December 12, 2022
Parallel downward paths; one may be near the end.
The plunge into darkness by Donald Trump and the Republican Party dominate the political picture. The Party has been unraveling for many years, but its attachment to Trump accelerated its decline through endorsement of his methods and lack of principles. One effect was his encouraging the worst Republicans to be still worse. Now he is weakened politically and the Party must decide whether to abandon him, in the sense of opposing his renomination, but also whether to repudiate the positions and attitudes which came to dominate Republican politics during his presidency. The former is looking increasingly likely, the latter much less so.
The move toward rejection of Trump the candidate accelerated after his meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, due to their anti-Semitic views and West’s praise of Hitler. Mitt Romney’s reaction to that meeting was brutally frank: “I think it has been clear that there’s no bottom to the degree to which President Trump will degrade himself and the nation.” Some of the critics drew a line between Trump’s behavior and the Party; Senator Cassidy put it this way: “President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel did not criticize Trump, but declared: “There is no place for Kanye, Fuentes, or their views inside the Republican Party.” They may be right that the Party, as an institution, does not tolerate such bias, but holding the GOP up as a model of political virtue is a stretch.
Dismissing Trump is complicated by Republican attacks on those attempting to call him to account, including the January 6 Committee, the DOJ and state prosecutors. It is an exercise in opposing Trump with one hand while defending him with the other.
Full repudiation became somewhat more likely when Trump moved to the next-to-last position in his bizarre attempt to regain the presidency: proposing that we abandon the Constitution. (The last position would be armed insurrection, already hinted at by many of his supporters and rehearsed on January 6). Here is Trump’s proposal, referring, of course, to the imaginary election fraud in 2020: “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” That radically irresponsible proposal drew immediate criticism, so Trump attempted to back out, babbling in his usual fashion:
The Fake News is actually trying to convince the American People that I said I wanted to “terminate” the Constitution. This is simply more DISINFORMATION & LIES, just like RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA, and all of their other HOAXES & SCAMS. What I said was that when there is ‘MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION,’ as has been irrefutably proven in the 2020 Presidential Election, steps must be immediately taken to RIGHT THE WRONG. Only FOOLS would disagree with that and accept STOLEN ELECTIONS. MAGA!
Of course he said more than that, but never mind. Again an attempt was made to separate Trump from the GOP; Senator Romney: “Well, the Republican Party is the Constitution party. So when he calls to suspend the Constitution, he goes from being MAGA to being RINO.” At some point, leading Republicans must take as hard a look at their Party as at Trump.__________________
66. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mitt-romney-donald-trump-degrade-kanye-west-nick-fuentes_n_ 638608ebe4b006c42d429d55
67. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bill-cassidy-trump-nick-fuentes-kanye-west_n_6384f725e4b082d8e6d 3a20a