Donald Trump has run in two general elections and has lost them by a combined ten million votes. His cult of personality, which targets society’s losers and aims to convince them they’re the real winners, has always been limited in its appeal. Nor has Trump ever been able to convince his supporters to turn out for his endorsees in any real numbers. Republican candidates are only still clinging to Trump for fear of being attacked by him, or perhaps for fear he’ll reveal the dirt he may have on them.
In any case, as Donald Trump’s legal and financial troubles continue to worsen, and his political future becomes nonexistent, there has been the question of what will happen to his MAGA movement. In general, throughout American history, con artists and psychopaths have been able to bait right wing losers into helping them do heinous things. Trump wasn’t the first to go there, and he certainly won’t be the last. But it’s really starting to look like Trump’s “movement” is collapsing along with him.
After the DOJ had the FBI carry out a search warrant at Trump’s home, there were predictions that his supporters would riot in the streets and violently take over. But nothing like that happened at all. If anything, as it’s become more clear that Trump is going down, it seems to be breaking his supporters’ spirit. After all, the MAGA movement has always been based on the notion that Trump was going to help these losers finally win at life. They see Trump losing, and they figure the pipe dream is over.
This has become fairly clear at Trump’s latest political rallies, where he’s delivered even more deranged rhetoric than ever, but to smaller crowds than ever. And now the Trump-inspired “Truth Rally” has crashed and burned in humiliating fashion, amid reports that just dozens of Trump supporters showed up. That’s not a typo. Dozens!
So now that Donald Trump is clearly on a path to indictment and federal prison, where’s the fiery, organized, determined pushback from his supporters? It’s just not there. We’ve seen isolated acts of violence from his most truly deranged supporters. But there’s no big movement underway. Attempts at organizing such things are clearly failing badly. Trump supporters’ spirit is increasingly being broken – which, by the way, is how you defeat them, not by nervously fretting over them under some misguided misunderstanding of what “vigilance” is.
In hindsight it’s becoming clear that Trump was only able to incite his supporters into carrying out a domestic terrorist attack on January 6th because he was able to goad them into believing that the attack would somehow cause him, and them, to win. But with the Feds going into his home and taking things, Trump now looks weak, vulnerable, and broken. He can’t convince his supporters anymore that he and they are going to somehow magically win. And so his movement is collapsing just as surely as he is.
There will always be another Trump-like figure coming down the line to manipulate right wing losers into deranged behavior. History shows us there always is. But as for Donald Trump himself, he’s finished. And perhaps more importantly, his fragile supporters are starting to figure out that he’s finished, which breaks their spirit and means their movement is finished – until the next right wing monster comes along.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report