Don't let Trump, McConnell, and the GOP play the victims

Part of the asymmetrical nature of the behavior of the Republicans is that no matter how outrageously they behave — whether refusing to work with a two-term Democratic president or making up bogus rules to take a Supreme Court seat — if Democrats respond in any way, the GOP goes straight into victim mode, acting like the Democratic response just came out of nowhere. Don’t fall for it. The Democrats have shown incredible restraint, due to their commitment to the institutions of this country — the same institutions that Trump has been firebombing for the past four years.

Comparing the Republican and Democratic Parties in a column recently, The New York Times’ David Brooks noted that the GOP is “a culture war identity movement that suppresses factional disagreement and demands total loyalty to Trump. The Democrats are still a normal political party.”

It’s time for people — in particular reporters — to stop romanticizing McConnell as a “master tactician” or as someone who “plays hardball.” His behavior is unethical and destructive. And it’s long overdue for political observers to stop engaging in both-sidesism when it comes to lamenting Washington’s slide into Machiavellian trench warfare.

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