We knew it would come to pass; we just didn’t know it would happen this fast.
Speaking of the establishment’s incessant fixation on the ruminations of former President Donald Trump. The outsider president’s only been out of office for a little over a month and it seems that media talkers on both sides of the political no-fly zone can’t get enough of the New York real estate developer-turned reality TV celebrity-turned anti-establishment political candidate-turned president of the United States-turned private citizen, the only man in American history to have been impeached twice… and acquitted twice.
Even now, when Democrat President Grampa Joe Biden is supposedly calling the Bingo balls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the gamesters can’t stop obsessing over Trump and what he will do to combat the thorough policy destruction being rained-down on America by the liberal ruling class. And then there’s the shaking-in-their-boots GOP establishment power brokers who just wish that the MAGA leader would seep quietly into the soil like a rainstorm soaking a parched, globally warmed farm field.
How bad is the Trump fix? The swamp creatures are acting just like teen girls at a shopping mall. “80 percent of the time I found myself talking about Regina George. And the other twenty percent of the time, I hoped someone would bring up Regina’s name so I could talk about her some more.” -- (paraphrase of) Cady Heron, played by Lindsey Lohan in the 2004 pop culture movie classic, Mean Girls.
Substitute “Donald Trump” for “Regina George” and you’re right where the media’s positioned these days. It’s almost like the reporting profession’s Trump fixation is beyond obsession; it’s mental.
For the higher-ups of the Republican Party, it will likely get worse. In a piece titled, “Top conservatives struggle to escape Trump's clutches,” W. James Antle III wrote at The Washington Examiner last week:
“After four years locked in an uncomfortable embrace, leading Republicans and Beltway conservatives are beginning their quest to distance themselves and the GOP from former President Donald Trump, who shows no sign of going anywhere...
“Gallup … found that 68% of Republicans want Trump to remain the party’s leader. An Axios-Ipsos poll concluded 57% want him to be the GOP’s 2024 nominee. A Morning Consult survey showed Trump 41 points ahead of the next closest Republican, Pence, the former vice president, and trouncing [Nikki] Haley 53% to 6%. According to Quinnipiac, only 11% share McConnell’s view that Trump incited the violence at the Capitol.
“All that could change as Republicans increasingly shift their focus to President Biden. ‘By speaking out against McConnell, Trump is letting Senate Republicans who are up for reelection understand that he’s not going away quietly,’ said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. ‘However, McConnell and most of his conference are going to be united against many of Biden’s policies from being put into place, so it’s hard to see what the political impact of this feud might be here.’”
With due deference to Bonjean’s opinion, it’s not that challenging to see what the ultimate impact of the Trump/McConnell feud will be. As I said on Friday, it’s pretty clear that the former president, not the current senate minority leader, wears the proverbial pants in today’s Republican Party. McConnell wields the power but Trump has the people behind him. If a Roman gladiator must “win the crowd” to gain his freedom, Trump’s got everyone yelling at the emperor to give him a thumbs up in the big arena of political life.
The truth is -- and his enemies know it -- Trump will be around as long as he chooses to be. Don’t believe it? Republicans recently anointed Trump as the best president in U.S. history. This is why I don’t understand elites like Mitch McConnell or George Will or the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board (all of whom were quoted in Antle’s column) predicting with relative certainty that Trump will fade because Republicans hate Democrats more than they love Trump.
The problem with this hypothesis is many conservatives and Republicans, now more than ever, see the party establishment is as big a threat to liberty as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are. Who would follow Mitch McConnell into a street brawl to save his hide? Anyone? Anyone?
That’s not to argue Trump’s political career is vibrant and on the upswing. After January 6, I harbored serious doubts whether he could ever make a comeback, a feeling that hasn’t changed much since the day the media finally discovered its silver bullet to end Trump’s presidency. So many hangers-on in the establishment became #NeverTrumpers that afternoon, meaning they cut ties with Trump and can’t/won’t go back. Whereas Trump forced them to at least go along with him in 2016, the holier than thou crowd are almost like Democrats now. Never means never.
Trump’s pull with the grassroots means he likely can get rid of a lot of ‘em, but it’d be almost impossible to purge them all. Like Kikuyu grass invading your lawn, there’s little chance you’re going to completely beat it. You can’t pull it; you can shoot it with weed killer but the roots survive and come back; you can rip out the sod and try again, but eventually it will return. The noxious weed has more lives than a cinematic serial killer. Work with it? What are the alternatives?
That’s the establishment for you. They’re an unwanted invasive pest that’s everywhere. Deal with ‘em or your enterprise will fail. Threaten to crush them and they’ll dangle congressional votes in front of your nose and warn of more babies dying in abortions if you lose. Say you’ll go third party and they’ll laugh in your face and point out that they have all the FEC lawyers and own the machinery in each state and jurisdiction. There’s no getting around them.
They’re kind of like the Kikuyu mafia, aren’t they?
Bumbling dolt Joe Biden’s leftist antics will certainly bring some Republicans back into the fold, but he’s not nearly enough by himself to get all Republicans and conservatives to unite, sans Trump. The only real solution for both factions is to try and find a way to tolerate each other. It’s the same for the Democrats.
Such is life in a two-party system.
As I’ve said in the past, the most likely outcome of the Trump/establishment feud is for the former president to stay actively engaged and to act like a boil on the elites’ backside for as long as it takes to ensure good MAGA candidates are nominated at every level. McConnell’s fascination with electability guarantees more of the same GOP malaise. Trump’s lasting legacy might very well be to find and back a Trump-like candidate in 2024 who will Make America Great Again yet force the media to talk about something other than Mean Girls-like personal gossip and sensationalism.
Obsession isn’t a positive trait. The media needs its bogeyman to hate, smear and debase. Republicans must find the “approachable” Trump. Does he or she exist?
January 6 riot