Last week, the Republican Party had its Trump lovefest. While every semi-prominent Republican with his or her eye on the White House presented their twisted version of reality to the adoring crowds, it was former President Donald Trump who stole the show. He rolled out one tired old fabrication after another, much to the delight of the conservatives in attendance. Among these gems were the following:
+ He claimed again that he won the 2020 presidential elections, and said (threatened?) he might run again in 2024, where he would win for the third time. This shows his belief that he defeated Hillary Clinton in the popular vote in 2016 (he didn’t; he lost the popular vote by a margin of about 3 million votes); he still believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he defeated Joe Biden in a landslide, and he is sufficiently confident that he would win ‘again’ in 2024.
+ Trump talked again about widespread voter fraud which, if it happened, had to have the complicity of Republican governors and secretaries of state around the country. Very skillful, those Democrats, to convince officials who worship Trump to throw the election to Biden.
+ The former president said that Biden will bring to the U.S. ‘thousands upon thousands of refugees from all over the world. People that nobody knows anything about. We don’t have crime records. We don’t have health records.” Biden will increase immigration, but has not, however said that he will abandon the current vetting process which includes medical screening, background checks, fingerprint checks, etc.
+ Trump claimed that Biden is personally keeping children out of schools, but that decision is left to state and local officials. All the federal government can do is issue guidelines.
+ Trump said that Biden has lifted all sanctions against Iran (which would be a good thing; however, it isn’t true). Biden hasn’t lifted any sanctions against Iran; indeed, he has backpedalled on his campaign promise to rejoin the JCPOA.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. At CPAC, it was business as usual, with Trump lying his head off and his lemmings-like followers drinking all the Kool-Aid he offered.
Following the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol building, there were some noises being made about the need for the Republican Party to, perhaps, make some changes in the way it conducts business. But can the powerful CPAC be seen as a barometer of the current situation, and maybe an omen of things to come? Not necessarily; while CPAC doesn’t represent the entire party (there was nary a RINO (Republican in Name Only) present, and they do exist), it is quite the activist base.
There has been talk about a GOP civil war. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems engaged in it, at least on a very personal level. He voted against the impeachment charges that Trump was responsible for January’s insurrection, and then said that Trump was definitely responsible for it. The verbal gymnastics have begun! But he is only a symptom; when the former president is welcomed as a god by CPAC, and then promises to ‘primary’ elected Republicans who aren’t sufficiently loyal to him, war has been declared, even if unofficially.
Trump may be very effective in getting his base to the polls on primary day, to defeat those who dared to vote to impeach or convict him for the crime of inciting insurrection. Anything but absolute, unquestioned loyalty to the former-president is an unforgivable sin. But in most states, only party members can vote in their own party’s primary, which means that more ultra-right, unhinged (think Marjorie Taylor Green) candidates will defeat more ‘mainstream’ (yes, there are still some such individuals in the GOP) officials. Trump will hail that as a major victory. But in typical, not-seeing-the-big-picture style, Trump and his cohorts will overlook the fact that, come general election time, it won’t be just his rabid base going to the polls. There are the ‘RINOS’, Democrats and Independents, the same collection of voters who ushered Trump out the White House door last November.
Maybe Trump will fade into the woodwork; Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of the House members who voted for impeachment, and who was disowned by his family for doing so, told CNN’s Allisyn Camerota that Trump “…is out of new ideas and I think he’s going to get less and less attention.” Kinzinger further blasphemed by saying “Donald Trump is a loser” and that the Party and the country would move on from him.
So what do me make of the CPAC extravaganza? Was it just a Trumpest in a teapot? Or has Trump so firmly cowed most of the GOPs elected officials that he does, indeed, define the Party?
Having some reasonable choice is key to legitimate elections; if the voters can only select between a terrible Republican (candidate or platform) that doesn’t represent them or their views, or an equally terrible Democrat (ditto) what, really, is the point of elections? Oh, right, to further entrench a group of people who do the bidding of corporate and foreign lobbyists, and get rich as they do so.
If the Republican Party is now, indeed, the Party of Trump, so be it. There has been little, platform-wise, to distinguish the two Parties anyway. They both seem to love war (Yemen, Syria, etc. The history is far too long and ugly to detail here); disdain international law and human rights (see: Palestine, Yemen, Kashmir, Iran, Venezuela, etc., etc.) and offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ but no legislation for every mass shooting that occurs. They cut taxes for the rich as they reduce vital aid programs for the poor. They wring their hands in anguish (well, maybe the GOP doesn’t) every time an innocent, unarmed Black man, woman or child is murdered by a white police officer, but then just go on with business as usual.
The U.S has long needed a viable third Party. May this writer suggest either the Party for Socialism and Liberation, or the Green Party? Both have reasonable platforms that conform far more to the wishes of the common man and woman than do either the GOP or the Democrats. Both would benefit the average U.S. citizen more than the current elected officials.
If the GOP is in fact morphing into being the ReTrumplican Party, perhaps a new Party will emerge to challenge the Democrats. That would be good news for the nation and the world.