Donald Trump

Trump's Arizona Rally Is an Advertisement for the GOP's Pathologies

Behold a squabbling but still powerful coalition of nationalist authoritarians, immovable interventionists, finger-in-the-wind opportunists, and vastly outnumbered libertarian-leaners.


This is how much Doug Ducey hates Donald Trump and Joe Arpaio ||| ABC 15
ABC 15

Donald Trump's anxiety-inducing rally in Phoenix tonight is being previewed as a possible inflection point between the president's nationalist/populist base and a more sober-minded GOP establishment, personified locally by the Trump-antagonizing Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake. Nationally ambitious Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, for example, is giving the event a wide berth, reportedly in part due to the Trump-floated trial balloon that he may use the occasion to pardon convicted former longtime Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a power-abusing opponent of civil liberties who is popular on the anti-immigration right.

Ducey's allergy to appearing on stage with Trump and Arpaio (the latter of whom may or may not show tonight) is certainly a late-breaking development—he was right there with the sheriff this time last year delivering an enthusiastic speech at one of Trump's most high-profile rallies. The governor, who by reputation has a finger-in-the-wind sense of political opportunism, was all too happy to pocket Arpaio's endorsement back in 2015 ("few, if any, lawmen have deployed more innovative ways of fighting illegal immigration and other crime than Sheriff Joe"), and as recently as eight months ago was singing the firebrand's praises at his retirement party: "This is a guy that's a legend and has a personality that's bigger than life. He will be remembered for a lot of things. Pink underwear, tent city, but I hope most of all they remember he committed himself to public service."

Mitt knew. ||| Buzzfeed

Rank GOP opportunism vis-à-vis Sheriff Joe and the gleefully punitive immigration restrictionism he represents is neither parochial nor new. As Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini has pointed out, "For more than 20 years ambitious Republicans have been genuflecting before Arpaio, seeking his blessing." Mitt Romney, who these days is seen as a kind of moral bulwark against his party's drift toward vulgar nationalism, named Arpaio as the honorary chair of his Arizona campaign way back in February 2007. "The first time I met the governor at a private meeting, first thing he said was 'How's the pink underwear doing?'" the sheriff told back then, adding: "I'm sure the governor believes in my philosophy….He sure would not be asking for my endorsement if he didn't believe in what I'm doing."

Romney has done more than just about any modern politician not named Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions to mainstream the Republican Party's immigration authoritarianism. (Never forget: Romney's "mean-spirited" and "crazy" approach toward illegal immigration was deemed a key reason for his loss in November 2012 by none other than Donald J. Trump.) But even GOP politicians who have refused to kiss Arpaio's ring have also, during times of stress, tacked politically (if unconvincingly) toward Arpaioian policies, most notably John "complete the danged fence" McCain. As with the mainstream media, one suspects that some #NeverTrumpism is due to the president having the gall to actually mean what Republicans have long promised to their base.

Much of tonight's drama is centered around vulnerable incumbent Jeff Flake, who Trump has repeatedly targeted for criticism while signaling support for his primary opponent, Kelli Ward (who will be in attendance). I greatly prefer Flake to Trump for reasons we talked about on yesterday's Reason podcast and that I wrote about at greater length last year, and Ward sounds pretty Arizona-crazy to me. And yet this anti-Ward attack ad released this week by a SuperPAC associated with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is yet another reminder that the default Republican foreign policy position is open-ended war:

Got that? Foreign policy "restraint and realism" is disqualifying. And judging by the interventionists' enthusiastic reception to President Trump's speech last night announcing a troop increase in Afghanistan, at least one large room within the Trump-skeptic wing of the GOP is all but begging to join the Trump Train should he stick to the American family business of policing the world. Here, for example, is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last night trashing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) in the course of exulting that "the gloves are off in Afghanistan":

You do you, Lindsey. ||| Fox News
Fox News

Paul has been wrong about everything in this war. It's that kind of thinking that got us into 9/11. You may be tired of fighting the terrorists, they're not tired of fighting you. On September the 10th, 2001, we did the Rand Paul way—we didn't have one soldier in Afghanistan, we didn't have an embassy, we didn't have a dime of aid going to Afghanistan, and they hit us anyway. This is a war between radical Islam and the rest of us. They hate our guts, they're not going to stop fighting us until we kill them, and stabilize Afghanistan.

