OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Republicans reprimanded U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse for his work in Washington, D.C., but stopped short of censuring him Saturday for his outspoken criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Sasse was one of just seven Republicans who voted last month to convict Trump at his impeachment ...
Donald Trump still has a hammer lock on the Republican Party. That was amply demonstrated in the days after all but seven Senate Republicans voted to acquit Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Of those who joined the bipartisan rebuke of Trump’s conduct and voted to convict, Sen. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy have been censured by their state parties, while the other five face calls for their censure.
Yet an even clearer and starker indication of the hold Trump still has on the GOP came much earlier, on Jan. 28, when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with him. The topic? How to take back the House in 2022. This came on the heels of McCarthy voting to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, hours after the insurrection—thus not only giving succor to the insurrection, but to the false claims of election fraud that triggered it.
It is impossible to overstate just how outrageous this was. The leader of the House Republicans, the second most powerful Republican on Capitol Hill, saw fit to publicly kiss the ring of a man who spent months attempting to steal a second term—an effort which culminated in a deadly insurrection that came frighteningly close to claiming the lives of members of both chambers of Congress (and the vice president). And yet, as near as can be determined, McCarthy has faced almost no blowback for it, nor for effectively promoting the Big Lie by voting to object.
To be sure, Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz have gotten well-deserved scorn, and even calls for their expulsion, for their “leadership” in the effort to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Sen. Lindsey Graham has crassly declared that the GOP needs Trump’s help to win. He has been pilloried in the reality-based community for this, and rightly so. But it is one thing for backbench senators to subvert the will of the American people. It is quite another for the leader of the House Republicans to do so.
McCarthy objected to Biden’s victory, and then embraced Trump, despite knowing full well that Trump had told the biggest lie in a political career shot through with them. The fact that McCarthy hasn’t had his feet held to the fire for either of these outrages can only be described as political malpractice of the highest order. It’s long past time to correct that oversight.
Minutes after the insurrection died down and the Capitol had been finally secured, Dave “I’ve seen enough” Wasserman, House editor of Cook Political Report, tweeted that McCarthy had acknowledged what the nation already knew: Trump had lost the election.
Wasserman doubled down the next day, noting that McCarthy objected to the certification of Biden’s victory even after repeatedly acknowledging to Wasserman that Biden had won. Then, five days after the insurrection, Wasserman revealed that McCarthy had previously told him that if Trump made good on his repeated threats to reject any result other than his reelection, he knew he’d have to enter the fray.
McCarthy knew that Trump was blowing smoke when he claimed the election had been stolen. And yet, McCarthy remained silent even in the face of reports of election officials being harassed, trolled, and threatened due to these claims. He remained silent even as an employee at Dominion Voting Systems was forced into hiding after being targeted with vicious smears and threats.
When I first saw these reports, my thoughts turned to Frank DiPascali, who helped Bernie Madoff run his Ponzi scheme from 1986 until Madoff’s arrest in December 2008. Though he died before he could be sentenced, DiPascali pleaded guilty to his role in the racket, nine months after Madoff’s scheme imploded. He admitted that he had known since at least the early 1990s that Madoff wasn’t trading. And yet, not only did DiPascali squander numerous chances to come clean over the previous two decades, but he actually helped Madoff further the scheme. For instance, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, when Madoff realized he was on the brink of collapse, DiPascali persuaded Madoff to use the remaining balance in Madoff’s now-infamous Chase account to cut $350 million in checks to relatives and favored investors.
McCarthy’s behavior in the months after the election isn’t much different from DiPascali’s behavior in the last two decades of Madoff’s fraud. Based on Wasserman’s accounts, McCarthy knew the Big Lie was, well, a lie—and he didn’t do a damn thing about it. He didn’t speak out publicly, nor did he tell Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the rest of the Sedition Caucus to call off their plans to object.
This was a time where the leader of the House Republicans had a chance to, you know, lead. In this case, it was a chance that McCarthy was morally, and almost certainly legally and constitutionally, required to take. He blew that chance eight ways to Sunday. In so doing, McCarthy did something that, on paper, takes a lot of effort: For a time, he made McConnell look like a paragon of integrity.
