Another Trump Candidacy Would Bring Chaos

There is a curious op ed at the Wall Street Journal that you don’t have to read if you don’t want to. But let me describe it. Some guy named Holman Jenkins writes Is Donald Trump Finished? The subhead is, Admit it: You don’t want him to run again yet his absence hasn’t solved any problem.

Holman appears to be a loyal Republican who wants to see the party defeat Joe Biden. Trump could be reelected, he argues. There are all kinds of issues he could exploit to win another term. But Trump is blowing it because he won’t let go of the 2020 election. He needs to find a way to at least put that election is behind him, even if he doesn’t admit he lost. And then Jenkins writes,

My own estimate is that Mr. Trump can’t afford not to run for president between now and 2024—it’s too lucrative. His business life now appears to consist largely of paying himself for services his companies provide to his own campaign, funded by thousands of small donations and sales of Trump merchandise. And yet a hunger for him to serve again as president, even among his fans, is not conspicuous. I also ask myself: Would he be selling his Washington hotel, one of the few ways he successfully synergized his business interests with this political interests during his presidency, if he planned on being president again?

I doubt it. Mr. Trump has likely already decided he will be happy with just picking the next president, which explains the troop of hopefuls outside his door in Mar-a-Lago.

… which is pretty much an admission that Trump was just in it to make money.

Philip Bump mentions Jenkins in his column The looming chaos of Trump 2024

Trump can’t pivot away from his fraud claims no matter how much Jenkins wishes he would. He couldn’t even if he wanted to.

But he clearly doesn’t want to. He was out there making new claims about fraud just this week, part of his effort to convince his supporters and himself that he didn’t actually lose in 2020 at all. If Trump runs for president in 2024, he’s running as the guy who tried to steal the election from Biden as he claimed that Biden had stolen it from him. He’s running not as he did in 2015, as an outsider to the politics game. He’s running, instead, as a representation of an anti-democratic undercurrent in right-wing politics with the support of people who’ve triggered repeated warnings from law enforcement about their willingness to use violence in defense of Trump’s claims.

It’s anyone’s guess if Trump will run in 2024. “If he runs in 2024, even without his approach to politics changing, he’ll again be a candidate unlike any who has come before,” Bump writes. “And again he’ll catch much of the country unprepared.”

David Atkins thinks Trump could still destroy the GOP. Republicans still look to him as the leader of the party, and most of them are terrified to go against him. Which is fine with Democrats, I suspect.

Atkins continues,

It’s hard to deny it: The GOP is now a reinvigorated cult of personality around Trump. He dispatched his opponents in the 2016 primary with ease despite the open hostility of most of the party establishment, marginalized or co-opted his opposition, and remade the party in his image. More importantly, he hastened a realignment that will be structurally advantageous for the GOP in Congress and the Electoral College for decades, even though Republicans are numerically inferior and shrinking across the country. Trump drove turnout among his ardent fans higher than expected and cut into Democratic advantages among people of color.

But Trump didn’t really take over or save the Republican Party. Trump’s greatest gift to Republicans is also his greatest curse: He gave them permission to be their worst selves. By liberating the GOP to embrace its most noxious impulses, he has breathed new life into the staid culture that nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney while destroying basic norms of public decency and weakening the guardrails of democracy. This has come at a devastating cost to the victims of the hatreds Trump fueled. Despite short-term appearances, unmasking the GOP base’s most vicious instincts might also be disastrous for the party in the long term.

Republicans don’t appear to be paying any prices for this, Atkins says, and the structural advantages they have given themselves could put them in a winning position for 2022 and 2024. But their anti-public health campaign, the dismantling of Roe v. Wade, the Big Lie about the election, and stunts like January 6 have shown the nation what they are. Atkins continues,

This might all seem brilliantly, if diabolically, Machiavellian, but there’s a problem with a well-distributed anti-majoritarian coalition that wins elections despite being outnumbered nationally. It doesn’t take big shifts in the population or the turnout model to breach the walls. You can take over government by winning five-point margins in congressional districts and states. But not if those five-point margins suddenly become competitive due to turnout or coalition shifts.

