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Scott Walker's Anthem-Flag Bitmoji Is Republicanism Under Donald Trump

To understand what has happened to the Republican Party, consider the trajectory of the Wisconsin governor.

Twitter / @scottwalkerTwitter / @scottwalkerTo understand what has happened to the Republican Party under Donald Trump, consider the case of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

There was a time, not too many years ago, when Walker looked like a plausible, even likely, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Walker, who spent nearly all of his adult life running for and holding office, rose to national prominence after a highly visible showdown with his state's public sector unions. He wrote a book about the experience and toured the country touting his policy record and his state's strong economy in the years after the recession. In many ways, he looked like—or at least played the role of—a serious, governance-focused conservative politician.

In 2015, Walker launched a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, positioning himself as the substantive antithesis to the crude triviality of Donald Trump. But it quickly became clear that the governor wasn't ready for the national stage. He stumbled over questions about building a Canadian border wall (really), ending birthright citizenship, and whether or not he supported federal ethanol subsidies (which he was against until he started campaigning for president). Like many Republican candidates that year, he seemed unsure of how to respond to Trump, who dominated the field from early on.

In September 2015, Walker, facing poor polls and financial strains, exited the race. As he did, he called for other struggling GOP candidates to do the same, so that the party could unite behind "a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner." It was an explicit shot at Trump, and a warning to others in the GOP that the reality-show star's brand of shallow, resentment-driven culture-war politics could overtake the party at the expense of both conservative ideology and governance.

Today, Trump as president commands the strong support of the vast majority of Republican voters, and, at least in public, the backing of nearly all GOP elected officials. He spends his days tweeting about enemies, real and imagined, and fanning the flames of the culture war in order to energize Republican voters. Among the most frequent topics of the president's tweets are the NFL players who have decided to protest police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. In both style and (lack of) substance, the Trump takeover that Walker warned about three years ago has come to pass.

Among those who have fallen in line is Scott Walker, who spent part of yesterday—the first day of the NFL's regular season—tweeting inane pablum about the kneeling players and asking whether Tony Evers, his Democratic opponent in Wisconsin's gubernatorial race, supports the player protests. (Walker and Evers are currently tied in the polls.) Among those tweets was this heart-on-flannel Bitmoji, which resembles a goofy parody of flag-waving GOP patriotism.

Walker's policy record since exiting the presidential race (like his record prior to entering it) is rife with shady local deal making in the name of job creation, including a county-led plan to locate a FoxConn facility in the state using state subsidies and the threat of eminent domain. That effort was backed by none other than President Trump.

Walker is no longer a figure of national significance, nor is his political trajectory all that unusual. His tweets are embarrassing, but not in a way that stands out, particularly when compared to Trump himself.

But Walker's evolution from policy-focused governor to figure of pure political pandering illustrates the overall trajectory of the GOP, which has surrendered itself almost entirely to Trump's hostile takeover. Donald Trump's victory over Scott Walker, and the Republican Party, is all but complete.

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  • Fats of Fury||

    If Scott Walker was president , you'd be bitchin about him too. Scott Walker was Hitler before Trump was. but only at the state level.

  • Fancylad||

    I'm so old I remember when Dole, Reagan, McCain, Romney and HW Bush were all Hitler.

  • Hank Phillips||

    I recall when only a few of Hitler's 1920 planks were written into the Republican platform. Nowadays it's most of them. I also recall when the democratic platform wasn't mostly copied from the communist manifesto. It's really a lucky thing David Nolan acted when he did, or we'd be back in 1939... only with NO alternative to vote for!

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Another idiot politician heard from.

    I continue to hate all parties involved in this stupid controversy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Scott Walker is an establishment Republican.

    I rooted for him against unions and that was about it. He's not a horrible Republican but he ain't no Trump.

    Walker just like Jeb or Cruz or Rubio would have never been able to rollback government like Trump has. They care about what the Lefties think. Trump doesn't.

    States like Wisconsin still think Democrats "aren't that bad".

    Its a shame that these type of Republicans dont see the war being waged on them by Lefty Socialists but its a free country, think as you wish.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    My God are you ever the lickspittle.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Lickspittle? Not at all.