What in the world could McCarthy have been thinking, you might ask? Well, one answer can be found in a profile that The New York Times ran on him in January, days after Trump was impeached for a second time. McCarthy was getting a lot of blowback from Republican constituents back home in California’s 23rd district, based in Bakersfield and the Central Valley, for not being supportive enough of Trump. When McCarthy publicly stated that Trump bore responsibility for the attack during the certification of the Electoral College votes, hours after the Capitol had been secured, it ruffled a lot of feathers among his Republican constituents. According to The Times, at least one local tea party activist, who ran against McCarthy in 2016, is giving serious thought to primarying McCarthy again in 2022. Before Trump, it would have been unthinkable for a party leader in the House to face a substantive primary challenge.
McCarthy may have taken a trip to Florida to smooth things over back home in Bakersfield, but he seems to have forgotten that he is not only the congressman for CA-23, he is also the leader of the House Republicans. As such, he would have the inside track to becoming speaker if the GOP retakes the House. If McCarthy has any ambitions of peeling off swing voters and suburbanites in 2022, being seen publicly with a man who stirred up a deadly insurrection can only be described as an unforced error. It’s particularly outrageous when combined with the fact that he knew Trump had lost and said nothing for months.
Recall that in 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught a lot of scorn from the right for ripping up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union speech. Self-promoting conservative law professor (and Fox News pundit) Jonathan Turley went as far as to call for Pelosi to step down saying that she forgot she was representing the whole House.
McCarthy’s meeting with Trump is far, far worse. There is something wrong if merely ripping a copy of a speech draws more hackles than meeting with a president who spread pernicious lies about an election being stolen, then incited a deadly insurrection to overturn his defeat. By meeting with Trump, McCarthy thumbed his nose at the many police officers who were injured, including one who died in the line of duty and two others who died by suicide soon after. He thumbed his nose at those who were harassed, trolled, and threatened as a result of the Big Lie that he knew it was a lie. That’s hardly behavior becoming of someone with ambitions of representing the whole House.
McCarthy will never resign, of course. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make him answer for his misdeeds. According to the latest Cook Partisan Voting Index, there are only four districts in California with ratings of R+10 or worse. McCarthy sits in one of them; with a PVI of R+14, on paper, it’s the reddest district in the state. There’s no denying it: This district is one of the few red smudges left in a state that has turned an unrecognizable shade of blue. But the trendline suggests that if done right, a Democrat can at least keep McCarthy tied down.
Bakersfield is undergoing considerable demographic change, for one thing. Once dominated by the descendants of people who fled Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas during the Dust Bowl, figures from the 2010 census showed Bakersfield was 45% Latino and 38% non-Hispanic white. According to The New York Times’ profile from January, Bakersfield is now majority Latino. This shift suggests that the city’s Latino population is growing too rapidly for neighboring CA-21, which has long served most of the Latinos in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor.
Add that to the fact that McCarthy’s district as a whole is currently just barely majority white, at 50.5%. Wasserman suggested earlier this month that CA-23 could potentially become whiter and more Republican in redistricting. But that seems hard to believe if Bakersfield is already majority Latino, or close to it. While Wasserman argues that it’s very likely the state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission will create two Latino-majority districts in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor, mathematically it’s hard to see how the 23rd would not absorb more Latino voters if its central city is already majority-Latino. Coupled with the right candidate, policies, and outreach, this shift can only help Democrats.
