Ever since Andrew Sullivan shuttered his blog and promised he would go away forever and stop bothering decent folk, he has been writing regular-as-clockwork columns in New York Magazine which, amazingly, always seem to coincide with his now-regular appearances on such teevee programs as Hardball, The 11th Hour and Real Time.
I guess contemplative monasticism doesn't pay like it used to.
Anyway, this week, Mr, Sullivan would very much like you to credit him for the fact that he, Andrew J. Hephaestus Sullivan, has been warning that "We Are In Grave Peril, People!" since, like, April.
The most frustrating aspect of the last 12 months has been the notion that we have been in a normal, if truly ugly, election cycle, with one extremely colorful and unpredictable figure leading the Republican Party in an otherwise conventional political struggle over policy. It has been clear for months now, it seems to me, that this is a delusion. A far more accurate account of the past year is that an openly proto-fascist cult leader has emerged to forge a popular movement that has taken over one of the major political parties, eroded central norms of democratic life, undermined American democratic institutions, and now stands on the brink of seizing power in Washington. I made this argument at length in April, when Donald Trump was on the brink of securing the nomination. Everything that has happened since has only made my fears more pressing.
OK, just for the record, a certain low-born blogger of little note who will never, ever have column in New York Magazine or The Atlantic or Esquire wrote this in June. June of 2015, less than 48 hours after Donald J. Trump glided down the escalator and into American political life:
...As I wrote a few years ago,the brain-caste of the GOP spent a 40 years and billions of dollars carefully breeding an army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps. And they have been so successful at completely re-engineering the Right's ideological digestive system that they can no longer process any information which does not come to them in the form of Fox-approved Benghaaaazi goo.In other words, in order to win elections and rake in vast fortunes, the Conservative brain caste has painstakingly created the perfect feeding-ground for con men and demagogues like Trump, the louder and more bombastic the better. And from David Brooks and the Wall Street Journal and "Meet the Press", to Ann Coulter and the Washington Free Beacon and the Breitbart Collective, in one way or another, virtually everyone in the media makes bank by flattering Conservative meatheads and pandering to their delusions.They are the GOP's premium leads, but however abundant and renewable a resource the Conservative meatheads may be, come Presidential election time, there is never enough room at the trough for every rapacious Republican hog. Thisis why every few years we have these Little Red State Fundy moments; that delicate time when the knives come out and the various species of Conservative con men start cutting each other's balls over who gets to pluck the wingnut pigeons......while trying desperately not to call attention to the fact that their entire political system depends on pandering to the army of reliably angry, paranoid, racists chumps which the GOP has worked so long and hard to cultivate.Fortunately for the Right, now that the "respectable" media has as much to lose by cracking out of turn as Hate Radio and Fox News, we can all look forward to another campaign season of the American mainstream media looking stoically the other way.
However this is not by way of keeping score, although if we were keeping score, Mr. Andrew Sullivan would have invoked the "slaughter rule" --
A mercy rule, slaughter rule, knockout rule, or skunk rule ends a two-competitor sports contest earlier than the scheduled endpoint if one competitor has a very large and presumably insurmountable lead over the other. It is called the mercy rule because it spares further humiliation for the loser. It is common in youth sports in North America, where running up the score is considered unsporting...
-- and slunk off to obscurity 20 years ago.
This is merely to point out to future generations that while Mr, Sullivan was indeed sounding the "We Are In Grave Peril, People!" alarm in April, Liberals were sounding the same alarm about the same sort of emergent Conservative threat back in, oh, say, 1987.
As I wrote of Mr. Andrew Sullivan four years ago...
Dear Future Generations,You want to know what life was like for Liberals in America during my lifetime?First they ignored you.Then they laughed at you.Then they fought you.Then they got gigs in national magazines repeating as breathless epiphany things you had been saying for thirty years.
And yet Mr. Sullivan is creature who is so deeply adapted to tje Beltway culture he pretends to despise, he cannot for one moment contemplate purloining Liberal critiques of the Republican party and passing them off as his own --
We are told we cannot use the term fascist to describe this. I’m at a loss to find a more accurate alternative.
-- without immediately washing the Liberal stink off his hands by comin' on home to the Biggest Beltway Lie of them all.
Sing it with me now, 'cause you all know the words!
And a 1...
And a 2...
...The Establishments of both right and left have had many opportunities to stop him and have failed by spectacular displays of cowardice, narrow self-interest, and bewilderment. The right has been spectacularly craven...The Republican media complex have enabled and promoted his lies and conspiracy theories and, above all, his hysteria. From the poisonous propaganda of most of Fox News to the internet madness of the alt-right, they have all made a fortune this past decade by describing the world as a hellhole of chaos and disorder and crime for which the only possible solution is a third-world strongman...For their part, the feckless Democrats decided to nominate one of the most mediocre, compromised, and Establishment figures one can imagine in a deeply restless moment of anxiety and discontent. They knew full well that Hillary Clinton is incapable of inspiring, of providing reassurance, or of persuading anyone who isn’t already in her corner...A political hurricane has arrived, as globalization has eroded the economic power of the white working classes, as the cultural left has overplayed its hand on social and racial issues, and as a catastrophic war and a financial crisis has robbed the elites of their credibility...
It will never end until we end it.