You know MAGA Republicans are having a slow day when they mention Antifa. Once upon a time, in the days immediately following the dastardly murder of George Floyd, the word had a certain cachet. It inspired a predictably hefty amount of counterfeit outrage that was almost convincing.
Nearly three years, one insurrection and countless instances of vicious alt-right violence and gun murder later it has taken on a decidedly hollow ring. Even among the most dedicated MAGA heads. Fear mongering about Antifa “the MAGA bogeyman” just doesn’t inspire terror any more, not even the phoney kind.
So when Donald Trump mentioned Antifa in his latest Nuremberg-style rally, it went over like yesterday’s news. It was the same with everything else he had to say. His rhetoric about rebuilding the wall, “radical Democrats“ who are really “Marxists and communists” has a tired, worn out look, just like the purported candidate.
And let’s face it, Donald Trump isn’t what he was in 2015, and he never will be again. Trump will be 77 in June and he looks every inch a man that age. He is, after all, a man who eats nothing but junk food, gets no exercise and habitually sniffs adderall. Trump is Mr. Mojo Sinking and he’s sinking fast. Nothing quite recedes like success.
And his rhetoric badly needs a change of clothes, too. What used to shock and dismay and make headline news over at CNN is barely making a ripple these days. Trump is looking more and more like the pathetic man he always was. Imagine Trump saying today that Mexican immigrants are “rapists and murderers.” It’s just as bigoted now as when he said it back in 2015, but it’s just not shocking. When you’ve heard that and nothing but hate like that for years, after a while it doesn’t work.
And then there’s his constant whining about how the election was stolen from him. That doesn’t work either. People just aren’t shocked by Trump the way they used to be. Back in his day, virtually everything Trump said inspired massive reactions and caused deep, outraged divisions between the right and the left. Every utterance produced a headline. Today it’s all summarised with a single pathetic word: rant. Trump rants, and fewer and fewer people care.
Trump’s purported recent flirtation with a return to Twitter and Facebook could be symptomatic of his awareness that his star is setting. He could be thinking — wrongly, it seems to me — that his real problem isn’t his fading popularity but his lack of reach on his failing “Truth” Social. But Trump’s lack of reach is because his reach is shorter. He just doesn’t have it any more,
And if you think a newer, younger version of Trump would work today, think again. You need look no further than George Santos. Fully 83% of Santos’ constituents view him unfavourably, including 78% of Republicans. It turns out that lying like Trump doesn’t work, either.
People are getting heartily sick of Trump. The secret opinion among most Republicans in power today is that they’re hoping he will die soon. In fact they’re hoping he will die before he goes to prison. After all the trouble Trump has caused America and the world, it’s a tangible form of natural justice. I plan to enjoy watching it happen. 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.