As ever, being a relentless hawk means never having to say you're sorry, and always having an open-ended invitation to appear on cable news.

McConnell this week said that there is "zero chance" of Congress failing to raise the debt ceiling, which effectively means there is zero chance of cutting expenditures by the federal government (particularly since Congress increased short-term spending May, and has shown zero inclination to shoulder even the minimum responsibility of passing an annual budget). So you have a Republican-led Congress that doesn't want to legislate, a Republican-led administration that lacks the courage to identify the fallacy of sunken costs overseas, a Republican professional class ready to opportunistically throw away long-treasured principles if it gets them nearer to power, and a populist base busy debating whether there's any "historic proof" to the "ideological statement" in the Declaration of Independence that "All men are created equal."

All that, plus?importantly!?some real deregulators chipping away at the administrative agencies, as well as a handful of overwhelmingly outnumbered fiscal conservatives like Flake, Paul, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the latter of whom lately has been saying such cheerful things as "Hopefully, over time, these two parties start to fall apart."

An interview worth watching as the seemingly incompatible wings of a numerically successful major party shudders through another Trump rally tonight:

NEXT: Indianapolis Cops Violated the Constitution by Holding Cars for Six Months Without Filing Forfeiture Paperwork

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  1. Christ, what a band of assholes.

    On September the 10th, 2001, we did the Rand Paul way?we didn’t have one soldier in Afghanistan, we didn’t have an embassy, we didn’t have a dime of aid going to Afghanistan, and they hit us anyway. This is a war between radical Islam and the rest of us. They hate our guts, they’re not going to stop fighting us until we kill them, and stabilize Afghanistan.


    1. Hey, since 9/11/01 we haven’t had another 9/11/01. You are welcome.

    2. Didn’t you realize that Afghanistan was behind 9/11? If we had simply occupied Afghanistan and built an embassy back in, oh, say, 1997, how could 9/11 have possibly happened?

    3. By Graham’s logic, we should invade and perpetually occupy every country that might pose a terror threat.

      1. So you understood – good. Now, on to the planning phase.

      2. we should invade and perpetually occupy

        Annex? We could teach them English!

      3. Why waste for a potential threat?

        Do it JUST IN CASE a potential of a threat emerges.

    4. Lindsay Graham then fanned himself with a copy of Cosmo magazine and sipped on his pink lemonade as he complained about the ungodly heat, while massaging his forehead with an ice cube.

      1. +1 intern with a pocket fan

      2. “lordy lordy!, deez hot flashes ain’t getting no betta!.”

    5. You didn’t seriously still believe it was the whales and the dolphins responsible for 9/11, did you?

  2. Joe Arpaio is not loved by some on the Right because of his anti-immigrant policies, but because he keeps harassing American Citizens who have sued the Maricopa County to the tune of 70 million accumulated in potential settlements. Of course these Amwrican Citizens happen to be born with the wrong skin color.

    That’s all. He’s no more or less effective against so-called illegal immigrants than other county sheriffs but few sheriffs have accumulated such a tab from angry American Citizens.

    But, look, I can’t blame him: nobody has told him what an illegal immigrant is supposed to look like so he and his armed thugs have to go at it with their instincts, such as they can be in Arizona.…..576878001/

    1. Point is: they love him because he harasses brown people.

    2. As a Maricopa County business owner and resident, I am glad that my tax dollars are no longer being wasted paying for Sheriff Arpaio’s unconstitutional bigotry.

      I just wish that the President could pardon the Sheriff and/or endorse the chemtrail lady from back in Washington, instead of snarling traffic in my city.

      1. Whoa, is this the LP President? Keep up the good work, sir! And by good work, I mean the twitter fights with Tom Woods.

