You almost have to hand it to Tennessee Republicans. They’ve managed to do something that’s both one of the most evil – and one of the most stupidly self defeating – political moves in recent memory.
Republicans already had a supermajority in the Tennessee state legislature. They gained no additional electoral power by expelling three Democrats. All three of them were going to be able to turn right around and win their own seats back in special elections, meaning the math wasn’t going to change anyway. And to top it all off, by the time it got to the floor, they ended up only having the votes to expel the two Black Democrats but not the white Democrat.
Tennessee Republicans gained literally nothing from this stunt. They already had all the power in Tennessee, with almost no scrutiny. This was just something they wanted to see if they could get away with, even though there was no upside for them. In the process they made themselves political targets, both locally and nationally. And they painted themselves as being so blatantly and abusively racist, even moderate voters in the state will see it. They’ll lose seats due to this stunt in next year’s election. The only question is how many.
It’s not difficult to trace where this ongoing display of deranged self defeating stupidity from the Republican Party comes from. Donald Trump came in a few years ago and convinced the Republicans that they should pander solely to their own base at the expense of turning off voters in the middle, that they should always flaunt and abuse their political power even when there’s no upside to it, and that there will never be any consequences of any kind no matter how far they take things. But these are three wildly false premises. It’s a field guide in what not to do if you want to survive in politics, keep your power, and protect your own hide.
These Republican idiots keep trying to use the Trump playbook as if it’s somehow going to work out well for them, even after Trump’s use of his own playbook caused him to lose his office by seven million votes and end up indicted for thirty-four felonies and counting. Even as we’re watching Trump’s entire life be destroyed due to the stupidity of his approach to politics, his wannabes are still carrying on as if what Trump taught them is somehow going to help them. They can use the Trump playbook to destroy themselves as well, if they really want to.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report