Trumpism hasn’t lost its iron grip on the GOP — and Trump is now furiously at war with 'RINOs': journalist

Trumpism hasn’t lost its iron grip on the GOP — and Trump is now furiously at war with 'RINOs': journalist
Gage Skidmore.

Although former Vice President Joe Biden enjoyed a decisive victory in the 2020 presidential election — winning 306 electoral votes and defeating President Donald Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — most Republicans in Congress are afraid to publicly acknowledge Biden as president-elect. Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud — and many Republicans are afraid of offending him. This situation, journalist A.B. Stoddard argues in an article for the conservative website The Bulwark, underscores the dysfunction in the GOP and the fact that Trumpism is still alive and well among Republicans.

"In their confusion," Stoddard explains, "Republicans seem not to have noticed the new dynamic which is emerging. The combination of the 'stop-the-steal' ragers and the fear of the silent Republican establishment types are mother's milk to Trump."

Trump, Stoddard argues, couldn't care less about the long-term wellbeing of the Republican Party — his only motivation is self-interest.

According to Stoddard, "Donald Trump is going to destroy their party — not because he wants to or even because he's trying to, but because the destruction of the GOP will be required in order to fill his psychological needs."

The Washington Post, on December 5, reported that according to a survey of 249 Republicans serving in either the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives, only 25 were willing to publicly acknowledge Biden as president-elect. And Trump, Stoddard notes, responded to the Post's reporting by going on a "RINO hunt" and tweeting:

Under Trumpism, any Republican who publicly accepts the 2020 presidential election results runs the risk of being labeled a RINO: Republican in Name Only — and the so-called "RINOs" being lambasted by Trum supporters range from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, which is ironic in light of how aggressively Ducey and Kemp have supported Trump in the past. And a major irony that Stoddard notes is the fact that "Trump wasn't a Republican before he ran for president."

Indeed, the Trump of the 1990s was more of a center-right Blue Dog Democrat. But now, as Stoddard points out, loyalty to Trump is a litmus test for who is or isn't a "real Republican."

"After the 2020 election, the definition of who is a 'real' Republican will be made by simple binary answer: were you with Trump in his attempt to steal a 'rigged' election, or against him? Are you in or out of the Trump personality cult?," Stoddard writes. "It's amusing to watch conventional Republicans try to cling to the idea that Trumpism is about policy or ideology or something other than Donald Trump and his 'attitude.' These people were happy to be complicit in Trumpism so long as they got their judges and nobody demanded that they break the law on Trump's behalf."

Many Never Trump conservatives were hoping that 2020 would bring so massive a blue tsunami that the GOP would have no choice but to reject Trumpism and rebuild itself from the ground up. But that tsunami didn't come about. Although Biden's victory was decisive, the size of the Democratic majority shrunk in the U.S. House of Representatives — and it remains to be seen how well Democrats will perform in two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, and whether or not Democrats will be able to flip the Senate.

Trumpism, Stoddard laments, still has an iron grip on the Republican Party.

"The MAGA cult no longer sees Democrats and the media as Enemy Number One," Stoddard stresses. "The Republicans who aren't legally permitted to deny reality are now the big threat. And Trump is going to spend the next two — or four — years at war them."

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