Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Shame theory and the GOP in Congress

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One wonders why Mitch McConnell is so invested in defending Donald Trump. Shame theory might offer an answer.

See also extinction burst.

UPDATE: Content from the first link, by @David_Rees

RE: #ComeyFiring, I think the GOP will now go along with anything Trump does. I mean literally anything. It’s TIME FOR SOME SHAME THEORY!

I believed GOP was going along with DJT because they thought he could get them their precious policy outcomes: tax cuts, etc. —

— and, that if DJT’s malfeasance ever decreased their chances of enacting those policies, they would jettison him.

I now think this political calculus has been replaced by a deeper, darker, calculus: a psychological survival strategy.

GOP will agree to anything – I mean anything – because they can no longer afford a moral reckoning with what who and what they’ve enabled.

Once you’ve gone so far that checking in with yourself would shatter your belief in your own humanity/decency, there are no limits.

At this point, there are probably GOPers who wish Trump would suspend the constitution outright. Really just GO FOR IT …

… so that we leave this liminal, sorta-not-quite-authoritarian space with its semi-sorta-functional institutions behind …

… and enter a new American era, where their collusion/treason(?) can’t be judged by old norms.

If you’ve ever had an affair, or drug issues, etc, you probably know the feeling. The bender/lost weekend/flirtation with hitting bottom.

At some point, your shame at your behavior, at the norms you’ve violated, leads you to double down, go ALL IN, obliterate your old self.

I used to be a bully in middle school, so I know this amazing, complex feeling of exhilaration and revulsion …

… the poison rush of living your worst self, resenting *the part of you that knows better.* Not enough to ignore it; you must destroy it.

Congress had to enter DJT’s orbit in order to pass their sacred tax cuts/repeal the hated ACA. They thought they could contain him.

But DJT poisons everyone he touches. The price for working with him is pretty hefty: your humanity and dignity (h/t @joshtpm).

Healthy people (and banks!) learned to avoid DJT decades ago. He surrounds himself with damaged goods: Stone, Flynn, other freaks/losers.

We are watching that community of damaged psyches expand to include an entire political party.

GOP pols must avoid a moral reckoning at all costs. But not just a public reckoning — a private one. Can’t admit to moral suicide.

If #TrumpTrain stopped, GOP would have to answer for putting up with PussyGate, deranged tweets, lies, damaged institutions …

… all the Russia stuff, etc. etc. The list is overwhelming, unprecedented, debilitating. That reckoning absolutely cannot happen.

Trump, an experienced abuser, knows this on some lizard-brain level. He has captured the GOP. His transgressions will increase.

“Comey was irresponsible about HRC” is deliberately absurd; a power move by Trump to see if GOP will agree to any reality he proposes.

Answer: YES. #winning

Back to the bender analogy. We’re in the middle of a crazy bender. What would bottoming out look like, when GOP says: ENOUGH?

My theory: As of yesterday’s preposterous justification for Comey firing, there is no bottom. The GOP will never call Trump out. In fact…

… GOP pols must now encourage further transgressions, to destroy the current context in which feeling shame re: DJT is appropriate.

Maybe I’m wrong! But my prediction is GOP would agree with DJT if/when he says he’s canceling the 2018 midterms. THE END

tl;dr: Problem isn’t that GOP has no shame; problem is they are now overwhelmed with shame and cannot bear facing it.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 May 2017 at 12:56 pm

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