"The base is not blind": Maybe Republican voters will punish Republicans who side with Trump on impeachment, says Whoopi

Via Newsbusters, I’m reluctant to dunk on her for this, for a particular reason.

It’s not because she’s not wrong. She is. She’s spectacularly, egregiously, what-are-they-putting-in-the-coffee-there wrong.

But my God — how precious to see a moment of idealism in such a cynical age.

It’s like wandering through a nuclear blast zone, stepping through the rubble, and finding a tiny flower poking up through a crack somewhere. Do I really have to tear this flower out of the ground?

Can’t we have one nice thing?

Her logic here, such as it is, has to do with the surprise in the 2017 Alabama special election. Everyone thought Republicans in a ruby red state would dutifully send Roy Moore to the Senate, didn’t they? And everyone was wrong. Fair enough, but Moore and Trump are a bad analogy. Trump is the sitting president of the United States, the only thing standing between every Republican voter in the country and a Democratic takeover next year. All Republicans are invested in his continued political viability to some greater or lesser degree. Both the presidency and control of the Supreme Court for the next five years are on the line with impeachment. (Right, Pence would take over if Trump were removed, but good luck getting Pence elected next fall with the GOP torn in half over removal.)

Moore was a former judge who’d built a political brand as an unapologetic populist theocrat, a niche thing (although not a small niche) even in Alabama. He got less than 40 percent of the vote in the first round of the Alabama Senate primary in 2017 despite the fact that he was running as Mr. Populism in an era of populism among GOP voters. After the primary, he was sandbagged with allegations that he chased underaged girls even as a much older man, grossing out swing voters and poisoning his pious image. On top of all that, he was running in a low-stakes election: Republicans would control the Senate no matter how Alabamians voted, and the term granted to the winner would last only two years before he’d have to run again in 2020. Even with all that working against him, Moore *nearly* won — such is the loyalty of the Republican base. I don’t know where Whoopi’s getting the idea in the clip that he got crushed. He lost by a point and a half.

And you know what? If Moore somehow got through the Senate primary next year, which is unlikely, it’s plausible that he’d defeat Doug Jones for the seat. He’d get to ride Trump’s coattails on the ballot this time, after all.

Point being, Republican voters tend to root root root for the home team even in the worst circumstances. Give them a terrible candidate who’s been rocked by scandal and an election where it doesn’t matter much who wins and, okay, they might surprise you. Give them a candidate whom many worship with cultish adoration and the highest possible electoral stakes, and guess what? They’ll be good partisans, just like Democrats were for Bill Clinton.

Is impeachment really so traumatic for some people that they’ve begun to lose touch with basic political reality? Between this and the Judge Nap post earlier, it’s much worse than I expected.