Alex Henderson

Right-wing host implores Trump not to screw up the Missouri Senate race for the GOP: ‘We'll lose that seat’

With conservative Republican Sen. Roy Blunt having decided against seeking reelection in Missouri’s 2022 U.S. Senate race, former President Donald Trump and his allies are hoping that the candidate who receives the GOP nomination will be as MAGA as possible — and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens definitely qualifies as MAGA. But right-wing radio host/Washington Post columnist Hugh Hewitt is imploring Trump not to endorse the far-right Greitens.

Although much of the commentary in the Post’s opinion pages has been vehemently anti-Trump — from liberals like Eugene Robinson and Greg Sargent to Never Trump conservatives George Will, Max Boot and Kathleen Parker — Hewitt has been an ardent Trump supporter in his Post columns as well as on his radio show. However, Hewitt obviously believes that Trump will be making a huge mistake if he endorses Greitens over another Republican candidate in Missouri.

When Trump appeared on Hewitt’s radio show this week, the host implored him, “Please don’t, please don’t endorse Eric Greitens. That’s a nightmare, Mr. President. We’ll lose that seat. But that’s Hugh Hewitt’s opinion, not yours.”

Trump responded, “Well, that’s an interesting opinion, that’s true. He’s right now leading by quite a bit.”

Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, a Trump ally, has endorsed Greitens. Regardless, Hewitt maintained, “He will lose the seat. We will lose the seat.”

Missouri is a deep red state that Trump carried by 15% in the 2020 presidential election (compared to 6% in Texas) and by 19% in 2016. But even in a state as deeply Republican as Missouri, Greitens comes with a lot of baggage.

Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy and tampering with a computer in 2018, although the charges were dropped. And it was also in 2018 that Greitens, a former Democrat turned far-right Republican, resigned as governor because of sexual assault allegations.

Hewitt has previously criticized Greitens to his face on these grounds:

Although Missouri is an uphill climb for Democrats in statewide races, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (now an MSNBC contributor) served two terms via Missouri before being voted out of office in 2018 and losing to now-Sen. Josh Hawley.

One of the things that gave McCaskill an advantage in Missouri’s 2012 U.S. Senate race was some controversial comments that her GOP opponent, Todd Akin, made about rape and abortion — and some Republicans, including Hewitt, fear that if Greitens receives the nomination, he will suffer the same fate as Akin.

Democrats presently hold a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, and Republicans could retake the Senate in 2022 if they are able to flip even one Democrat-held seat while maintaining all of the seats they presently hold.

New report says the pandemic has even made driving more deadly

The coronavirus pandemic has not only been dangerous for the more than 5.2 million people killed by COVID-19 worldwide (according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore), but also, for all the other problems it has encouraged. These include people neglecting non-COVID-related health conditions and increased depression and substance abuse. And another problem aggravated by the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times, is fatal car crashes.

Reporters Emily Baumgaertner and Russ Mitchell, this week in the Times, explain, “The latest evidence suggests that after decades of safety gains, the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless — more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and leave their seatbelts unbuckled…. Experts say that behavior on the road is likely a reflection of widespread feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression.”

In early June, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 38,680 deaths had occurred on U.S. roadways in 2020 — which was the highest number since 2007. The Times discussed this trend with various interviewees, including National Safety Council researcher Ken Kolosh, who told the publication, “I fear we’ve adopted some really unsafe driving habits, and they’re going to persist. Our roads are less safe than they were pre-pandemic.”

Another researcher, Shannon Frattaroli of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Times, “We might decide: What does a seatbelt or another beer matter, anyway, when we’re in the middle of a pandemic?”

Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, believes that COVID-19 has brought about “a sea change in psychology” — and in terms of mental health, it isn’t an improvement for the better.

Farley told the Times, “You’ve been cooped up, locked down, and have restrictions you chafe at. So, if you can have an arousal breakout, you want to take it.”

According to Baumgaertner and Mitchell, an “astonishing” combination came about in the United States in 2020: less driving on the whole, but more driving-related fatalities and injuries. In other words, Americans have been driving less during the pandemic, but not driving as carefully when they do drive.

