How should one respond to a political provocateur who craves attention?
DWD makes an unpleasant point that calling out Trump's line crossing may be ineffective and by being ineffective reduce the importance of the lines. But surely the Republicans want to win and must eventually learn that gettting the support of numerous supporters of ....questionable judgement in the primaries means alienated the 10% of moderates who decide government. Tolerating cooks, conspiracy theorists, bigots and racists is a ticket to loserdom. At the moment the conservative side of politics is indanger of cementing it's stupidist, nastiest and most extreme elements as being the tone setters and image makers of the party. That keeps boring moderates like Biden in power.
Trump will be going away. He'll die if nothing else. But Trump's base will remain with us, and little of real consequence can be accomplished without them.
And so our strategy should be to ignore Trump, and embrace his supporters. Embrace does not mean agree. Embrace means showing respect. The fact that they made a very poor decision in supporting a particular politician does not equal all their perspectives being worthless. We should be looking for areas of agreement, and not further fueling polarizing conflict.
EXAMPLE: The single biggest threat to the survival of America is nuclear weapons. There is no chance of making meaningful progress on meeting that threat without a broad agreement on solutions. Broad agreement necessarily includes Trump voters.
We no longer have luxury of jamming our fingers in each other's eye's just because that's fun. That era ended before most of us were born, on August 6, 1945 at 8:15am over Hiroshima Japan.
Nature is presenting us with a simple message.
Grow up or die.
The idea that far-right online groups are dominating Republican primary voters or politicians is absurd. I've been hearing some version of this for my entire life. Politicians who are too stupid to know the numerical limits of the fringe do not rise far in their careers.
I started following politics early, early enough I've faint memories of Joe McCarthy. Just looked up Margaret Chase Smith https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Chase_Smith and her early opposition to Joe. There's parallels between Joe and TFG, and in the difficulties Republicans (and JFK) had in responding to him. (Is Liz Cheney like Smith?) Perhaps the dynamics are similar any time there's a demagogue with a following.