Opinion | Why Does the Republican Field All Sound …

Two weeks before Mr. Wallace-Wells was in Iowa watching Mr. Ramaswamy make Mr. DeSantis sound generic, I heard Mr. DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott use a similar metaphor about the border — houses, which are being broken into — in events 18 hours apart. If we don’t control the border, it might not be our country, Mr. Scott said. We will repel the intrusion with force, Mr. DeSantis said. We will finish the wall, they said.

“That’s why you see these things like weaponization of agencies, because nobody’s held them accountable,” Mr. DeSantis said. “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired watching the weaponization of the D.O.J. against their political opponents, against pro-life activists,” Mr. Scott said. On Day 1, Mr. DeSantis said, we’ll have a new F.B.I. director. The first three things we have to do, Mr. Scott said, are fire Joe Biden, Merrick Garland and Christopher Wray. “You’re going to have housecleaning at the Department of Justice,” Mr. DeSantis said. “We should actually eliminate every single political appointee in all the Department of Justice,” said Mr. Scott, who wants to “purge” the politicization of the department for the benefit of all Americans. They walked off the stage to the same song (Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel”).

It can be hard to remember what made Mr. Trump distinct eight years ago, because it has become the texture of our lives. The 1980s tabloid dimension of his language — weeping mothers, blood and carnage, rot and disease in institutions, brutal action — crushed the antiseptic piety and euphemisms of the post-Bush Republican Party. The lurid, fallen vision of American life that implicitly casts critics as naïve chumps or in on the corruption is the one we still occupy.

Now they all sound kind of like that. Politicians’ impulse to shorthand and flatten major policies and controversies is eternal, but it’s not just that they use similar words. The way these politicians talk…

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