Trump gave Republicans permission to be themselves. It “worked” for a time at the expense of the country, and it couldallow them to dominate politics for decades to come. But the party may face a high price for allowing the cruelest and most vicious elements of American society to run rampant. It might take some time, but the Trump effect could very well backfire on them in surprising ways.

I hope it doesn’t take too much time, or there won’t be a country left to save. Or a planet, for that matter.

10 thoughts on “Another Trump Candidacy Would Bring Chaos

  1. We should have quit kicking cans down the road a long time ago.  Delay now equals Defeat.  Not for Liberals, Fascists, Jihadists, Bible Thumpers or Episcopalians but for all living earth creatures.  

    Trump wants his statue to replace that of Robert E. Lee, and his odor linger like the wake of a skunk.  Those who want to be the next Trump are in training today.  Just as our twenty years in Afghanistan has only increased the number of Jihadists in the world, as the Bin Laden wanna-be types spread faster than the COVID 19 out of a Sturgis biker rally. I can remember when Sarah Palin was the only crazy person in politics.  Now her legacy proliferates in a contagion.  

    Greta Thunberg deserves statues and emulation.  We can use a billion more Greta's. Even those in Gitmo don't deserve what Trump should get.  Many now strive to be the next Trump.  This is how back asswards things are now.  Perhaps Homo Sapiens deserve the future they are going to get.  One could hardy say that of all of the living creatures that have occupied planet earth for a lot longer than we have.  They go down with us in large part.  Do we really want to be the mutation that wiped out the great glorious diversity of life on earth.?  Twenty years ago might have been a late start.  We have no time for politic as usual, no time for delay.

  2. I don't know if tRUMP is going to run.  

    But I do know that he already has two more revival… Two more rallies scheduled over the next two months.

    Are these signals that he's going to run, or that he knows he's got a great grift going, and that there are rubes from sea to shining sea willing to pour their earnings into his "Grand Grievance Tour?"  

    That's some expensive whine they'll be paying for!

    tRUMP's health is the X-factor.  He eats like he's still a college kid.  And his mental health isn't too great anymore – if it ever was, which I doubt..  An idiot has a shorter road senility.  And tRUMP is most definitely an idiot. 

    So I'll be waiting with baited breath to see clips from his tRUMP Nuremberg Rallies 2.0.

    If you compare his last two rallies to ones he held just five or six years ago, his gibberish v. reality quotient is much, much worse.   

    Maybe in a year his mental decline will be so precipitous that even a lot of MAGAts will notice and worry.

    But I doubt it.  The only people more idiotic than tRUMP, are his MAGAt followers.

  3. Here's the thing: Is there any evidence that Trump has expanded his base, increased his appeal since leaving the White House? I have seen none. Are the ranks of the authoritarian Right swelling? Again, there is no evidence I know of to believe that.

    Is there evidence that the public is angry with Biden? No. Sure, his poll numbers have dropped, he's had a bad couple of months, but are voters actually pissed at him? Not really.

    Trump's true problem is that we know him. You're either a lib-ownin', gun totin' MAGA idiot or you're not, but there is no indication that the basics that set the stage for Trump's defeat have been disproven or abandoned. 

    • I think a lot of the "Biden Poll Numbers Drop" stories are related to the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, in two ways:

      (1) Press hammered Biden over the withdrawal, from both ends (MSM wailed "what about the women", while Fox & fiends focused on "losing").  While people from LA to CT were drowning, I still saw more stories about Afghanistan than Ida.  Yes, the withdrawal was messy; but both Right & Center Press have been blaming that all on Biden.  No surprise that Biden's support dropped a bit.

      (2) Centrist Press wants to be Important; they want to be able to Wag The Dog (look it up, interesting movie).  Big headlines about sagging poll numbers are a message to Biden & Democrats that they had better remember to bomb whoever the Press calls The Bad Guys next.

      Right-wing "press" relentlessly attacks every Democrat they see; that won't change.  So when Centrist Press attacks Biden, it gives the impression that nobody likes him, which makes it socially harder for people to support him.

    • "Trump's true problem is that we know him." 

