Trump’s dominance over Republicans

Interesting analysis of Trump’s place in American politics and the Republican party — Trump Is Forever:

Until Trump’s election, the working model for American politics was that parties were ideological organizations, not personality cults, and that ex-presidents were seldom seen and never heard.

The post-Trump future may be different: A world where the former president calls into cable shows while tweeting 150 times a day, settling scores, attacking members of his party who he deems insufficiently loyal and paving the way for his son to inherit the office.

If you think about the nature of political parties, the Trumpian view makes a certain amount of sense and what’s remarkable is that the old system lasted for as long as it did. Why is it, exactly, that former presidents have not chosen to actively maintain a grip on their political parties?

The only real explanations for the view of presidents as political stewards are humility, tradition, honor. Even Trump’s most eager apologists would never ascribe any of those traits to him. Why would he think himself constrained by such outmoded thinking?

Why would he voluntarily give up a thing of immense value?

Do you think he will remain influential after leaving office? Does it depend on whether he wins or loses in November?

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

31 thoughts on “Trump’s dominance over Republicans”

  1. Donald Trump is like no other president before him and likely after him. He is a narcissist and an exhibitionist. Whether he wins or loses, he will want to either gloat or whine. The other former presidents usually find a good cause to dedicate their efforts to.

  2. I totally agree with Alena’s comments .

    It is also the tradition that former US Presidents are still referred to as Mr. President. Trump will enjoy that.

    I also expect that the media supporters of Trump such as Fox News will be pleased to give him a platform.

    I do not see Trump leaving the public stage.

  3. Its a tradition not unique to US pollitics but Canada had its own drama in the mid-2000s when Chretien and Martin feuded for the Liberal party even after Chretien left office. In the end it cost them a decade on the sidelines, a lesson for the Republicans.

  4. None of these comments address the threat raised in the linked article. Given how craven the Republican Party has been with Trump, is it possibly he will establish a family dynasty that outlasts his administration?

  5. One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as ‘abominations’ so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President.

  6. Hundreds of Bush administration republicans to back Biden: ‘the president is a danger’

    Hundreds of officials who worked for former Republican President George W. Bush are set to endorse Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden, people involved in the effort said, the latest Republican-led group coming out to oppose the re-election of Donald Trump.

    The officials, who include Cabinet secretaries and other senior people in the Bush administration, have formed a political action committee — 43 Alumni for Biden — to support the former vice president in his Nov. 3 race, three organizers of the group told Reuters. Bush was the country’s 43rd president.

    The Super PAC will launch on Wednesday with a website and Facebook page, they said. It plans to release “testimonial videos” praising Biden from high-profile Republicans and will hold get-out-the-vote efforts in the most competitive states.

  7. In fact, their brand of conservatism had long been tarnished, and they gained little traction within their own party for that reason. Instead, they would join with centrist Democrats, exercising greater power against a growing egalitarian and noninterventionist left than they would ever wield against the extreme right.

    The Never Trumpers Have Already Won | The New Republic

  8. Even so, 43 percent of Americans approve of how Trump is doing. Consider the implications for both parties and the nation. These voters approve after 215,000 people have died from the coronavirus; after 25 million ended up on unemployment insurance; after The New York Times found that Trump had paid only $750 in taxes in his first year as president and owes hundreds of millions of dollars to his creditors; after The Atlantic reported that he called American soldiers who died in battle “suckers” and “losers.”

  9. His hopes for the future—starting with staying out of prison—depend on transforming the remains of the Republican Party into an ongoing Trump Defense League, like those bogus anti-defamation groups stepped up by New York City mobsters in the 1970s. And the surest way to achieve that end is by empowering the QAnon fantasy to become a power bloc inside the Republican Party. In the original QAnon myth, Trump was a messiah battling a demonic “deep state.” Now he’ll be reimagined as a martyr instead—or perhaps as a messiah awaiting a second coming. The more Trump can propagate wild claims during his lame-duck presidency, the tighter he can bolt the conservative messaging machine to his cause during his post-presidency.

  10. And yet, this moment is not entirely about him. The question was never going to be how Trump responded to a defeat. The question was how Republicans would respond to Trump’s response. After four years of turning a blind eye to the president’s subversive rhetoric and manic behavior and relentless dishonesty, the ultimate test for the Republican Party was whether it would accommodate the president’s rebellion against this country’s democratic norms or denounce it.

    The Republican Party has failed that test.

    “President Trump won this election,” Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, declared Thursday night during an appearance on Fox News, as some 140 million ballots tabulated nationwide showed Trump badly losing the popular vote, trailing in most battleground states and nowhere near clinching a majority in the Electoral College. “Everyone who is listening: Do not be quiet. Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.”

    What “this” was McCarthy referring to? Not simply the steady erosion of Trump’s lead in a handful of pivotal states, as the tabulation of millions of mail votes plodded along. No, McCarthy was casting doubt on what was causing those margins to close. He was insinuating that something sinister was afoot in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. He was nodding to the notion that partisan observers — “poll watchers,” as they’re often called — weren’t being allowed to monitor the process. And he wasn’t alone.

  11. The end of the embarrassment

    The assumption that Republicans will remain in thrall to Donald Trump could be misplaced

    Hence the ridiculous Rudy Giuliani, dripping sweat and hair dye and ranting about George Soros and Hugo Chávez, has been the spear-point of Mr Trump’s attempted heist. It has been laughable, a shambles. It has also illustrated—yet again—Mr Trump’s iron grip on his party, to the extent that most commentators seem to think the Republican nomination for the 2024 election is already his for the taking. They could be right. But Lexington is sceptical.

