The Nation’s Eric Alterman On GOP Presidential Candidates: ‘One Cannot Help But Question Their Sanity’

Republicans have the upper hand in Congress and in a clear majority of state governments. To The Nation’s Eric Alterman, that state of affairs is a “mystery,” since GOPers typically hold “extreme” and “silly” views “that are not only beyond the boundaries of the beliefs of the vast majority of Americans, but also contrary to the laws of physics, economics, and, of course, common sense.”

In the December 7 issue of the magazine, Alterman analyzes how Republicans can be so nutty yet so empowered. He blames 1) Democrats, for “allow[ing] themselves to be defined as elitist snobs who view the everyday struggles of working-class Americans—especially white males—with contempt,” and 2) “so many members of the mainstream media [who have] run interference for—and therefore legitimize[d]—the [GOP’s] dangerous nonsense in the guise of allegedly objective reporting.”

From Alterman’s column (bolding added):

The essential mystery of American politics is this: How is it that the Republicans have succeeded in laying the groundwork for long-term dominance at the very moment they have allowed their party to be captured by an irrational, irredentist faction with virtually no concern for public opinion, honest governance, or even empirical reality?

Beginning next year, Republicans will control not only the House and Senate but also 60 percent of state governorships and nearly 70 percent of partisan state legislatures, their strongest position ever. At the same time, the party is being led by a group of people with politics so extreme and explanations so silly—and often transparently dishonest—that one cannot help but question their sanity. Can Donald Trump really believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that virtually all undocumented immigrants are potential rapists and murderers? Can Ben Carson truly consider Obamacare on a par with slavery? And which answer would be more comforting: shameless liar or lunatic fantasist?

[T]his same disease has infected the entire Republican field. In the hopes of appealing to angry, ill-informed, and xenophobic primary voters, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina are all adopting positions that are not only beyond the boundaries of the beliefs of the vast majority of Americans, but also contrary to the laws of physics, economics, and, of course, common sense…

…[Democrats have] allowed themselves to be defined as elitist snobs who view the everyday struggles of working-class Americans—especially white males—with contempt. At the same time, they have failed to protect vulnerable minorities from the consequences of the rage and fear felt by this class…

…[N]o less a significant factor in the success of the irredentists has been the willingness of so many members of the mainstream media to run interference for—and therefore legitimize—the same dangerous nonsense in the guise of allegedly objective reporting…

…The crazier these [Republicans] sound, the more popular they become.

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats The Nation Eric Alterman


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