The frustrating thing about ethics is that the best and most ethical decision can, though what my father called “the vicissitudes of existence,” result in very bad consequences, and, similarly, unethical conduct can have results that benefit us all. This is what gulls human beings into consequentialism, or the natural tendency to judge the rightness and virtue of human actions according how events turn out.
Democrats are cheering, even gloating, about the fact that the “Red Wave,” almost universally predicted to sweep their party far from the levers of power in the House and Senate, and render Joe Biden the crippled duck he ought to be, never materialized. Nobody seems to agree why; I’ve read many theories. Republicans are dispirited and disillusioned, even though their “Red Ripple” will surely be enough to eject Nancy Pelosi from the Speaker’s chair. Still, surely they did something wrong to fail to meet all historical precedents for mid-term elections when a President is in the dumps, and the economy as well.
But here’s the funny part: the GOP disappointment may have solved a massive problem for the party and the country that just a little while ago appeared beyond a solution. The election results are being widely, and I think fairly, blamed on Donald Trump. His hand-picked candidates lost races that should have been won. His endorsements were generally toxic. He allowed the Democrats and the media to make the election about him when it should have been about President Biden. Worst of all, he couldn’t restrain himself from slipping into bully mode to attack Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s most likely rival for the 2024 Presidential nomination, right before the election. Then DeSantis answered by scoring the biggest victory of the night.
It sure looks like November 8, 2022, marked the end of Donald Trump’s strangle-hold on the loyalty of conservatives and Republicans. I am reading many pundits on the conservative side who are furious about Trump’s election day shots at DeSantis, and his inflicting weak candidates on races that needed to go Republican. Trump is, and has always been, an untrustworthy narcissist lacking filters and self-control, a human ticking time bomb. Against all odds he got through four years in the White House without a disastrous detonation, until the last possible moment when his tantrum over losing re-election led to a riot, a series of embarrassing court cases, an impeachment (though a contrived one), and the loss of two winnable Senate run-offs in Georgia, flipping the U.S. Senate to Democratic control. Amazingly, he maintained most of his popularity and hold over the party anyway, in part because Biden’s two years have been so disastrous. Trump even gained sympathy by the relentless effort in New York and by the House and the Justice Department to find something, anything, to justify indicting him.
But Republicans, conservatives and a lot of independents passionately wanted a GOP sweep, and Trump being unable to harness his inner asshole while abusing his influence to pick losers in crucial races around the country was a tipping point for many in his throng. Now it isn’t just Never-Trump establishment types (like Mitch McConnell) who have concluded that Trump is a detriment to the party’s chances at success going forward. Former supporters see it now too, and, just in time, there seems to be a heir apparent who is younger, a better politician, more savvy, less obnoxious, and far from volatile.
Still, you never know. Trump is nothing if not resilient and persistent. It was said of Richard Nixon that he rose from the dead more often than Dracula; some political figures can never be comfortably written off. If, however, the disappointment of the 2022 fizzle is the tipping point it appears to be, Tuesday’s GOP face-plant will benefit the party and the nation far more than a Red Tsunami would have.
18 thoughts on “A Fortuitous Tipping Point And Condign Justice For Donald Trump”
You have the wrong date listed above. The election was this year not 2023.
Fixed. My favorite kind of typo: one that can’t possibly be anything else.
I tend to agree. I think that Republicans need to be looking forward and not backward. Americans may love fighters and comeback kids — but whiners, much less so.
After 2020, it never really crossed my mind initially that Trump would run again — I wished he had won, but he didn’t, so we move on. But apparently it is hard as hell to move on from Trump, for both Republicans and Democrats. I was honestly dismayed at the thought, although I’ll vote for him in the general again if he’s the nominee. I won’t vote for him in the primary.
I think probably the most apt comparison to Trump’s running in 2024 would be TR in 1912. That turned out to be a disaster — whatever you think about Wilson and WWI, he probably set back civil rights in this country by a decade. I recently read Margaret McMillan’s Paris 1919 about the peace negotiations. They were a strange mixture, but Wilson did not cover himself with glory there, and even before his stroke likely sabotaged his chances of getting the League of Nations ratified by the U.S.
