People Who Worried Trump Was a Danger Got it Right
During his presidency Trump supporters have accused those Americans who were shocked or upset about Trump as having “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. This was an accusation about how preoccupied and obsessed people, especially progressives in America, became with all things Trump. TDS was a taunt from the right wing: Hey you weenies, why are you so upset about him? What’s wrong with YOU that you keep thinking about how bad Trump Trump Trump is all the time? Get over it.
In the beginning of Trump’s presidency it was understandable that some would see a preoccupation with Trump as an overreaction by the person harboring unproven fears about the newly elected 45th president. But as time went on, it became obvious that Trump was in fact a clear and present danger to our country.
The “Tear Down a Rigged System” Call to Action
Trump rose to power as part of a tear it all down movement. He was elected by angry Americans who sent him to DC to blow up Washington. Once elected, he set about to further cripple and deconstruct government by assigning people who believed in the antithesis of the mission to head each cabinet post. He put a lobbyist in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency and a woman who didn’t believe in public education in charge of the Department of Education. In each case, an “anti” was installed to dismantle and hollow out the agency. Trump has been the leader of an anti-government movement from the start. He was divisive– riling up culture wars and shouting about his grievances and the unfair cancel culture from the biggest megaphone in the world.
When it came to leading our government, Trump did not try to be a president. Instead he was both anti-information and anti-government. He did not care if government did not work for the American people as long as it worked for him.
Why Did Trump Gain Support Since He Was So Defective?
The two biggest segments of the GOP are strange bedfellows: the ultra rich and the blue collar white guys/ Evangelicals. Many ultra-rightwing wealthy people who call themselves Libertarians want to shrink or eliminate government (pay less for so called “entitlements”). They supported Trump and he repaid them. The tax break for the 1% was just what they had hoped for. He dismantled government. They got what they wanted from Trump.
As for Trump supporters who comprise the low information working class white guys, Trump directed their fear and rage about the browning of America by telling them who to blame and hate: minorities and government. As president he created more dysfunctional government but dodged the blame for it, at least with his supporters, by laying off the blame on others in his administration and stoking anger at Congress. That served to create even more people who are angry at government without blaming Trump. Trump set himself apart from other branches of government, even from his own cabinet members when it served his interest. He blamed others for the massive failures of his administration such as the way he handled the pandemic. In short many in the angry GOP mob still love him in the red parts of the country. They have been brainwashed by their news sources to think Trump is on their side and Democrats are to be feared.
Militias and Far Right Extremists Have Taken Over the GOP
After Trump lost the 2020 election, it became clear that he would do whatever he could to hold onto power no matter how illegal or unconstitutional. He obsessively chased every possible remedy to his loss without success. On January 6th Trump tried the last trick he had up his sleeve to try to stop the inevitable vote count that would seal his fate as a loser. He incited the domestic terrorist mob that has become deeply embedded inside the Republican Party. Trump invited them in from the fringes by claiming there were good people on both sides and misinformation from conservative media (which should be renamed radical right wing extremist media).
On January 6th Trump’s supporters were primed to attack Congress for him because that mission also aligned with the mob’s rage against government.
The New York Times has uncovered close connections between certain Republicans in the House including Mo Brooks, Devon Nunes, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and others with extremist groups: the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three percenters and Q’Anon. The attack on Capitol Hill was planned and organized by these domestic terrorist groups. Republican legislators were among those who incited the crowd that attacked the legislative branch of “Trump’s” own government. Anyone who was not loyal to Trump was a target. Republican Vice President, Mike Pence, was on the hit list. They might have hung him if they had gotten their hands on him. The crowd despised Nancy Pelosi and the “Squad”, Hakeem Jeffries’ family was threatened on the same day.
The Trump incited mob that attacked Congress on January 6th was sent there to act out its anger on the symbol Trump (and conservative media) had groomed and coached them to hate: it was the ultimate enactment of anti-government rage and defiance.
When you try to wrap your head around this notion it is gobsmacking. The 45th president (with the help of certain members of the GOP caucus) sicced a bunch of domestic terrorists on HIS OWN Legislative Branch because they wouldn’t buy the Big Lie to keep him in power. Wow. That is really messed up.
Trump is a uniquely dangerous threat to our country.
How the GOP Reaction Tells Us What They Have Become
After that shocking attack, it seemed as if the GOP would finally shake itself loose from Trump and Trumpism. Trump had been summarily banned from Twitter and had left the White House, retreating to Mar-A-Lago. Americans were finally freed from his relentless grievance twitting and attacks on people he considered insufficiently loyal to him. With Trump finally silenced, most Americans felt relief. It looked like the Big Lie might be over.
Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy who lead the Republicans in the Senate and House actually told Americans the truth for a change: Trump HAD LOST THE ELECTION. Trump DID INCITE the riot that threatened the lives of lawmakers, resulted in 6 deaths, caused 140 Capitol Police officers to be beaten and maimed including one man partially losing his eyesight as they fought Trump supporters hell bent on killing elected officials. Faced with this truth –what would the GOP do?
Surely the Republicans could see now how important it is to tell their constituents the truth. Surely the Republicans could understand the need to impeach AND CONVICT Trump and forever disqualify him from running for office again. For a hot minute it did seem that the curtain had lifted and Trump was revealed, even to his followers, as the danger moderates and the left wing already knew him to be.
But it passed.
Instead of turning away from Trump, the GOP is hugging him ever more closely and excusing the domestic terrorist linked insurrectionists and militias. Trump supporting extremists have moved from the shadows into the mainstream Republican Party.
- Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago to make nice with Trump and beg his holiness’s forgiveness.
- Mitch McConnell voted with Rand Paul to object to having any trial at all in the Senate based on a fallacious constitutional argument.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene, newly elected gun toting lawmaker from Georgia, a Q’Anon conspiracy monger who was identified by Nancy Pelosi as a threat to other lawmakers in the House, is being supported by Kevin McCarthy. He even assigned her to the Education Committee even though he knows that she claimed that the shootings at Sandy Hook and Parkland High School did not happen and there is a 2019 video unearthed by Media Matters for America where she is harassing David Hogg, who has been a strong voice for gun reform after surviving the shooting at his high school.
- Nancy Pelosi has spoken out saying “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.”
What is going on with the GOP?! How can we understand what is happening with what was once a proud, conservative political party?
The GOP has Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Republicans believe their only way to be re-elected in red America is to kiss the ring of the deranged man who is still beloved by Americans in red districts and red states. People who still love this delusional man are the ones with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Until Republicans grow up and do the hard work involved in telling their constituents the truth, they will all try to continue the alternate universe Trump insists on.
What to Do About the Radicalized GOP
This is a really scary situation.
The GOP has essentially become radicalized. The moderate wing of the Republican Party is a shell of its former self. More and more moderate Republicans are leaving or refusing to fight through a tough primary or are being expelled. Few moderates are left: Romney, Portman, Sasse, Murkowski. Just a handful of Senators. As for the House, Liz Cheney who had been a rising leader in the House is being attacked by Matt Goetz and other House Republicans who have gone to the dark side. What was her sin? She called out Trump for lying.
What will happen next?
The Biden administration must deliver for the American people: jobs, food, security, crush the virus, help people with crippling student debt, work on infrastructure for real, green jobs to combat climate change and a return of good government. The hope is that a majority of American people become less cynical about government. Cynicism is one of the feeder ramps for Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The more Biden can succeed in helping Americans have better lives, the less a radicalized GOP will entice Americans. If Biden acts boldly and swiftly to help the American people regain faith that our government can work for them, more Americans will be okay about the browning of America–which is where so much of this fear is coming from.
The Biden team has to think and act big, which they are doing. They will have to move their initiatives forward using whatever tools they can find in the toolbox: reconciliation, end the filibuster, overhaul OIRA’s mission to help workers instead of using an old school cost/benefit analysis that helps big business. In short they gotta get a lot done for the people.
The other side is dead set against their success. The GOP has become a party infused with terrorists, nutballs, and nilihists. They want Biden to fail. They want Trump back. But as they get more radical they are shedding members who do not want to be affiliated with this party. https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-01-12/early-warning-signs-emerge-for-gop-after-us-capitol-riots
Fox News and radicalized “conservative” media must be forced to tell Americans the truth. How? American companies need to step up and insist that they will only place ads with news outlets that report truthfully and do not support disinformation. Media Matters for America is leading the charge. We need to support them.
Dominion (the company that built the voting machines maligned by Guiliani and Powell) has brought a 1.3 billion dollar lawsuit against Rudy Guiliani and Sidney Powell. Good move. We need more of these lawsuits to expose the truth and force people who are supporting the Big Lie to stop it.
All of us on the right side of history and reality must work together to help the Biden team succeed and make sure radicalized Republicans running for Congress are defeated. Until there are more Congressional defeats for the GOP they will not believe their party must abandon Trump and Trumpism.
Much is at stake.