Taibbi: We may not have that many outright Nazis … but we have plenty of cowards and bootlickers
The way you build a truly vicious nationalist movement is to wed a relatively small core of belligerent idiots to a much larger group of opportunists and spineless fellow travelers whose primary function is to turn a blind eye to things. We may not have that many outright Nazis in America, but we have plenty of cowards and bootlickers, and once those fleshy dominoes start tumbling into the Trump camp, the game is up.
People like Chris Christie and Paul LePage and Jeff Sessions surely know what Donald Trump is all about. Under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t be debasing themselves by endorsing him. After all, they didn’t, at least not until he became the practically inevitable nominee.
These are just half-smart politicians who think they see the writing on the wall and are making a move sooner rather than later, so they can nail down better jobs later on, or maybe just a line of communication. Christie, who if you haven’t heard yet was once a federal prosecutor, is probably gunning for the attorney general job. And LePage practically came out and said he was looking for a post after his endorsement, explaining that he believed Trump would make a great president “if he puts together a good team.” Hint hint! … These people will rationalize their support by telling themselves that they can do more to keep this Trump thing from going off the rails by influencing it from within, but in reality it doesn’t work like that. Godwin’s law notwithstanding, once you kiss the ring, you’re a non-factor, a good German. And you won’t say anything the next time some whooping fanatic belts an “ISIS suspect” at a rally.
All along, Beltway pundits have insisted that Trump could never win because there just aren’t enough people in America who are that stupid. What those people missed is that there are always plenty of otherwise sane people who tend to fold and hop in line at the first show of strength. Christie was the first of the major politicians, and there will be more. The next step will probably be a series of defections in the media and among the corporate donor class. They won’t be fanatics. But like Christie on stage on Super Tuesday, they’ll keep their mouths shut. And that will be enough.
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