The Jury Talks Back


GOP Cult of Personality Ousts Another Heretic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:59 am

The New York Times:

Republican voters lashed out against traditional party leaders Tuesday, ousting Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina and nominating a conservative firebrand for Senate in Virginia, the latest illustration that fealty to President Trump and his hard-line politics is paramount on the right.

Mr. Sanford, a former governor once seen as a possible candidate for president, lost to Katie Arrington, a state lawmaker, in a closely contested primary, The Associated Press reported. Ms. Arrington had made the incumbent’s frequent criticism of Mr. Trump the centerpiece of her campaign. And the president endorsed her in an unexpected, and deeply personal, broadside against Mr. Sanford just three hours before the polls closed.

Sanford is a philanderer who disappeared in 2009, lied about the reasons, and joined his mistress in Argentina. All of these things would be forgiven and even defended if he ran around shouting “Make America Great Again” and otherwise kissing the ring of the manchild in the Oval Office. Instead, he chose to criticize Trump, and he got what all Trump critics get these days.

The message is, as I wrote in Quillette earlier this month, that viewpoint diversity on the issue of Donald Trump is not permitted on the right.

It might sound crazy to say that Donald Trump is beyond the reach of criticism. After all, isn’t he regularly pilloried on all the major networks, most of the cable news channels, and on the front pages of most national newspapers? Quite so: and this fact, if anything, causes his supporters to huddle closer, and reject or attack anyone who dares utter a critical word. This, in turn, creates an environment in which pundits and politicians on the Right are terrified to say what they really think.

The Republican Party is a cult of personality. Pointing that out is not popular — but then, cultists don’t like it when their cults are accurately described.


  1. Glad I’m no longer a member.

    Comment by DRJ — 6/13/2018 @ 8:14 am

  2. I think Bob Corker reads

    Comment by DRJ — 6/13/2018 @ 9:51 am

  3. I wholeheartedly approve of ousting Sanford, given his past. However, I agree with Patterico that the reason was probably his opposition to Trump, and I disapprove of that as a motive.

    I don’t like the cult of personality thing, at all. The only silver lining I see is that while Trump is awful in this regard, he’s nowhere near as bad as Obama or Hillary were in this regard.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 6/13/2018 @ 2:47 pm

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