“What made last year’s increase so astonishing was that the total miles driven — an estimate calculated by sampling traffic on various roadways — fell by more than 13% as cities locked down and more people worked from home,” Baumgaertner and Mitchell report. “For every 100 million miles driven last year, 1.37 people died — a 23% rise from 2019. Mileage estimates are not yet available for 2021.”

The right’s 'rich philosophical' tradition has 'devolved' into 'brutalism' and 'voter suppression': conservative

Over the years, conservative-leaning New York Times columnist David Brooks, now 60, has had plenty of disagreements with Democrats, liberals and progressives. But Brooks has been a blistering critic of former President Donald Trump and the MAGA movement, which he believes has been terrible for conservatism and terrible for the Republican Party. In an essay/think piece published by The Atlantic on December 8, Brooks argues that conservatism — which he once considered a “rich philosophical” tradition — has “devolved into” hatemongering, conspiracy theorists and “voter suppression.”

Brooks opens his article by explaining how, as a young “politics and crime reporter” in Chicago, he went from considering himself a “socialist” to embracing conservatism. Seeing Chicago housing projects like Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor Homes, Brooks writes, helped convince him that liberalism’s “best of intentions” had “become nightmares.” Brooks also describes his internship at the late William F. Buckley’s National Review as an experience that greatly influenced him politically.

“In conservatism, I found not a mere alternative policy agenda, but a deeper and more resonant account of human nature — a more comprehensive understanding of wisdom, an inspiring description of the highest ethical life and the nurturing community,” Brooks explains. “What passes for ‘conservatism’ now, however, is nearly the opposite of the Burkean conservatism I encountered then. Today, what passes for the worldview of ‘the right’ is a set of resentful animosities, a partisan attachment to Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, a sort of mental brutalism. The rich philosophical perspective that dazzled me then has been reduced to Fox News and voter suppression.”

Brooks stresses that he still identifies with the conservatism of the past.

“Conservatism certainly has an acute awareness of sin: selfishness, greed, lust,” Brooks writes. “But conservatives also believe that in the right circumstances, people are motivated by the positive moral emotions — especially sympathy and benevolence, but also, admiration, patriotism, charity, and loyalty. These moral sentiments move you to be outraged by cruelty, to care for your neighbor, to feel proper affection for your imperfect country. They motivate you to do the right thing…. True conservatism’s great virtue is that it teaches us to be humble about what we think we know.”

Brooks describes America’s post-World War II conservative movement as a “collection of intellectuals, activists, politicians, journalists, and others aligned with the Republican Party,” lamenting that “Trumpism” is much more “pessimistic.”

“I wish I could say that what Trump represents has nothing to do with conservatism, rightly understood,” Brooks argues. “But as we saw with Enoch Powell, a pessimistic shadow conservatism has always lurked in the darkness, haunting the more optimistic, confident one. The message this shadow conservatism conveys is the one that Trump successfully embraced in 2016: Evil outsiders are coming to get us…. Trumpism looks at the tender sentiments of sympathy as weakness. Might makes right."

Brooks goes on to say that he is “skeptical that the GOP is going to be home to the kind of conservatism I admire anytime soon.”

“Trumpian Republicanism plunders, degrades and erodes institutions for the sake of personal aggrandizement,” Brooks laments. “The Trumpian cause is held together by hatred of The Other. Because Trumpians live in a state of perpetual war, they need to continually invent existential foes — critical race theory, nongendered bathrooms, out-of-control immigration. They need to treat half the country, metropolitan America, as a moral cancer, and view the cultural and demographic changes of the past 50 years as an alien invasion.”

Brooks continues, “Yet pluralism is one of America’s oldest traditions; to conserve America, you have to love pluralism. As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity.”

Bob Dole’s death shows how 'malignant whiners' took over the Trumpified GOP: Paul Krugman

When former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole died on Sunday, December 5 at the age of 98, many media figures — from liberals and progressives to Never Trump conservatives — described him as an old-school Republican who embodied a bygone era of GOP politics. Liberal economist and New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman, in his December 7 column, weighs in on Dole’s death as well. And Krugman lays out the contrasts between Dole’s right-wing politics and the “malignant whiners” and MAGA extremists who dominate the GOP of 2021.