Judging by the results from this week, it’s less likely Trump could win in 2024, but if he did his second term might make the first look placid.
Plus do we really not have anyone under 80 who can be president? Pretty please?
Diego Garcia wrote, “I think that Republicans need to be looking forward and not backward.”
I’m going to cherry pick that sentence out of your comment.
Be very careful not to get caught in parroting that false propaganda narrative, it’s an indoctrination trap! That is the kind of intellectually dishonest argument that I see all the time from the progressives, allow me to explain.
Republicans are not looking backward they are trying to maintain the status quo on very important things like the Bill of Rights, Constitution, individual rights, maintaining or increasing police funding, keeping indoctrination out of schools, not dividing the nation into warring factions, logic, critical thinking, actual need, the list goes on and on. The problem with this “progressive” minded propaganda narrative is that “progressives” demand change simply for the sake of change and categorically refuse to listen to the logic and critical thinking that tells us that their progressive agendas are destructive to the nation as a whole, so they do what they do best, attack with bull shit propaganda smears. Progressives consider anything that’s not progressing forward as being backward, it’s a bald-faced lie!
Being pro status quo and anti-change simply for the sake of change without using logic, critical thinking or basing the change on need is not a negative! Progressives fabricate a blatantly false narrative (a lie) and then build their desired cultural, society and policy changes upon the unstable foundation of their own lie, systemic racism is a perfect example of their tactic.
Remember, one of the core beliefs of progressives is that the Constitution is a living, breathing document primed for change because it’s an archaic 18th century piece of parchment that’s not applicable in the 21st century modern world, plus it was written by a bunch of white supremacists. When your core belief includes that, your ideological core is anti-American, period. Common sense, critical thinking, logic and Liberty and the Constitution are the enemies of immoral hive minded totalitarians, so those concepts are now being tarred as unacceptable, socially canceled and pushed aside as being quaint anecdotes of an archaic history that needs to be scrubbed from existence.
After all that rambling my overall point is; don’t allow yourself to fall into the progressives’ indoctrination trap and willingly parroting the progressives propaganda narrative that Republicans are looking backwards, it’s a lie! Not being willing to change the status quo without using logic or critical thinking is NOT looking backwards, it’s maintaining the status quo and simply not being willing to take an irresponsible step off a cliff and into the abyss.
Looking backwards, nope; maintaining the status quo, yep!
You mistake my point. I said I think Republicans need to be looking forwards and not backwards — I didn’t say that Republicans in general were not looking forward. Rather that Trump is stuck reliving the 2020 election and Republicans can’t afford to do that.
One of the things I was reacting to was the latest statement by Trump, denigrating and tearing down Desantis’ performance and his victory in Florida. The GOP does not need that.
The 2020 election is over. I believe it was ‘rigged’ in the sense that the Democrats were able to stack the deck in their favor — they actually didn’t need fraud to win, it was already baked in. I thought we had perhaps learned from this experience — but evidently not enough. No matter — Trump lost and that’s not ever going to change. Saying he won, saying it was stolen is just going to guarantee another loss in 2024.
After the Republicans’ Senate mishaps in the early 2010s, and missing some golden chances to take various Senate seats, I thought we had learned that lesson — don’t run the crazies or the kooks. But apparently that issue keeps cropping up. Maybe the Democrats can win by running left wing nutcases, but Republicans generally have got to run candidates that will appeal to moderates as well the conservatives.
Tonight I just read a column in the WSJ regarding Michigan: I did not realize that not only did the Republicans lose the governor’s race, but they also lost control of both the Michigan House and Senate. Tudor Dixon was supposed to be close to or ahead of the odious Whitmer, but it turned out she wasn’t even competitive (as opposed to Lee Zeldin, who was genuinely competitive in a far bluer state). I actually don’t know if Michiganders had any viable candidates after the signature fiascos in the spring — Dixon had to have been something like the 4th or 5th choice since the front runners were disqualified.
The Michigan legislature has to share some of the blame as well — they had the chance after Dobbs to pass a sensible abortion bill, but like too many other legislatures did nothing that I am aware of. Abandoning the field after the victory in Dobbs apparently also ranks as a big factor in this election. The Republicans need to do better in the coming years — it’s pretty evident that the American people don’t want unlimited abortions, but it is also clear that they don’t want a ban on them either. The big talking point after Dobbs was that it had been returned to the states — so why did too many states not do anything with it?
