Republicans Trumped

By Frank F Islam & Ed Crego, December 4, 2022 (Image credits: Tom de Boor, Adobe, Dreamstime, et al)

This guy (Donald Trump) is the best thing for Democrats since FDR.

 — Former GOP Rep Francis Rooney (R-FL)

Going into the midterm elections, the conventional wisdom espoused by pundits, pollsters, and the media was that the Democrats were going to take a serious shellacking. They were wrong.

On November 8, the Democrats did some shellacking of their own. Politicians, analysts, and reporters cited a number of reasons for this including: abortion, democracy, turnout, boots on the ground, Gen Z voters, independent voters, and Republican crossovers. They were right.

It was due to all of the above. The driving force or root cause for many of the Democratic victories, however, was the prevarications and pestilence peddled by a former president.

There is substantial evidence that Donald Trump was the primary contributor to the Republican losses in the midterms. Elaine Kamarck and Norman Eisen do an excellent job in their November 15 Brookings Institution blog of summarizing the performance of election deniers — those who bought into and promulgated Donald Trump’s false claims that there was “massive corruption in the 2020 elections.”

They observe that for the state-level election deniers,

Almost all of the successes were in red or deep red states. In purple places, including Michigan and Wisconsin (not to mention blue ones), the election deniers running for statewide office were wiped out…

Kamarck and Eisen point out that:

  • In secretary of state races, there were 11 election deniers. Election deniers lost in 8 of those races (Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Vermont.)
  • In gubernatorial races, there were 21 election deniers. 13 lost. 7 won. [Alaska incumbent governor Mike Dunleavy, who is an election denier, was declared a victor after the Brookings blog was published, bringing the total to 8 denier wins.]
  • In attorney general races, there were 10 election deniers. 6 won. 3 lost. Arizona is still too close to call…and there is a recount, which will be completed in December

In congressional races, Republicans picked up only 9 seats compared to the 20 to 30 seats that were projected for them. Phillip Wallach, in his Washington Post op-ed titled “We can now quantify Trump’s sabotage of the GOP’s House dreams”, discloses that in those 114 districts in which there were “competitive races decided by 15 points or less”:

…candidates bearing Trump endorsements underperformed their baseline by a whopping 5 points, while Republicans who were without Trump’s blessing overperformed their baseline by 2.2. points — a remarkable difference of more than seven points.

And then there were the U.S. Senate races in the four states that received by far the most media attention nationally because of Trump’s selection and endorsement of “unusual” candidates. Those states and candidates were: Blake Masters in Arizona; Herschel Walker in Georgia; J.D. Vance in Ohio; and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.

J.D. Vance was the only winner to date in this group. Masters lost and Oz lost. Walker is in a run-off against Senator Raphael Warnock, which is being held on December 6.

Tally it all up and the results for the Republicans in the midterms were dismal. They were so bad, in fact, that even a few elected Republicans and many in the conservative media spoke out against Trump’s impact on the Republican party and his running again.

CNN reported that based upon interviews with “a couple of dozen Republicans in both chambers, very few were willing to embrace a 2024 run (for Trump).” Utah Senator Mitt Romney said “I think that President Trump and election denying was an albatross around Republican necks.” Senator John Thune of South Dakota said that it’s clear that “relitigating the 2020 election is not a winning strategy.”

And Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence finally broke his silence regarding Trump. In an ABC interview, Pence refused to criticize Trump directly but indicated that he probably would not support him in the Republican primaries, stating, “I think we’ll have better choices.”

The conservative media was much harsher in their criticism and rejection of Trump’s future role as the leader of the Republican Party. Possibly the most interesting commentary came from Marc A. Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Fox News Contributor.

Thiessen began his bi-weekly column for the Washington Post on November 14, as follows:

Donald Trump appears to be surrounded by a band of enablers who refuse to tell him things he doesn’t want to hear so I will: Mr. President, it is not in your interest to run in 2024. If you do, you will likely lose. And you will destroy what remains of your legacy in the process. Please don’t do it.

After describing Trump’s legacy as “…one of the greatest conservative presidents in modern times,” Thiessen proceeds to state: “He promised we’d win so much, we’d be sick of winning. Well, right now, conservatives are sick of losing. Democrats have won the past two elections running against Trump. If he runs again, they will win a third.”

Thiessen closes his article with this request, “So, Mr. President: For the sake of your reputation and the good of the country, if you want to Make America Great Again — please stand down.”

Donald J. Trump did not listen to Thiessen. He does not listen to anyone except himself. Because the only one that matters to Trump is himself.

Making America Great Again never mattered to Trump. That sloganeering was the means to an end, which was to enlist an army of cult-like followers to enable him win the Presidency.

