Someone who believes in Republican ideals (many of which I support) but thinks Trump is a criminal who is unfit to be president.
Insufficient, and badly confused.

First: Your thoughts and prayers are not at issue, and not politically significant. Political power rests in actions, deeds, allegiances etc.

Second: there are no such "Republican ideals". The Republican Party has been ideologically fascist since 1980 at the latest, and probably 1968 in significant fraction; fascist Parties have no ideals of that kind, and the Republican Party hasn't supported or represented or been guided by them for over a generation now. Anyone who wishes to join others in political support for such ideals must look elsewhere. (Suggestion: The Democratic Party adopted many of them, as it abandoned its former ideology and voter base in pursuit of corporate money and fear of Reagan's supposed popularity- Bill Clinton's accomplishments earned him the appellation "Best Republican President of the 20th Century").

Third: the entire Republican Party, as a unified political entity, fully supports Trump. Trump, in turn, represents it well - his policies and tactics and agenda and official actions all align with those of the Republican Party of the past forty years or so. He's a mainstream Republican - the past President he resembles most is Reagan.

Anyone who supports the Republican Party thereby supports Trump, and vice versa.
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What tenets of the modern Republican party do they support?
Their world features a mythical Republican Party, a fictional entity invented by professional marketers in the mid to late 1900s. They support its tenets, whatever they have most recently been presented to be, and believe whatever historical revisions and present misrepresentations are necessary to maintain its existence. They regard information about the past fifty years of actual Republican Party behavior and revealed ideology as the product of stereotypical character flaws, immaturity, and/or economic ignorance on the part of people with unrealistic worldviews (their mythical Republican Party is a foundation of their reality, remember)

I honestly don't know any Republicans.
You've met some here. They are not outliers.

More personally: I do. Many. Most of my working and residential life has been spent in their company. The ones on this forum seem typical of their demographic group in that Party (in the outer world one finds a higher proportion of Seattles and Bowsers amd Beaconaters, a lower proportion of Billvons) - you can take their posting here as representative, right down to their denial of supporting Trump when they support Republican initiatives and politicians (a quick search through the record of the campaigns of 2004 and the fallout from Katrina will hand you the same basic take on that demographic's support of W&Cheney, which they carried to the comical extreme of pretending to have organized a separate political entity the called the "Tea Party" - not as a joke, either, even with its parody inversion of the original Tea Party's motivations and context.)

The "Tea Party" never existed other than as a deceptively (professional marketer) named collection of standard and loyal and supportive Republicans. Neither does any current Republican political entity claimed to oppose Trump. As with W, as with Reagan, as with HW, support for any aspect of the Republican Party - money, membership, declarations of allegiance to its mythical "ideals", media operations, votes for Republican politicians, etc - is support for Trump, and vice versa.
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A list of Republicans who opposed Trump's nomination as a Presidential candidate, and his campaign for that office:

Most of those people appear to have been motivated by a fear that Trump's vulgarity and open contempt for governancewould wreck the Republican Party - as indeed might have happened if they had involved the fictional Party beloved by its "moderates". So after that fear was largely assuaged (by Trump's choice of a sufficiently corrupt and venal Cabinet, his immunity and opposition to Federal investigation of Republicans and other rich people, etc.), they returned to the calculating cynicism and willful obliviousness that had supported them through the years of R&HW supporting, C-bashing, W-supporting, and O-bashing.

The issue of overtly and by action opposing Trump after it became clear that he was going to "govern" pretty much as a standard Republican President, and not ruin the Party's fifty year agenda, apparently is a much different matter than campaign opposition or personal disapproval.

In reviewing the minority fraction of these people who were and remain active politicians or media figures or the like within the Party now, a quick scan turns up several well known Trump defenders, apologists, complicit legislators, etc, during his Presidency so far - Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Dan Sullivan, etc.

