No, the GOP is not being blackmailed.

This is my take👇

The theory that the GOP bows to Trump and does his bidding because they are blackmailed gives them way too much credit.

The prefer Trump's politics to the Democrats.

The only real "dirt" is their secret willingness to work with Putin.

Because they not only prefer Trumps politics to the Democrats, they also prefer Putin's Russia to liberal democracy.

Want proof? Buckle your seat belts. Here we go.

2013: Russia enacted anti-homosexual legislation.

2014: Pat Buchanan noted that Putin was “entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly city of today” and stamping out western evil like easy divorce and homosexuality 👇

Paul Manafort, GOP Operator and later Trump campaign manager, strategized on behalf of the Russian-backed Ukrainian president Yanukovych. Manafort also worked on “a plan to increase Russian influence in the U.S.”

(Source for quotation: Snyder, Road to Unfreedom)

2015, “Russian authorities were cooperating with the American gun lobby [NRA]” pp. 250-251, Kindle version.

Feb. 2016: Maria Butina reported to Torshin from the United States that “Trump (NRA member) is ready for cooperation with Russia.” P. 250-251.

May 2016: Torshin met with Donald Trump, Jr. in Kentucky in May. That same month, the NRA endorsed Trump and eventually gave his campaign $30 million.

After the Russians infiltrated the NRA, the NRA’s official attitude toward the NRA changed . . .

(previously the NRA felt American policy toward Russia was ‘too weak.’)

From Snyder: “Russia’s support of the NRA resembled its support of right-wing paramilitaries in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic."

"Once Trump was in office, the NRA proclaimed in a video that 'we’re coming for the New York Times.'" (Snyder)

June 15, 2016: Rep. McCarthy (R-CA) was caught on tape saying “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
In the Motion for Pre-Trial Detention for Christopher Paul Hasson (the guy planning to mass murder liberals) is quoted as saying “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes.”

That's before we even get to the Mueller report, but I think you get the idea.

The Fox-GOP does Trump's bidding because they WANT to.

They are more closely aligned with a Putin-style oligarchy than liberal democracy (by which I mean 👇).

No doubt Trump (and Putin) has dirt on members of the GOP.

But why use dirt against your allies?

Why go to all that trouble when all you have to do is threaten them with a mean tweet, and they click their heels and say "yes, SIR!"

It seems to me that reason they want a Putin-style oligarchy is so they can be the oligarchs.

The lawbreaking is not a separate issue.

The reason the GOP keeps breaking laws and disregarding rules is because they want to destroy.

This is important.
I divide the "Never Trumpers" into two categories:

First: those who see the errors that brought the GOP to the current debacle. These are what we call traditional conservatives (the GOP is now reactionary.)

Second: those who dislike Trump's methods like bullying and lying and acting like a dolt.

They want to return the GOP to what it was in 2015. They want a Tea Party Republican Party without Trump. Watch out for them.

So @AmerHerodotus said this thread is scaring her.

👇Thought I should offer a cute picture of my dog, like a spoonful of sugar helping the depressing threads go down.

Stand by . . .
This is JJ. He works all day: He sits in this chair and watches out the window, guarding the house from things on wheels like skateboards. (He hates skateboards).

He gives a mighty bark, and the skateboarder zooms past the house.

We haven't been invaded by a skateboarder yet.
19/ I'll go ahead and pick this up after cute dog interlude.

Before the 1970s, hunters and gun enthusiasts were members of both political parties and the NRA wasn't anything like it is now . . .
20/ As part of the backlash against the cultural changes of the 1960s and 1970s (women’s rights, black rights, etc) the NRA turned into a right wing extremist group.

21/ Beginning in the 1970s, the NRA undertook a concerted legal and propaganda campaign persuading conservatives that liberty meant unfettered access to guns. The demand was for no gun regulations. The demand for no regulations allied the NRA with other far right wing groups
22/ From Timothy Snyder: When Putin took a close look at the U.S. for weaknesses to exploit, he noticed the uncontrolled gun violence in America.