Beyond demographic shifts and redistricting, Trump actually underperformed in a McCarthy’s district, which the Grey Lady describes as an area with “bobbing oil pump jacks (that) dot the landscape like a page out of West Texas,” with a strong historical bent of social conservatism. In other words, classic MAGA territory. According to the latest numbers crunched by the folks at Daily Kos Elections, while Mitt Romney won this district over Obama 61-36 in 2012, Trump only won it 58-36 in 2016 and 57-41 in 2020. Contrast that with IA-04, the former balliwick of Steve King, now held by Randy Feenstra. It swung from a 53-45 win for Romney to a 61-33 win for Trump in 2016 and 63-36 in 2020. Or OH-05, Jim Jordan’s domain. It swung from a 56-42 win for Romney to a 64-31 win for Trump in 2016 and 67-32 in 2020. What’s more, in 2020, McCarthy sits in the only district in the Fresno-Bakersfield corridor, long one of the more conservative parts of the state, where Trump won by double digits.
Moreover, McCarthy’s own winning percentages have been tailing off. After winning his first five terms with 70% or more of the vote, his totals have actually dwindled since Trump: 69% in 2016, 63% in 2018, and 61% in 2020. It’s no coincidence that McCarthy’s vote totals have tailed off as his Democratic challengers have spent more money. His 2016 challenger only raised $35,300 for the entire cycle. By comparison, his 2018 challenger raised $106,000; an improvement, but still nothing to write home about. His 2020 challenger, Kim Mangone, raised $1.6 million … not what you’d expect for a Democrat in an R+14 district.
If the blue team plays it right, McCarthy could potentially face a reckoning back home for first remaining silent the wake of the Big Lie, and then kissing Trump’s hand after said lie triggered an insurrection. There’s already at least one Democrat running against him: naval veteran and ironworker Bruno Amato.
Looking at his website, Amato doesn’t have the look of the sacrificial lambs and Some Dudes that typically surface in districts that are R+10 or worse. Moreover, it’s not often that you see Democrats already stepping up to run in districts this red.
Amato has a lot of work ahead of him, as will any other Democrat challenging McCarthy. This is a tough, tough district. But given the prospect that he’ll be running in a district that will be a bit more Latino than its predecessor, there’s a chance that he’ll be in a position to give McCarthy heartburn.
But we can do even better than that. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Sean Patrick Maloney should tie McCarthy’s duplicity about the Big Lie around the GOP like an anchor. For the last two cycles, the Republicans have tried to position the Democrats as a radical socialist mob. It would more than even the score to point out that the leader of the House Republicans remained silent about the Big Lie despite knowing that it was a lie, even after that lie stirred up an actual mob. That he did so to put out fires back home is no excuse, and Maloney and his team ought to remind the nation that this is not the kind of behavior we should expect from the likely speaker of a Republican-led House. If swing voters and suburbanites recoil from McCarthy over his embrace of Trump, it will all but assure that the GOP stays in the minority.
One way or another, McCarthy must answer for behaving beneath the dignity of someone who has ambitions of becoming speaker. We can make McCarthy do some heavy lifting in his own district, tie his duplicity around the entire House Republican Conference, or some combination of the two. Either way, McCarthy must learn that when you have ambitions of representing the whole House, you cannot forsake your oath in the name of keeping the wolves from your door back home.
There are so many memorable quotes from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather series that be can be applied to our current political environment. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” comes to mind, for example.
But there is a lesser known quotation, specifically from The Godfather Part II, that seems uniquely suited to the way Democrats ought to be viewing the circus of abject Trump tongue-bathing currently underway in Orlando at CPAC. It’s a line Michael Corleone delivers to his adopted brother Tom Hagen early on in the film, reflecting a strategy he learned from his father, Don Vito Corleone, but one he applied to friend and foe alike. He advises Hagen to “try to think as the people around you think,” noting that “on that basis, anything is possible.”
A grandiose, egotistical and sociopathic carnival barker with no demonstrable features of human empathy, one with a sordid, shady and criminal past, leaving two impeachments, a single term, and a record of abuses (including the deaths of over a half million Americans) in his wake. For all intents and purposes, this person now wields complete control of the Republican Party, with the power (and intention!) to create or destroy individual careers in that party with a single expression of his disapproval or distaste.
And now his very presence, his likes and dislikes, are being slavishly catered and accommodated in the expectation that he will save that party from irrelevance, simply through the force of his own erratic personality.
