from him by the city council. Even his radio show was cancelled

.. Yes, the true loyalists of Ford Nation still adore him, and many voted for his brother, but his appeal to a broader base of small-government conservatives was gone. It hadn’t vanished overnight in a sudden, dramatic revelation that forced Ford from office. It built over each story, eroding Ford’s appeal bit by bit, until at least some of the voters who put him into office were ashamed to admit they’d done so and did what they could to right their mistake.

Turkey’s Erdogan Is Turning Into a Strongman

Country’s president, strongly supported by conservatives, Islamists and nationalists, is accumulating authority, purging thousands accused of involvement in a failed July coup, and ruling by decree

.. A song titled the “Erdogan March” lauds what it calls the lion-hearted protector of the global Muslim community, and became aTwitter top trend in Turkey.

.. Mr. Erdogan delivers daily hourlong speeches, which television stations that haven’t been shut down uniformly broadcast live

..The murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey on Dec. 19 capped 10 days of violence, including bombings that killed at least 58 people—volatility that only strengthens Mr. Erdogan’s push for expanded powers.

.. His unfolding efforts to reshape Turkey place Mr. Erdogan in the vanguard of illiberal populism personified by leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.

.. Mr. Erdogan’s movement has been a long campaign against a secular elite installed early last century by Turkish independence hero Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and kept in power by the military.

.. His movement, sometimes called Erdoganismo, is an Islamist-infused cocktail of winner-take-all democracy, nationalism and nostalgia for the past glories of this onetime center of the Ottoman Empire. Those sidelined include the once-dominant secular and West-leaning intelligentsia, along with ethnic and religious minorities.

.. The secret to the power grab is a political base of religious Sunni Muslims who have seen their incomes rise, their formerly circumscribed rights restored, and their pride enhanced by Mr. Erdogan’s policies.

.. Supporters say Mr. Erdogan, who has marshaled nine AKP election victories since 2002, has shown himself a benevolent and capable leader. Dismissing the idea he is autocratic, they credit his skill at developing trust and credibility across society.

.. The narrative is transparent—Erdogan is on a constant march toward absolute power

.. Then his government ousted scores of pro-Kurdish mayors on terrorism charges.

.. Party co-founders have been sidelined or silenced, their names erased from AKP literature.

.. His party swept to power in 2002 after courting European and U.S. policy makers enamored by the thought of an Islamist democratic party in the mold of Christian Democrats like Germany’s.

.. He framed protesters as elitists or foreign agents.

.. He should be handed as much power as he needs, Mr. Toraman in Sivas said, because “he’s restoring Turkey’s historic greatness.”

.. Heartland supporters say outsiders can’t imagine how dramatically Mr. Erdogan’s rule has improved life for Turks once limited by an immutable class system. Seeking treatment for illness was a challenge. Families couldn’t afford to send children to school. Conservative men tell of being ousted from the staunchly secularist military because of their piety.

.. Mr. Erdogan’s party revoked the headscarf law, and her future widened. Now, as she finishes a master’s degree in optical engineering, Ms. Subutay is angling for a coveted job with a defense contractor, Aselsan, which has opened an optics factory in Sivas. Until recently, it would have been impossible for a headscarfed woman.

.. Mr. Erdogan’s appeal also owes in part to a Teflon ability to deflect bad press.

.. The president’s lifestyle has moved beyond comfortable to opulent. He lives in an 1,100-room palace with 1,800 employees.

.. Mr. Erdogan started invoking the phrase “national will” to defend his policies, which primarily cater to his Islamist supporters. Mr. Erdogan has ignored pleas from minorities in favor of rhetoric that galvanizes nationalist feeling and the Sunni majority.

..

In last year’s elections, however, the HDP doubled its previous showing and won 13%. That was enough to deny Mr. Erdogan’s party a ruling majority in parliament.

Mr. Erdogan then accused the HDP of supporting terrorism. He revived scorched-earth tactics against Kurdish insurgents. He froze the peace talks and called snap elections. With voters spooked by rising violence and insecurity, the AKP was propelled back to majority control of parliament.