Remember the good old days before the GOP went from a marginally lucid opposition party to full-blown Nazi Zombie mode on Call of Duty? Back then, the worst they had to worry about was that Pat Buchanan might drop his P.W. Botha lunchbox and one of his Heinrich Himmler action figures would spill out.
That was before revanchist white supremacy went from being a heady spice the party seasoned its stew with to essentially being the whole stew—and the only thing left on the menu, really.
But there’s good news! Finally! Maybe! It’s not outside the realm of possibility, anyway!
Sarah Longwell is a longtime Republican strategist, prominent never-Trumper, and CEO of Longwell Partners, a Washington, D.C., communications firm. And she’s starting to see Donald Trump’s support soften—at least in the focus groups she’s been conducting.
For the nontweeters:
“Just had another focus group of Trump voters where ZERO wanted Trump to run again in 2024. Really a striking departure from dozens and dozens of focus groups pre-Jan 6 hearings when at least half of any Trump-voting group wanted him to run again. His support is noticeably softer.
“Again, I don’t think it’s that these voters are being persuaded by the hearings exactly. They [think] they’re a witch hunt, etc. But it’s a reminder to them of how much baggage Trump has. They want someone who can win in 2024 and are increasingly unsure he can.”
Seven years ago, when Trump rode down that escalator and my brain started scanning the multiverse for timelines in which disgruntled circus ferrets gnawed Fred Trump’s woebegone yam bags into testes detritus well prior to 1944, I figured no one this racist could ever get the Republican nomination for president. Now it looks like his previously off-the-charts racism is a prerequisite to any electoral success in the GOP.
And while it looked for a time as if nothing could possibly penetrate Trump’s armor—or his followers’ skulls—the Jan. 6 hearings do appear to be having an effect.
That’s the good news. The bad news? The alternate candidates rank-and-file Republicans may be pining for might not be much better than Trump—though it’s still an open question whether they’d try to blow up American democracy in order to cling to power for a few extra years.
Whether it is highlighting the way Trump called officials in Georgia and asked them to “find” an extra 11,000 votes, the fact he thought Mike Pence deserved crowds chanting for his death, or else trying to grab the steering wheel of his SUV to try to join his supportings marching on the Capitol, the hearings have created a backdrop of noise “about this thing that their team did, that they don’t like, that they’re not proud of”.
[Longwell] says it is not that Trump supporters are sitting down and thinking he is suddenly bad or that they no longer believe he was a good president.
“A key component of this is that there are people they want to move on to, that they’re getting excited about – Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo or these people they see on Fox News, Kristi Noem,” she says. “And they think ‘look at all these other superstars we can have’. They don’t turn away from Trump.”
Wait, people are getting excited about Mike Pompeo? Are these the same people who watch Walker, Texas Ranger? Because I’ve literally never met even one such person.
But hey, anything can happen—as we were brutally reminded on November 8, 2016 ... and pretty much every day since.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.