Remember Nancy Kassebaum? She represented Kansas in the U.S. Senate from 1978 until 1997, and although she was a Republican, she often crossed over and voted with our side.
Nancy came by her lack of party loyalty honestly. Her father, Alf Landon, was the Governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937, and headed the GOP ticket against FDR in 1936.
Roosevelt carried 46 of 48 states in that election and captured 60% of the popular vote. Even Landon’s own state of Kansas went for FDR, and the 8-point difference wasn’t even close.
Landon’s defeat was primarily a function of how most Americans felt about FDR’s response to the Great Depression, along with the fact that Landon himself made almost no public appearances during the campaign. His no-show behavior occurred because after nominating Landon for the top spot on the 1936 ticket, the GOP convention then passed a party platform which rejected every program of the New Deal.
If you think that MAGA represents the first time an extreme element of the GOP has pushed the party into an alt-right reaction against mainstream politics, you don’t know much about the history of the GOP. The Social Security Act was passed in 1935 and the last GOP-sponsored legal challenge against this legislation ended in – ready? – 1949!
Even after Trump is indicted in Georgia, he’ll continue his 2024 campaign, because there’s no reason for him to stop making the same kvetch in front of those adoring crowds. And let’s not forget that everyone who shows up at a Trump rally wearing a MAGA hat or waving a MAGA flag just put a couple of bucks in Trump’s pocket, whether he knows it or not.
What the GOP needs to do next year is either let Trump run, knowing that he’ll lose a Presidential election for the second straight time, or maybe they need to find someone like Alf Landon who will head the national ticket but won’t find the time to go out and campaign. Either way, they won’t be supporting someone like Nancy Kassebaum, who had the good sense to support all kinds of liberal social issues, in particular anything having to do with gender or gay rights. She also co-sponsored (with Ted Kennedy) the landmark legislation which allowed employees with ongoing medical conditions to take their insurance coverage from one workplace to the next.
The wild card in all this, however, is the pending indictment in Georgia, a state which has gone red for President in every election since 2000, save the 2020 election when Joe won by slightly less than 12,000 votes out of almost 5 million votes split between Joe and Trump. If Trump is indicted for trying to interfere in the actual counting of votes, he can whine all he wants about being innocent, but he’ll be facing a serious challenge to his credibility which even some of his most ardent supporters will have difficulty swallowing this time around.
On the other hand, even though Trump’s merry band of MAGA stalwarts may only represent 15% of the total number of Americans who are entitled to show up and vote, that’s still a more significant and media-attracting population than any other candidate can claim on either the Republican or the Democrat(ic) side. And I don’t see Trump doing anything that would prevent him from maintaining his special relationship with the MAGA bunch.
This blog is beginning to sound like how Eisenhower answered questions from the press – ‘on the one hand this, on the other hand that.’ Which only proves that if I don’t know what I’m talking about, neither does anyone else.
But since when did the politicians or the pundits need to say anything based on facts?
All this being said, however, we still have 17 months until the bell rings again, so it’s really too early to make any serious predictions about anything having to do with 2024.