Here's how Trumpism continues to erode the Republican Party
Former President Donald Trump is no longer in office but his influence on the Republican Party remains intact. In fact, the latest debacle involving Republican candidate Harriet Hagerman is a prime example of the descent of the political party as a result of the Trumpism impact.
According to CNN, Trump has endorsed Hagerman who is looking to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in the 2022 primary election. The former president has described the Republican candidate as "strong on Crime and Borders, powerfully supports the Second Amendment, loves our Military and our Vets, and will fight for Election Integrity and Energy Independence."
However, there is just one oddity about the endorsement. Trump made no mention of Hagerman's previous disdain toward him. When Trump was on the campaign trail back in 2016, Hagerman was one of his most verbal critics. According to The New York Times, Hagerman did not mince words when she expressed her disapproval of Trump. The publication also highlighted the seemingly bizarre evolution of Hagerman.
"Calling Mr. Trump 'the weakest candidate,' Ms. Hageman attributed his rise to Democrats who she claimed had voted in Republican primaries.
"She condemned Mr. Trump as a bigoted candidate who would repel voters Republicans needed to win a national election, warning that the G.O.P. would be saddled with 'somebody who is racist and xenophobic.'"
So, what happened to the deeply critical Hagerman? In short, according to CNN, Trump won and many Republican lawmakers opted to join the one they didn't beat. Speaking to the New York Times Hagerman attempted to do damage control for her past condemnation of Trump.
"I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized that their allegations against President Trump were untrue," Hageman told the Times about her past criticism of Trump. "He was the greatest president of my lifetime, and I am proud to have been able to renominate him in 2020. And I'm proud to strongly support him today."
However, the CNN analysis written by Chris Cillizza argues otherwise. "The truth is that Hageman didn't have some sort of epiphany about Trump," Cillizza wrote. "Instead, she, like so many other Republicans who expressed considerable doubt about the prospect of the billionaire businessman leading their party, simply caved to political expedience."
Despite Hagerman's arguments, her actions underscore a bigger problem among Republican leaders and lawmakers: there is "no political ground to be made up in opposing him on principled grounds."
To support his point, he noted Hagerman's remarks about Cheney as he argued that her change of heart is politically motivated. At that time, it was actually Cheney that Hagerman praised. "I know that Liz Cheney is a proven, courageous, constitutional conservative, someone who has the education, the background and experience to fight effectively for Wyoming on a national stage," Hageman said in 2016.
She added, "There have been and will continue to be concerted efforts to force true conservatives to sit down and shut up. Those efforts have never worked on me and I know that they will not work on and have no effect on Liz Cheney. I am proud to introduce Liz Cheney as the next congressional representative from the great state of Wyoming."
Cillizza wrote, "What changed is that Trump attacked Cheney because she laid blame for the January 6 insurrection at his feet and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for his conduct that day."
He concluded writing: "This is what Trumpism has wrought in the Republican Party. Because the former President requires total, unquestioning loyalty, the likes of Hageman are willing to do whatever it takes to win his support. Even if it includes going back on everything you once said you believed."
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