I know I'm just repeating what Charlie Pierce said, but think of it as a retweet because, dammit, he's exactly right and it can't be said too often!
Hell, we've been grading Republicans on a curve for decades. We graded Reagan on a curve when he burbled about trees and air pollution. We graded him on a curve during Iran Contra on the grounds that he was too dim to know what was going on around him. We graded W on a curve for the whole 2000 campaign when he didn't know Utah from Uzbekistan, but Al Gore knew too much stuff and what fun was he, anyway? We graded Republicans on a curve when they attached themselves to the remnants of American apartheid, when they played footsie with the militias out west and with the heirs to the White Citizens Councils in the South. We graded them on a curve every time they won a campaign behind Karl Rove or Lee Atwater or the late Terry Dolan back in the 1970s. We talked about how they were "reaching out" to disillusioned white voters who'd suffered in the changing economy, as though African-American workers didn't get slugged harder than anyone else by deindustrialization. We pretended not to notice how racial animus was the accelerant for the fire of discontent in the "Reagan Democrats." That was, and is, grading on a moral curve.I can only add that the intellectual curve and the moral curve are connected at the root, because our morality is a product of our intellectual consent, and our intellectual consent is verified by our morality.
We graded Republicans on a intellectual curve when they embraced a fundamentalist splinter of American Protestantism and brought themselves to a pass in which they are the 21st Century Know Nothings. They have followed movement conservatism to the point where they can ignore science and promote creationism and supply side economic foolishness simply because they can sell it to the same audiences that gobble up the red meat that's been marinating since George Wallace ran for president. Because they are graded on a curve, they can still claim to be shocked when the purist product of all of that work hijacks the nomination and gives the entire game away. Of course, Trump has been graded on a curve. If the electorate hadn't graded modern conservatism on an intellectual curve, it would've flunked out of Human College decades ago.
It is timidity now that grades this ridiculous man running this ridiculous campaign on the biggest curve of all—the timidity of a people who have declined the responsibilities of serious citizenship and the abdication of its duty under the Constitution of a putatively free press too timid to call them on it. That is the political correctness that truly is hurting the country and may yet hurt it beyond all repair. There's only one candidate now running however gingerly against that.
And the best we ever do is have one person who is very, very gingerly against that. Because if you are any more firmly against it, they kill you; or make you a saint so they can say how special and rare you were, and then ignore you.
If you don't love, you're dead; if you do,.....