On the gripping hand, it does look like we will win the House, which is a big deal. Hopefully we won’t be any worse off in the Senate — and 2024 structurally is a better playing field. I hope they choose …. wisely.
Trump’s true legacy won’t be written for at least 50 years – and that’ll only happen if there are an honest historians left by then. That’s a pretty big “if.”
Here’s my theory. I’ve thought since his rise in 2016 that, loathesome as he is, Trump was always the symptom and not the disease. Yes, he exploited that disease for his own ends, and did so in a perverse, narcissistic, and cynical manner. But he recognized a deep vein of discontent in this nation that almost nobody else saw, and which hasn’t gone away: a sense that the connected give only lip service to the fundamental premise and promise of the United States.
Consider: Trump had to rise to beat an arrogant Republican Party power structure that wanted no part of him. He then had to beat a Democratic Party power structure so convinced of its superiority that it thought it could run a corrupt hack like Hillary Clinton.
The most fascinating part of all of that was, to your initial point, the Republicans acted more-or-less ethically in the primary cycle and ended up with a horrid result (Trump), while the Dems acted UNethically to crush Bernie Sanders’s insurgency so they could put forth Cankles.
In the second paragraph, I said “almost nobody else saw.” That’s because Sanders saw it too, and though the solutions he proposed were very different than Trump’s, he recognized the same deep vein of angst in the nation: this government doesn’t give a shit about us. All it cares about is money for their buddies and power for themselves. The D establishment thought it had to knock that down and did so by putting its thumb on the scales in a deeply unethical way.
When Trump won, the Republican Party recognized it had just been forced into a shotgun marriage and decided to make the best of it. In so doing, it made many of the same mistakes both parties always make when they control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch: it became hubristic and over-reached, Trump subsequently lost control of the legislature, and that left him exposed to the corrupt elected and bureaucratic leviathan he campaigned against in the first place. Those who shape opinions in this nation, aligned with that leviathan, were only too happy to join the fray. After all, business was GOOD – and plenty of Pulitzers were dished out, while plenty of expensive pharmaceuticals were advertised.
So here we are. Trump may very well have had the right idea, but his own lack of character, ethics and integrity – to say nothing of the fact carpenters’ levels could be replaced by Trump’s learning curve – made him a wildly imperfect vehicle for the mission. An argument could be made that only someone as radical and outrageous as Trump could get the ball rolling – the nation needed disruption before the repair – but unfortunately, disruption was all that Trump had to offer. It’s probably all that he’s EVER had to offer.
I don’t dismiss the efforts of the Dems and their many fellow-travelers in the news media in all of this; listen to NPR, and any discussion of Trump-backed candidates invariably paints them as “election deniers,” a pejorative you may rest assured was carefully tested in focus groups. The leviathan hasn’t gone away, and I’d wager that it’s angrier and more fearful than ever.
For the nonce, however, we do have some promising things going on. We now have, or almost certainly will soon have, divided government again; this nation usually works best under such circumstances. And there’s some promising young talent among conservatives and the Republican Party, in contrast to the Dems, which has spent the last twenty years building a gerontocracy and stifling younger talent. Joe Biden represents the gerontocracy’s last gasp, but… really? Beto O’Rourke, Stacy Abrams and Gavin Newsome are the best you’ve got to offer?
So while I would have much enjoyed seeing the “Red Tsunami” come to fruition, at least in the short term, I’ll take what we’ve got: divided government, a seriously weakened Trump, and some intriguing talent on the rise for 2024. I just hope the Republicans don’t sweep in 2024. If the last 20 years have show us anything, that’s a recipe for disaster.
BTW, Jack, your opening graf on this post is one of the best you’ve ever written.
Arthur, may I ask you a question(s)? I ask this in good faith. I’m not a Hilary Clinton fan; far, far from it. I noticed, however, (and it happens a lot on this blog, and not just by you) that every time you referenced Trump you referred to him as Trump, Joe Biden as Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke as Beto O’Rourke, etc. But you referred to Hilary Clinton once by name, and then as “Cankles”. Why? Why the reference to looks? What does a person’s body parts have to do with their level of dispicable-ness? And why is body part naming disproportionately applied to women?
