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November 7th, 2018

Normalized

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Memo to Republicans: IT’S OFFICIAL.

Look, I’m just going to write the post-election column I’ve been writing in my head all day. The Other thing can wait. Until tomorrow. I know, two in one week. I’m feeling motivated. Don’t get used to it.

A lot of good things happened on Tuesday. If you follow the news, you know most of them. Fewer, but higher profile, bad things also happened. And that sucks. What I’m about to write isn’t meant to take away from any of the good things that happened or the hard work people did trying in vain to stop the bad things. But this election proves one thing. Donald Trump is normalized. And if we all start acting like it, we could finally do something about it.

What I mean by that is that the 2018 midterms proved that Donald Trump is not a fluke, or an aberration, or a blip on the radar. He’s not (Hi, Jon) Jesse Ventura. He’s not the crazy one night stand we got drunk and brought home. Donald Trump is a Republican, Trumpism is the Republican philosophy, and Republicans are Trumpists.

If Donald Trump were a fluke or an aberration, Republicans would have done the thing some people have been waiting for them to do for two years - come to their senses, reject all the bad things Trump has done to America, and either stay home, or heaven forfend, vote for Democrats. That didn’t happen. Republicans were energized by the racism, by the cruelty, by the cheating, by the lies, by the corruption, and by the fear. They came out and re-elected Steve King, Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins, and Ted Cruz. They rewarded Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis and whoever the fuck defeated Heidi Heitkamp by (among other things) disenfranchising most of the state’s Native population.

The only people who balked were a few suburbanites who probably flirted with Trump and Republicanism out of the kind of “what’s the worst that could happen” middle class white privilege I know all too well because it’s only over the past decade or so that I’ve come to realize how it affected a lot of my political thinking in the late 90s.

There are no moderates. There are no centrists. Tweeting a sad face when Trump does something racist then supporting him anyway is not moderation, it’s theater. And bad theater at that.

The Republican Party embodies and embraces every last awful thing about Trump, from the win-at-all-costs-damn-the-rules mentality to the desperate desire to lead or be led as or by a strong daddy dictator to the hatred of the other to the shameless use of that hatred to advance their own wealth and power. Donald Trump is a normal Republican. And we should all treat the party accordingly.

That’s easy for us. It’ll be a lot tougher for both the media and the Democratic leadership. I hope Nancy Pelosi is just paying lip service to bipartisanship. She might be. But I’ve spent too much time watching Democrats bring handshakes to gunfights to have a lot of hope in that regard.

We took the House, and that’s good. We took a lot of governorships, and that’s good. State legislatures, really good. Rich Stanek finally fucking lost an election and I’m crediting my Hutch lawn sign as the sole reason why. Don’t argue with me. I need that. But we lost ground in the Senate that will be VERY difficult to win back without an active campaign to fight all of this shit against all of the people who promote any of this shit. 2016 was strong evidence that, left to their own devices, the American People will not come to the conclusion that Trumpism is awful on their own, not enough to stamp it out. 2018 confirmed it. Chuck and Nancy are gonna have to find their fucking outside voices, and fast.