Skip to main content

The GOP's Weaknesses are More Apparent than its Strengths

 

Anyone who’s paying attention now understands that this election is a whole lot scarier than it ever should have been. It’s a shame — and an indictment of our constitutional system — that it comes down to an election at all.

Surely, the Trump problem should have been settled by now, with no further elections required to get him out of our lives. His crimes were such that the real crime was letting him remain at large. All those checks and balances we were taught to revere should have somehow found a way to rid us of this monster.

But the Supreme Court seems to have Trump’s back, though it’s not clear what that gains them. If anything, it makes one wonder what Trump is holding over them, and what might happen to their families if they don’t keep him out of prison.

So it will come down to the election, and the lines couldn’t be drawn more indelibly.

I prefer to think this can work out well — that these scorched-earth hacks can be overwhelmed at the ballot box and thrown out of office. We might even look forward to it, if the mere thought of that monster taking back the White House didn’t plague our dreams.

But here’s the good news. Plaguing our dreams is all he has. He, and the party that bows to him, have nothing to offer except unending deception and unfounded fear.

It’s hard to look at the current state of the Republican party and not be struck by the sheer ineptitude. They are coming from weakness across the board, and the broad scope of their vulnerabilities is both shocking and heartening.

They were already reeling, even before the Dobbs decision. But now abortion-related issues have them on the ropes. Even in deep red states, every Republican running for high office must now defend a position that three-quarters of the population viscerally detests. Their party has lost every meaningful election since Dobbs.

So they’re playing a bad hand, and they know it. But instead of playing it well — instead of regrouping, rethinking, or thinking at all — they insist on doubling down on everything that’s not working.

They announce outrageous plans for Trump’s second coming. They release Project 2025, their 900-page guide to Hungarian-style theocracy. They openly recruit fellow fascists to gut the civil service and take over the government. And they provide most of the talking points Trump lays out in his now-famous Time magazine interview from last week. Think of it as Trump’s Mein Kampf.

Jimmy Kimmel gives a much better account of it than I could, but the gist is that there is no idea so racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, socially corrosive, environmentally irresponsible, economically suicidal — or all of the above — that Trump can’t fall in love with. Or that Republicans can’t fall in line with.

But before we get too terrified in the face of this motley coup, let’s remember, once again, that these people are all shameless liars. Trump has taught them to lie with fluency and conviction, and to never admit they’re wrong. Lies are now the very definition of the party.

So when they publicly proclaim their sinister plans, there is no reason to believe any of it. They aren’t capable conspirators, they’re just lying. Yes, we can believe that they hold these thirteenth-century values, but do they really have the chops to move beyond empty threats and feckless fear-mongering?

If they thought they could actually do what they say they want to do, they wouldn’t be talking about it. They’d be working on it, presumably under the radar. Isn’t that Coup Plots 101?

Instead, they’re broadcasting their plans, presumably attracting the attention of the Justice Department. And they are not behaving like a party interested in winning anything.

By the time of the Republican convention in August, Trump will almost certainly be a convicted felon. They’ll nominate him anyway. Is that coming from strength?

Whatever the ultimate outcome, the current trial in New York is devastating for Trump — politically, financially, psychologically — and it will likely last at least two more weeks. New and increasingly salacious revelations will be dropping almost daily, each one another ad for Joe Biden.

Then there’s the extraordinary lethargy of the Trump campaign. Short of his demented rallies — which reach an infinitesmal percentage of the electorate — there isn’t much Trump presence anywhere but in court. There’s no visible campaign manager, few party offices in swing states, and not much discernible ground game. The campaign doesn’t seem to exist in any meaningful way.

I live in one of those swing states, and my local news station has been running Biden ads for months. I’ve still not seen a single commercial for Trump, or for any Republican.

But just because there’s no visible campaign, don’t think there’s no money being raised. Trump is as adept as ever at bilking the rubes, whose numbers now include the entire Republican National Committee.

Most of what’s raised by the RNC now goes through Trump’s own people, and his skim off the top is substantial. The money goes first to his massive legal bills, then to whatever is pretending to be his campaign. If there’s anything left for down-ballot candidates, they’ll have to beg for it.

So even as the Democratic party becomes a fundraising juggernaut, the RNC is reportedly in dire financial straits, up and down their ticket. This has ripple effects. The experienced professionals — the guys who actually know how to run campaigns — are getting shoved aside and replaced by cheaper but clueless hacks. The party is being purged of competence.

I could go on about the vulnerabilities. About the clown caucus in the House. About “candidate quality,” which is so much worse than when McConnell coined the phrase in 2022. About how many of their key people in swing states are currently under indictment. There’s a long list of Biden ads still waiting to be written.

But yes, it will come down to the election, and the stakes are far higher than they should be. That said, it’s thrilling to see how badly Republicans, from Trump down, are mismanaging their electoral prospects.

They seem to be hurting. How can we make it worse?

Comments

  1. Whatever is going to happen probably won't become totally apparent until the September - October time frame. Far too many people change their minds based on the current news cycle. The social media algorithms own them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "The Party is being Purged of Competence", Quote of the week. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm sure the Rs would rather win office this year the old-fashioned way, by winning the election. Less risk that way. But you can't ignore all the evidence that they also have a backup plan of winning office "by other means", to paraphrase Clausewitz.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The New York Times has Gone Over to the Dark Side

  A week or so ago, Trump took a break from the courtroom and held a rally in a picturesque corner of New Jersey, a state he has no hope of winning. His speech at this rally was even more unhinged than usual, featuring his now-famous tributes to Al Capone and Hannibal Lecter — the latter being as fictional as Trump’s medical records, but seemingly real in his mind. These speeches are growing worse over time, and they seem to betray a worsening cognitive condition. Unfortunately, the New York Times doesn’t see it that way. Their reporting of the event was basically a puff piece . To them, this rally was Trump’s well-deserved break from the rigors and indignities of his criminal trial. They marvel that, “after a long and tense week,” he could now head to the Jersey Shore for some much-needed rest and adulation: Against the backdrop of classic Americana, Mr. Trump repeated his typical criticism that Mr. Biden’s economic policies were hurting the middle class.

Trump and Pecker Sittin’ in a Tree

  Before there was Fox News, before there was Rush Limbaugh, before there was the sprawling rightwing ecosystem of fake news and vicious smears we so enjoy today, there was the National Enquirer . For most of our lives, the Enquirer stared up at us from the checkout aisle of our local supermarket. Somehow, we never made the connection that its readers would one day fit the stereotype of the Trump voter — under-educated, gullible, malleable, easy targets for disinformation. The Enquirer nurtured those targets over many decades, got them to believe virtually anything, and helped lay the groundwork for the sort of know-nothing insurgency that brought Trump into all our lives. Decades ahead of its time, the Enquirer was peddling fake news long before it was fashionable. It appealed unapologetically to humanity’s baser instincts, the ones most of us try to rise above. It was always flamboyantly sleazy, and always there in plain sight, something we could dependably