So, whatever happened to MAGA? Wasn’t it supposed to be this enormous national movement that was going to make America ‘great’ again? Wasn’t it supposed to transform the Republican Party from a bunch of RINOs into an effective fighting force that would tear through the mid-term elections and then catapult Donald Trump back into the White House in 2024?
Thursday, the GOP announced a new strategy for the mid-terms which are now only six weeks away and if the polls mean anything, an awful lot of people need to be convinced that the red team needs them to show up and vote.
Called the ‘Commitment to America,’ this laundry list of proposals harkens back to 1994 when Newt Gingrich concocted something called the ‘Contract with America’ which helped the Republicans achieve a majority in both Houses of Congress which they used to bust Bill Clinton’s balls over the next six years. Incidentally, an hour after the GOP put up their new game plan, they took it back down.
Actually, what really made the difference for the GOP in 1994 and again when Trump ran in 2016 was Rush Limbaugh. Think I’m kidding? I’m not. Not only did Limbaugh invent social media on AM radio, but he also invented the rallies which Trump used in 2016 to build his brand.
The point about social media is that for all the talk about it being ‘social,’ in fact it’s primarily a way to deliver political messaging without having to depend on printed media or TV. Both mediums are not only expensive but also try to enforce certain rules regarding whether or not what you say bears any relationship to the truth.
Want to say something really crazy like the stuff that QAnon puts out? You can blast it all over the place on the internet or Breitbart but even Fox News will quickly shut you down. On the other hand, you can rant and rave all you want about how bad things have become under demented Joe, and as long as you deliver your narrative without curse words or insulting language, you can basically say anything you want.
The GOP’s ‘Commitment to America’ lists four basic policy areas which will be up for grabs in 2022 and again in 2024: economic growth, safe borders and safe streets, get the government out of education and health care, make government ‘accountable’ through investigating how the Democrats have weaponized the FBI and protecting the ‘unborn.’
This so-called commitment reads the same way that every Republican electoral blueprint has read since I started following politics during the 1960 campaign that ended with the election of JFK. The GOP always says we need to cut taxes – they say it here again. They also want to curb government spending and reduce the deficit – they say it here again.
What they don’t say in this ‘new’ plan is what I heard Trump say to the MAGA crowd at his rally that I attended in 2016. He didn’t say anything about the deficit, he didn’t say anything about education or government reform, he didn’t mention any of the GOP’s ‘signature’ issues which I had been hearing from the red team over the previous fifty-six years.
What I hard Trump say to the delight of his MAGA followers wearing their MAGA hats, was that he was going to get Mexico to pay for a border wall and he was also going to throw Hillary in jail. And after he got a tremendous roar from the crowd and led them in a ‘lock her up’ chant six or seven times, he repeated the same promise about putting her behind bars again.
Trump talked to the crowd for about 80 minutes. Actually, he didn’t talk, he performed. And the performic was all about him. Other than throwing insulting verbal bombs at Hillary and a few other targets, the entire speech was an advertisement for himself in which he told his MAGA followers that he deserved their votes because he was the richest, the smartest and the most successful person they would ever know.
And if anyone doubted anything Trump said, the fact that the ‘fake news’ lied about him and told all kinds of untrue stories about him was the ‘proof’ that what he was saying about himself was true.
What were the policies Trump was going to promote after he was sworn in? He was going to kick ass and beat the crap out of every person and every country who was trying to keep America from being ‘number one.’ He must have used the phrase ‘kick ass’ at least a dozen times.
Every time Trump said something nasty or threatened anyone who was somehow better than the people cheering him on, the crowd yelled out for him to say it again. His MAGA gang was made up of people who knew that somehow, in some way, they had gotten screwed.
There was only one, little problem. After Trump got elected, these people kept getting screwed. And when the ‘kung flu’ started going around, particularly when it spread into red states, they got screwed a little more.
Which is exactly why MAGA has disappeared and why the GOP is now promoting an election strategy based on issues rather than insults, no matter how much these issues really haven’t changed over the past 50 years.
Take a look at the polls this morning and you’ll notice, by the way, that maybe the GOP should go back to MAGA again, Trump or no Trump.