How Senator Graham Turned A meal with Trump changed everything

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Foto: REUTERS

The Senate hearing of Chief Justice-designate Barrett will be chaired by Lindsey Graham. It used to rumble against Trump without a filter. But a change has taken place. Like the Republican Party. Shortly before the election on November 3, the time has come: the Senate will appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, already the third Chief Justice in the tenure of US President Donald Trump. This week, the senators will first question the Trump nominee, then vote on her. Republicans have a majority in the Congress Chamber. Barrett’s confirmation is therefore considered certain. The survey will be led by Lindsey Graham, an important supporter of the President. It wasn’t always like that, on the contrary: Graham was once one of Trump’s greatest adversaries. The Senator from South Carolina shows like no other what happened to the Republicans under Trump: a party for which principles have apparently become less important when it comes to power; which are largely hiding in the depths of polarization; where politicians follow a President Trump, even though they mocked and insulted him a few years ago.


Statutory declarations

It is the election year of March 2016 and Barack Obama’s presidency is drawing to a close. Congress is in the hands of the Republicans. A few hours after one of the nine chief judges died, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced he would block a successor to Conservative Antonin Scalia. Instead of Obama, the upcoming president should choose the next judge. This is new: In similar cases, the Senate had always confirmed the president’s candidate. The party affiliation played no role.

Lindsay Graham has been in the US Congress for decades.

Lindsey Graham is state-supporting in his explanations: In a presidential election year, from now on, a chief judge should no longer be appointed, thus preventing an even stronger polarization of the US judiciary. “This will work,” he announced: “If there is a Republican president in 2016 and in the final year of office [a vacant judge’s post], you can use my words against me.” The condition is a “lame duck” president, ie a head of state without a majority in his party in both chambers of congress. Well, a few weeks ago, the judge and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and the Republicans quickly announced that they would be filling the post with the conservative Barrett. Do you suddenly care less about the rule Graham explained four and a half years ago? Does it show their decline in values, as the opposition Democrats constantly emphasize? The criticism is not entirely justified because Trump is not a “lame duck”. The Republicans still control the Senate. And yet it has a strange aftertaste. This is mainly due to Graham.

The senator was no friend of Trump when he was running for the presidency in 2016. He called Trump, among other things, a bigoted pied piper of racists. “Come to South Carolina and I’ll knock you out,” he boasted like a kid. Trump’s political positions are pure ramblings, Graham blasphemed, over time common sense will prevail: “I know my state.” Apparently not good enough. Graham quickly dropped out of the race, and in his native Pickens County, Trump won with 73.9 percent of the vote. Nowhere else in South Carolina was his success more evident. The proportion of white voters there is above average.

Graham comes from a small town called Central and grew up in a small business family. His parents owned a bar there, which was mainly used by local textile workers. African Americans had to drink their beer outside. His parents died before their son was the first member of the family to graduate with a degree in psychology and law. Before that, Graham worked in the bar in the afternoons after school, which, according to New York Magazine, gave him crucial skills that shape his political style: as a means to an end, being as charming as possible, having no open enemies, resolving conflicts outside of the box. Like with Trump.  Graham is a clear conservative and thus a product of the Republicans’ “Southern Strategy”, which has been pursued since the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Previously the Democrats had been the traditional white party in the south, but now it supported more rights for African Americans. In return, the Republicans targeted the racist resentment of the white population and captured their votes again – also in Graham’s state of South Carolina.

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