“Independent. Loves military. Carries pocket constitution everywhere,” says Ben Domenech of Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen U.S. soldier who gave a stirring anti-Trump speech at last week’s Democratic convention. “Great job GOP.”

It’s rich, this sarcastic congratulations, coming as it does from a guy whose odious think-tank-welfare publication, The Federalist, published an article titled “Donald Trump Was Not Wrong About Muslim Immigration” not three weeks before Khan’s speech; tweets about “killer Muslims”; has backed Ted Cruz’s call for draconian surveillance of “Muslim neighborhoods”; alleged that the “goal” of advocacy group CAIR is to “create American Molenbeeks,” referring to the Brussels district where several of the Paris attackers lived; and has generally expended far more energy stigmatizing Muslims and encouraging Islamophobia than opposing the same. On issues of Islam, terrorism, and immigration, as on literally every other issue, The Federalist is a right-wing red-meat factory like any other, just with crass provocation (mostly) swapped out for pseudo-intellectual hand-waving—Breitbart for people who could, on their third guess, tell you who Edmund Burke was.

Not long after Domenech sent his tweet, Republican operative Patrick Ruffini sent one of his own: “We look forward to welcoming Khizr Khan at the 2020 Republican convention.” Ruffini’s tweet reflects a confidence among conservative elites that, following what will probably be a resounding electoral defeat for the overt racism of Donald Trump in November, the Republican party will simply be able to revert to the polite racism of Domenech’s Federalist without much trouble. Managing this reversion will be the principal project of conservatism’s myriad hacks and agitators and fabulists in 2017, in the same way that providing ideological cover for the intransigence and backlash of the early Obama era was their project in 2009.

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Yesterday Kevin Durant announced his decision to join the Golden State Warriors and occasioned yet another installment of a time-honored internet tradition: sportswriters coming together to ridicule the passion and emotional investment of the fans whose passion and emotional investment underwrite the entire business of professional sports and therefore, in the long term, those sportswriters’ jobs.

Freddie deBoer pushed back on this and this morning got into it with HardballTalk’s Craig Calcaterra, and while I’m not here to score a Twitter fight or litigate the specifics of the Durant situation, I’ll say this: few writers perform this routine as eagerly and consistently as Calcaterra does. He’s by all appearances a decent guy and writes intelligently about a lot of things, but man oh man do the ambit and incentives of his job at HBT give him a blind spot with respect to how tired the internet’s look-at-these-stupid-fans act has become:

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Tonight the U.S. Men’s National Team plays a crucial Copa America group stage match against Costa Rica. Probably they will win; probably they will also win against Paraguay on Saturday; probably they will lose to Brazil in the knockout round after that. If this proves to be the case, there’ll be an effort to spin the tournament as a positive, a sign that the team is moving in the right direction again after 2015’s disastrous Gold Cup collapse and dispiriting loss to Mexico in the Confederations Cup playoff. This is some bullshit.

The pick for this roll was set back in February, when Soccer Twitter melted down upon seeing the USMNT drawn into Group A with Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Colombia, to whom they suffered a 2-0 defeat in the tournament opener. It’s true that this draw represented something close to a worst-case scenario for the U.S., but only with respect to their plum status as a seeded team alongside Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico; any combination of teams from Pots 2, 3 and 4 was still going to present a pretty easy path out of the group, and a tougher-than-expected draw didn’t change that. Neither Colombia nor Costa Rica are as good as their runs in the 2014 World Cup made them look; Paraguay may not quite be a minnow in the way that Haiti and Venezuela are, but they’re a young team ranked by Elo as the eighth-best of the ten CONMEBOL sides and shouldn’t be a real threat to a veteran American squad.

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