The Purge: Kinzinger Edition

When evil is celebrated and good men are scorned.

I missed TNB last night so I’m going to listen to the podcast version today. If you like watching the show, you can catch the rewind here.


(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1. Kinzinger, Out

Adam Kinzinger, who chose country over party, is retiring. This is bad, on a number of levels.

(1) Why are Republicans so obsessed with the past? There was a brief moment when some people believed (or hoped) that Trump’s historic defeat—losing the White House, House, and Senate in just four years—would spur the GOP to purge Trump from the party in order to focus on the future. If I had a nickel for every time I was promised that “voters hate a loser and will drop Trump like he’s hot,” I could buy another Mike Trout rookie card.

Instead, the Republican party is focused on—nay, obsessed with—the past. To the point where there is an actual, say-it-out-loud, purge of any Republican who is not explicitly with Trump.

“Traitors.”

That’s a real word with actual implications. And in this climate it borders on incitement.

But note that the “Trump obsessed” thing isn’t some fetish. It’s an observation of a real-world phenomenon. Donald Trump is obsessed with re-litigating the 2020 election. The politicians in Donald Trump’s party are obsessed with purging any remaining members who will not go along with Trump’s lies. And Donald Trump is the prohibitive front-runner to be the Republican nominee in 2024.

These are the central facts of American politics at this moment.

(2) There will be a chilling effect on other Republicans. Part of the reason for the purge against Kinzinger is revenge. The other part is pour encourager les autres. It’s a warning to the Mitch McConnells and Glenn Youngkins of the world about who does what, to whom.

This post is for paid subscribers