        1. Twitter fights are the bleeding edge of American political thought, it is known.

      2. It will be interesting to see. I hope that there is underwhelming turn out, and that Arizona has begun a refutation of Trump as well. He still seems to view it as a stronghold for his base. I know that even down here in Tucson you see quite a bit of support for him still, as well as out in the rural parts of the state.

        But, Maricopa also finally had the decency to vote out Arpaio. So perhaps things are changing for the better.

        1. This will play out the same way his rallies turned out during the primaries: people will riot; the media will call it a ‘peaceful protest’, despite the pictures, further undermining the media’s credibility; Sarward up here will virtue signal and the same thing will happen: Trump’s approval will go up and his base will stiffen, because the opposition is so repugnant.

          It’s a rake that his opponents walk into every time

      3. LP Chairman? Please bring more washed up Rockefeller Republicans like Bill Weld into the Reform Part…er…Libertarian Party. All that old talk about individual rights and stuff is such a waste of time. We need to focus on what matters: Uber and food trucks

    3. In my youth I admired his “tough on crime and criminals” attitude.

      Then the cold fingers of reality bitch slapped me and I realized that every one of us is a criminal according to these douchebags and that fucker shouldn’t be within 100 miles of being able to screw with people’s civil liberties.

    4. He’s just “innovative.”

  3. Wait, aren’t all political rallies advertisements for the adherent’s pathologies?

    1. You know, if one operated under a rather truly libertarian precept that this is the case. One *might* interpret Welch’s title as a slanted screed.

    2. Re: Diane Reynolds (Paul.),

      Wait, aren’t all political rallies advertisements for the adherent’s pathologies?

      There’s a difference between pronouncements, pep talks, pageantry, and what Trumpistas do.

    3. I go to my political rallies for measured argumentation.

  4. Much of tonight’s drama is centered around vulnerable incumbent Jeff Flake

    I hope Arizonans have enough of that ol’ Tea Party spirit to Primary Flake’s RINO-establishment ass.

    1. Is being in favor of American Juche (Trumpism) supposed to be antithetical to RINO-ism?

      1. Don’t get too riled up, it’s just SIV’s chicken syphilis talking.

          1. That’s a menu item at Chick Fillet in Georgia.

        1. And what exactly makes Flake so great? Opposition to Trump? Is that all that matters? In that case, warmongers McCain and Graham are awesome!

          1. There may be reasons to dislike him that I don’t know about. But, while he’s no kind of libertarian, and I wouldn’t vote for him if I lived in his state, he seems pretty not terrible and not completely awful like McCain or Graham.

            1. Graham is blessed to have a Democrat party that cannot properly manage a bowel movement here in SC. He can win the Senate if his entire campaign consists of him making fart noises.

          2. Flake can not-unfairly be described as “libertarian-leaning,” although not quite-so-much as Paul or Amash.

            McCain and Graham are arguably two of the very worst people in Congress from a libertarian perspective, while Flake is one of the best (with the caveat that that bar is really, really low).

            1. Exactly. I consider him “not horrible”

              And anyone who replaces him, will likely be worse.

          3. The same thing that makes herpes look good in a cancer ward. Flake isn’t some libertarian ideal, but there’s about a .1% chance anybody who wants to replace him will be better.

    2. Trump fanboys calling people RINOs is hilarious. If that term ever did have meaning, it doesn’t any more.

      On a semi-related note, the Trump quote about Romney’s immigration stance is pretty hilarious.

      1. SIV being a Trump fanboy doesn’t change the fact that a lot of those senator’s are RINO’s.

        1. Who’s not a RINO?

          1. Trump.


          2. Who voted to kill Obamacare for all three different versions the senate voted on? Probably those guys.

            At least for that vote.

            @Best: I’d consider Trump an old school Democrat a la Bill Clinton. He just realized he didn’t have a chance in the new identity politics Democrat party.

      2. “He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

        The GOP has to develop a comprehensive policy “to take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country,” Trump says.