Without bothering to review the whole thing, my knowledge of some of the retired or auxiliary "never-Trumpers" (Pawlenty, Coleman, supports the hypothesis that - as Jonah Goldberg put it - opposition to Trump among Republican figures not under attack by Trump (and many who were) was a campaign anomaly only, and scaled back as soon as Trump was elected and the main danger passed. It's not like they had any integrity to lose.
They're pretty reliable in that respect.

One of the interesting things, though, can start to look like a larger question—(and may actually be, or maybe not)—has to do with the idea of reliable unreliability. If we pretend a benefit of the doubt, we might wonder what the hell went wrong in the telling of a tale, but, while I'm not certain when it emerged to manifestation—(like that one story from antiquity says, the serpent was subtle)—the coincidence of conservative outlook, passionate advocacy, and ignorance both general and particular°, has become somewhat ridiculous in recent years.


I have a clumsy bit, kind of hard to explain in part because it's so straightforward yet somehow confuses people, but it seems important, here: It's one thing to disagree, but some people will say utterly unbelievable things. To wit, I'm of the Porky's generation. Strangely, I didn't actually watch the movie, when I was young, but the idea that men my age or older don't remember certain things is ridiculous. But if the young'n's go back and watch the first American Pie film, it's essentially a paean to the two-star cinematic T&A comedies of my youth. So, a man between my age and my father's, telling me getting laid was never important to the boys of his generation, I just don't believe it. And if one says he never saw rape glorified, well, that's probably not quite as stupidly deliberate; I mean, sure, it's stupid, but among the tough talk of my age was exploitation of the Deliverance line about squealing, so, yeah, we made something out of that; and, even still, compare the treatment of rape in Craven's Last House on the Left—(viseceral and terrifying)—to the rape humor of Revenge of the Nerds or Police Academy, but it's true the abusive dominance of the hot tub scene in Up the Creek°° just wouldn't have registered as problematic among my masculine age cohort. So, while some might disagree with my thresholds for classifying a rape joke—(is it a blonde joke? a cop joke? a breathalyzer joke?)—I don't believe American men meeting a certain age threshold who pretend such ignorance of our own history. Sure, I can believe the other believes what he is saying, but it's an overly complicated context, none of which advances his argumentative credibility.

But that's just an example. More generally, I remember an awkward transition, and it would be great if we men had actually gotten over the whole, "Well, if a hot woman wanted me when I was 13", bullshit, but history tells otherwise, and the thing is that when men in my circles turned on it, they just happened to forget about it while complaining about feminism. No, really, I come from LaTourneau country, so the idea that the wishful, mitigating rhetoric didn't happen, or wasn't apparent or significant or influential, is just absurd.

Oh, hey, some kind o'something: Remember when the skater-ruffian and the sensitive artist found common ground, during detention period, because both could draw, and how when Duncan, the skater, found out Eric, the sensitive artist, was going on a date with Amanda, the rich girl, the masculine bonding included a fist bump and encouragement to, "Punch her apron, once, for me!" Okay, if you didn't see the movie, probably not, but I promise, the line didn't come out of nowhere.


Which brings us back 'round. There is a weird say-so argument, but it's hard to pin down in real time. Once upon a time, whether it was rape, or having a job, or corporal punishment, or torture and extortion, there was always this embittered sentiment that women in the workplace, or a wife's right to say no, or the reasons to not beat children, or torture confessions out of people, &c., ad nauseam, that we were only making a change, as a society, "Because you say so". Y'know, because those uppity women and black people and liberals say so. Didn't matter what the data said; it was just a sulking, "Fine, because you say so."

To a certain degree, that's actually part of what goes on, today; conservatives believe their dismissive rhetoric, and have convinced themselves to do the same. That is to say, the willful political argument predisposed to the more vicious of cutthroating have convinced themselves they need to be cutthroats.

But it's also another part of what goes on, today, which is something that looks like broadscale gaslighting. After all, one of the more reliable aspects you note is the reliable unreliability.

It's like, at some point, trying to actually talk through with an incel, or a Christianist zealot; between those and the suggestion of someone in a bad mood and just off their meds, well, right, brain chemistry is brain chemistry. If we set aside the part about meds and specifically consider brain chemistry: Do they still know they're trying to evade when attempting their maneuvers, or do they think their projections are the real show?