Dole was a fixture in the Republican Party for many years. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968, Dole chaired the Republican National Committee from 1971-1973 before becoming President Gerald R. Ford’s running mate in 1976’s presidential election. Ford lost to Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter that year, and 20 years later, in 1996’s presidential election, GOP nominee Dole lost to incumbent President Bill Clinton.

After Dole’s death, President Joe Biden praised him as a “friend” and a “statesman” in an official statement, saying, “In the Senate, though we often disagreed, he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most.” And Krugman, in his column, stresses that although he had plenty of policy disagreements with Dole, the late Kansas senator and World War II veteran showed a “basic decency” that is missing from today’s Trumpified GOP.

“Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader and presidential candidate, died on Sunday at age 98,” Krugman explains. “The media was filled with encomiums, which was understandable even for those who opposed much of what he stood for. It’s not just that he was a war hero, or that he reminds us of an era in which the two parties were willing to work together in the national interest. His life story also reminds us of a time when public figures were supposed to show some sense of responsibility — to possess basic decency, to admit to mistakes when they made them, even to put their lives on the line in time of war.”

READ: New evidence could be a big problem for John Durham's attempt to vindicate Bill Barr's conspiracy theories

Krugman adds that Dole’s death “came just a few days after we learned what Donald Trump did after he tested positive for the coronavirus last year.”

The columnist explains, “(Trump) not only concealed the result, but also, proceeded to put hundreds of people at risk by continuing his normal activities while refusing to wear a mask or practice social distancing…. At some level, nobody is surprised; we knew that Trump was malignant to a degree never before seen in high office. But what does it say about the state of modern America that nobody expects him to pay any price for this revelation? The loyalty of his base won’t be shaken; he’s still the favorite for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.”

Dole’s death, according to Krugman, “reminds us” that “grownups” have disappeared from the Republican Party and been replaced by toxic MAGA extremists.

“The transformation of American conservatism — the same movement that complains about liberal ‘snowflakes’ — into a collection of malignant whiners seems to have reached apotheosis,” Krugman emphasizes. “Yes, there are self-pitying hypocrites on the left too, but they don’t dominate the way Trump and Trump-like figures dominate the right.”

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Krugman continues, “I’m not entirely sure why this has happened; the degradation probably began decades ago, maybe as early as the Vietnam years. But there’s no question that it has happened. At this point, there are no grown-ups left on one side of the political aisle.”

History of 'Cracking down on free speech': Mehdi Hasan explains why Nunes is the perfect person to head Trump’s media company

Rep. Devin Nunes of California has announced that he is resigning from Congress to become the CEO of former President Donald Trump’s new media company, Trump Media & Technology Group. The far-right California Republican, in a December 6 letter, said he will be leaving “at the end of 2021.” MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan weighed in on Nunes’ decision in a scathing commentary, stressing that although Trump has claimed that his new company’s goal is promoting free speech, Nunes has done the exact opposite.

Hasan opened his commentary by noting that Nunes loves to file defamation lawsuits against his critics, even going so far as to file a lawsuit against a fictional “cow” that mocked him on Twitter. That Twitter parody account, Devin Nunes’ Cow, Hasan pointed out, received more traffic than Nunes’ own Twitter account.

Trump Media & Technology Group will include the social media platform Truth Social, which the former president is promoting as a right-wing alternative to Twitter — a platform that shut down Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account following the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.

Hasan told MSNBC viewers, “Just soak this in for a minute: the guy who wanted to crack down on free speech online is going to be the CEO of a free speech company called Truth, run by one of the most dishonest men in history. Trump, of course, loves Nunes, and even gave him a Presidential Medal of Freedom before leaving office last January.”

