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GOP’s Trump Card

Mishael Qadeer

20th Oct, 2021. 03:19 pm

Twitter might have shunned Trump, but America hasn’t – or at least Republicans haven’t. With United States Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican and former Trump critic, looking the other way to seek an endorsement from Trump at his ‘Save America From Its Government’ rally in Iowa earlier this week, it really begs the question: did Republicans ever truly give up on Trump? The answer is, not really. Despite the January 6 insurrection attempt on Capitol Hill and former Trump cabinet members writing tell-alls left, right and centre, many rank-and-file Republicans have remained chaotically neutral.


“If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 per cent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement,” stated Grassley at the ‘Save America’ rally. The Senator added that, “President Trump and I were proud to deliver for the hardworking people of Iowa and the United States — people just like you — policies that make a difference in the United States of America to continue America first.”


These words are a complete shift from his earlier remarks during Trump’s time in office, where the Senator on one occasion referred to the former President as ‘idiotic,’ and called his 2016 election interference claims ‘complete nonsense.’


While these words may be a full U-turn, they are not surprising. Instead, Grassley’s newfound mild approach is just a disappointing show of ‘smart politics’ as he himself conceded that the Republican base in Iowa, and arguably all over the United States, remains loyal to Trump despite his disorderly conduct.


Trump has made it abundantly clear that he is here to stay and has been peddling the narrative that he did not lose the 54th Presidential election and remains very involved in Republican politics by offering endorsements. In fact, Trump’s Senior Advisor Jason Miller said that the former president, “has made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022.”


Trump has also been targeting Republican senators that sided against him with regards to the January 6 riots, by personally warning them and inciting their voter bases. For instance, North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, another critic, received a call from Trump, prior to the impeachment hearings, asking him to help squash the rumours of a third party run and let the public know that he was very much still a Republican, which Cramer was more than happy to do. Following this, the Senator also voted in favour of dismissing Trump’s impeachment trial.


The businessman-turned-politician has also managed to mould the Republican party in his image. Conduct that was previously considered out of line and disorderly is now commonly exhibited by Republican officeholders in the House and the Senate. A prime example of this is Representative Majorie Taylor Greene, who stood on the steps of Capitol Hill and heckled fellow Washington insiders for their ‘lack of faith’ over the abortion rights debate. After pulling this stunt, the Representative was able to walk away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist from GOP, while in the past much smaller indiscretions have caused the Republican party to issue formal apologies.


This is because Trump has made his brand of chaos, obstruction and malpractice the brand of the Republican party, and its voters seem to really like it. So much so that, despite him holding no place in the party hierarchy, GOP voters prefer Trump. In fact, CNN polling showed that Republican voters prefer him to be the leader of the party by a 2-to-1 margin. Polling also shows that two-thirds of GOP voters believe that Trump was the legitimate winner of the 2020 election – a number that has not changed since November 2020. Only 57 per cent of Republicans believe that the Capitol rioters should face prosecution, and of these only 27 per cent think that this is really important.


This shows the overwhelming success of the Trump campaign’s framing of the insurrection as a forgettable event and not as an attack on American democracy. As a result, America finds its democracy hinging on the fragile belief that Republican officials see Trump for the Trojan Horse he really is.




The writer is Sub-Editor, Bol News


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