After he lost that job, Trump turned his loss upside down by declaring the election process itself invalid and denying the results. He continued that process of inversion and perverting the truth when he announced on November 15 that he was running to be re-elected President in 2024.

Speaking for more than an hour from his domain in Mar-a-Lago, Trump, in his usual rambling and contentious style, launched lies, exaggerations, and verbal missiles at his opponents. The traditional media — which he normally refers to as fake news, but didn’t in the meandering comments from his pulpit in Mar-a-Lago — had a heyday in reporting on Trump’s remarks.

Linda Qiu in the New York Times began her piece on Trump’s announcements with highlighted passages in his address that were false or inaccurate. Almost the entire speech was underlined.

Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, wrote a piece identifying “The 51 most outlandish lines” from Trump’s announcement speech. They were all outlandish. The one that struck as the most utterly absurd was Trump saying “I’m a victim. I will tell you.”

This was just another example of Trump’s ability to be completely inversive. The victim of his regime has not been Trump but the American people and our democracy.

The most interesting piece regarding Trump’s announcement that we read was written by Charles Lane for the Washington Post. In his article, Lane stated that because Trump didn’t repeat his false claim of massive cheating in 2020 or other distortions “…… by Trump standards this was a concession speech.’

We agree with Lane that this was as close as Trump will ever come to giving what might be characterized as a political concession speech. In our opinion, however, almost every speech, Trump gives from his political podium is a concession speech. Let us explain why.

A concession stand is a place in a movie theater, circus or some other venue where you can pick up something to eat or drink. What Trump feeds from his concession stand is an endless string of mis- and disinformation designed to control the minds of his supporters and to turn the stomachs of others.

Shortly after Trump announced his plans to run again, he received two conflicting public messages. One from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the other from Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.

Garland said he had appointed Jack Smith as a Special Counsel in connection with two ongoing criminal investigations related to Trump: responsibility for the events leading up to and on January 6 and the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Musk reinstated Trump’s Twitter account, which had been indefinitely suspended after his tweets about the storming of the Capitol on January 6. Trump responded negatively to both messages.

In a speech given in a private event at Mar-a-Lago on November 18, Trump declared that “the egregiously corrupt” Biden administration had “weaponized the Department of Justice…” He went on to assert, “This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in the long series of witch hunts started a long time ago.”

As for Twitter, Trump indicated that he might be a quitter and not return. A primary reason for Trump’s stance is his social media company, Truth Social. In a video prepared for the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership conference, Trump said,

Truth Social is through the roof. It’s doing phenomenally well. Truth Social has been very, very powerful, very, very strong and I’ll be staying there. But I hear we’re getting a big vote to also go back on Twitter. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it.’

Truth be told about Truth Social — and it should. Contrary to what Trump espouses, Truth Social has not been doing very well. It might be “through the roof,” but what is going through that roof is hot air from the former president’s mouth.

That’s typical because Truth Social is a misnomer for that enterprise. As with so many things surrounding Trump’s rhetorical aplomb, the opposite of what is said is true. A more fitting and accurate name for his business might be Lies Antisocial.

This brings us to three concluding questions;

  • In what branch of the military did Donald Trump serve?
  • What trees has Donald Trump planted?
  • How many souls has Donald Trump saved?

The answer to each of these questions is None!

Trump never served in the military because of draft deferments. The only person who Trump has ever served is himself.

As a politician, Trump has never planted any trees. He has only sewn the seeds of anger and animosity among his ardent followers towards others, polarizing this nation.

Trump has had broad support among evangelical Christians, but it’s not because he has brought them redemption. Trump has been saved, however, by the soles of his own feet on which bone spurs enabled his draft exemption.

The Republican Jewish Coalition conference which Trump spoke at via video was convened in Las Vegas on the weekend of November 19 and 20. Potential candidates for President in 2024, including Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Larry Hogan and Mike Pence, participated in the event. It was obvious from their remarks that even though they did not say so explicitly that they would like to say goodbye and good riddance to Donald Trump.

They will never be able to do that. Donald Trump will never remove himself from center stage in the best interests of the Republican Party. Rather, he will continue to add insult to injury, as demonstrated by the private dinner he hosted at Mar-a-Lago for the separatist hip-hop artist Kanye West (Ye) and anti-Semitic white nationalist Nick Fuentes shortly after he had announced his reelection bid.

Trump will not go gently into that good night. And he definitely will not go silently. He will have to be forced to abandon the spotlight. He will not do so freely or at the behest of others.

Even though there are tremors within the GOP, the Republican Party is still trumped. It will remain so until Trump is told by those with legal and/or political authority — as Trump himself said to losing participants on The Apprentice game show for fourteen years — “You’re fired!”

That is the truth. But even if that happens, it will never be spoken on Truth Social.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

 — Donald J. Trump inaugural address