Big Lie, big losses
The moment of Zen that came to many Republicans waking up Wednesday morning is taking root and blossoming at last into a revelation. Maybe, just maybe, Republicans would be better off without Donald Trump and his Big Lie. Maybe the Republican Party of the future doesn’t need Trump and his bottomless ego, Trump and his looming indictments, Trump and his tantrums, Trump and his conceits. It appears that the 2022 midterms just dumped a big old nasty bucket of water on Donald Trump’s Wicked Witch of the West. And he’s not just melting, he’s melting down.
Since Republicans are all about power and money and couldn’t care less about sentiment, Trump is instantly expendable. The word on the MAGA street is Ron DeSantis might make a better presidential candidate than Donald Trump in 2024, and Republicans are decidedly warming to that idea. DeSantis is a new kind of evil that doesn’t require exhausting (and exhaustive) scrutiny in the 2020 rear view mirror. DeSantis might, for some Republicans, be a face-saving way out of the embarrassment that is the Big Lie, the lie that has led to so many big losses.
The good news is the war between Trump and DeSantis will almost certainly tear the Republican Party asunder and destroy any chance of a Republican replacing Joe Biden in 2024. So this is a week of marvellous news for Democrats. As long as Donald the dunce continues to excoriate DeSantis, Republicans of both factions will battle each other for supremacy. Whoever comes out the loser in this contest of deplorables — Trump or DeSantis — could end up doing to Republicans in 2024 what Bernie Sanders did to Democrats in 2016.
Naturally it would be helpful if the mainstream media would kindly stop “both sides-ing” the issues. Republicans are about hate and insurrection and taking civil rights away from Americans. Democrats are about jobs and cheaper drug prices and infrastructure and tackling inflation. There is no valid “other side.” But lacking a media that finally puts country ahead of profit, we’ve at least got Trump and DeSantis battling it out for the nomination. Of course there’s a good chance that Trump’s battle will be from inside a jail cell.
One caveat, however, is don’t expect MAGA to die overnight. The movement is simply too big to kill so quickly or so subtly. A lot of the drooling, ignorant, red-hatted, hillbilly shit-kickers that you saw slouching towards Trump rallies will be MAGA till the day they are found dead by some process-server face, down in pizza boxes and beer cans. That day could be forty years from now. The good news is their herd will be culled, politically speaking, by a series of disappointments not unlike the latest midterms.
Another caveat, don’t expect their midterm disappointment to make Republicans sane again. There’s probably going to be a whole new crop of idiotic conspiracy theories to advance and stupid causes to take up. There are many more whistle-blowers to scapegoat, refugees to blame, billionaires to coddle, sciences to deny, whataboutisms to point to, pearls to clutch and racisms and bigotries to promote. Republicans won’t be reverting to their pre-Nixon days any time soon, if they ever do. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.