Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman: ‘Republican superpatriotism’ has always been a ‘fraud’ — and Trump is the most ‘unpatriotic’ of all
Despite the fact that some of the most aggressive military expansions and escalations have occurred under Democratic presidents — from Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II to Lyndon B. Johnson in Vietnam and Barack Obama in Afghanistan — Republicans have repeatedly insisted that they have the market cornered on patriotism and love of military. But economist and veteran New York Times journalist Paul Krugman, in a blistering column this week, stresses that “Republican superpatriotism” has always been a “fraud” — and that is more obvious than ever in the Trump era.
“Republicans have spent the past half-century portraying themselves as more patriotic, more committed to national security than Democrats,” Krugman explains. “Richard Nixon’s victory in 1972, Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980 and George W. Bush’s victory in 2004 — the only presidential election out of the past seven in which the Republican won the popular vote — all depended in part on posing as the candidate more prepared to confront menacing foreigners.”
But under President Donald Trump, Krugman stresses, many Republicans are more than happy to look the other way while Trump engages in “foreign entanglements” that clearly aren’t in the United States’ best interests — for example, reports that Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
“Now, we have a president who really is unpatriotic to the point of betraying American values and interests,” Krugman asserts. “We don’t know the full extent of Donald Trump’s malfeasance; we don’t know, for example, how much his policies have been shaped by the money foreign governments have been lavishing on his businesses. But even what we do know — his admitted solicitation of foreign help in digging up dirt on political rivals, his praise for brutal autocrats — would have had Republicans howling about treason if a Democrat had done it.”
Many Republicans, Krugman contends, are rallying around Trump because they fear that demographic trends don’t favor their party in the longrun.
“You need to think of Trump’s foreign entanglements in the context of a GOP establishment that realizes that its domestic agenda is deeply unpopular and a rank-and-file that sees itself on the losing side of demographic and social change,” Krugman observes. “The result is a party that is increasingly willing to play dirty, violating democratic norms, to hold on to power.”
The more Republicans fear that demographic trends are working against them, Krugman warns, the more corrupt their party will become — and that includes treasonous acts.
“Once a party has decided to do whatever it takes to prevail politically, there’s no reason to expect the foul play to stop at the water’s edge,” Krugman emphasizes. “If a party is willing to rig political outcomes by preventing minorities from voting, if it’s willing to use extreme gerrymandering to retain power even when voters reject it, why won’t it be equally willing to encourage foreign powers to subvert U.S. elections? A bit of treason is just part of the package.”