It’s no understatement to say that we’re witnessing an unprecedented moment in the country’s history. One of our political parties has willingly allowed itself to become subservient and beholden to a cult of personality—not just any personality, mind you, but one with a distinct, unmistakable character and history.
So if we want to follow Vito Corleone’s advice, we should try to put ourselves in the positions of Republicans and try to divine exactly what it is they are thinking.
Perhaps, to that end, its most useful to start with what they’re not thinking. They’re clearly not motivated by any high-minded fealty to the country, conservative principles or the Constitution. Other Republicans have survived for over a century paying homage to those things without abjectly prostrating themselves before a figure like Donald Trump. Nor in the last hundred years has a president with so many glaring failures (loss of the House, loss of the Senate, and loss of the general election) continued to hold sway over the Republican Party.
In fact the cult-like devotion among elected Republicans that we are witnessing with Trump points to only one cause—these Republicans are operating solely out of self-interest, and that self-interest is being driven, for the most part, by fear: specifically, fear of being primaried by someone more closely aligned with Trump, but also fear of what certain of their constituents will do to them if they do not continue to display their fealty to Trump.
For most of them that calculation is purely political, and it goes something like this: By aligning closely enough to Trump, Republicans hope to retain the base of constituents that put them into the office in the first place. They won’t grow that base, but it will be enough to secure reelection. That was the 2020 thinking; although Republicans lost control of the Senate, the margins were not as great as some predicted, and in the House they even gained a few seats. Many voters, disgusted by Trump but still loyal to the Republican Party, chose to keep their Republican senators and representatives even as they voted for Joe Biden.
But these same Republicans saw what happened in January’s Georgia special elections. Trump was nowhere on the ballot, and two GOP incumbents in what had long been considered a very “red” state promptly went down. They went down because of substantial and significant voter participation by people of color, which is why the upsurge in passing voter suppression has been such an urgent imperative in Republican-dominated state legislatures since that election. They went down because Trump himself had cast doubt on the integrity of the election itself, prompting a small but not insignificant number of Republican voters to sit the special election out.
Without Trump on the ballot, any conclusion that could be drawn from either the 2020 general or the Georgia special election would remain murky for Republicans. But faced with this inconclusiveness, the party as a whole has collectively decided to cast its lot with Donald Trump.
Just one short week ago, now-former Georgia Sen. David Perdue thought he might run for Senate again in 2022, for the seat that ex-Sen. Kelly Loeffler lost to Sen. Raphael Warnock. Following the lead of his party, he went down to Mar-a-Lago to pay homage to the dethroned and embittered Orange Ozymandias and secure his blessing.
It didn’t work out well. As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump didn’t want to talk to Perdue about 2022. Instead, the one-term president wanted to enlist him in his vendetta against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom he blames for declining to falsify the results of the 2020 election in his favor.
Perdue trekked to Trump’s private Mar-A-Lago club in Florida on Friday to play golf with the former president, according to people with direct knowledge who said Trump spent much of their time together railing against Republicans he claimed didn’t do more to overturn his defeat.
AJC reports that Perdue later stated that Trump’s behavior didn’t influence his decision. But that’s not what was reported by other outlets, including The New York Times.
The meeting did not go well, people briefed on it said. Mr. Trump was focused on retribution, particularly against Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, and Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican whom Mr. Trump views as having betrayed him.
Trying to navigate a feud between the former president and his state’s sitting governor for the next two years was deeply unappealing to Mr. Perdue, according to a Georgia Republican who knows the former senator.
One of the people briefed on the meeting with Mr. Trump said it appeared to be a factor in Mr. Perdue’s decision not to run...[.]
Let’s hit the pause button for a quick recap. To emphasize, the Republican Party leader is exactly what he was before 2020: an accused rapist and sexual harasser who was twice impeached. One who miserably failed the country in the time of its most dire need and incited an insurrection against the American government. An emotionally volatile, spite-driven figure, with multiple looming legal challenges that might very well end him up in prison. One who, with the assistance of a right-wing media firmly in his thrall, has managed to hoodwink tens of millions of Americans into believing that the election was stolen from him through some murky and fantastical exercise of widespread fraud.
