It’s the smashed GOP, stupid! Can’t win with Trump, can’t win without him

Are addled Republicans more at war with America, laws, elections and the Constitution—or with each other?

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Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Civil war strikes Retrumplicans—not so much right vs. left or red vs. blue

What Trump does best is drive wedges, and now on his way out the Divider-in-chief decimates the very party he cynically rode to power. It’s harder to tell if addled Republicans are more at war with America, laws, elections and the Constitution – or with each other. Why not the whole schmear, as ferocious Trumpers face down trapped party enablers who rode Trump to power? Sounds like comeuppance for double dealing users on all sides! Less apparent is a looming national civil war, say between red vs. blue, than a fight to the death (okay, “trial by combat”?) which will rip apart the disfigured party of Lincoln.

The combination of Trump the loser in crack-up mode vs. self-serving Republican hypocrisy is now an explosive mixture. Both sides once needed each other, but now they’re like the raging couple rushing to divorce who can’t stand one another – but must sit in the same room. Trump has never needed the party as it needed him (with his PR spigot), but the Donald is permanently crippled after the latest series of irrational, self-generated crises. What wannabe election-manipulator buys into telling 82 million voters – after the fact – they don’t count, deserving to be (doubly) trumped? And Trump’s singularly bad showing came despite decades of voter disenfranchisement, intimidation and online chicanery.

If the GOP is the fixated “party of Trump,” permanent national minority status is assured. But were top party brass and billionaire backers to oppose or exile Trump, they risk exiling his rabid third of the electorate. Neither money, nor entrenched leverage can sustain rightwing heft: power must have voters, foot soldiers, even protestors screaming themselves hoarse with the latest whopper. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving gang, punctuated by indicted rioters who (stupidly) defend their crimes because “the president made me do it.” That blow against Trump’s legal defense (“I never said to riot”) is no smarter than selfies while committing capital crimes in the Capitol.

Division ain’t addition

The essence of a national party isn’t kumbaya togetherness but channeling supporters to vote, not halving them between elections. Or worse, as establishment Republicans hardly own half of Trump’s base. Today is the culmination, nor the kickoff, of irreconcilable contradictions. Beginning with divisive extremism from Gingrich, the GOP lurched to the nutcase Tea Party, made a losing, wrong turn to moderate Romney, then descended to remorseless, unprincipled Trump tyranny. With new media widening extremist orbits, tectonic splits isolate billionaire corporate elitists from the aggrieved Trumpers who want control but hate all those in charge.

If a majority of rightwingers continue to defy 1) clean elections, 2) state (Republican) vote counters, 3) conservative judges banishing fraud claims, 4) the integrity of Congress – and now 5) a peaceful inauguration – they will disintegrate further. No national party survives overt unAmerican betrayals, rife with wedge-politics making “America Worse than Ever.” Right, the upcoming impeachment trial when Republicans get the impossible choice of either shielding Trumpian infamy or defending everything America claims to stand for. Oh goody.

Moment of safety, gone forever

If Trump weren’t so irreparably twisted, he could have waltzed off the public stage, passed the baton, and spent his years hustling up cash for non-stop legal costs, tax fraud convictions and shocking fines. If Trump weren’t so self-destructive, with endless delusions of grandeur, he’d have learned when to fold, or when his hand could only get worse. Trump is no mere transactionalist but a bad one: he doesn’t know when or how to close the deal, inevitably boxing himself into a tiny corner. That’s why he always overshoots, thus multiple bankruptcies, busted relationships, and unresolvable crises of his own making. This sorry caricature of a caricature thinks he has the Midas touch when all that he touches turns to lead poison. As derangements go, staggering on as if you are right, and everyone else in power must be wrong, is an incredible act of self-sabotage.

Because Trump’s infected mind has zero doubt the election was stolen (otherwise his perfect gut is fallible!), he diseased the GOP in a slippery, suicidal descent. Because party powers refused to stop the election-pounding Trump tantrum early on, all Republicans (but ten) were sucked into the quicksand. Now Trump is fixated with untenable election madness, and Republicans, with no good choices, are struck with an untenable dead end. Good show, guys! You can’t insult everything about an election, then ask the nominal sucker/victims to rush to your side (the double Georgia Senate shocker proved that in spades).

Depth charges coming fast

This final, party-bunker busting by Trump, inciting insurrection, only piled on mishandling the pandemic, stupidly attacking masks and distancing, ignoring soaring unemployment, and thinking he can BS his way out of anything. Historians will marvel at this matchless run of unforced disasters. Because Trump feels entitled to having his every ludicrous dream fulfilled – like an automatically-renewed presidency, he will never concede, only reload. Because he pathetically also demands payola, success, money, love and adoration, as if destined, Trump becomes the inevitable f*ck-up. And now he’s gleefully dragging the party into his self-made swamp. Though unelectable, likely outlawed from running, the Trump gravy train will present the charade of a shadow president. Here’s the ultimate bad poker loser: with a broken flush after bluffing, he refuses to concede, flips over the table, then abrades the dealer for giving him bad cards. Then he can’t understand why he’s blackballed.

More destructive explosions loom against Trump and the GOP. What if even glimmering replays of last Wednesday’s Washington Wreckathon occur during inauguration week? Apparently, America is saved from the farce of Trump refusing to leave – or the military steadfastly defying his lawless commands for martial law. But with this sleazebag, he’ll come up with some outrage. Self-pardon would be an example, another suicidal self-wound, along with pardons for children and Capitol rioters. The uncaring Trump only values gestures, but none will fool district attorneys.

Yep, the Trump train wreck is not over, promising thrill-a-minute agony for fellow Republican villains. Excuse the jaundiced smirk. Did the five rational party leaders expect to escape scot-free after not declaring the election legitimate or the Rioter-in-chief not liable for cheering on terrorist infidels trashing the Capitol? Was there to be no comeuppance for the tens of thousands needlessly dead as Covid victims? If Republicans deluded themselves, even for a moment, that their entire party was NOT jeopardized by a terrible deal with a terrible devil, they deserve all the opprobrium crashing down on their craven, treasonous, pointed heads.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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