    There is a reason why Grover Cleveland, in 1892, is the only one-term president to have been given another crack of the whip by his party. Voters want winners. And it is not obvious why Mr Trump—a politician whose pitch is based on his claimed inability to lose—should be a second exception to that rule. Once the smoke of the 2020 battle has cleared, many of his supporters may see him as he is: a loser whose deranged loss-denialism encapsulates why he ran behind down-ballot Republicans all across the country. There are even signs that one or two of his cheerleaders are already chewing on that pill. “You announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells…,” said Rush Limbaugh, puzzling over Mr Giuliani’s performance.

  12. Stand back from the nonsense about stolen elections, and the scale of Republicans’ failure under Mr Trump becomes clear. Having won the White House and retained majorities in Congress in 2016, defeat in Georgia means that the party has lost it all just four years later. The last time that happened to Republicans was in 1892, when news of Benjamin Harrison’s humiliation travelled by telegraph

  13. This history suggests a necessary condition for renewal on the right may be failure. The Reagan revolution was fomented in the wilderness. Its ingredients included political space and a slow-witted Democratic opponent, grown complacent with power. Therefore the right’s most astute critics, Never Trump Republicans, mostly wanted to see it hammered in November. Yet it seems that path to creative destruction has been blocked. Extreme polarisation limits the potential losses of either party. And the Republicans are additionally sustained by the advantage their heavy rural vote gives them in the Senate and electoral college. This anomaly—which Daniel Ziblatt, a political scientist, calls “constitutional welfare”—means they have cause to think they are winning even when they are losing. It also amplifies the party’s most remote, culturally aggrieved and therefore maga voices. It is undemocratic, the ultimate barrier to reform on the right and presently insoluble.

  14. With the exception of a few Republican senators who have already announced their plans to retire at the end of this Congress, the GOP conference lives in fear of Trump and his unruly base — afraid that getting on the wrong side of him (and them) could cost a political career.
    And so, they will take the easy way out next month. They will wriggle out — again — of facing the hard choice of whether or not Donald Trump and his behavior in office was the sort of thing that they, as a party, can condone. Which will put off that choice but won’t eliminate it. There is a civil war happening within the GOP and all the elegant legislative solutions in the world won’t stop the eventual reckoning.

  15. More broadly, McConnell likely believes that his recent impeachment-acquittal two-step was the only way to keep power and rid the Republican Party of Trump’s influence for good — ahead of the 2022 midterms and next presidential election in 2024. This goal will be hard to achieve, particularly given that 75% of Republican voters in a recent Quinnipiac poll wanted to see Trump play a “prominent role” in their party, going forward. In the same poll, 71% of Republicans opposed efforts to censure, or formally criticize, Trump.

  16. The essay described congressional extremists, their rejection of truth, a party turning into authoritarians or “an apocalyptic cult.” It bore a striking headline:

    “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”
    It didn’t mention Marjorie Taylor Greene, the deadly January 6 insurrection or Donald Trump’s Big Lie. In fact, the words “Donald Trump” did not appear at all.
    Published in 2012, that Washington Post piece demonstrates more than the foresight of its political scientist authors, Tom Mann of the center-left Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the center-right American Enterprise Institute. It shows the disease within the Republican Party had spread long before Trump metastasized it.
    Their conclusions — that the GOP had become “ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition” — did not gain wide acceptance then. Many journalists joined leading Republicans in dismissing them.

  17. Currying favour with Mr Trump, though rewarding, is only part of the explanation for that. The former president’s loss of office and media platforms presented his party with an opportunity to distance itself from his falsehoods that it has simply shown no interest in taking. Beyond their fear of the former president, Republicans have become hooked on his method, which in essence involves firing up the party’s relatively small and fearful base, while trying to compensate for the Democrats’ greater numbers by suppressing their vote. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, exemplified the first in a letter announcing his intention to knife Ms Cheney. Her truth-telling, he claimed, was impeding Republicans’ efforts to stop Democrats “destroying the country”. Republican state legislatures—independently of Mr Trump—are pursuing the second course, through some 400 legislative efforts to tighten voting rules. In several states, Joe Biden’s winning margin was smaller than the number of votes cast by methods, such as emergency postal ballots, that have since been banned.

  18. Democracy is an institution, but underpinning that institution is a vital set of beliefs and values. If a substantial enough fraction of a population no longer holds those beliefs and values, then democracy can’t survive. Probably the most important is recognition of the equality of the polity’s citizens in deciding its future; a close runner up is willingness to concede power to one’s political opponents, should those equal citizens decide that’s what they want. At the heart of the ideological narrative of U.S. right-wing demagogues, from Mr. Trump on down, is the implication that large segments of the country’s population – mainly the non-white, non-Christian, and educated urban ones – aren’t really equal citizens. They aren’t quite full Americans, or even real Americans.

    This is why Mr. Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him – a falsehood that nearly 70 per cent of Republicans now accept as true – is such potent anti-democratic poison. If the other side is willing to steal an election, then they don’t play by the rules. They’ve placed themselves outside the American moral community, which means they don’t deserve to be treated as equals. There’s certainly no reason to concede power to them, ever.

    Willingness to publicly endorse the Big Lie has become a litmus test of Republican loyalty to Mr. Trump. This isn’t just an ideological move to promote Republican solidarity against Democrats. It puts its adherents one step away from the psychological dynamic of extreme dehumanization that has led to some of the worst violence in human history. And it has refashioned – into a moral crusade against evil – Republican efforts to gerrymander Congressional districts into pretzel-like shapes, to restrict voting rights, and to take control of state-level electoral apparatuses.

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