Early in my tenure as a horrified onlooker to Mango Mussolini’s rise as a political figure, I kept expecting political gravity to catch up with candidate Trump. Calling Mexicans rapists right out of the gate? He’s going nowhere. The cruel mockery of a reporter with a disability? That will do it. Disparaging a media-beloved former POW? He just bought a one-way ticket to Craterville. Picking a fight with a Gold Star family? He’s toast. Getting caught on tape bragging about groping women? Sayonara.
And so on. The consequences never fully caught up, and that dynamic persisted during Trump’s mind-blowingly corrupt and calamitous term in office. The sheer volume of scandals, transgressive behavior, rule-breaking, institutional corruption, international humiliations, deadly incompetence, self-dealing, etc., seemed to make focusing on any single issue impossible, so the entirety washed over the nation like a towering wall of sludge, leaving chaos and wreckage in its wake.
You could interpret the 2020 election results as an accountability moment for the demagogue, but it really wasn’t because it was too “normal,” for want of a better word; Trump didn’t receive the overwhelming repudiation the situation demanded because, for a minority but still electorally significant portion of the population, Trump had ceased to be a novelty politician and had instead become the leader of a cult of personality. So the final tally looked like a “normal” Electoral College result.
Like all politicians (and cult figures), Trump derives his power from the masses. That’s why his party refuses to treat him like the deranged and dangerous demagogue that he is; they either worship him themselves or are too cowardly to risk their careers by standing up to him. For our purposes, their motivations don’t matter; only the fact that the Republican Party continues to enable Trump’s authoritarian, anti-democratic movement is relevant.
But by hitching their electoral fortunes to a demented cult figure, the Republican Party puts its electoral fate in his hands completely. And I mean COMPLETELY — look at this “voter outreach” from the NRCC:
These NRCC fundraising texts are getting intense pic.twitter.com/2Smm3NXCYy
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 14, 2021
Like their crazed leader, the Republican Party has thus far avoided the catastrophic consequences that should follow from such a foolish decision. But will they continue to defy political gravity if Trump instructs the cultists not to vote?
Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Republicans will not vote in the midterm and general elections until supposed voter fraud in the 2020 election is “solved.”
“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do,” the former president’s statement read.
As we’ve discussed, the evil opportunists in the party are using Trump’s lunacy and the cultists’ devotion to hollow out democracy at every level so they can seize power indefinitely. We need urgent action at the federal level to safeguard election integrity. But the odds that we’ll get the needed remedies in time aren’t good because of the nihilism and corruption of every Republican and the capriciousness and corruption of at least a couple of Democrats in the senate. It’s an existential problem, IMO.
That said, Trump’s statement raises the possibility that we’ll get help from an unexpected quarter. The narcissist Trump’s fragile ego simply can’t withstand the blow of an election loss. It doesn’t look like convincing the majority of Republican voters that the election was illegitimate is enough balm for his savage butt-hurt. So maybe he isn’t going to stop telling Republican officials that they better somehow overturn long-certified election results to make the Kraken lady’s vision a reality, or the party gets it.
Authoritarian Republicans are deploying mechanisms to rig future elections, but they still need their voters to turn out. Lots of them will regardless of what Trump says. But if he manages to convince a significant portion to stay home in protest, he may just throw enough sand in the gears to derail the rigging scheme. I’m too traumatized by the last five years to expect righteous blowback anymore, and admittedly, it’s a thin reed to hang our hopes on. But wouldn’t it be ironic…