Mark Sanford: I pledge allegiance to the flag, not to Trump

I don’t know where this guy gets off suggesting that the GOP’s turning into a cultist nightmare. Clearly, he’s … uh … he’s … what was I saying?

That’s the chairman of the RNC. She was taken out of context, she said later. Anyway, Sanford’s off the rails if he thinks this fine party is transforming into a cult of personality. I’ll have him know that … ahm … it’s … wait, I lost my train of thought again:

Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday responded to Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) assertion that the GOP was becoming a “cult-like situation” in relation to President Trump, saying that if Republicans are a cult it’s “because they like” what Trump is accomplishing.

“I think that’s ridiculous,” Trump Jr. said on “Fox & Friends” of Corker’s comment. “I think, you know what, if it’s a cult, it’s because they like what my father is doing.”

Asked what advice he’d give to other Republicans in Congress who fear losing their seats, Sanford replied, “Pledge allegiance to Donald Trump.” That’s cute — and true, alas — but there’s reason to believe that Sanford’s electoral problems ran deeper than being on Trump’s bad side. Various politicos have noted this week that he had a surprisingly tight congressional primary in 2016 as well. Not super-tight; he defeated his opponent 55/44. But for an incumbent with unusually high name recognition after having served two terms as governor, that might as well be a runoff, particularly in a year in which Republicans won big. It’ll remain an open question whether a Sanford unweakened by scandal would have been vulnerable to an upset this year even with POTUS in his opponent’s corner.

But that’s a hard alternate history to write. A Sanford unweakened by scandal would have been a legit presidential contender. Probably not a winner, but maybe he rather than Tim Scott would have succeeded Jim DeMint in the Senate. The guy wrecked his political career for love, although perhaps he’ll end up running for president after all. Flake/Sanford or Sanford/Flake?

Incidentally, there’s every reason to believe the GOP’s cultishness will get worse before it gets better. Monmouth has some encouraging new numbers for POTUS after his North Korea summit:

Those are the numbers among all adults. Among registered voters he’s at 45/46, one thin point below break-even. Except for Rasmussen, which always has conspicuously better numbers for POTUS than other pollsters, the last time Trump was at -1 in any job approval poll was more than a year ago. Much was written this week about what a propaganda coup the summit was for Kim Jong Un. But it wasn’t just Kim who benefited.

Exit question: Trump cultism isn’t going to turn into Strange New Respect for the human garbage in the North Korean government, is it? It’s not required, you know. And it’s gross as hell.

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