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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Marco Rubio still doesn’t think Donald Trump should be trusted with nuclear weapons. And Marco Rubio is still endorsing Donald Trump for president.

Paul Ryan spent the weekend at Mitt Romney’s donor summit listening to Ebay CEO and former Republican candidate for governor California Meg Whitman warn that, according to the Washington Post, “Trump is the latest in a long line of historic demagogues, explicitly comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.”

Yet Ryan — and many of the donors at Romney’s summit — will support Trump.

Their reasoning? It’s plain-old transactional politics. Ryan said he’ll back Trump because he believes President Trump will put Ryan’s agenda into place.

So it’s worth reminding ourselves why the Party of Lincoln is backing a man whose behavior exemplifies “textbook racism,” in Ryan’s own words, and can’t be trusted to not destroy the planet.

Here’s what they want and why they’re willing to risk a nuclear winter. Bundle up.

More massive tax cuts for the rich.
“Paul Ryan is not going to blow his chances for a huge tax cut merely because he’s worried about a dangerous maniac,” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait wrote. Some conservatives have argued that in an era of persistent deficits, retiring Baby Boomers, and massive inequality, cutting taxes for the very rich — and selling those cuts by calling them “across the board” — doesn’t have the same punch in 2016 as it did in 1980, or even 2000. But Ryan refuses to give up his passion to make life easier on the richest, who have never been richer. And he shares this passion with Trump who — though he occasionally tries to obscure this — is proposing trillions in giveaways to those who need them the least.

A Supreme Court that will allow abortion to be banned and preserve Citizens United.
After Ryan said he wasn’t “ready” to endorse Trump, the presumptive GOP went on another of his rolls, as MSNBC’s Steve Benen explained, “Trump started peddling Vince Foster conspiracy theories, called for more guns in school classrooms, got caught lying about money for veterans’ charities, falsely attacked a federal judge for being ‘Mexican,’ got caught up in ugly new revelations about ‘Trump University,’ and went after Republican Governors’ Association Chair Susana Martinez because she’d hurt his feelings.” So what persuaded Ryan. Most likely something Trump did before Ryan blanched: offering a list of 11 white partisan justices he’d choose from to fill Supreme Court seats. The next appointments will settle the direction of the Court for a generation. You’ll notice any time Trump feels very threatened by the right’s lack of enthusiasm for him, he says these two words: Supreme Court.  The base hears “Roe v. Wade” and the donor class hears “Citizens United” and dreams of the end of all limitations on measures that make it harder to buy an election and easy to vote in one. This is the hostage in the Trump/GOP hostage drama.

20 million people stripped of health insurance.
If Trump wins in 2016, he’ll have a Republican House and Senate filled with men — mostly men — who have been promising to abolish Obamacare for almost a decade. While that’s been the standard opinion on the right even as 20 million have gained coverage, there is no alternative plan — because, as we all know, Obamacare was the alternative to single payer. The pressure to end a program that has cut the uninsured rate to the lowest number ever recorded will be immense, with no hope of a decent replacement.

Destroy the few new consumer protections put in place since the financial crisis.
Paul Ryan’s “plan” to fight poverty is a mishmash of every conservative dream for cutting the few things we do do as a nation to prevent poverty. These programs, with the addition of Obamacare and the end of some of the Bush tax breaks for the rich, are a big part of why inequality is finally shrinking. Also in Ryan’s plan is a giveaway to the big banks that would end a little noticed but huge Obama Administration achievement — the fiduciary standard for retirement accounts. Conservatives and their pals on Wall St. hate this rule that will simply “require that investment professionals act in their clients’ best interests.” Including this in your anti-poverty plan is like including a mink coat in your anti-dehydration kit. But it betrays Ryan and Trump’s shared interest in gutting consumer protections — especially the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — by repealing Dodd Frank. Trump’s life is increasingly looking like one scheme after another that sees him profit by fooling people into believing he can make them as rich as he pretends to be. Ryan’s agenda is to make sure that the Trump Universities of the world can continue to profit off uninformed consumers without government interference. And Trump surely supports that.

Gutting Social Security and Medicare.
Trump was smart enough to realize these programs are three times as popular as the Republican Party and running against them — as Romney/Ryan more or less did in 2012 — was a mistake. Ryan has made no effort to hide his passion for trimming the social insurance programs so he can afford tax breaks for the rich. And if he has a majority in the House, there’s no doubt he’ll push the same agenda he has for half a decade, which has always called for turning Medicare into a voucher program and at times called for the privatization of Social Security. Trump reportedly told Ryan that he backed these policies from “a moral standpoint” but doesn’t believe he can be elected on them. So would President Trump veto one of the longest sought-after goals of the conservative movement knowing he had to avoid a primary challenge? Don’t count on it.

 

Photo: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured), before Modi speaks at a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria 

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