Amanda Marcotte: Republicans Have Dumped 'Moral Posturing' in Favor of the 'Politics of Sadism'

January 5th, 2018 4:28 PM

Salon's Amanda Marcotte has some advice for Ben Sasse: There's no future in being the respectable face of the Party of Deplorables. In a Wednesday piece, Marcotte pooh-poohed the idea that it might be worth Sasse's while to primary President Trump in 2020. She did so partly because the Nebraska senator is "less than worthless" as an anti-Trumper, partly because Sasse's image as "a man of courage and integrity" is "utter malarkey," but mostly because new-school Republicans like unadorned cruelty and ignorance, and Sasse won't quite go there.

Though Sasse isn't as "flamboyant" as the POTUS, argued Marcotte, he is "committed both to supporting Trump's agenda and spreading misinformation to bolster far-right causes." For example,

Sasse is smart enough to know better than to scream about how climate change is a hoax concocted by communists to destroy capitalism. But his "soft" denialism -- he claims to "believe the climate is changing" but to have "less certainty than you about the magnitude of change," with "you" referring to people who actually understand the science -- might actually be worse. It makes science denialism sound reasonable, which is simply cover for the same bug-eyed science-hating that drives some of the more raving believers of this conspiracy theory, such as President Donald Trump.

After charging Sasse with a "commitment to destroying women's rights" and claiming that he favors "virulently racist" immigration policies, Marcotte maintained that Sasse is, nonetheless, too subtle and refined for the Trumpified GOP:

If Sasse is running against Trump, he's banking on the idea that what Republicans want is Trump, but with an added dose of self-importance and sanctimony. There's no evidence this is the case. On the contrary, Trump appears to have won the 2016 primary, despite having no political history or an ability to even feign understanding of the issues, because voters liked the fact that he served up naked bigotry without any conventional Republican moral posturing. Sasse is likely to [be seen] as the phony he is to conservative base voters, who have made it clear that they are done with pretending that the politics of sadism is a noble endeavor.