Penalties loom for zero offsets to obstructionist medical malpractice, cheer-leading the insurrection, and undermining both fair elections and voting rights.
Betting that self-disgraced Trump will rise again looks increasingly suspect. Rather than “alone fixing everything,” sordid Trumpism is taking itself down, along with the backward party it hijacked. A third chapter of know-nothing, Tea Party Trumpism may surface, but the contaminated Donald cult is, like COVID sufferers on ventilators, struggling to find breath. Turns out the underbelly of vicious racist ploys in defiance of fair elections is not a pretty or easily forgettable sight. Combining new with old crises, Trump’s ultimate political flaw is refusing to hand off his charismatic puppet show leadership. Any Republican sniffing at national prominence is slapped down by the thin-skinned, Florida retiree.
If this “time is truly different”—thus contrary to our entire history—then Trump could still magically pull off his paradigm shift, corrupting so many higher aspirations once held sacred by a great majority. But even if radical change was in the air, is Trump the repeat, treasonous, top deplorable a viable messenger for systemic transformation? His in-depth disgraces go so deep that he can no longer alibi countless blunders (political, policy, appointment) as if the (illusory) pure, outsider, non-politician. Can this two-time loser alone reverse our 250 year commitment to majority rule, certified elections, advances to democracy, and self-evident rights—plus an America that welcomes newcomers?
Were we immersed in war or another depression, facing a big, national disaster (vs. globalized climate change), enough voters might consider another risky bite at this “try-me, what-do-have-to-lose?” rotten apple. All polling says otherwise, and the Trumpified Republican Party has done nothing for a year to stop the bleeding. Commanding regional backwaters does not win national races. What important state since the election now more greatly leans Trumpist? On what big issue—election fairness, infrastructure, taxation, job training, the economy, health care, even vaccines—is the right gaining and the left diminished?
Unless history is bunk, not in 170 years (since the GOP’s birth) has any national party worked so hard to eviscerate itself. Democratic Party stumbles are not leading to a Trump revival, though enough tiresome stalemates may well reduce upcoming voting numbers. What national party ever clung to a disgraced, incumbent loser whose political, intellectual, legal and moral flaws are now legendary, self-evident truths? Had Trump not blundered so grievously on COVID—defying healthcare moves his own administration kick started (instead, pushing quackery), the 2020 election would have been competitive. Had Trump not concocted the least plausible, democracy-defying scam for his self-made WH loss, a party already in desperate straits would not have squandered the last eight months stupidly defending an insurrectionist, cast-off, double-crosser.
More stupidity in the wings
That Trump is an erratic, disruptive force on regional races replays past errors. Evidence of laughable endorsements of extremist long-shots surface in The Week’s “The fringe candidates that could undermine the GOP’s 2022 Senate chances. The second coming of Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell?” From last week’s shockers depicting Trump’s last days in office—piling on election-spiked criminality, the world sees more appalling character revelations. Absurd delays for House oversight of Trump income tax returns are ending, Justice has nixed immunity from insurrection crimes, and New York and Georgia are finishing serious criminal inquiries. Where’s any good news for Trumpist politics—or that Republican loyalty to a lunatic loser is not the second worst sucker bet since 2016 (shifting from suckered Trumpers to cornered leaders). How often, after all, do amusing top columnists endorse Pelosi’s term (“moron”) for her overmatched GOP counterpart?
When has America endured a greater negative correlation between the misplaced confidence of Trump marks vs. the systemic tsunami of body blows that subsequently pommeled the American system? Who five years ago foresaw the unending violations to fairness (against minorities and immigrants but FOR white supremacist criminals), or law and the Constitution (twice-impeached—arguably double that), or contempt for diplomatic wisdom (belligerently alienating allies, endorsing dictators, broken treaties, and failed, unilateral tariffs)?
Cultist fanaticism or rational normalcy?
In short, on full display is fixated fanaticism rash enough to deny political realities as readily as it does pandemic, medical, scientific and ecological realities. Such sweeping rejections of what an unshakeable majority judges “reality” promises more backlashes. Whatever voter suppression bills survive judicial review will likely backfire or not matter. Experts argue that “clean voter suppression” is chancy at best, with unintended ripples that discourage all sorts of voters, including older, poorer Trumpers.
Why won’t 2022 and 2024 nationally be more similar to 2020 than 2016—when the hardly-bold Democratic Party held its own against a backward gang—in sum, the Party of No—and headed by a discredited loser? Can Republicans repeat the singular 2016 results by declaring, “We don’t have deliverables, but we’re still better than freedom-stealing, election-fixing, socialist Democrats”? If that’s the right’s best shot, depreciated by countless, lunatic conspiracies and defiance of the obvious, where’s the path for woeful Republicans to regain power? You don’t revive a tarnished brand by repeating what’s not working or, worse still, nominating more extremist Trumpist loudmouths. That train has left the station, if not the country of sane adults.
Without positive solutions, even willingness to negotiate, the right offers nothing more than reflexive obstructionism, standing with a now certified minority of white nationalists, aggrieved blue-collar/middle-class workers, and Robber Baron billionaires locked into a highly-profitable status quo. Time to redo the Trump motto, “Keep America the Same—or go backwards, good enough for grandpa.”
Good news: Trump contagion stumbles on
Though a decent hustler can fool the most gullible with jaw-dropping absurdities, even our less than enlightened country still boasts no precedence for fooling most of the people most of the time. In terms of sharing the wealth and guaranteeing rights, history still arguably tracks a triumph of progress over fundamentalist delusions and intellectual backwardness. In the last year, 20% of Americans technically left “poverty” thanks to enormous federal expenditures—and despite obscene, ongoing income inequality, we have reduced the category of “impoverished,” especially for children.
Trump is still swinging at idiotic phantoms and surviving, though I expect more dramatic disgraces and indictments, even a conviction or two. The defensive, servile right is incapable of admitting its catastrophic, 2016 electoral blunder—concocting the worst “messiah” imaginable. With a Tea Party base still in suicide mode, Republican leaders cannot turn the tiller, deflecting more shipwrecks. If losing the Senate, the House and the White House didn’t justify a total rethink, what then redeems the now perverted party of Lincoln, TR, and Eisenhower? No one can “fix stupid,” but those outside the bubble can assess internal fracturing at work.
For a white nationalist base obsessed with “losing its country” (and dominance) to outsiders and non-whites, won’t chronic, severe political whoppers achieve exactly its worst fear? I’d like to hear how irrational grievance + paranoid conspiracies + massive lying + no deliverables qualify as a workable revival scheme. The right needs another miracle and Trump, a paragon of self-sabotage, is now far more albatross than any sort of savior. Frankly, I am sanguine that unrestrained right-wing folly will continue to hand the left more relatively easy prizes.