The progressive MSNBC host described some of Nunes’ anti-free speech activities, including his frivolous lawsuit against CNN — which was thrown out in court — and his lawsuits against Esquire, McClatchy Newspapers and a fictional cow. Hasan noted that Nunes “even tried to sue a congressional colleague, California Democrat Ted Lieu, for allegedly maligning his reputation.”

Hagan commented, “No wonder Donald Trump loves Devin Nunes — he’s another whiny family heir who lucked his way into right-wing politics and who did nothing with that political power except lying, owning libs and trying to intimidate journalists and critics…. Nunes is hardly the first Republican to find paid messaging more rewarding than, you know, governing and legislating and policy making.”

Hasan also noted the irony of the fact that Nunes co-sponsored the Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act of 2017, commenting, “I guess it’s lucky for him that it never passed.”

GOP lawyer explains why our 'byzantine' election law is so dangerous — and everyone should want to fix it

Some Democrats have been warning that the Electoral Count Act of 1887 needs to be amended and strengthened before the 2024 presidential election in order to secure the result from those who would seek to overturn it. Benjamin L. Ginsburg, a veteran Republican election lawyer, argued in a recent article for the National Review that fixing the Electoral Count Act for the good of Republicans as well as Democrats.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post on September 8, 2020, Ginsburg aggressively pushed back against then-President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election would be “rigged” and “fraudulent” if he didn’t win. That op-ed, not surprisingly, didn’t go over well in MAGA circles. Regardless, Ginsburg has maintained that Americans need to have faith in the United States’ elections, and his National Review piece stresses that strengthening the Electoral Count Act is crucial to the wellbeing of U.S. democracy.

“Donald Trump should want the Electoral Count Act of 1887 amended, and he should want it done even though…. some of his Democratic opponents may want the same thing,” Ginsburg emphasizes. “Designed to govern Congress’ tabulation of Electoral College votes — including disputes between the chambers — the aged law is a swamp of ambiguity. Its byzantine, vague and muddled provisions do not provide sufficient answers to crucial questions that could arise in a genuinely close election. Despite the fact that the former president’s attempts to exploit those shortcomings failed in 2020, he and all Republicans should be haunted by the blueprint that he has created for his opponents if he were to run for office again in 2024.”

Some liberals and progressives, over the years, have proposed abolishing the Electoral College — which is not something that the conservative Ginsburg favors. Ginsburg has been a staunch Electoral College defender, but he believes that the Electoral Count Act needs to be strengthened in order to make sure that the electoral vote count is fair to both Republicans and Democrats.

READ: New evidence could be a big problem for John Durham's attempt to vindicate Bill Barr's conspiracy theories

“Republicans should not deceive themselves by thinking the current state of this law automatically works to their advantage,” Ginsburg writes. “While many of them used it offensively on January 6, 2021, they did so because they were trailing in Electoral College votes. They poked at real flaws, and while not successful because the vice president rebuffed Trump’s legally unsupportable command that the states’ certifications be rejected, Republicans did show how the system can be maneuvered.”

The attorney continues, “Republicans should be in favor of clarifying the system now, if for no other reason than they will not be in as strong a position as they were in 2020. For starters, a Democratic vice president will be presiding over the Senate when the Electoral College votes are opened. Suppose Trump runs again, and wins. Now, suppose Vice President (Kamala) Harris believes that Trump’s reelection represents an existential threat to the (country) and does what Trump couldn’t persuade Mike Pence to do.”

Ginsburg goes on to say that “fixing the ECA’s flaws” will benefit both Republicans and Democrats if the U.S. faces an “electoral stress test” in the future.

“Neither Donald Trump nor members of either party can accurately predict what will be to their advantage the next time the ECA becomes crucially relevant,” Ginsburg writes. “Providing clarity would be in the nation’s interest. The time to act is now.”

Ginsburg’s National Review article has received generally positive feedback from someone who often disagrees with conservatives: liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, who agrees with many of the attorney’s points in his column.

