On the last full day of the Trump administration, I think it’s useful to examine why he accomplished so little legislatively. This was both by accident and design. That’s because the most important thing to know about conservative politicking is that people do not vote FOR Republicans, they vote AGAINST Democrats.

The GOP is dominated by a minority of far-right activists and wealthy donors who have views that their own voters don’t support.

American conservatism is premised on the twin ideas that the New Deal & Great Society were immoral and that God himself created America and that we should honor this creation by establishing full Christian supremacism in which LGBT people, atheists, and Muslims have fewer rights.

Because God created America, this means that conservatives believe in essentially no domestic policy of any kind. If it wasn’t literally in the Constitution, then the feds shouldn’t be doing it is their opinion.

This is not, however, how things used to be in the GOP.

For much of its history, American conservatism was a sort of intellectual parasite on the Republican party which was run by a mix of moderates and liberals. They actually had domestic policies. Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon had many policies that actually helped America.

Over time, however, conservative activists, whose domestic policy was to have no policies began to displace and “cancel” the moderates in Congress and elsewhere. This process is detailed by @RuleandRuin https://t.co/kOxRHics63

Once the Cold War ended, the conservative parasite began consuming the brain of its Republican Party host. The process accelerated with the emergence of the Tea Party and the vice presidential nomination of Sarah Palin.

Donald Trump’s victory marked the definitive death of Republican intellectualism. Conservative intellectual parasitism had fully consumed it.

Next, with Trump’s encouragement, it began trying to consume the brains of marginally attached Republicans and other low-info citizens.

I talked about right-wing epistemology and intellectual history in detail with @willwilkinson on his latest podcast episode which you can listen to here: https://t.co/SrUYkG65eY

When Trump came into office, because the American right had become so completely intellectually vacant, he actually could not fill many top-level executive positions. There simply were not enough people who had domestic policy experience or even ideas about policy.

Let me modulate that a bit to say that there actually are conservative policy thinkers but because they focus on achieving conservative values rather than adhering to the right’s minimalistic view of government, they had no influence or cachet in the Trump WH.

Despite having total control of the lawmaking branches of government, Trump and his conservative allies were not able to pass any major domestic policy laws except for the one thing on which they all agreed: giving tax breaks to wealthy people.

So while Trump/the right have no affirmative agenda, their negative agenda has been an astounding success: coarsening politics, dismantling regulations on corporations, reducing oversight of law enforcement, and appointing judges who will rule against regulations and programs.

And of course, the biggest “achievement” of Trump has been to poison the minds of millions of Americans into believing pathetic lies about fraudulent elections, imaginary pedophiles, and a nefarious “Deep State” that somehow hates Republicans but never can actually stop them.

The Big Lie campaign against Biden’s legitimate victory will not die easily. And it will continue to radicalize conservatives long after Trump is evicted.

This is why it’s so extremely critical that media, businesses, and educators publicly reject these toxic lies.