    Explaining the issues with Walker, the reasons why Trump got elected is hardly being a lickspittle.

    Being a lickspittle is groveling in pursuit of the approval of those who openly revile you 'licking up what is spat at one'--but, since the term would refer to you if used in it's proper form, you can be forgiven for trying to apply it to your betters.

  • Tony||

    A quick glance at the 2016 Republican primary suggests that the key to winning was being the most horrible. And Scott Walker still managed to lose.

  • CapitalistRoader||

    So, apparently, Scott Walker was less horrible than Donald Trump. Is that what you're trying to say? Were either of them more horrible than Hillary Clinton?

  • Tony||

    ...Yes

  • Fancylad||

    What would Hillary have to do for Tony to finally agree she's horrible? ...And don't say "eat a baby", because that achievement has probably been already unlocked.

  • ||

    What's so bad about what he wrote?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefty Trolls dont like the Libertarian-centric perspective that I provide.

  • Bill||

    Walker is doing what most politicians have always done (particularly those that actually get elected), he is changing what he says in order to get votes. With most politicians you can find one (or dozens) of things that they "were for before they were against it". Hillary did it constantly with Sanders on issues like free trade. But she did not emulate Trump in trying to go to the swing states and actually get some of those votes. Hence - her loss. I don't have as much respect for politicians without real principles but the truth is that the most principled one rarely get elected. This is due both to the stupidity of the voters and also to the stupidity and partisan behavior of most of the media. In short - we're fucked.

  • turco||

    Yes. The flaw with democracy is that voters are fickle, emotional and not very knowledgeable about economics. Alternative forms of government have their own , generally worse, sets of problems. So, yeah, we're fucked.

  • damikesc||

    Did Reason discuss how sad it was that Democrats went from "marriage is between a man and a woman" to "MARRIAGE FOR ALL, BITCHES!!" in the drop of a hat?

    How about "Men are, you know, biologically male" to "FEELINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN GENETICS, HATERZ!!"?

    All of the bemoaning the "Trump takeover" of the GOP is silly considering the socialist takeover of the Dems.

  • Wizard4169||

    Roll back government? Sure, Trump has managed to tap the brakes on the regulatory leviathan (and that's a good thing), but in most areas his policies serve only to extend the size, cost and intrusiveness of government.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    LOL you think Trump is a traditional republic? LMFAO

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maga

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Jesus, how neurotic do you have to be to get that triggered over an emoji that shows Walker doing the same thing Americans have been doing in this country for over 100 years?

  • Calidissident||

    I don't particularly care, but do you not find it to be cringey?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Not as cringey as Suderman's reaction to it.

  • Homple||

    ^^Thread finished here.

  • Wizard4169||

    I find flag-worship in general pretty cringe-worthy, especially since many of the worshipers loudly proclaim themselves as Christians. I'm pretty sure the Bible has a few things to say about idolatry.

    If you want to stand up and salute, I'm fine with that. But suggesting that failure to worship the flag in the prescribed manner automatically makes someone un-American really rubs me the wrong way.

  • Fancylad||

    My observation from the outside (Canadian), is that a large portion of Americans view the flag as the symbol of their own identity. It's the embodiment of Joe Marachetti of Canton, LaShonda King from Jackson and Razhib Awalmir in Dearborn.
    They don't worship it, they inhabit it.

    Then there's a smaller group of Americans who also view the flag as a symbol of that larger portion. This group are haute bourgeoisie and the one percenters, trust-fund babies, bien-pensant neo-aristocrats, ivory-tower utopians, limousine leftists and postmodernists.
    They are elitist, oikophobic and have an unbridled hate for the common man.
    They know exactly what they're doing when they "take a knee" or burn a flag. They aren't actually making a statement about a country policies, rather they're deliberately giving the finger to each individual member of the hoi polloi. They want to insult the plebeians on a personal level.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    Your statement is as bad as blind faith to any ideology. Do I stand during the anthem and salute the flag; sure, that's a personal choice. All the people who declare that Kaepernick should be shot or beaten up or boycotting some shoes are the ones who are brittle and really don't really understand what freedom of speech and protest are. They're the ones who want violence.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Check out WOF gaslighting here.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    More neuroticism.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    Try 200 years, but saluting the flag doesn't make you a patriot. A patriot is loyal to his country but also does his best to maintain the principals of the Constitution which is precisely what Kaepernick is doing (the right to protest and speak your mind). All the people who say you have to blindly salute the flag and turn your head on police violence and take up the ass are the real fascists.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The pledge was instituted in 1892, you idiot. The MUH PRINCIPLES screed and "UR DUH REEL FASCITS!!" neuroticism is why people like you are such a joke.