READ: Jeffrey Clark’s 'election subversion' plot included 'brazen' things even Bill Barr wouldn’t do: conservative

“Ginsberg’s warning, which he issued in a piece for National Review, is that if we don’t fix glaring ambiguities in the ECA, we’re leaving ourselves profoundly vulnerable to future election subversion,” Sargent explains. “Some congressional Democrats are eyeing new reforms to the ECA, the New York Times reports. But as of now, no Republicans appear on board. As Ginsberg notes, Trump’s attack on the 2020 election was in large part an effort to exploit those very ambiguities. The ECA structures the process by which Congress counts presidential electors, and Ginsberg proposes numerous reforms.”

Sargent expresses doubts, however, that a lot of MAGA Republicans will agree with Ginsburg’s recommendations on “ECA reform.”

“To be clear,” Sargent writes, “Republicans should want ECA reform: It would become less likely that they themselves face pressure to subvert a future election, since pathways to this would have been closed off. But if they don’t, this will demonstrate again that their excuse for pursuing voter suppression everywhere — that they want to protect ‘election integrity’ — is bad-faith nonsense. ECA reform actually would boost ‘election integrity.’”

New evidence could be a big problem for John Durham's attempt to vindicate Bill Barr's conspiracy theories

In September 2020, attorney and cybersecurity specialist Michael Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI — an indictment that resulted from Special Counsel John H. Durham’s probe of the 2016 Russia investigation. Now, according to New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, Sussmann’s defense team is asking for the trial date to be set sooner than what the prosecution has requested.

And the team defending Sussman, who was part of a firm working for the Democratic Party in 2016, argued in the new filing that the case against him is even weaker than it initially appeared.

“Newly disclosed evidence” in the United States of America v. Michael A. Sussmann, according to Savage, could “make it harder for” Durham to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt that” Sussmann is “guilty of the charge against him: making a false statement to the FBI during a September 2016 meeting about possible links between Donald J. Trump and Russia.”

Durham was essentially instructed by former Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate a series of conspiracy theories pushed by Trump and his allies about the FBI's investigation into him and several campaign members' ties to Russia. So far, he has mostly come up empty. Though the indictment of Sussman lists a long series of incidents meant to suggest Democrats were illicitly conspiring to turn the FBI against Trump in the summer of 2016, the only crime he actually charged was that Sussman allegedly falsely claimed that he wasn't representing any clients when he spoke to a representative of the bureau about research on a possible Trump-Russia connection.

READ: Justice Sotomayor slams 'highly questionable' reversal in qualified immunity case involving Louisiana cops

In the initial indictment, the evidence for that claim was surprisingly thin. But Sussman's lawyers argued in the new filing that the charge is even less reliable than it initially appeared because other evidence in the Justice Department's possession undermines the case that Sussman lied.

'The indictment centered on a September 2016 meeting between Mr. Sussmann and James A. Baker, who was then the FBI’s general counsel," as Savage explained. "Mr. Sussmann relayed analysis by cybersecurity researchers who cited odd internet data they said appeared to reflect some kind of covert communications between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution."

Savage explained that according to Baker's own interview, it appears that Sussman never claimed he wasn't representing a client while speaking to the FBI:

In July 2019, Mr. Baker was interviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general about the meeting. Mr. Baker stated, according to a two-page transcript excerpt, that Mr. Sussmann had brought him information “that he said related to strange interactions that some number of people that were his clients, who were, he described as I recall it, sort of cybersecurity experts, had found.”
The newly disclosed evidence also includes a page of a report Mr. Durham’s team made to summarize an interview they conducted with Mr. Baker in June 2020. According to that report, Mr. Baker did not say that Mr. Sussmann told him he was not there on behalf of any client. Rather, he said the issue never came up and he merely assumed Mr. Sussmann was not conveying the Alfa Bank data and analysis for any client.

READ: MAGA moms meet Madison Cawthorn's challenge: Why right-wing women raise their sons as 'monsters'

If this evidence holds up and isn't undermined by additional evidence from Durham, it may be very difficult to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussman lied at all to the FBI. That would be a huge blow to Durham's credibility, and it would further undercut Bill Barr's hopes of having his conspiracy theories vindicated.

