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Is MAGA a Political Party or a Brand?

It’s now slightly less than 48 hours since Donald Trump walked into the Criminal Courts building at 100 Centre Street in New York City and guess what? Alvin Bragg is still the DA, Juan Merchan is still the judge, and in THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK -against- DONALD J. TRUMP, Donald J. Trump is still under arrest.

And Donald Trump will remain under arrest until and unless he’s found innocent of the 34 felony crimes for which he has been charged, a process which will probably take at least until the first Presidential debate occurs in 2024.

Being an arrested felon, however, doesn’t stop Trump from shooting his mouth off, the judge having wisely refrained from slapping Trump with a gag order, which allows Trump to act like an idiot and a fool, which is exactly what he did. Yesterday, Trump went on social media and demanded that GOP Members in the House defund the FBI and the DOJ.ouou

Now maybe I’ve got it all confused, but I thought it was those Commie-Socialist-Liberal Democrats who wanted to defund law enforcement. In fact, didn’t Trump predict last week that no cop in New York City would dare arrest him? Here’s part of Trump’s statement to that effect: “HAVING TO DEFEND & PROTECT THE 'DEFUNDERS' & 'COP HATERS' OF THE RADICAL LEFT THAT WANT TO PUT THEIR GREATEST CHAMPION & FRIEND IN PRISON FOR A CRIME THAT DOESN’T EXIST...”

What’s really going on here is what I have suspected has been going on for the last five or six years, which is that Trump wants to create a new national political party to replace the GOP.

Remember Ross Perot? He ran as an independent in 1992, got 19% of the popular vote and probably cost George Bush his re-election. In Georgia, for example, Clinton picked up 13 electoral votes with less than 44% of the popular vote. He beat out Bush by less than 14,000 votes while Perot picked up more than 300,000 votes. Perot’s ability to siphon off enough votes in what would probably have been states which would have gone for Bush, happened in state after state.

In 1996, Perot ran again as the candidate of the Reform Party, but only received 8% of the popular vote. The Reform Party still exists today but nobody pays it any attention at all. But take a look at the Reform Party’s guiding principles, and many of them don’t sound that different from what Trump has been saying (minus the cursing and insults) over the last six years.

How difficult would it be for Trump to either attach the Reform Party to his MAGA bandwagon or start a new, national party either before or after 2024? The latest news shows that somewhere around 80 members of the current House GOP caucus won their seats in 2022 by denying that the 2020 election was fairly run.

In other words, Trump already has at least half the elected members of the GOP sitting on Capitol Hill, none of whom would have a problem running on a MAGA party line in 2024. And by the way, know what it takes to register a new political party in all 50 states? A one-page application and a small check showing that you haver incorporated as a political party.

Getting on the ballot in most states then requires a petition that has been signed by a bunch of registered voters as they walk into their local supermarket or the neighborhood Walmart down the street. I can just see a couple of those MAGA schmucks standing in front of my Stop & Shop next week.

When Trump ran in 2016, he ran as much against the GOP Establishment as he ran against Hillary, and he beat them both. If he were to get a third party on the 2024 ballot, he would easily pick up evert, single MAGA vote which is currently estimated as representing maybe half of the voters who pull the lever or check the box for the GOP.

Roughly one-third of all voters call themselves Republicans, of whom the latest surveys say that somewhere around 40% of this group fully support the MAGA brand. That’s not a big enough slice of the electorate to provide Trump with any degree of comfort, particularly in the aftermath of January 6th.

Remember Harold Stassen? He was the Governor of Minnesota who ran for President in 1948 but didn’t get the nomination then or at eight additional GOP conventions between 1964 and 1992. He never had a chance of heading the GOP national ticket, but he had a lot of fun.

And let’s not forget that Trump wouldn’t be the first guy to run a Presidential campaign from jail. Remember Eugene Victor Debs?

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