What what better way to stoke discord in the United States than to pump more guns into the hands of ordinary people?
23/ Also from Snyder: Outsiders (like Russians) understand right away that the idea that “gun ownership equals freedom” is nonsensical.

From ⤵️

You get the idea.

Putin + the GOP = 💕

One more . . .
25/ Precisely: The "GOP is being blackmailed" theory assumes that without the blackmail, they'd do the right thing.

It assumes that they're siding with Trump because of blackmail, and without blackmail, they'd be good supporters of liberal democracy. . .
26/ It also assumes that they (fundamentally) embrace our values.

People accuse Trump of projection, but this is also projection.

The people who cling to the blackmail theory and trot out their facts (they were also hacked, etc) project their own values onto GOP leadership. . .
27/ . . . because they cannot wrap their minds around the fact that there are people who understand what Trump is about and get behind him with full knowledge.

The ones who are afraid, are afraid of Trump's ridicule.

Nobody in the Trump-FOX-GOP is actually afraid of facts.
28/ This is a popular theory. I'd like to torpedo it once and for all.

The answer: The tricks that didn't work on @Comey, Andrew McCabe & @PreetBharara worked on @LindseyGrahamSC

What trick? (Sorry this thread is so long. I promise another cute dog pic)
29/ What tricks?

In Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he described how Trump signaled to him which lies he was supposed to tell.

He described how Trump pulls people in and makes them feel like they're part of something large. . .
30/ He dangles the heady prospect of power. He also manipulates.

From Andrew McCabe: After Trump fired Comey, Trump summoned McCabe to a meeting and offered a “gleeful” description of what happened with the firing of Comey.
McCabe understood. . .
32/ “Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating. When you were in his presence, you felt like you were involved in something greater than yourself — that you were somehow changing the world.”

@PreetBharara tells a story similar to McCabe's.
33/ Shortly after Trump took office, Trump personally reached out to him. "It was odd,” Bharara said, “because as a general matter, Presidents don’t speak directly to United States attorneys. You know the number of times President Obama called me? Zero.”
34/ The calls were particularly awkward because Mr. Bharara was prosecuting Russian money laundering and Russian mob crimes in Trump’s own neighborhood of Manhattan.

Bharara accept a few of Trump’s phone calls. Bharara suspected nobody knew the president was calling him.
35/ He felt distinctly uncomfortable. The next time Trump called, he refused the call.He was fired twenty hours later.

Comey had a similar story.

I include Michael Cohen's testimony to show you that some people get pulled in.

Others don't.

@LindseyGrahamSC got pulled in.
36/ Once people are pulled in, they are hooked forever because Trump corrupts people.

He gets them to lie for him. Once they, lie it's harder to disentangle themselves.

Imagine it: You lie for a friend. You get pulled in deeper and deeper . . .
37/. . .pretty soon you're in so deep that you have to prop up the "friend" at any cost.

In way the blackmail story is true, but not the way people imagine.

Because life is more complicated.

People think this: Lindsey Graham hated Trump. Trump called him to a meeting. . .
38/ . . .Trump pulled out his Kompromat (or threatens to expose Graham in an embarrassing way) and Graham caved.

Mafia bosses don't work this way. They're more subtle and manipulative.

What happened instead was that Graham took the bait. He got pulled in . . .
39/ . . . soon he found himself lying for Trump.

The Kompromat on Graham are the things he did AFTER Trump corrupted him and pulled him in.

People get so tangled up in the lies and corruption that they're trapped in it.

Others revel in and delight in the power and wealth.
40/ They don't need to.

It wouldn't change anything anyway.

What could GOP leaders have done that's worse than what we know?

This thinking⤵️assumes that what can sink a Democrat like HRC can also sink Trump.

Nope. . .
41/ The hacked information released about HRC wasn't about facts. It was about pumping up a lie. It was theater. It was spectacle.

The only thing the Russians might have on the GOP is their willingness to work with Russia.

And the GOP is actually open about that.
Eventually the blackmail theory falls apart, because it doesn't work for most of the people who get pulled in. It's too complicated.

The simpler (Occam's Razor) theory is that they succumb to the methods that McCabe and @PreetBharara were able to resist.
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