Lots of us have been asking ourselves (and Twitter) many questions over the last year. Questions like: How did about 74 million people vote for Trump, again? Why do people actually believe in QAnon? And, more recently, if Republicans can see Trump for who he really is-—and how he has become a hero among a sect of the party that, at their worst, believe celebrities are part of a global pedophile ring, and at their best, that masks are a form of censorship—than why do the majority of them still support him? Norm Ornstein, an American political scientist and The Atlantic contributor, joined co-host Molly Jong-Fast on this members-only episode of The New Abnormal to share his insight. “There are plenty of Republicans, and I put Rob Portman in that category, who know perfectly well that this stuff is just awful, or plenty of it is, but they'd gone along because they're a part of the cult,” he says. He also adds Mitch McConnell to that list: “He knows what Trump is. He knows that Trump is a doofus and a racist and has no ability to govern, to read anything, all of that, but he could get the tax cuts and get all these judges, knowing that basically the best way they can cling to power is to stack these courts that will let any voter suppression measures pass muster, and that will block Democratic presidents and [hit] the goals they can't accomplish in Congress alone.” If it continues like this, he adds, “you can't have a democracy for long that doesn't have two functioning problem-solving oriented parties.” Then there are the Majorie Greene Taylor types in Congress to think about. How did that happen? Trump certainly fueled it, but he didn’t start that fire, says Ornstein. “The Republican party had an insurgent outlier party that was dismissive of its opposition, that was contemptuous of facts and science that had blown up norms and could care less about the others in terms of governing long before Donald Trump emerged as a potential political figure or presidential candidate,” he says. “[Republicans] just dove in headfirst into the muck.” Then! The two discuss a topic Molly gets crap for and that’s why Diane Feinstein really needs to retire. And the two roast Kevin McCarthy, big time. “McCarthy had this moment to be free of Trump. And he just went back for more,” says Molly.
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