        Looking ahead, Trump says his top-rated NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice” is now shooting its 13th season.

        Trump says his Trump National Golf Course on 600 rolling acres along the Potomac River is “by far, the best golf course in the tri-state area.” He bought the historic Old Post Office on prestigious Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to remake it as a luxury hotel, and it doesn’t stop there.

        “I just bought the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and Spa in Jupiter, Fla., which is a phenomenal area,” Trump says.

        1. You can’t parody the guy.

  5. Once again Fatt Belch goes full SJW retard whiny pants. Hey cosmo cucktarian, how does it feel to be such a Losertarian?

    /savin’ Double Dummy the trouble

    1. Fatt Belch

      You’re giving DD a lot of credit there with those nickname skills.

      1. I lol’ed – it’s better than anything DD ever came up with.

  6. You know who else was a finger-in-the-wind opportunist?

    1. Walt Disney?

    2. PT Barnum?

      1. Boooooooo!

        1. Aw c’mon. It’s always Hitler.

    3. Count Rugen?

  7. Arpaio does not deserve to be pardoned. He was convicted under the law and should serve his sentence.

    1. Arpaio does not deserve to be pardoned. He was convicted under the law and should serve his sentence.

      ^ This, but Trump just can’t seem to get enough of shooting himself in the foot.

      1. I’m surprised Sheriff Trump still has feet since he’s blasted that revolver so many times straight into em.

      2. That’s the only reason I see Arpaio being pardoned. Trump makes terrible impulsive choices and the only way you pardon a guy that has had deputies steal confidential documents in open court, has violated due process rights of people being held for trial by feeding them rotten food, and is just an all around despicable human being is by making a terrible impulsive choice.

  8. Trump will pardon Arpaio. This will rile up Team Blue, who will turn out in greater numbers in 2018. Because of that, Flake will lose.

    It’s 5D chess!

    1. I cannot wait for Senator Grijalva to ascend.

      He is my personally most disliked politicians. He is the only one to personally spite me.

      1. “Senator Grijalva” yuck.

        I see no upside. If Flake is out, he’ll just get replaced by someone much worse.

      2. I figured the Blue Team will run, what’s his name, Mr Giffords.

        1. I feel like there’s not a whole lot of hype for him. They still wheel out Mrs. Giffords every now in then in a grotesque show, but I feel like ultimately people don’t care that much about them anymore.

          That being said, we should not trust me.

        2. He’s actually a Russian impostor. The real Mr. Giffords is still on ice in the ISS.

    2. 5D chess is actually pretty easy. There are too many degrees of freedom, so the pieces just roam the board in the hope that they will eventually interact in some way.

      I find it hilarious that people just assume that more dimensions mean more complexity.

      1. Does that make it easy, or just pointless and dull?

        Anyway, the higher order chesses are just extended joking about the people who claimed Obama was some brilliant strategist playing 3d chess.

        1. It quickly gets dull, because the two factions soon realize that there is enough space on the board for the two societies to peacefully coexist.

        2. I’ve seen Trump supporters unironically use the “4D chess” argument to defend something Trump says or does. I’m not sure if it started out mocking the people talking about Obama.

          1. In all in his book, you fool!

      2. It looks like you are not very good at it.

      3. In 5D chess, if we’re using the squared cube–the tesseract, each space has more paths to and from–though the board is still 64 black and white squares–you can just get to them in different ways.

        The REALLY good 5D player executes checkmate before the game begins, thus avoiding the argument that will have happened when their queen was rendered unuseable by a check of the king two days from now.

  9. McConnell this week said that there is “zero chance” of Congress failing to raise the debt ceiling

    If you keep raising it it isn’t really a ceiling.

    1. “Debt Lift?”

      1. Debt roof. Then you may raise it.

        1. I feel a country-western song coming on.

        2. More like debt blue tarp.

  10. Open Borders Uber Alles!

    I for one simply can’t wait to be able to vote on the proper method of execution for adulterers, apostates, and blasphemers!