This right-wing Christian fundamentalist station was pushing anti-vaxxer lies — even after its televangelist died of COVID

After spending months railing against vaccines, far-right televangelist and Christian fundamentalist Marcus Lamb — the co-founder of Daystar Christian TV — died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, November 30. Lamb, who was 64, aggressively promoted the false claim that the drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent or treat COVID-19. And Daystar, according to the Daily Beast’s Michael Daly, continued to promote Lamb’s false claims even as his funeral was being held in Texas on Monday, December 6.

“Among the shows available for streaming on the Daystar Christian TV network, valued at more than $1 billion and capable of reaching 2 billion viewers, is one from last Mother’s Day in which Lamb actually insisted that his opposition to the vaccine was an effort to save lives,” Daly explains in an article published on December 7. “That, and to thwart the Devil.”

During that Mother’s Day show, Daly notes, Lamb promoted ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as anti-COVID drugs and claimed, “The Devil can take people out before they fulfill destiny and purpose. That’s what he wants to do because he hates God. So, the only way he could get back at God is by trying to attack God’s children.”

Lamb and his wife Joni Lamb both tested positive for COVID-19 in November. According to Daly, Joni Lamb “seems to have quickly recovered,” whereas Marcus Lamb became “seriously ill” and died.

READ: A writer who predicted Trump's first coup attempt warns of an obscure legal doctrine he may exploit next time

Lamb, during his Mother’s Day sermon, also told viewers, “You don’t have to live in fear, you can look to the Lord as our source of health. But again, get ivermectin, get hydroxychloroquine... Joni and I have taken it, and we haven’t gotten COVID-19. You can use it to treat COVID-19.”

When Joni Lamb announced that her husband had died, she continued to promote his COVID-19-related claims —saying that he “100% believed in everything that we’ve talked about here on Daystar and helped so many people around the world with early protocol treatments for COVID. We still stand by that, obviously.”

How brutal infighting among Georgia Republicans may give 'prodigious fundraiser' Stacey Abrams an advantage in 2022

After narrowly losing to Gov. Brian Kemp in 2018, Democratic activist Stacey Abrams has announced that she is running for governor of Georgia in the 2022 midterms. Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson, in his December 6 column, stresses that nasty infighting among Georgia Republicans may work to Abrams’ advantage.

“Anyone who thinks the Republican Party is some kind of well-oiled juggernaut ready to steamroll Democrats in November might want to check out what’s happening in Georgia, where the GOP is busy trying to steamroll itself,” Robinson argues. “Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who is seeking reelection, got bad news last week when he learned that his likely Democratic opponent will be Stacey Abrams, who came within a hair of beating him in 2018. He got worse news on Monday, when former Sen. David Perdue — defeated in his reelection bid in January — announced he will challenge Kemp in the GOP gubernatorial primary.”

The 67-year-old columnist, who frequently appears on MSNBC, continues, “In what, for decades, has been a reliably red state, the Republican Party has lost both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats and stands a real chance of losing the governor’s mansion as well. And all of this reflects the GOP’s devolution into a cult of personality devoted to former President Donald Trump — a nationwide phenomenon that could affect key races elsewhere as well.”

During the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Georgia was far from a swing state. But that changed during the Donald Trump years. Abrams came within striking distance of Kemp in the 2018 midterms, and now-President Joe Biden carried Georgia in 2020. Then, in January, Georgia elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate: Sen. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff.

READ: The nasty legacy of Bob Dole

Although Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are hardly liberal, they committed a cardinal sin in the minds of MAGA wingnuts when they acknowledged that Biden won the state fairly in 2020. And both of them are being primaried by Trump sycophants.

“When President Biden narrowly won the state last year, Kemp — long an enthusiastic, MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporter — showed some integrity and refused to go along with Trump’s false claims of voter fraud,” Robinson explains. “Ever since, Trump has been incensed with him and bent on revenge. Trump wants to see Abrams defeated, he said in a statement last week, ‘but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp, because the MAGA base will just not vote for him after what he did with respect to Election Integrity and two horribly run elections, for President and then two Senate seats.’”