As to nogo mythopoeia, part of me wonders why people keep trying such stunts. But there's also a question of what they're actually trying. And it's true, there used to be a difference. But I've seen it before with conservatives, and even at Sciforums, how it's easy to think there are extremists, wingnuts, and then some kind of normal people who happen to be conservative. But even those latter tend toward tinfoil and wingnuttery, and show extraordinary sympathy toward extremism.

But, 'round and 'round again: What do those people think, when pushing this stuff, and how do those thoughts feel? Does Yazata know he's bullshitting? Does he suspect but not know how badly? Does he really believe it?

I think of someone else, who isn't around, these days, but, yeah, it's not like that seemingly not extremist conservative was without his tinfoil days, and, in the end, yeah, he kind of proved to be self-deluding, at best. I've known more than a few of these types over the years. They always seemed somewhat nice, and generally acceptable people, but for whatever reasons, when we caught them in, say, white supremacist advoacy, it was somehow rude to note the white supremacism.

Over time, the dependency of even these seemingly otherwise respectable conservatives on unreliable and even dangerous alternative facts and nearly arbitrary theses, became too difficult to ignore. Now, it's all out in the open, and yeah, conservatives been this way for years.


One of Ockham's cuts could easily be to parse out mass-behavioral phenomena, especially with such sharp resolve of cultist aspects at the paradigmatic scale, and wonder at the relationship between what they perceive and what they say. Because what looks like broadscale gaslighting is the persistent absence of reality from totem of what they dispute or oppose.

When they got sick of, "Because she said so", they started making extraordinary efforts to signal that they weren't listening. Longtime staples of rightist culture wars, we ought not be surprised to find alternative facts in a Republican White House, nor Jay freaking Sekulow telling conservative U.S. Senators what to think and believe.

In my own experience, one of the versions of his complaint I encountered along the way actually was about Portland. Someone, somewhere, is paying enough attention to what certain people do to know what to blame on other people. Beyond that, it's everything from schoolyard fights to restaurant activism.

The increasing ferocity, and, yes, even violence, of their insistence on self-righteous make-believe seems to be not simply swallowing up those individuals, but shredding the flimsy pretenses about some manner of normal decency. Throughout, however, look at their regard for what they oppose: A surrogate reality, i.e., falsehood, evadng unpleasant truths, by which they diminish and degrade what they cannot deal with, accusing emotionalism, savagery, and even complex conspiracism.


Conservative reliance on unreliability can seem nearly recursive and existentially permeating, to be certain. And it certainly makes sense in one or another analytical scheme assessing neurotic behavior, but how does that behavior feel?

To the other, as a comparative question, what is our one neighbor's faith in a screwy narrative that never quite works out, while managing to attend observable mythopoeic and behavioral values he does, when juxtaposed, say, with the conservative advocate who apparently thinks self-identified commentary is reportage? I do wonder if that other is embarrassed, but part of the answer is the continuing spectacle of self-denigration. And then, beyond that one, what of the antisocial who just happens to align with conservatives while actually achieving an effect near to that proverbial and mysterious outside agitator for the sake of a seemingly delusional international anti-identification; as nonsensical as those posts get, it does occur to wonder how one feels putting on like that.

The larger effect is perpetual willful disregard for what others say while questioning existential justification according to ad hoc criteria of convenience. And that effect derives from such broad repetition.

It reads, over time, like a broadscale gaslight. That we should have practice dealing with this kind of thing really does seem significant of a problem.


° TURD: And relevant, a point we must include for the sake of history that reminds such points are not necessarily obvious to those conservative advocates and their "I'm not them, but …" defenders. I mean, sure, we all know the argument, right: 「So, what, if he didn't know some obscure bit of trivia, it's not like it's relevant!」 (Except, of course, when it is.)

°° Maybe it's a het thing; blowjobs in hot tubs are ridiculous.