I ask because I do enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for considering.
I don’t mind the question at all, Alicia. Your point is very well taken. It was a cheap shot, and if I had the ability to edit the comment I would do so.
Thank you for the exchange. Appreciated.
I’ll take the comment down or redact it if you wish, AIM, though I think the exchange has independent value. Your call.
I am duly chastened. Let’s leave things the way that they are.
When the rank-and-file Republicans feel that their party will not fight for their interests and values they look for a leader who will. We cannot lay all the blame for Trump’s narcissism at his feet. Yes, he had the disease, but we fed that disease. His rallies were as much for us as they were for him. He gave us hope and he showed that by pushing back we can win the argument for limited government. Had it not been for Trump, DeSantis might not have had the courage to stand firm against the gale forces that wanted to take him out in Florida. We will never really know, but I don’t recall DeSantis being that outspoken when he was in Congress.
For many of us, Trump was the equivalent of an experimental medicine that might just keep us alive. We knew it would be a bitter pill, but we also knew that the alternative was an acceleration toward the dystopian totalitarian future controlled by those with the power to mold the opinions of the uninformed and lazy. As with all experiments involving people you get good and not so good. For every Desantis or Kari Lake who are strong voices that know how to frame the narrative we get an equivalent number of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s who whose temperament can be caustic which is used against her.
Jack wrote “Now it isn’t just Never-Trump establishment types (like Mitch McConnell) who have concluded that Trump is a detriment to the party’s chances at success going forward. Former supporters see it now too, and, just in time, there seems to be a heir apparent who is younger, a better politician, more savvy, less obnoxious, and far from volatile.”
The statement above may be true for now but if the GOP fails to remove the current leadership McConnell and McCarthy and it returns to simply being the handmaiden to the Democratic party and the big government interests another Trump like figure will emerge. The GOP needs to learn that Trump was not to blame for their poor performance Tuesday; it was the lack of a coherent and cohesive plan to combat the problems we are facing as a result of Biden’s policies.
“…if the GOP fails to remove the current leadership McConnell and McCarthy and it returns to simply being the handmaiden to the Democratic party and the big government interests another Trump like figure will emerge.”
I strongly agree. The current GOP leadership apparently still doesn’t understand that Trump’s election was a manifestation of the broad-based conservative dissatisfaction with them and their leadership as much or more than a rejection of the Democrats. Seems to me like a plain case of failing to learn from (recent) history.
I think the GOP leadership understands perfectly. They simply do not care. They want to shove the toothpaste back in the tube and cram the genie back in the bottle. This didn’t start with Trump, it started at least as far back as the Tea Party movement. GOP leadership succeeded at crushing the Tea Party movement, but it only came back to bite them in the ass with Trump. The unhappy masses did not simply break up and disperse like the GOP wanted. They regrouped and came back with a bigger stick. The cycle will only keep repeating and the sticks will only get bigger unless the GOP starts listening and changing their reaction to getting whacked.
I think people voted for “not crazy”. Anyone trump supported had a stench of crazy to them. Just by mentioning them and not endorsing, like he did with Odea was a negative loop.
Trump’s ongoing meltdown is somehow both surprising and perfectly predictable. He’s out there today taking juvenile swipes at Glen Youngkin (why?), as well as DeSantis. Pure self-immolation, totally unnecessary, and absolutely on-brand. The “stable genius” has become completely destabilized by an election he wasn’t even in.
Hopefully this tantrum will erode support from the last holdouts who are still clinging to Trump’s cult of personality and allow the country to move on. I think it’s fitting that in the end, despite managing to weather years of attacks from a huge array of enemies, he’s finally being sidelined by his own worst enemy, himself.
Maybe if we’re really lucky, there will be at least one candidate for president in 2024 who wasn’t born before the Korean War…
Technically, that war* is still going on, so no such potential candidates exist.
* Technically, that wasn’t – isn’t – a war.
Oh, I see now. You meant “before the Korean War started”, but I read it as “before the Korean War ended”.