Trump, Robinson notes, has been “regularly trashing Kemp in the pompous statements he issues from Mar-a-Lago” and “has been encouraging Perdue to challenge the incumbent.”

“The lesson other Republicans across the nation are meant to learn is that unless they go along with Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ about the 2020 election supposedly being ‘stolen,’ they will pay a price,” Robinson observes. “Perdue clearly has been paying attention.”

READ: A writer who predicted Trump's first coup attempt warns of an obscure legal doctrine he may exploit next time

Robinson notes that if Kemp defeats Perdue in the primary, he may be going up against Abrams — a Democratic rock star — in the general election in a weakened state. Kemp, according to Robinson, “might have to spend so heavily against Perdue that he could have a depleted war chest in a general election against Abrams, a prodigious fundraiser.”

Robinson writes, “Does anyone doubt that a primary victory by Kemp would be spun by Trump as yet another ‘rigged’ election? Does anyone think Trump would be big enough to advise Republicans to unite behind Kemp, whom he so despises? Or is he more likely, once again, to tell them that their votes won’t matter? The GOP had the chance to make a definitive break with Trump after the Capitol insurrection in January. The party decided to stick with him — and now, it’s stuck with him.”

This conservative congressman wonders if he has a future in the GOP after voting to impeach Trump

Although some right-wing Republicans in Congress are willing to stand up to Donald Trump and the MAGA movement — including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — most Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are afraid to publicly criticize the former president and fear that doing so will hurt them politically. Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan is among the minority of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the January 6 insurrection — a vote that MAGA Republicans in Michigan deeply resent him for. And The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, in an article published on December 7, stresses that the 33-year-old Meijer now finds himself wondering whether or not he has a future in the GOP.

Elected to the House in 2020, the freshman congressman had only been on the job for three days when the U.S. Capitol Building was violently attacked by a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists on January 6. Meijer told The Atlantic that he felt “like I’d seen something sacred get trampled on,” but he knew that if he voted to impeach Trump, it could amount to “career suicide before my career ever began.” The congressman described the days before the impeachment vote as “the worst 96 hours of my life,” but he joined Cheney, Kinzinger and seven other House Republicans in voting to impeach.

Kinzinger told The Atlantic, “Of the ten, I’ve got the most respect for Peter — because he was brand new. There were other freshmen who talked a big game, but the pressure got to them. Honestly, on the day before the vote, I thought we’d have 25 with us. Then it fell apart; I’m surprised we wound up with ten. But what I recognized with Peter, during our conversations, was that he never talked about the political implications. And that was rare. If someone brought up the political implications, that was a good indicator that they weren’t going to vote with us. But the people who never brought it up, I knew they would follow through. And Peter was one of them.”

Meijer was reminded how Trumpified the GOP had become when, in February, the Calhoun County Republican Party and the Barry County Republican Party — both in his district in Michigan — voted to censure him. Then, in April, Meijer saw that he would be facing a primary challenge.

READ: A writer who predicted Trump's first coup attempt warns of an obscure legal doctrine he may exploit next time

Alberta notes, “Meijer will face multiple primary challengers in 2022, including a Trump-administration official, John Gibbs, who already has the former president’s endorsement against ‘RINO Congressman Peter Meijer.’ Because of the district’s moderate makeup and his ample finances, Meijer is favored to win reelection. What comes next is murkier.”

But even if he wins a second term in 2022, Alberta writes, Meijer worries about the GOP’s future.

“Meijer says he’s ‘pretty much’ resigned to Trump winning his party’s nomination in 2024, and worries that the odds of Trump returning to the White House are growing stronger as Biden’s presidency loses steam,” Alberta explains. “Meijer knows the strain Trump’s candidacy might place on a system that nearly buckled during the last election cycle. What’s worse: Meijer sees Trump inspiring copycats, some of them far smarter and more sophisticated, enemies of the American ideal who might succeed where Trump failed.”

Meijer told The Atlantic, “The real threat isn’t Donald Trump; it’s somebody who watched Donald Trump and can do this a lot better than he did.”

READ: The nasty legacy of Bob Dole


Happy Holidays!