Perdue tried to reason with him, to enlist his support, but he quickly discovered that it’s impossible to reason with such a person, to rise and fall with his whims, with his vindictiveness—whims and vindictiveness that are extraordinarily unpredictable. As unpredictable, in fact, as Trump’s own future.
This is the person in whom the Republican Party has placed both its trust and its future. In effect, through their allegiance, they’re consciously angling to make 2022 another referendum on Donald Trump. Beyond demonizing their usual targets (LGBTQ citizens, undocumented immigrants, and people of color they consider inferior) they have no ideas or policies to speak of—this is what “conservative values” have effectively devolved into.
So that explains what they’re “thinking.” It explains their motivation, and, as Michael Corleone would doubtlessly point out, it reveals their weaknesses, in spades.
President Biden is likely to have the benefit of some strong tailwinds going into 2022. The country will be reopened, and many people will be eager to spend money in ways they have been unable to do over the last year, leading to a huge upswing in the economy. Everyone who wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 likely will be by 2022, and in many ways, able to go back to lives we all considered to be normal before the pandemic struck. The change in quality of life for literally hundreds of millions of Americans will be palpable. The COVID-19 relief bill, which will be passed in about two weeks, will have worked its way through the economy, pumping nearly two trillion dollars into the system, relieving state governments and providing aid to millions of those currently—but hopefully only temporarily—unemployed. Since the bill will pass with exactly zero Republican support, the transformation this country undergoes will be solely attributable to the Democratic Party.
In contrast, we will see a Republican Party that has irrevocably tied itself to the failed presidency of Donald Trump, with all the baggage, current and ensuing, that Trump will force upon them as a consequence of that allegiance. Meanwhile the mercurial, unstable, and vindictive nature of Donald Trump himself will only grow worse. His legions of deplorable followers, including Republican elected officials who chose to become followers, will only become more and more radicalized as their futures grow inexorably attached to his failure. Even the slightest effort to acknowledge Biden’s successes will subject them to irredeemable punishment, resulting in ballot box rejection from their base.
Democrats must be out in front, emphasizing their successes, and taking credit for the resulting changes and improvements to Americans’ lives, as they happen, over and over again, ad nauseum. Draw these accomplishments into sharp relief with the presidency of Donald Trump, and particularly the empty platitudes his followers, elected Republicans, will offer in response.
Those Republicans who have now chosen, out of expediency, to tie themselves to Donald Trump should be given no quarter. They are making their bed now, and they should be forced to lie in it.
The Republican Party has chosen to make 2022 a referendum on Donald Trump. If Democrats do their job till then, it absolutely will be ... just not in the way Republicans would have hoped.
I like our chances.
John “Bull” Durham announced on Friday afternoon that he is stepping down from his position in the Department of Justice. Presumably this also means an end to his role as special counsel investigating the origins of the Russia investigation. (Note: latest reporting indicates he’s not dropping the probe.) In the announcement of Durham’s resignation, there is no mention of any further indictments or report upcoming from that investigation.
Durham was appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr in May 2019. The prosecutor had been involved in the investigation of torture and prisoner abuse during the Bush administration, and was directly involved in dismissing every one of the 101 charges on that front. That certainly made him seem an appropriately partisan choice for Barr when seeking someone who would fulfill Donald Trump’s dreams of turning the tables on the Mueller investigation.
But now, after an investigation that lasted months longer than Mueller’s, Durham is leaving with only a single minor indictment against a CIA official who signed off on a single document. Far from proving Trump’s conspiracy theories, Durham seems to have proved that they were conspiracy theories. And now he’s leaving.
A clarification in the latest reporting: Durham is not resigning as special counsel, just as the US Attorney in Connecticut. He apparently will still continue doing . . . whatever it is he is doing as special counsel.
