January 23, 2020


A Few Bad Apples (Morning Dispatch, 1/23/20)

One problem the Republican Party has struggled with for decades has been its inability to distance itself from the bad actors in its midst. For many conservatives, a general conviction that the mainstream media and the left tend to operate in bad faith leads them to embrace any figure deemed a pariah by the media on "enemy of my enemy" grounds. In recent years, the problem has been less the party's inability to distance itself from bad actors as it has been the eager willingness of some in the GOP to embrace grifters, conspiracy theorists and bigots.

This week, we saw two striking examples of this phenomenon. The first took place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the White House issued a press credential for the trip to Rick Wiles of TruNews. The problem: TruNews is a ludicrously anti-Semitic blog that peddles the absurd notion of a Jewish conspiracy to seize political power to carry out mass murder against American Christians. In recent months, Wiles has repeatedly insisted that Democrats' impeachment effort against the president was part of this "Jew Coup"--because "that's the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda."

That's not an isolated example. It's typical of the aggressive anti-Semitism that characterizes the views of Wiles and the bigots who appear with him.

"This is by far, I think, the most prestigious event in the world," Wiles bragged in his broadcast from Davos. "It's an honor to be here, and we just want to thank President Trump and the White House for extending the invitation to be here. ... There's a lot of people in the news media that are very upset that TruNews is showing up at these places, but it's God's favor on us. Almighty God's favor is on TruNews."

The White House has not yet offered an explanation for its decision to credential TruNews in Davos.

Then there was the event that took place at the Florida Capitol on Tuesday, at which state Sen. Joe Gruters, who also serves as chairman of the Florida Republican Party, plugged a bill designed to stop big social media companies from allegedly silencing conservative voices.

The bill itself, which would expose companies like Facebook and Twitter to civil liability if they censor religious or political speech on their platforms, isn't particularly noteworthy in itself--it's the sort of thing that's trendy among a certain sort of market-skeptical conservatives right now, structurally similar to a federal bill Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley introduced last year. What was particularly noteworthy was who Gruters had there to introduce the bill with him: Laura Loomer, the loony internet conspiracy theorist and self-styled "proud Islamophobe" who has called for a permanent ban on Muslims entering the country, a prohibition of Muslims serving in elected office, and was kicked off most social media platforms last year over her constant inflammatory remarks. 

This is Donald's Base.

Posted by at January 23, 2020 7:45 AM