Emanuel Celler represented a Brooklyn Congressional District from 1923 until he lost a primary election to an unknown attorney, Liz Holtzman, in 1972. Celler was not only the longest serving member of Congress from New York but headed the powerful House Judiciary Committee when Holtzman eked out a 600-vote victory out of more than 20,000 votes.
Until recently, only members of the Democratic caucuses in the Senate and the House lived with stories like the story of Emanuel Celler. Republicans didn’t have primaries because Republicans have never been all that enamored of the concept or practice of voting anyway.
But the world changes, even the political world inhabited by the GOP. And to his credit, this new interest in voting within the ranks of the GOP happens to have been the handiwork of a guy named Donald Trump.
The Fake News media may want you to believe that the subpoena of Trump by the January 6th Committee is a ‘bombshell,’ but to me it’s nothing more than another version of an Aesop’s fable about how the mountain roared and then out came a mouse.
Donald Trump didn’t want to admit defeat in the 2020 Presidential campaign? That’s a new one. Donald Trump began planning a way to hold onto the White House even if it meant staging a coup? Never heard that one before. Donald Trump is an autocrat and an enemy of democracy? Where’d they ever get that one from?
The only thing that made Thursday’s hearing in the slightest bit interesting was how GOP Congressional leaders were hunkered down with their Democratic counterparts and hiding from the mob but are now all going around and pretending that January 6th was no big deal.
The House GOP chief, Kevin McCarthy, called Trump from the secure location and when he said that he was really worried about how the invaders were behaving, Trump told him that maybe the gang who came to D.C. to demonstrate against the election ‘fraud’ were angrier than McCarthy was, so no big deal. Have you heard McCarthy say anything about January 6th lately? I mean, what’s so bad about trying to overthrow the government when a gallon of gasoline costs more than four bucks?
So, now that the January 6th Committee is going to issue a report which will tell us what we already know whether they get Trump to answer questions or not, the real question is this: Why do all these Republicans still believe they have to be worried about the so-called Trump ‘base?’
Here’s a guy, talking about Trump, who has never won the popular vote and only won the electoral vote in 2016 because Hillary rolled over midway through the campaign and played dead. What makes the GOP so afraid of Donald Trump?
And by the way, here’s a guy, still talking about Trump, who is so desperate for public attention that he makes a racist and utterly disgusting statement about a former member of his own Cabinet, Elaine Chao.
The answer to why the GOP fears Trump is actually very simple, and it goes right back to the story about Manny Celler, and how his 50-year Congressional career came to an end.
Liz Holtzman didn’t defeat Manny Celler by convincing voters that she would represent them better than he was representing them in D.C. Liz Holtzman won that primary because she rented a bunch of school buses that went around and took nursing-home residents to the polls. And the seniors were served coffee and Danish on the way to vote.
You can be the most powerful politician in your caucus or in your party or in the entire country, but you can also lose everything if your opponent stops off at the local Dunkin Donuts and spends ten bucks on a jug of coffee and some eats.
This year, GOP House incumbents lost 8 primary elections to candidates who wouldn’t have even thought of running in a primary just a few years ago. But when you have the possibility of holding a big rally in your district that attracts thousands of potential voters as long as you lead the cheers when your invited headliner says the magic words about 'election fraud,’ how can you turn that one down?
Trump may be a serial liar, he may have a narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, God knows what else. But he’s invented a new and entirely unique campaign process, and the only thing that will prevent him from going around the country doing his MAGA-style shindigs for the rest of his life will be if he’s locked up in jail.