Though the spring of 2019 marked the official start of Durham’s investigation, it was clear Barr tapped him for the role months sooner. But almost from the start, Durham’s investigation ran up on the shoals of hard truth. Despite Barr escorting him around the world in an effort to find something that could be turned into evidence behind Trump’s claims, it turned out that allied intelligence services refused to play along. It Italy, Australia, and the U.K., attempts to “prove” that Trump was somehow ensnared into making over 100 contacts with Russian agents were slapped away by officials unwilling to play along.
That was a setback. However, Durham only expanded his scope to look beyond current officials and those directly involved in decisions that led to Trump’s investigation. In fact, he appeared to be digging into unrelated events as an excuse to go after former officials under President Obama.
Still, despite unlimited assistance, Barr’s personal attention, and Trump cheering on the sidelines, Durham’s report never seemed to appear. At first, it seemed as if he intended to have something ready to blow up media attention on Trump’s first impeachment trial. That didn’t happen.
Then all through the summer, Barr hinted that the report was right around the corner. Except it wasn’t.
At the start of September, it seemed that Barr and Durham were still planning a genuine “October surprise.” But then Durham’s longtime assistant left the investigation in mid-September, with language that made it seem as if there was nothing there. Durham soon had his remaining staff looking at the Clinton Foundation for absolutely unspecified reasons because … why not? However, as actual October arrived, it seemed the real surprise was going to be on Trump.
Because there was no Durham report. The single charge levied back in August began to look like the only bullet in Durham’s pop gun.
Unless there is still some serious information, and more charges, not only is Durham leaving after a fruitless quest into unwarranted claims, this will also mean that Barr repeatedly and seriously overstated the significance of what Durham had uncovered. This is an investigation that was repeatedly put forward as if it had unearthed significant evidence in support of the idea that Trump was unfairly targeted, or that the Mueller investigation took partisan actions. None of that evidence has appeared.
Durham may be resigning, but this might not be the last time he visits the Department of Justice.
Former President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he is planning to form a super PAC as part of his post-presidential footprint into Republican Party politics.
Trump confidante and advisor Corey Lewandowski has been named to head up the super PAC, which is still in the planning stages as we head into CPAC weekend.
Trump political team member, senior advisor Jason Miller, said, “MAGA supporters and candidates supporting President Trump’s America First agenda are going to be impressed with the political operation being built out here. We expect formal announcements of the full team in the coming weeks, which will include some very talented operatives not yet named.”
Trump told political advisers yesterday at a multi-hour meeting at Mar-a-Lago that he’s chosen Corey Lewandowski to run a yet to-be formed super PAC https://t.co/xtXzw6Tqcc
— POLITICO (@politico) February 26, 2021
Forming A Trump Super PAC Plan
According to a report by Politico, the meeting took place on Thursday at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
In addition to Lewandowski and Miller, the meeting’s attendees included former Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, former deputy Campaign Manger Justin Clark, former Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, former White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, and attorney Alex Cannon.
Donald Trump already has a leadership PAC called “Save America,” which was last reported to have roughly $31 million in the bank. While there are limits to how much a regular PAC can raise, super PACS are not limited on how much money can be raised for a particular cause.
In the short amount of time since Donald Trump left the White House, it has become very apparent that he will play a huge role in shaping the future of the Republican Party.
This development is much to the chagrin of people like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), all of whom have been harsh critics of Trump.
A Trump endorsement is likely to be coveted by many 2022 GOP candidates.
Some of these coveted endorsements could fall to the primary challengers to seven of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
Of course, Trump has already begun handing out endorsements for 2022.
So far the former President has endorsed his former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has announced a run for Governor in Arkansas, and Sen. Jerry Moran’s reelection bid in Kansas.
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) February 25, 2021
Trump To Give Major Speech At CPAC
In his first major appearance since leaving office, Donald Trump is scheduled to give the keynote address this coming Sunday in Orlando at CPAC, the large yearly gathering of conservatives.
Many expect that Trump will lay out his political vision and plans going forward for not just 2022, but possibly 2024 as well.
According to Fox News, the former president intends to address issues such as immigration, jobs, and energy during his CPAC keynote.