    1. Stop the brown hordes!!

      1. Stop the white hordes!!

      2. Progressitarians are okey doke with Statism, as long as it’s Brown Statism.

        Like all things, it’s only bad when Whitey does it!

      3. Stop hoarding the whores.

      1. They don’t care how “moderate” he is. They just don’t want another repub vote in the Senate.

  11. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, this piece contained 38, yes 38, hyperlinks. I counted them. But I’m sure as hell not clicking on and reading all 38 stories, I can promise you that.

    1. I wasn’t. But I am impressed with your counting skills.

    2. You know what else Mikey spends his time obsessively counting?

      1. Actually discrete, individual commenters that he can accuse of being my and/or Dave Weigel’s sock puppets?

        1. my and/or Dave Weigel’s

          Oh, drop the charade, Weigel – you’re not fooling anyone.

            1. We’re all Tulpa down here.

        2. Isn’t the #6 in your name which sockpuppet you are?

          1. No, that’s my rank in Mike Hihn’s Commentariat Fascist list. It is, truly, an honor.

            1. That was one of the first times I saw Hihn. My life has really shifted since that meeting.

  12. Is this where the ugly political analysis shows that flake is vulnerable because he’s not enough like trump?

  13. Do Trumptards think ISIS is coming across the Mexican border, or do they know that’s a bullshit lie that sounds slightly better than “Don’t bring your swarthy anchor babies here. My neighborhood in Utah has enough of them!”

    1. Probably as many people believe that as those who think there is a neo-Nazi revival.

      1. Well if they want to win the genetic war they should all of them stop fucking blood relatives.

        1. See, Tony knows how to make friends and win arguments.

          1. About as well as Trump knows how to art a deal.

            1. About as well as Trump knows how to art a deal.

              This may be the most accurate thing you’ve ever said here.

        2. What? You kind of proved my point there, hot shot

        3. Is that why the British royal family produces so few offspring?

    2. Re: Tony,

      Do Trumptards think ISIS is coming across the Mexican border, or do they know that’s a bullshit lie that sounds slightly better than “Don’t bring your swarthy anchor babies here. My neighborhood in Utah has enough of them!”

      Maybe they don’t want ISIS anchor babies coming (or crawling) across the border. Their paranoia is kind of loopy so it’s difficult to keep up with the latest iteration of it.

    3. Whitey is the Devil!

  14. “and a populist base busy debating whether there’s any “historic proof” to the “ideological statement” in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal.””

    So Pat Buchanan finally went full white supremacist. Figures.

  15. Trump Wins????!!!

    How did this happen?
    She was the most qualified candidate ever= better than Jefferson and Adams!!

    The pain, it’s a whitewash,
    a mourning movement,
    clinging to media for comfort,
    the air just feels different,
    sorry I can’t put a happy face,
    he’s a nazi,
    he’s puttin’s puppet!!!
    She was the most qualified candidate ever !!!!

    Shit head medias (all of them) cry – Crying As Trump Wins = LOL!!! ;))))))))))

  16. About as well as Trump knows how to art a deal.

  17. Reason writers consider Clinton’s withdrawal from Somalia to be a success. Since then, about 255,000 refugees from Somalia have settled in Yemen, and thousands of them want to go back now that Yemen has a civil war.

    You might have noticed how taking pressure off Iran during the Obama years worked out for people in that region. It’s easy to say that other nations should take care of things when it involves Somalians. On the other hand, Progressives have a history of sending in American troops when mainland France and Britain are at risk.

  18. The GOP and its business supporters will profit greatly from the continuing war in Afghanistan. Terrorists have proven they don’t need land to launch attacks- they do just fine with a few truck driving nuts. The Taliban wasn’t brought to the negotiating table by a far greater US build up under Pres. Obama but with the protection of the US armed forces, US companies can exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and since the government is corrupt, there will be no problem with the local government. Are we great yet?

    1. “Terrorists have proven they don’t need land to launch attacks- they do just fine with a few truck driving nuts”

      Flying trucks. ami’rite?

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