Fox News and the Republican party surrender to Trump

Eric Boehlert looks at how the Republican Party and especially Fox News have surrendered to Donald Trump and the widely panned softball interview that supposed tough interrogator Megyn Kelly gave him was the best indicator of it. He quotes the New Yorker magazine saying that the interview was “a useless exercise, except, perhaps, for those watching from one group: Republicans looking for a script for how to surrender to Donald Trump.”

He also provides a timeline of the complete capitulation by Fox, starting with Rupert Murdoch reportedly ordering Kelly to attack Trump in the first debate to the final puff piece interview where, despite Trump’s ridiculing of her, she adopted an ingratiating and obsequious tone.

While Kelly huddles with her manager and agent and tries to figure out what went wrong after a long-running media love fest, the larger story that’s come into focus is how Fox News, led by Kelly’s genuflection to Trump, has signaled its institutional surrender to the presumptive GOP nominee. Fox News has been bullied and beaten into submission by a Republican front-runner who had the audacity to pick a fight with Roger Ailes and the mass media mouthpiece of the Republican Party.

Sure, holdouts like Charles Krauthammer, Stephen Hayes and Greg Gutfeld remain staples on the Fox News lineup; holdouts who have dismissed Trump as a conservative joke for months. But their numbers, and certainly their sway, seem to be shrinking as the cable channel clumsily and belatedly maneuvers itself into its traditional campaign role: a cheerleader for, and ferocious defender of, the RNC.

Like much of the Republican Party, as well as large portions of the conservative movement, Fox News is fumbling its way onto the “acceptance” mark as it comes to the final stages of its weird grieving process over the Trump nomination. Eight in 10 Republican voters now want party leaders to rally behind Trump, according to the latest New York Times/CBS poll.

We’re done here folks. Pack up your spectacles because the show is over. All’s that left on stage now are Ailes and Kelly, searching for their pride.

The parade of former critics who have gone over to Trump continues. The latest is one of his harshest critics during the primaries Marco Rubio who is now saying that he will support him and had apologized to him for suggesting that he had a small penis. Actually, no apology was necessary. Rubio could have said that when he suggested that Trump was genitally challenged, he was really complimenting Trump on being rational, intellectual, and authoritative.

It will be interesting to see how the remaining major Republican holdouts, especially Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, finally find ways to also surrender while trying their best to maintain their dignity. Ryan has already started edging towards capitulation and he and Trump are currently engaged in delicate courtship ritual whose outcome is not in doubt.

Meanwhile Trump has said that will stop calling Cruz ‘Lyin’ Ted’ but Cruz, who during the race, called him a “pathological liar”, “utterly amoral”, “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen”, and “a serial philanderer” has not yet responded to that small olive branch. I am waiting to see how Cruz pulls it off. Maybe he will say that his god, whom he seems to have regular chats with though god does not seem to help him win, told him to endorse Trump.


  1. machintelligence says

    Republicans can reliably counted upon to fall in line. (I rather hope that they live to regret it.)

  2. flex says

    Cruz looks to be playing a longer game. I suspect he feels Trump will lose the election, allowing Cruz to run in 2020 as an, “I told you so” Candidate.

    That never works, in four years the memory of Trump’s loss will not motivate people to back Cruz, but his capitulation after the Indiana primary suggests it. He knows that he came in second, beating the establishment favorite, Jeb Bush. If he can convince the establishment Republicans that he can bring in the evangelicals in 2020 (when there will be no Trump) he might get the nod then. His best strategy is to fade away for a couple years, act as presidential as possible, and come out strong in 2020.

    He won’t be able to do that. His personality seems to be almost as narcissistic as Trump’s, without the flamboyant presentation (read enthusiastic, extravagant, lies). So, even though he is trying to play a long game at this stage, I expect he will pull some idiotic stunts, like trying to shut down government, over the next few years.

    Eventually, I expect Cruz will suggest that voting for Trump will be better than voting for Clinton, but I doubt it will be a full-fledged endorsement.

    There was no doubt in my mind that Fox News would rapidly come to strongly endorse Trump.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    [Cruz]knows that he came in second, beating the establishment favorite, Jeb Bush

    Cruz did not “come in second”. All Cruz knows is that Jeb Bush was the first person Trump beat, and that he (Cruz) was the last. Cruz didn’t in any meaningful way “beat” anyone. He just thrashed about impotently for the longest.

    The Republican primary was a perfect example of how to single-handedly win a fight against a group -- focus your initial attack on the strongest member. Once he goes down, you have to contend with a few enthusiastic wingmen. After that, the rest always run. Cruz is one of the runners… the dumbest, the one who hangs around long after the fight is over.

  4. lorn says

    The GOP long ago gave up on governing. Under Gingrich they decided to take advantage of the differential in identification of the two parties to the very idea of governing by discrediting government, creating dysfunction to prove that all government and all liberals are incompetent. They almost ran the board with those assertions but, when it got down to brass tacks, people decided that while they were willing to think ill of government in general, they rather liked that portion of government that helped them. Of course slandering Democrats as “libtards” and “femi-nazis” was okay, to the point of a national radio host making it the centerpiece of his spiel.

    Over time the opportunistic association of Democrats with dysfunctional government became less about government and more about Democrats. To the point where the single most common exhortation within GOP rhetoric was the stoking of a vehement and single-minded hatred of Democrats. This shifted from rhetorical provocation applied to gain an end to reflexive stance when Obama was elected to the presidency. Over the last seven years this stance has ossified and become rigid to the point where the GOP can no longer turn it off. The passionate contradiction and obdurate resistance to any word, deed, or action by Democrats has become the central organizing and uniting principle within the GOP.

    The principled and coherent policies centered on what they believed good for the nation and its people last seen in action with Eisenhower Republicans has become the willing and gratuitous debasement and perversion of standards and good governance under the present GOP.

    The people who claimed to be willing to stand up for right are perfectly willing to bend over for The Donald simply because he isn’t a Democrat. We have gone from parody of politics and governing to cruel farce. This is political Dadaism. We are rapidly approaching something very close to Kafkaesque.

  5. flex says

    Cruz did not “come in second”.

    From Cruz’s perspective he did. He had more electoral college votes than other contenders, and was the last candidate offering any competition to Trump. Sure, the political observers see that had Trump not been in the race the results would be very different. But many citizens, and I suspect many of the candidates even, are not that aware of how history would have been radically different had Trump not entered. They simply do not care about thinking that critically about past events.

    Most citizens are poorly informed about politics and even the platforms are simply seen as series of easily-parrotable sound-bites. Many citizens look at the election like they view MLB. There is a winner (who gets everything), then there is the second place team (who was the last competitor to the winner). The second place team is looked at as a serious contender next season.

    So the semi-finals have occurred for the republican party, and come November the winner of the American League will play the winner of the National League. I mean, the Republican League will play against the Democratic League. What we are seeing is the republicans continuing to back their league as if the results of the election were of no more importance than baseball.

  6. flex says

    Hmm. Blockquote fail. The first sentence is a blockquote from #5 sonofrojblake. My mistake.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    From Cruz’s perspective he did [come in second]

    Then Cruz’s perspective is wrong, in every important respect.

    The person who came in second was Bush. His humiliating defeat was longest ago, Cruz’s is still fresh in the public memory. Plus, Bush didn’t punch his wife in the face when he lost. Bush is still the one best placed to step up, IF Trump loses, because he still has all the advantages he had before -- name recognition, money, backers and so on, things which would have toasted Cruz and everyone else if the wildcard that was Trump hadn’t come along.

    But that’s if Trump loses. Does anyone seriously doubt Trump’s chances against Clinton?

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