It’s no surprise that Trump intends to tackle immigration after President Joe Biden hastily halted building of the wall on America’s southern border.
Jobs and energy are also on the agenda in light of Biden’s EO halting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project which has cost people their jobs, a good many of them being union jobs.
CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp told “Fox & Friends” Thursday of Trump, “He knows it’s a very important reset for him and for the country and for half the country and so many people who are here in this ballroom.”
His advisers say the CPAC speech will demonstrate that Trump‘s influence in the party is stronger than ever.https://t.co/0W6CEuxq3w
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) February 23, 2021
Trump will reportedly slam President Biden during upcoming CPAC speech | Just The News https://t.co/MLtRZDpZJX
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) February 25, 2021
Trump Ready To Move The Republican Party Forward
The Politico report goes on to say that Trump told his advisers that he is eager to “engage” in the outcome of the 2022 elections.
Said engagement reportedly includes plans to “exact revenge” on those that the former president feels were not loyal to him.
This could include House Republicans who voted to impeach, and possibly Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who Politico says Trump criticized for not “overturning the election.”
The new super PAC could serve as a conduit for Trump to raise funds and funnel them to his favored candidate in key 2022 races.
Trump has also recently met with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and former Senator David Perdue of Georgia.
However, it is not known if he intends to meet with any other possible presidential candidates who are attending CPAC including Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
According to a report from “Morning Consult,” 59% of GOP voters say Trump should play a “major role” in the Republican Party going forward.
To the disappointment of the GOP establishment, that might be all he needs.
'Buckle up' for CPAC, Trump is back and better than ever: Jason Miller https://t.co/xdZJYiyxD3
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) February 26, 2021
The post Trump Plans New Super PAC, Setting His Sights On 2022 Elections appeared first on The Political Insider.
It’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) time, and Sen. Ted Cruz is knocking them dead—both metaphorically and literally—with jokes about how wearing a mask during a pandemic is “dumb.” But just because Cruz took time out to scoff at the pandemic, make fun of Bernie Sanders’ mittens, and throw in the requisite lies about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t mean anyone at the “conservative” conference has taken their eye off the Big Lie. That’s still going strong.
As the Associated Press reports, Republican officials across the nation continue to spread divisiveness and encourage violence by pushing disinformation and conspiracies that mimic, or exceed, the claims that drove the deadly Jan. 6 insurgency. Meanwhile, the vaunted algorithms behind social media are driving the evolution of these conspiracies by selectively elevating the most outrageous—and most threatening—lies. Not only are Republicans failing to condemn the assault on the Capitol; in increasing numbers, they’re supporting it.
Just as anyone could (and many did) predict, the failure to exact any consequence on Republican leaders for their part in the attempted overthrow of the government is turning what happened on Jan. 6 from a one-time tragedy into a practice run.
Not only are state and county Republican officials endorsing the Big Lie about election fraud, many of them are explicitly supporting the violent assault on Jan. 6. At the same time, Republicans in leadership positions who have repudiated either the violence on Jan. 6 or Donald Trump’s lies that made that day possible are finding themselves “sanctioned” by county and state parties, smothered in death threats, and “othered” by a party they help to lead.
Meanwhile, on the eve of CPAC, Donald Trump provided direction to the party he controls about where things are going next. As Politico reports, Trump is assembling much of the same team who saw him through the 2016 election, with Corey Lewandowski to be placed in change of a super PAC aimed at expanding Trump’s “post-presidential political apparatus.”
Notice that this doesn’t seem to be a PAC that’s directly dedicated to the election of any particular candidate. Neither it is a PAC aimed at supporting some particular set of policies. This is a pool of money that will be used to one end: expanding the power and influence of Donald Trump.
For anyone believing that Trump would quietly sit in his cart for endless rounds of cheating at golf while Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz were pushed into obscurity by a party deeply embarrassed over the end result of Trumpism … that’s not how this is going. Instead, Cruz is front and center at CPAC, Hawley is considered a top contender for the Republican nomination, and rank-and-file Republicans are increasingly ready to treat Jan. 6 like their very own Beer Hall Putsch.
