Now that the Russian invasion of Ukraine appears to be falling into 15-minute segments that can easily fit into the gaps between ads on CNN and Fox, we can get back to what we really should be talking about, which is the collapse and final political disappearance of Donald Trump.
It’s been exactly 13 months since Trump moved out of the White House, making sure to take as many classified documents with him as he could stuff onto Air Force One, but the bottom line is that like every other former President, sooner or later what’s done is really done.
Today Trump will make an appearance at the CPAC meeting in Orlando, appearing before or after all the other hopefuls who want to head the GOP ticket in 2024. When CPAC first launched back in the 1970’s, it was considered a marginal venue occupied by the Republican Far-Right, but now has become more or less the centrist platform for the GOP.
For the past several years, the program was basically a love-fest for Donald Trump, but things are now beginning to move in different, not-yet clearly defined ways. This movement away from Trump can best be understood by the behavior of Rick Scott, who chairs the GOP Senate Campaign Committee and issued an 11-point GOP election agenda which goes much further to the right than anything ever promoted by Trump, including raising taxes on poorest American wage-earners and defaulting on the national debt.
Not to be outflanked, Texas Governor Abbott has issued instructions that would allow state authorities to separate trans-gender children from their parents, and Florida’s Governor DeSantis has endorsed a proposed state law that would criminalize any LGBTQ student who said anything about their gender experience in class.
Where the GOP may be looking to stuff Trump into the garbage can is over the issue of his alleged ties to Vladimir Putin and his crazy comments about Putin’s ‘genius’ as reflected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I suspect that Trump will somehow walk back this comment today at CPAC, but the damage has been done.
Tonight, in his CPAC speech, Trump will no doubt claim that Putin would never have invaded Ukraine if he – Trump – hadn’t had his 2020 electoral victory stolen away from him. But the only media story about Trump which had longer legs yesterday than his comments about Putin were the stories about how his new social media app still doesn’t work.
And by the way, don’t make the mistake of thinking that when/if the Truth Social techies ever get the bugs worked out that this right-wing alternative to Facebook and other Big Tech digital media platforms will be out there all by itself. Take a gander, for example, at an app called MeWe, with 20 million users, or another right-wing venue, Parler, some of whose 20 million subscribers used the app to plan January 6th.
When all is said and done, Trump may have ushered in a new approach to political campaigning and messaging by using social media before his political competitors caught on, but everyone, even old and demented Joe Biden, has now figured out the importance of communicating in the digital age.
But with all due respect to the alleged strength and loyalty of the so-called Trump ‘base,’ there’s simply no way that the MAGA crowd is big enough to be sliced and diced between multiple political competitors who are basically all saying the same things. Back in January, NBC released a poll which asked respondents to explain how an endorsement by Joe or Trump would influence their Congressional vote. Trump’s endorsement would sway 21% of respondents to vote that way whereas Joe’s endorsement would only sway 18%. But – and it’s a big, big but – Joe’s endorsement would sway 36% of respondents to vote another way but Trump’s endorsement would generate a negative response for that candidate 42% of the time.
In other words, if I’m running in a primary to represent the GOP in November 2022, I really need to ask myself whether I want Trump coming around to my district at all. Yea, yea, I know about all those big rallies which attract thousands of folks. I also know that at the last rally in Texas, both Trump and Abbott were booed when they told the crowd they had been vaxxed against Covid-19.
Know why most people voted for Trump in 2016 and again in 2020? Because they are Republicans who would vote the GOP ticket if it was headed by Donald Duck. Which happens to be the same reason why most people voted for Joe.
Frankly, I’ll take Donald Duck over Donald Trump any time.