  • Cathy L||

    I, too, have a "simple ask": that people not join the fucking military so they can be sent to Syria to kill and die.

  • Chute_Me||

    THANK YOU! Why does almost no one say the obvious?

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    highly visible showdown with his state's public sector unions.

    Weird. I remember him cynically attacking the teacher's union while giving exemptions to the police and firefighter unions.

    NFL players who have decided to protest police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem.

    LOL And the black power fist is for what ... global warming?

  • damikesc||

    And when given the chance to name names of people unfairly treated for a possible pardon --- something that worked with Kardashian, mind you --- none of them did shit.

    When somebody says "Show me who was treated unfairly and I will see if I can fix it" --- you should mention who was. If you're serious about the issue, anyway.

  • NealAppeal||

    Wait! So Walker said, he'd step aside so the party could unite behind "a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner."

    Suderman interprets this to "a warning to others in the GOP that the reality-show star's brand of shallow, resentment-driven culture-war politics could overtake the party at the expense of both conservative ideology and governance."

    Then claims "the Trump takeover that Walker warned about three years ago has come to pass."

    Suderman...you made this prophecy up yourself well after the fact to help you draw up a narrative just to skewer a politicians twitter thumnail. I guess it works for most leftist rags...hope you get your dream job sometime.

  • Dillinger||

    Walker's mug stops him from wining a nationwide election. Sorry.

  • Jerryskids||

    But Walker's evolution from policy-focused governor to figure of pure political pandering illustrates the overall trajectory of the GOP, which has surrendered itself almost entirely to Trump's hostile takeover.

    I get so tired of people who call themselves libertarian bemoaning what Trump has done to the GOP. The GOP has no principles beyond electing people with an (R) behind their names to office. Trump's a winner, that's all they care about. Winning is all they've ever cared about, no matter how much they preached about individualism and smaller government and lower taxes and regulation. It's when the rubes figured out the GOP was just playing them for suckers and all their talk was just pure political pandering that the rubes turned to Trump. For all that Trump railed against the GOP Establishment and the swamp, the minute he got elected he became the GOP Establishment and the swampmaster. Kind of funny that Trump won on a message of claiming the GOP was a bunch of unprincipled spineless shitweasels more interested in getting re-elected than doing the right thing, and now that he's their leader they're proving him right - but now they're referred to as loyal followers.

  • MattXIV||

    Close, but Trump's angle wasn't that he is going to stomp pandering to special interests, but that the special interest he is going to pander to is "regular Americans". The bankers and bums all get to suckle at the government teat, why not you? As the old saw goes, voters want either less corruption or more opportunities to participate in it. Trump won offering the latter because voters knew no one in the establishment would ever actually deliver the former, and as long as they get their cut they'll stick with him.

  • Alcibiades||

    Trump Administration:

    Some good things, some not so good things and some great things (Gorsuch and Kavanaugh).
    The alternative world scenario under that evil bitch is too horrifying to contemplate, you'd be looking at serious challenges to the First and Second Amendment anytime now.

  • Tony||

    I see we're in the bargaining phase.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The confirmation hearings and #RUSSIA #RUSSIA #RUSSIA demonstrate that you're perpetually stuck on anger.

  • Tony||

    Republicans spending so much goddamn time whining about football players not doing what they're told just means they've already fixed all the problems. Crass, vacuous appeals to patriotism, always a sign of a government that's getting things done.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Doesn't your team wear pussy hats?

  • Tony||

    Trump literally humps the flag.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Your team literally dildos their manginas daily to keep them from healing.