The day after Trump’s second impeachment trial, Sen. Mitch McConnell stood up in the Senate to say this:
“Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the vice president.
They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth – because he was angry he'd lost an election.
Former President Trump's actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
On Thursday, McConnell said this when asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier whether McConnell would back Trump if he got the nomination.
“The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”
All of this may make it seem as if the question of where the Republican Party goes next has already been decided. Trump has won, McConnell has folded, and every opponent is on the run. However, that’s not quite the case.
Despite bringing out record numbers of Republican voters, Trump’s tactics of racism, misogyny, and plain old fascism also generated an even larger pushback. After his surprise win in 2016, the Republican Party under Trump failed to hold onto the House, failed to hold onto the White House, and failed to hold onto the Senate. His reprehensible statements and divisive actions have done what many thought impossible: getting young Americans to vote in great numbers. They’ve also taken what was one of the biggest Republican strongholds—the suburbs—and turned it into a new source of Democratic Party power.
As columnist Nancy LeTourneau points out, there’s a good reason that Republicans have been unable to capitalize on even record amounts of support: They simply ran out of ideas a long, long time ago.
For decades now, the central disagreement between Democrats and Republicans has been about the size and role of the federal government. When it comes to domestic politics, the GOP has promoted tax cuts in order to "starve the beast" and deregulation. In that way, Donald Trump fit right in with the classic Republican agenda.
It could be argued that this was the one achievement of Trump’s whole term in the sense of being conservative in the classical sense. Trump’s tax cut for billionaires was exactly in the wheelhouse of the battle Republicans have been stoking against the programs of FDR’s New Deal for almost a century. Only Trump forgot the bathtub. As in, he gave the billionaires their billions, and went right on expanding the government—particularly in ways that he could use as a club to support his xenophobic agenda, such as granting ever more expansive reach to ICE, or that ultimate example of a modern folly, Trump’s wall along the southern border.
In fact, there’s a good argument to be made that Trump didn’t take over the Republican Party and empty out their last stock of “things to do,” because that store was already empty before he came in. Republicans were already running on the fumes of the things they were against—women, Blacks, gays, and immigrants. Their positive ideas were down to … down to … Surely there was one. Wasn’t there?
It was exactly this factor that allowed Trump to sail in. His willingness to set aside the reedy dog whistles and blow Trump-et blasts of hate really did seem like “speaking the truth” in a Republican Party that had been saying the same things. Only quietly.
So, when CNN reports that more than two dozen members of the House and Senate are unwilling to even admit that the election results were real, and that Joe Biden is the legitimate president of the United States, it should be shocking. But not surprising.
It’s not so much that Trump’s lies reveal him as the emperor who was duped into strutting around naked. It’s that the Republican Party has been without any real “new clothes” for so long, they’re willing to settle for Trump. He is, in their mind, better than fading away into the history book of parties that lost their reason for being. His lies, no matter how vile, energize a base of people, while the drivel coming out of the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hoover Institution simply don’t.
As LeTourneau says plainly, “Republicans are rejecting democracy because they lost the battle of ideas.” They’ve lost that battle because they’re basically unarmed. Unarmed, that is, except for spreading hate and screaming “freedom” when what they mean is killing people for profit. However, despite appearances and the literal golden ass on worshipful display at CPAC, this doesn’t mean that the fight is over and that all Republicans will not file into line neatly behind Trump.
The number of Republicans who have been openly willing to defy Trump may seem small, and proposals like Mitt Romney’s child payments may seem like outliers, but these small numbers have outsized power. After all, how many times have Democrats mumbled the name “Joe Manchin” in the last month? Republicans already have that problem. Times five.
Right now, Republicans seem willing to buy into the Big Lie about the election, even at the cost of potentially destroying the nation, because they have nothing else. They’re willing to burn it all down because they realize they’re out of alternatives.
But that willingness to follow Trump is far from a guarantee that their next election, or their next putsch, will be any more successful than the last.