The Party of Thugs

This is the title of a column by Paul Waldman in yesterday’s online Washington Post. You can guess what he’s talking about. Instead of repudiating the thug-in-chief, Republican politicians have opted en masse to emulate him. Here’s the test, as Waldman puts it: “Can you give offense, can you make people cringe, can you do your part to make our politics as mean and unpleasant as possible?” Alarming numbers of people have no trouble answering in the affirmative and acting accordingly.

Not all Republican members of Congress meet Trump’s requirements for being a thug –– he has set a exceptionally high bar, yet is eager to raise it. Some Republicans are temperate in their rhetoric and behavior. But with near unanimity, they support or fail to refute Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. They create confusion and chaos and cultivate public ignorance and false beliefs. Yeats’s line, “the worst are full of passionate intensity,” flies out of his poem and sticks to them.