  • Tony||

    I didn't mean he figuratively humps the flag. I mean he grabs it and rubs his crotch on it. I can't tell if he believes that's actually the look of patriotism or if he's mocking the "dumb southerners" to their faces.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    What a weird response. Did you think I was accusing your team of metaphorically dilating the festering wounds you guys call vaginas?

  • Tony||

    I try not to get anywhere near dilating distance of a vagina, thank you.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Have you ever been penetrated by a trans man?

  • Tony||

    You know, depending on the size of the orgy, it can be difficult to keep track.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Why (no specifics, please) are you so sure you've never dilated a trans vag?

  • damikesc||

    His team bans plastic straws to save the planet.

  • Mark22||

    Republicans spending so much goddamn time whining about football players not doing what they're told just means they've already fixed all the problems.

    Republicans and libertarians don't believe it's the job of government to "fix all the problems".

    Crass, vacuous appeals to patriotism, always a sign of a government that's getting things done.

    We don't want government to get things done.

  • Tony||

    Except telling black sportsman how they're allowed to stand.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Libertarians want that? Only in your fevered mind, perhaps.

  • Fancylad||

    What if they played The Internationale instead, Tony?
    Bet you'd make them stand then.

  • Mark22||

    Except telling black sportsman how they're allowed to stand.

    Kapernick can kneel and give a blowjob to Chuck Schumer while the national anthem is playing for all I care.

  • Rockabilly||

    Face it man, Gary Johnson had .0069% of winning so it was either Clinton or Trump.

    And given what the bitch had planned, The Donald it is.

    No fucking Paris accords

    No fucking proTard Supreme Court judge

    And all the progTard rage - you see when the democrats win an election, it is fair, when they lose, they're whiny ass sore fucking losers who think Russian robots brainwashed people into voting for trump. And trump is totally like Hitler and we need strict gun control laws to make it harder to get a gun to protect yourself against Trump aka Hitler II.

  • Wizard4169||

    Trump is such a thin-skinned, whiny little bitch, he managed to whine about cheating in an election that he won.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Dont forget about election 2020 that he will win too.

  • Mark22||

    Is this a joke? You're complaining about Walker's Bitmoji? Have you looked at the crap coming from Warren, Sanders, Schumer, or Booker? Talk about, not just embarrassing, but threatening and scary.

  • John Galt Jr||

    They're all crazy, whataboutism statist.

    Left - Right = Zero
    Only 40% of Americans are the losers who pick either right or left these days. which have been obsolete for a half-century. And shrinking.

    Your time has expired.

  • Mark22||

    Your time has expired.

    Given that you are a 76 year old angry old man, I suspect your time will be expiring long before mine.

    Only 40% of Americans are the losers who pick either right or left these days. which have been obsolete for a half-century. And shrinking.

    Glad I'm in the 60% of independents.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano echoing Suderman's neuroses.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Peter pressures his precious pearls as he pretends to present ponderings, pathetically passing preening as pertinent.

    And then he totally p0wns the news on Mass Effect 3 Andromeda.

  • CapitalistRoader||

    To understand what has happened to the Republican Party...

    You have to realize that it holds two out of the three branches of the federal government and is well on the way to making the third branch in their image for at least a decade.

    Understand?

  • John Galt Jr||

    In many ways, he looked like—or at least played the role of—a serious, governance-focused conservative politician

    Which is why no libertarian could really support him,.

    the GOP, which has surrendered itself almost entirely to Trump's hostile takeover

    Only the spineless cowards in Congress ... as even Rand Paul now defends the totalitarian state, but we knew his base is the alt-right, with Ron Paul as it's spiritual founder,

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dumbfuck Hihnsano's IQ = Zero

  • Ben_||

    Nope. This reaction is weird. Nothing interesting to write, but need to post something to get paid?

    Politician running for office embraces flag, patriotism; columnist laments. Readers ponder why living in DC makes otherwise smart people lose the ability to understand humans.

  • ThomasD||

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure am relieved to see that Suderman's concern over the fate of the Republican party has not waned one iota.