      I'm gonna steal that line because it's soooo true (and only eight words.) Brevity escapes me, as you know. The GOP has abandoned any attempt to move to the middle on issues. The base won't even let Trump defend the vaccine. 

      The "plan" is to so demonize Biden and Democrats as to frighten the middle into embracing extremism that they don't endorse. I don't think it will work especially as the GOP attacks women's rights. Other popular issues, (like security for Dreamers) will further illustrate who is extreme and hateful.

      • One wise bartender explained to me why people watch NASCAR,  She said it was to root against the drivers you hate.  Politics is getting a bit like that.  You don't vote for your favorite but against the one you hate the most.   

        True it is that we all know about Trump by now.  Also true is that hate is a lasting emotion.  I am still trying to get over Nixon and St. Ronny.  Trump has no chance of redemption for me in my lifetime.  I think that is true for the majority of Americans.  I won't miss a chance to vote against any Trumpinista running in any race for the rest of my life,  That you can count on.  



  4. I've been saying for years that the "Real GOP" – Big Money, Federalist Society, AEI, & the rest of their infrastructure – never liked Trump, and actively want him out of the picture so they can get back to business.  They built the Propaganda machine (Fox, etc) that poisoned our country & created the Mob that Trump harnessed, but they don't seem to have learned the lesson (making people dumber & crazier is only profitable in the short run).

    Trump's continued meddling in the GOP is fine with me, though there are dangers: 

    (1) There's a small chance that Trump could become President again.  IMO, that would be the end of the USA, which would be painful, but it might allow the rest of the World to get together to deal with Climate Change.

    (2) Even smaller chance that some (younger) Mini-Trump takes over.  That won't happen as long as Trump is around, and I don't think the Old Money GOP would go along with it.  IMO, Trump lost in 2020 because GOP institutions focused on down-ballot races.  Yes, there are more Trumpist crazies gaining positions of power in the GOP, but they won't (can't) be smart enough to actually run a large organization.

    (3) Somewhat larger danger that Big Money will give up on the burning hulk of the GOP & flip to Dem Party.  This has already been happening, slowly, for a long time: GOP romance with the Religious Right scared some Wall Street money into supporting Clinton in 1992.  More recently, some NeoCons – annoyed that they couldn't control Trump – have been trying to weasel their way (back?) into the Democratic Party.


    But still, the bigger danger is that "partisan gridlock" – centrist code for GOP obstruction – will keep the USA locked into "business as usual": squabbling about slicing an ever-smaller pie & bombing "bad guys" while the world burns.  This scenario seems likely no matter what Trump does.

    • I've been saying for years that the "Real GOP" – Big Money, Federalist Society, AEI, & the rest of their infrastructure – never liked Trump, and actively want him out of the picture so they can get back to business. 

      I used to think that too, but then we saw Big Money start giving to republicans again not too long after they said they wouldn't over voter suppression/vote stealing shenanigans in GA.  Same thing with "race" after George Floyd.  A lot of 'em had come out with clever statements of support for "diversity" etc, pledged money.  But then we find that they've yet to come through on most of the pledges.  

      Big Money doesn't support those calling for getting rid of the filibuster to achieve Voting Rights, because it knows that the end of the filibuster means the end of much of what they enjoy now. Trump is the distraction that keeps those who might restrain them unfocused on the real end games.

      Trump's like the perverted, loud-mouthed, unwashed uncle everybody hopes he doesn't show up at the barbecue.  But they tolerate him when he does because he always brings cases of beer.  They don't like him but he's the perfect distraction that allows them to continue oligarching while we're all gawking at Trump.  

      • Yes – "get back to business" means going back to the GOP strategies of the decade before Trump:

        – Overtly, loudly blaming Democrats for Everything Bad Ever, including the bad effects of GOP policy (like decline of Middle Class).  Pretending that More Tax Cuts for the Rich will fix everything.

        – Quietly: dog-whistling to racists & other haters.

        Covertly: Election manipulation (gerrymandering, voter suppression, vote-count cheating (electronic & other).


        None of that was started with/by Trump.  The only change from Trump is pretending that they're more civilized (dog-whistle vs bullhorn).

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