re: #3 Charles Johnson
We can’t…literally can’t…do the thing where if there’s a normal power transition then we push this down the memory hole.
With each Republican administration, we are watching stress tests of how big the lies and the abuses of power can get. Everything they’re doing right now is a further experiment: the point is to learn how to pitch the right cultural/propagandic tone to make their abuses of power stick as much as it is to raid the cupboards bare. Trump as a manipulator and abuser actually does have one skill: pushing people with similar traits to himself to further heights of emotional arousal. He is a pornographer for a very particular, ugly nice audience that wants their bloodsport.
As always, I would compare the situation to an abusive relationship. Republicans elites are entirely apathetic to pleas for adherence to rules, let alone comity and social norms: it doesn’t matter if they’re cynics or fanatics, either way they have no incentive to give or compromise. And the tactic we’re watching now is a direct continuation of the brinkmanship they’ve pulled with spending bills: “give us what we want or we destroy everything, because we can make cause hurt much more than you, who believe in things and care for people, can bear to watch harm happen.” Trump is walking us closer to the endpoint—“if you object to things my way, you’re evil and I get to hurt you for fun” becoming full eliminationism.