  • ||

    Trump still better than Hillary.

    As for the kneeling. Not sure how the flag became a symbol for military sacrifice for its own sake. A nation's flag means many things to many people. I don't necessarily see it as bad to question issues of the day but the message has devolved into a big ball of confusion. It went from police brutality for some to anti-Trump to white racism for others to whatever else. For some, sitting before the flag is just disrespectful and serves no purpose but to annoy while others feel when else to do it to get a serious message across?

    And when the messages get mixed, the reaction and response will be confused too. And where's the confusion there are opportunists all kinds.

    What I'm trying to say is you shouldn't put pineapple on pizza.

  • TGoodchild||

    "What I'm trying to say is you shouldn't put pineapple on pizza."

    Easy, I think Hihn is Hawaiian, will probably cry racism.

  • sgreffenius||

    Good article

    Added point: Gestures like taking a knee, removing one's hat, hand over heart, black power fist in the air, have nothing at all to do with support for our troops. Yes, I appreciated commander-in-chief Ronald Reagan's favorable remarks about our armed forces when I served overseas in the navy. But actions taken during the national anthem at athletic events, or anywhere else, have no bearing on support, or lack of it, for soldiers and sailors. No connection exists.

    Governor Walker tries to manufacture a connection, because he thinks it will help him win.

  • macsnafu||

    A politician trying to win political points by talking about unimportant non-issues like football players standing during the national anthem? So what's new?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Canada repealed some of its absorbed Comstock force laws in 1967, in response to Romanian communist dictator Ceausescu's complete ban on all birth control and contraception. The nation then went whole hog after the LP plank became Roe v Wade. There are NO laws in Canada forcing women into involuntary labor. Legal marijuana will go on sale there in a little over a month. So... a ku-klux Amerikaner Mauer along the Canadian border? Germans scoffed at any such suggestion when These Sovereign States and Dominions elected JFK...

  • buybuydandavis||

    Walker's crimes?
    Eventually supporting the nominee of his Party and the elected President of the United States.
    Encouraging Americans to show love and respect to America.

    Reason articles are increasingly just a dumping ground for Woketarians to vent their hatred. They don't even pretend to write news.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We know now that Reason is run by non-Libertarian anarchists.

    Everything they do fits that agenda.

  • Echospinner||

    Scott Walker has committed no crimes so far as I now nor has he been accused of any.

    Not supporting the elected president is not a crime. Liberty is the freedom to oppose.

    Love and respect for America is not the same as love and respect for Donald Trump.

    I have no idea what a Woketarian is.

    Reason is not a news site.

    Anything else?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I don't understand metaphor"

  • Wise Old Fool||

    The simple fact is that football shouldn't be a political event; just end the whole patriotic bullshit and play football. You want to be a fucking patriot? Go Vote. Go run for office. Go join the military. Donate money to the ACLU, EFF, libertarian think tanks. Don't fucking bitch about some dude who is actively protesting police violence against his race. What a bunch of triggered snowflakes.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Don't fucking bitch about some dude who is actively protesting police violence against his race

    And there's the proglydyte gaslighting.

  • TGoodchild||

    "some dude who is actively protesting police violence against his race"

    The guy had one African American grandparent, gmafb. Moreover, he is not actively doing anything - he's career (underperform in SuperBowl, then choked in subsequent NFC Championship game) was over and in primadonna fashion decided to milk his notoriety for all it was worth, despite having absolutely nothing in common with anyone on who's behalf he pretends to "fight" - a loathsome creature.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The Personal is Political"

    The Woke are puritanical theocratic totalitarians

  • Violent Sociopath||

    Probably time to rinse out your vagina, Suderman. You seem to have gotten some sand up there.

  • vek||

    Yeah... Because having an opinion about people not standing for the national anthem makes one a bad person somehow? Come on, even Reason should be able to show their TDS better than this! Being patriotic isn't a bad thing guys!

    Nationalism is on the rise SPECIFICALLY because of all you people who shit on it, and push globalism. Reasonable amounts of nationalism are not a bad thing. People going out of their way to shit on their own country are more of a problem than non imperialistic nationalists.

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