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Opinion | Crazies, Cowards and the Trump Coup


Such shows of bodily braveness aren’t commonplace — most of us won’t ever understand how we’d carry out in such circumstances. But if bodily braveness is uncommon, ethical braveness — the willingness to face up for what you imagine to be proper, even within the face of social stress to adapt — is even rarer. And ethical braveness is what Trump’s associates and Republican members of Congress so conspicuously lack.

Is that this a partisan factor? We are able to’t actually understand how members of the opposite social gathering would reply if a Democratic president tried the same coup — however that’s partly as a result of such an try is kind of inconceivable. For as political scientists have lengthy famous, the 2 events are very totally different, not simply of their insurance policies, however of their institutional buildings as effectively.

The Democratic Celebration, whereas it might be extra unified than up to now, stays a free coalition of curiosity teams. A few of these curiosity teams are praiseworthy, some not a lot, however in any case the looseness offers Democrats room to criticize their leaders and, in the event that they select, take a stand on precept.

The Republican Celebration is a much more monolithic entity, wherein politicians compete over who adheres most faithfully to the social gathering’s line. That line was outlined by financial ideology, however as of late it’s extra about positioning within the tradition wars — and private loyalty to Trump. It takes nice ethical braveness for Republicans to defy the social gathering’s diktats, and those that do are promptly excommunicated.

There’s an exception that proves the rule: the stunning pro-democracy stand of the neocons, the individuals who gave us the Iraq battle. That was a horrible sin, by no means to be forgotten. However through the Trump years, as a lot of the G.O.P. bent its knee to a person whose awfulness it absolutely understood, nearly all of the outstanding neocons — from William Kristol and Max Boot to, sure, Liz Cheney — sided firmly with the rule of regulation.

The place’s this coming from? I don’t assume it’s a slur on these folks’s braveness to notice that the neocons had been all the time a definite group, by no means absolutely assimilated by the Republican monolith, with careers that rested partly on reputations outdoors the social gathering. This arguably leaves them freer than garden-variety Republicans to behave in accord with their consciences.

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