Or is his mythology overblown?
(I think so….)
Some people I know, Democrats, think Donald Trump IS the ‘second coming’ for Republicans….
(He still gets media ‘hits’…..)
Some of us do NOT…..
Some of us believe that Trump flaws, lies and actions will destroy his political power in the end and drag down some of his party with him….
We’ll have to wait and see….
He’s still their heard leader….
But already his numbers are dropping…..
Writing this week in the Washington Post, neoconservative scholar Robert Kagan assembled a persuasive case that Trump’s continuing campaign of lies and subterfuge could well succeed in breaking our brittle system in 2024, essentially unbuckling democracy and installing Trump in office regardless of who wins. Yes, it could happen. Trump-directed state legislatures may very well skew election law to cancel a Democratic victory. Our contentious politics may become more violent. Federal authority may fracture and evaporate….
But there’s another way to look at it. Is this nighmare scenario really a function of Trump’s power and his dominance over his party? Or do the extra-Constitutional methods Trump might adopt as we enter the 2024 election penumbra reflect his essential weakness, and the continued decay of Republican power? Are we looking at a player holding a set of superior cards or as a weak-hand bluff artist threatening to blow up the casino unless he wins the pot?
It’s hard to know, and the political establishment—media included—has done an embarrassingly bad job of gaming it out in the past. As Kagan notes, we deserved Trump because we underestimated him the first time around. But going into 2024, does it make sense to compensate by overestimating him?
If Trump were the Election Day colossus that Kagan and other observers believe he is, wouldn’t the better strategy for 2024 be to run more like he did in 2016—a slightly feral Republican—and less like he did in 2020, as a crackbrained rager? He could just gather all those campaign donations pouring in and launch a solid ground game to win back states he won in 2016 but lost in 2020, and leave the Constitution and the election laws be. But so far, he’s not.
The only person or party that attempts a coup d’etat is the one that cannot win by other means. Gearing up for a coup—which we can concede that Kagan gets right about Trump—is not a sign of political strength but one of political weakness. By signaling an attempt to regain power by any means necessary, Trump essentially confesses that Trumpism is not and is not likely to become a majoritarian movement.
Evidence of Trumpian weakness abounds. Neither Trump nor his supporters exhibit much interest in debating the facts behind the issues, be it Covid-19, the climate, vote returns, or the time he stated erroneously that he has “total” authority over how states run their pandemic responses. The scores of bogus legal claims he and his team made in contesting election results have collapsed without much effort to defend them. Trump loves to argue by assertion, like every three-year-old, because in many cases his bold assertion is the only asset his argument contains.
Nor does the slavish obedience to Trump that so many of his supporters pay to him indicate a leader’s power….