To be (embrace Trump) or not to be (ignore him). That is the question.
This isn’t Shakespeare. We talk a lot about the Trump support conundrum in this space and practically every conservative or establishment news outlet has prominently featured the dilemma in one form or another, primarily because the mere mention of the former president’s name draws attention like no one else in American politics today. It’s almost like those old EF Hutton commercials, “When EF Hutton talks, people listen”, the difference being it’s fascinating to hear what the chatters are saying about Trump at any given moment.
Of course, there’s no such quandary in the Democrat Party, where Trump remains public enemy number one and liberal talk show hosts and journalists probably privately wish he were around more often to improve their ratings and readership. Liberals swear Trump’s still a danger because the transplanted post-presidency New Yorker remains a threat to “democracy” and the country at large. They’re shaking in their proverbial boots alright, paralyzed with fright that the man will call forth his mesmerized and mindless country-revering millions to march in the streets with Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags alongside their red, white and blue Trump “Make America Great Again” banners.
Who knows -- maybe Trump backers will join the Cuban protesters’ cause and force hapless Joe Biden to address the topic of freedom versus communism.
The more information that leaks out concerning the shocking “riot” on January 6, the more it appears that the event -- or at least the heinous nature of it -- was overhyped in the media. Heck, even former Fox News personality and Trump-detractor Megyn Kelly said so this week, that the majority of Trump supporters were tarred unfairly because of the actions of a comparative few. With the help of writers like Julie Kelly (presumably no relation to Megyn), the issue of unjustified detentions is receiving needed scrutiny as well.
With Trump’s reputation seemingly fully rehabilitated since he left office, congressional and senate Republicans are finding it more difficult than ever to leave the Trump topic in the past. Trump spoke at CPAC last weekend and drew support from seven-in-ten attendees in the 2024 presidential straw poll (Ron DeSantis was next at a little over 20 percent). It’s not exactly time to declare that Trump is “back” from his involuntary commitment to electoral purgatory, but signs are everywhere that the fickle political sands could be shifting.
Which presents quite the vexing problem for Republican senators on Capitol Hill, many of whom likely figured that Trump would’ve faded away like an old soldier into the sunset by now. What to do? To support or not to support? That is the question (without a good answer). Alexander Bolton reported at The Hill:
“Senate Republican Whip John Thune suggested that while rehashing the results of the November election might rev up some primary voters, it’s not likely to be a winning message in a general election.
“’And we have a job to do and if we want to put a check and balance in place against the Biden agenda, we’ve got to try and figure out how to get the House and Senate back in 2022 and that’s going to entail speaking to, speaking to those voters in the middle,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a third of the voters who think that the last election ought to be relitigated, you got a third on [the Democratic] side who want to turn us into Europe, but there’s a big third in the middle who are going to decide this election.
“’Most voters in the country are going to want to know what you’re doing to solve economic challenges, what you’re going to do to deal with safety in our streets and stronger borders,’ he added. ‘I would hope that state parties all across the country, at least on our side, stay focused on those.’”
Well, Thune is right, isn’t he? Voters are definitely going to demand to know what Republicans intend to do about the “challenges” the country faces, particularly the economic ones, because it’s starting to look pretty darn dark on the inflation horizon and the dimming of the sunlight isn’t due to globally warmed thunderstorms brewing. Joe Biden’s policies are stirring up a dust devil of worry -- and it’ll only get worse before the 2022 midterms.
But that doesn’t mean the GOP establishment senators running for reelection next year can avoid the subject whenever asked about support for Trump. The elites would prefer to move on and spout the same boring non-controversial boilerplate stuff like tax cuts and reasonable regulation and full employment and a strengthened military. But the voters on the ground prefer that their representatives and senators go all-in with Trump and the MAGA agenda or prepare for a career in the private sector.
If enough GOP state parties successfully boot out the likes of RINO Lisa Murkowski and retiring establishment Sen. Richard Shelby’s hand-picked successor (Katie Britt) in Alabama, then the matter won’t be an issue of “if” but “when”. In mid-January when everyone was still in shock after the happenings on Jan. 6, it was high tide for the Trump bashers to have their moment of retribution. The ruling elites had waited years to air out their grievances and mistakenly figured, ‘I can do anything I want on Trump now and it’ll never come back to haunt me.’
History suggests they were correct in their thinking at the time. But Trump defied precedent -- again. Together with the inevitable leaking of the undisputable facts on that day -- no weapons found, no police officer attacked and mortally wounded by a fire extinguisher, three deaths of Trump protesters from natural causes, and the only homicide ending up being an unarmed Trump supporter killed by a capitol policeman (who officially remains unnamed) -- Trump becomes part sympathetic character and part redeemed boat-rocker politician.
Trump clings to the notion that the 2020 election was stolen and massive fraud in six swing states tipped the electoral college balance in Joe Biden’s favor. I personally believe he benefits more from hitting hard on the numerous issue failures of the current regime rather than trying to settle an old score, but who can doubt the political instincts of the world’s most successful outsider?
There’s a good argument indicating Trump must keep the matter alive in order to encourage more states -- such as Arizona has done -- to audit last year’s election ballots. Joe Biden says it’s “a big lie” but the fact is, no one will ever find out what happened until the process is explored to the extent it must be to expose the true story. What are Democrats afraid of? If they’re so sure that the results were on the up-and-up, there’s no risk in giving the counting a thorough once-over. Wouldn’t they want to prove Trump is a “big liar”?
As for the 2022 Republican candidates (in both the House and Senate races), they’ll face a point, and soon, where they’ll either get onboard the train or risk being left at the station. Imagine if the shoe were on the other party’s foot and the media were pressing office-seekers to spill on whether they support Barrack Obama’s all-race-all-the-time social destruction push or Bill Clinton’s proclivity to get friendly with women who aren’t his wife.
Could a Democrat candidate succeed without the backing of the Obamas? Former first lady Michelle’s grimacing mug would be seen on network morning shows decrying the lack of unity in Democrat-land. Maybe the media would get farther if it would highlight the Democrats’ own electoral challenges. And there are many.
Republicans who were so quick to take advantage of the prevailing winds after January 6 shouldn’t be surprised at Trump’s comeback from the political dead. If they’ve paid attention to the reasons why a reality TV star and longtime real estate developer was able to achieve the near-impossible in the first place, they’d be better prepared to fight the Democrats now.
We shouldn’t be talking about this anymore. With the tide of public opinion slowly turning against Joe Biden and his socialist band of big spending Democrats, conservative voters are searching for leaders to lead the charge. Donald Trump -- and others, such as Ron DeSantis -- are stepping forward to accept the duty.
2024 Republican candidates