It’s Trump’s party now– Lindsey Graham edition

Had lunch with a friend/colleague yesterday who is a NeverTrump Republican.  For obvious reasons, he still tries to argue that Trump is not really a Republican.  But, quite arguably, it’s my friend who is not.  The Republican Party writ large has embraced white ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism, whether my small-government/libertarian-minded friend likes it or not.  And Lindsey Graham’s embrace of Trump and increasing home-state popularity is a pitch-perfect example of this dynamic.  Steve Benen:

It wasn’t long after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was elected to the Senate in 2002 that he positioned himself as one of the chamber’s more constructive lawmakers. It’s not that Graham was a moderate on the major issues of the day – he’s always been a rather staunch conservative – but he demonstrated a willingness to forge relationships and work on bipartisan agreements.

The South Carolinian also occasionally expressed concern about the future of his Republican Party, warning that too much radicalism and too little interest in broadening the GOP’s appeal would lead to electoral setbacks. Even here, the senator’s concerns seemed rooted in pragmatism.

That version of Lindsey Graham is gone. The senator who condemned Donald Trump’s rise now carries the president’s water. The lawmaker who believed in partnering with Democrats now prefers bitter partisanship to cooperation. Graham’s eagerness to pass bills has been replaced with a desire to impress his party’s far-right base.

There’s no shortage of speculation as to what caused Graham’s metamorphosis, and as we recently discussed, there are even occasional conspiracy theories about Trump having something damaging on the senator, which the president uses to extort Graham into compliance.

The truth is simpler.

Regarding U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, his approval rating among Republicans has continued to rise, it now stands at 74% in the Winthrop Poll. Only 25% of Democrats polled support Graham.

“Graham’s approval has benefited from his defense of, and alignment with, President Trump. While Graham’s numbers used to lag those of other Republicans among GOP identifiers, since he has taken up the President’s banner on most every issue, his approval among Republicans in South Carolina has steadily risen,” [Dr. Scott Huffmon, Winthrop poll director] said.

A year ago, Graham’s approval among South Carolina Republicans was 51%, and there was a very real chance the senator would face a primary rival ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.

Today, his approval among South Carolina Republicans is 74% – and the chatter about a primary challenge has disappeared.

There’s no great mystery here. Graham made a simple calculus: constructive legislating imperiled his career, so an overhaul of his tactical position became unavoidable.

The senator recently told the New York Times, “If you don’t want to get re-elected, you’re in the wrong business.”

And it’s the pursuit of this goal that led Graham to shed his skin, transform into a Trump cheerleader, and embrace his role as a fierce partisan. He’s been around long enough to survey the landscape effectively – and in 2019, many Republicans, especially those from ruby-red states, who stray from the White House’s wishes, and fail to swear undying allegiance to Trump, find their careers in peril. [emphasis mine]

Graham is right.  If you don’t want to get re-elected, you are in the wrong business.  That said, if you are willing to get re-elected at all costs, even by consistently embracing that which you know is wrong and bad for the country, there is a rot in you soul.

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Papers, please

Maybe stuff like this happened during the Obama administration and we ignored it because it didn’t fit the narrative.  But I strongly suspect that the Trump administration has very much empowered the type of people who feel it is appropriate to detail a 9-year old citizen for over a day because her answers were “inconsistent.”  Have you ever talked to a 9-year old?!

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are defending the decision to detain a 9-year-old girl for more than 30 hours as they worked to verify her identification.

Thelma Galaxia said her friend, Michelle Cardenas, was driving each of their two children from Tijuana, where they live, to their schools in San Ysidro Monday morning, as they do nearly every day.

Galexia’s 9-year-old daughter, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina, attends fourth grade at Nicoloff Elementary School and her 14-year-old son, Oscar Amparo Medina, attends ninth grade at San Ysidro High School. Both are passport-holding U.S. citizens.

When they got in line at the border at 4 a.m. Monday, traffic was moving slow. Cardenas told the four children to walk across the border instead. She was going to call them an Uber so they could make it to school on time.

But Oscar and Julia Medina never made it across, according to their mother.

Galaxia says CBP officers accused her daughter of lying about her identity. Officers told the girl she didn’t look like the girl in her passport card picture.

Julia Medina told NBC 7 that CBP officers accused her of being someone else, her cousin Melanie.

CBP said the girl “provided inconsistent information during her inspection,” and officers took her into custody “to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

“It’s important that CBP officials positively confirm the identity of a child travelling without a parent or legal guardian,” CBP Public Affairs officer Jackie Wasiluk told NBC 7 in a statement…

When asked why it took 32 hours to verify Julia’s identification, CBP would not give specific information.

“Some specifics of our techniques for determining the true identity of a person crossing the border are law enforcement sensitive information,” Wasiluk added. “In addition, some details of this case are restricted from release due to privacy concerns.”

The sibling told NBC 7 said officers also accused Oscar Medina of smuggling and other crimes which he said he didn’t understand.

Color me skeptical for considering this more than just due diligence.  And this is no way to treat kids, damnit.

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