Winner – Why Do They Continue to Appease Trump?
By Rich Weissman, Palm Springs, California (www.richweissman.com)
Any political science expert would point the GOP in the direction of moving on. Allow the winner to enjoy the honeymoon period so that the euphoria of the opposition wears off (and it typically does at a rapid pace), and then pick the next battle and prepare for upcoming elections and political disagreements. After all, the Georgia Senate races are upon us; COVID is still active, as is the weakening economy (and soon both will be Biden’s problem to solve), and the GOP should be focused on 2022 when the House is up for re-election, and on 2024 with Pence as a possible Presidential candidate. Add to the equation the distinct possibility that Trump and his family will be facing criminal charges in the new year, knowing it will get vicious. Wisely, the GOP should view Trump as history, understanding that his delusions and the need to appease him is now a path that leads to nowhere. The pathetic scene at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping lot (next to the porn shop and the crematorium) should have clearly signaled the end of Trump. The moment the Trump campaign allowed this absurd and pitiful press conference to happen should have marked the end.
Do they genuinely think they can somehow pull this off? Trick the nation into believing some grand scheme to undermine Trump? No. Biden won by a landslide (yes, his victory meets the definition of a landslide) in historic numbers and percentages of votes and voter turnout. He is the winner, and we can count and we know it.
For Trump, we can all understand his unwillingness to deal with realities. He never has shown an ability to engage in an adult and rational way that puts the best interests of anyone (or the nation) ahead of his own delusions of grandeur. He lives in his own narcissistic and sociopathic mind in which he cannot accept a loss even when it’s clear. In a few weeks, his casino in Atlantic City will be torn down, but he will still claim to be the winner. It’s his pattern. We get it.
But for almost everyone else in the GOP, what is their driver?
I believe that the answer is quite simple. The GOP is lost. Lost in the cold waters as they spin in their lifeboats and watch the ship sink, unable to process the event and unable to see a way to survive without the ship. They cannot see a future for the GOP without Trump; he is the party. And now they are unable to envision what lies ahead without him and without his base (aka cult) who continue to worship him.
At this point, the GOP has long lost any serious ideology, vision, or strategy to differentiate itself from the Democrats. They have become the party of Trump, without any purpose other than to believe in and enrich Trump. He, his behaviors and fantasies became the core of the party. The party created Trumpism, they created and enabled Trump, and they now cannot figure out how to survive without him. He is their monster and they can't envision a political world where he is not at the top. The GOP has no platform. Remember, they decided this summer not to bother with developing one. All they represent is adoration for Trump. They have nothing else. To accept Trump's loss and move on would require seeing beyond Trump, and that is a bridge too far for them. They lack that ability, and their base simply cannot accept a Trump loss. For them, he is their god and their Trump religion cannot exist without Trump as lord.
Let’s unpack it further. What about Trumpism does his base and the GOP adore? Is it the specific policies? No, the GOP is not about any economic growth plans or monetary discipline through conservative ideology (they have created the largest budget deficit ever). The GOP is not about a balanced budget or fiscal responsibility (quite the opposite with the tax breaks for the wealthy). The GOP is not about education (they have cut it to the bone). The GOP is not interested in fighting COVID (they have politicized wearing masks and other safety measures). The GOP is not about American leadership in the world and a strong military and foreign policy (they have exited from key international agreements and organizations). Business leaders and conservative thinkers have abandoned Trump (including those who headed up the GOP and acted as key GOP strategists), and regardless of how one feels about these positions, the GOP has evolved into one in which positions and results are irrelevant. He failed at COVID, the economy, international relations, and all other aspects of managing the federal government. Except for the Mara Lago crowd who wanted tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and wanted to buy their way into power, the core principle of the party is unquestioning support for the idolized Donald Trump.
What about Trump keeps his followers in line? I believe it is about two things: First, unequivocable belief in conspiracies and a complete unwillingness to see realities. If Trump says it happened, then it happened. Second, unabashed supremacy. Trump started his political career with birtherism, claiming that the black President was not born in the U.S. and not a legitimate American worthy of the highest office. And Trump’s people got on board. Then, Trump’s campaign began with calling Mexicans rapists and murderers who were destroying the economy and need a wall to keep them out. “Build that wall” was the foundation of his primary run and 2016 election. He has supported Nazis, the KKK, Proud Boys and Q . He brought in the most reactionary and hateful Supreme Court justices who have demonstrated their commitment to supremacy. He portrayed black Americans as dangerous looters, and supported the continuation of the Confederate flag and other such racist icons as part of American culture. He dismissed Black Lives Matter. He even invited Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who pointed guns at peaceful black protesters, to speak at his convention. He demonstrated a complete disdain for women, and in the most vile ways spoke about and treated them as sexual objects to be used by men, including rape. He placed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. He created a conspiracy that Democrats (including Biden) would take Christmas away. He signed the most virulent anti-LGBTQ executive orders. And he brought about the resurgence of the supremacist American Firsters and disassociated from the democratic nations of the world, while cozying up to the most hateful dictators. We have witnessed four years of horrific supremacy. Trump stands for nothing other than himself and American white, male, Christian, heterosexual supremacy. Period.
We haven’t heard one leader of the GOP admit that the party needs to move on and find a new path forward. We haven’t heard of any kind of introspection and need for serious re-assessment. We haven’t seen widespread outrage at Trump’s recent firings in critical Defense, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and other areas of the federal government, as if Trump is planning a coup. And we won’t. Trumpism is alive and the GOP is without a moral compass to redirect.
As I've always said, the issue isn't about how we remove Trump; the issue is about how we remove Trumpism. Fascism is always about the single leader, and when the leader is destroyed or pushed aside, the fascists are lost. Today, the Trumpians are lost, and their party is without leadership or direction. They have no other leader who can manipulate the Trump cult of supremacy in the same way, and the GOP knows it and is unwilling to fight the core supremacy values of Trumpism. That’s the danger. Biden is right. This is a battle for the soul of our nation.
Where do we go? Quite frankly, all we can do is call out the GOP for what they are: Trump apologists and supremacists. There is no strategy for coddling or rationally dealing with Trumpism and its basis in conspiracies and supremacy. Biden, Harris, and their team need to go forward, boldly, very boldly, and decisively, not waiting for the GOP (that’s futile) and not attempting to find a “middle ground” on supremacy. It’s not possible. This will be a tough next few months and some tough years ahead. This isn’t about the Democrats vs. the Republicans; it isn’t about disagreements on policy issues (and please, let’s not in-fight with ourselves over policy – we have a bigger battle to wage during these next four years); it’s about defining the moral core of America. That’s what the Biden-Harris Presidency will be about, starting now. Scary times ahead and lots of uglies that will surface. Trumpism won’t die easily, and even with Trump potentially in prison, his legacy will live on among the millions and millions who voted for him and among the GOP who refuse to confront who they are.