If you want to understand the state of Republican politics today, just read this tweet from Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union:
Dear East coast establishment: Kansas City, Kansas is in Kansas.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 3, 2020
Schlapp is referring to Donald Trump’s post-Super Bowl tweet which said:
Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure. You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!
The Kansas City Chiefs, of course, play in Kansas City, MISSOURI. Yes, there is a “Kansas City” in Kansas, but it is not where the Kansas City Chiefs play football.
Since then, Trump has changed the tweet:
Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game and a fantastic comeback under immense pressure. We are proud of you and the Great State of Missouri. You are true Champions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2020
Here is Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine:
The substantive importance of the initial Trump error is extremely minor. It’s the sort of gaffe that, had a Democratic president committed it, would have supplied hundreds of hours of mocking Fox News programming about out-of-touch coastal elites. (George W. Bush’s reelection campaign was premised largely on John Kerry having mispronounced the name of Green Bay’s football stadium and ordering the wrong kind of cheese on his Philly cheesesteak sandwich.) But since Democrats have an overabundance of serious Trump vulnerabilities to exploit, nobody is going to spend much time on his confusion between the two different Kansas Cities.
The importance, rather, lies in the willingness of his supporters to defend Trump regardless. Trump has taken the long, deep tradition of anti-intellectualism running through the American right and elevated it to almost cultlike status. Trump has created a hierarchy in which loyalty is determined by willingness to defend even his most absurd lies. The dynamic has been on display throughout the Senate trial, where Republicans have vied for his favor by openly declaring their lack of interest in weighing factual evidence. The Trumpiest Republicans are those who will repeat even his most fantastical claims — that Trump never even asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, that Representative Adam Schiff “falsified” a transcript of Trump’s phone call when he paraphrased it, and so on.
For many of Trump’s policy actions, the cruelty is the point. But for some of his more trivial episodes, the stupidity is the point. The gleeful rejection of objective truth, throwing oneself fully into Trumpism, is a marker of tribal loyalty.
Trump obviously has no reason to credit Kansas rather than Missouri with hosting the Super Bowl champions. The point of defending it is to demonstrate that the Trump cult can create its own reality and needn’t make any concession to external truth.
Read the entire piece here.