There’s this school of thought being circulated among the Republican Party’s high-brow and among the clueless Democratic ranks that goes like this: The GOP has been infiltrated by blind and unthinking Donald Trump fawners with an overly simplistic ideology called MAGA that’s hurtling America toward destruction. Moreover, these high-brow ranks believe — truly believe — that MAGA influences must be purged or else the entire GOP will fall.
It doesn’t get any whinier than this. Such nonsense is expected from the Democrats. They’re socialists who hate America and want only to see the country go collectivist, a la communist style. But Republicans ought to learn from past mistakes.
It takes a powerful historical revisionist to arrive at this conclusion. The fact is Trump’s rise to the White House came because of the failure of these very high-brow, clueless types to see how their own political elitism was killing conservatism.
Trump was not the problem.
Trump was the solution.
It’s astonishing that so many in the GOP still can’t grasp that simple principle. It’s astonishing that so many in the GOP so willingly side with Democrats on Trump, rather than with the people who steadfastly support Trump, and MAGA, and America First.
When will they learn?
“The Republican Party is becoming a cult,” wrote one George Mason University professor at The Hill, in a piece that aptly demonstrates the thought processes of those with Trump Derangement Syndrome, of anti-Trump viewpoint, of Trump-hating opinion.
“Republican Party … leaders are in thrall to Donald Trump,” he wrote.
“The party is now in the process of carrying out purges of heretics who do not worship Trump or accept all the tenets of MAGA,” he wrote, calling out this modern-day political activism as a form of “right-wing extremism” that’s rooted in “irrational impulses” and a reluctance to embrace “diversity and inclusion,” true “American values” and a real “E pluribus unum” mindset.
That’s an opinion.
That’s one opinion. And honestly, it’s an opinion that’s shared by mostly all of the Trump haters in America and even around the world.
But here’s the more fact-based analysis of the Trump train: Republicans in the party moved left and worked deals with Democrats too many times, forgetting their conservative roots — forgetting the conservatives who voted them into office. Republicans in the party hiked the debt ceiling too many times, failed to enforce border controls too many times, failed to fight Obamacare as fully as they could too many times, failed to spend tax dollars as wisely as they could too many times. Republicans like John McCain and John Boehner reached across party lines to cut behind-door deals with Democrats too many times — and then shove them into legislation or policy over the objections of their voters back home too many times — and then turn around and campaign on core conservative principles and promises to return to the core conservative principle fold too many times.
Republicans in the party, in short, abandoned their Republican voters too many times, as well as their conservative principles, too many times.
The Republican Party got its warning in 2010 with the rise of the tea party.
Did leadership learn?
“Emperor Mitch McConnell Pledges to Crush the Tea Party,” The Atlantic wrote in 2014.
“Mitch McConnell On Tea Party Challengers: ‘We Are Going To Crush Them Everywhere,’” HuffPost wrote in 2014.
No. Leadership didn’t learn.
So in comes Trump, riding a wave of populism — riding a wave of common-sense politicking — riding a wave of conservative anger of the shooting death of an innocent woman named Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant with a felony record and a history of several previous deportations.
In came Trump with a promise to root out the deep state forces and special interest anti-American sources working with and within the political systems to tear down U.S. exceptionalism and join in the globalist agenda.
In came Trump with a bulldog mentality and a fiercely protective message for America called MAGA.
And while Fox News’ Chris Wallace and then-host Ed Henry were giggling, and while some of the biggest brand names in conservative talk radio, to include Mark Levin and Glenn Beck and Charlie Sykes and others were resisting, and while National Review editors were collecting their letters from top-dog conservative brand names to publish as a special edition “Say No To Trump”-type hit piece — while all this was taking place within the ranks of Republican media and spreading among Republican gossip circles and through Republican Party headquarters as talking points and bullet points and darts, the conservative faithful in America were catching a whiff of hope.
Trump was the guy who was going to go to Capitol Hill and fight for the conservatives who’d been sidelined by their own party, treated with derision by their own representatives, tossed to the side with a “who else ya gonna vote for” politically elitist crowd.
Trump was the guy who was going to fight, fight, fight for America First — rather than whine, whine, whine about a 60-vote threshold, while shrugging and shirking duties to constituents and tossing back glasses of imported Scotch with closeted friends in the Democrat Party.
“GOP becoming a cult of know-nothings,” The Hill headline blasted, above the piece from this George Mason University professor.
That’s one way to look at it.
But the other way — the more truthful way — is this: Trump was the guy who saved the Republican Party from extinction. Without Trump, the GOP was rapidly becoming Republican In Name Only. Trump fanned the fires of voter excitement, Trump fueled the conservative base to get out and vote, Trump fought the good fight on behalf of the disenfranchised and disillusioned and due to that, conservatives — regular conservatives — are still energized and engaged and excited to take down the left.
The Democratic Party will never understand the appeal.
But it’d sure be nice if the Republican Party would.
It’d sure be nice if the Republican Party would learn from past mistakes and remember political history as it happened. Trump wasn’t an anomaly. He was a much-needed course correction for a party that was failing its voters. If the GOP can’t see that, it’s very likely voters will happily remind them of that in 2024, and beyond.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.