A Wee Little Republican Story

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Here’s a little story. I had lunch a few days ago with a Republican friend. Not a tea party crank, just a normal, moderate Republican. We were talking about Donald Trump and he said, Well, at least you have to give him credit for Warp Speed. No Democrat would ever have done that.

I just looked at him. I barely knew what to say. Why wouldn’t a Democrat have done it?

Oh come on.

But Warp Speed was mainly about spending money. Democrats love to spend money. You’re always complaining about it.

Hmmm.

Any president would have done it.

This is an example of how we inhabit different sets of realities. Aside from the admittedly catchy name, which I give Trump credit for, Warp Speed was a program that Bill Gates and others had been talking about for months. It was funded by the CARES Act, which passed with unanimous Democratic support. Of course a Democratic president would have pushed for something like Warp Speed.

So what had convinced my friend that a Democrat never would have come up with something like that? It’s a mystery.

POSTSCRIPT: Why did I share this story? Because it struck me as different from the usual sort of thing: Benghazi, Hillary’s email, Trump won the election, etc. It’s not a dumb conspiracy theory, just a routine assumption about an opposition party that came out of nowhere and seems (to those of us in the opposition party) to be completely off base. How much more baggage like this is out there that never gets reported because it’s not crazytown stuff?

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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