In the nearly 21 months since the last presidential election, millions of Americans have given the benefit of the doubt to former President Trump as he unleashed a torrent of accusations that his defeat resulted from massive voter fraud, and in an honest process he’d have won a second term.
The time has arrived – overdue, perhaps – to no longer offer any benefit because there is no longer any doubt. It is time for the national Republican Party leadership and the rank and file party apparatchiks to break cleanly with Trump, step out from his shadow and allocate their energy and resources to defeating the most vulnerable incumbent president in more than 40 years.
Trump’s insistence that he was cheated of victory in 2020 has worn itself out, tumbling into unhinged farce and accepted only by his most fevered supporters. His public appearances and his social media rants are typical Trump performances, using rhetoric to inflict blunt force trauma on his critics, no matter partisan affiliation or past friendships.
He utilizes language like a fire hose, spraying insults and derision in all directions, bellowing accusations of misconduct and corruption while threatening to seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
The balance has been tipped, though, by the damning testimony before the Congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U. S. Capitol – much of it from former Trump administration officials – who related mind-boggling experiences of the president as the storming of the building unfolded.
According to testimony, Trump watched TV in the White House as the riot grew in size and intensity and breached the Capitol, which sent members of Congress fleeing for safety and risked the life of his own vice president. For hours, he refused all entreaties to issue an appeal to the rioters to withdraw, an act tantamount to encouraging them to continue the assault.
Outtakes from his belated videotaped appearance in the White House revealed a petty, petulant individual refusing to acknowledge the election results while paying attention to sycophantic aides and lawyers who recommended implausible, outlandish actions to remain in power and deny certification of President Biden’s victory.
Republicans who inched slowly away from Trump in the 2020 election aftermath and his stolen victory theories should now be free to put ever greater distance between them and urge the rest of their party to follow. They were given a significant push toward independence by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who predicted that if Trump sought the 2024 nomination, he would face a significant group of contenders.
Translation: There’s no silver lining in the Trump cloud.
While McConnell relegated the former president to just another potential candidate, former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney cut even more deeply by predicting that Trump was the one Republican who would lose to Biden.
Trump will continue to enjoy the support of his hardcore base. It is undeniable, though, that he’s been severely damaged by the testimony of members and staffers in his own administration.
Democrats are certain to lose their majority in the House of Representatives this November and possibly the Senate. Biden has lost the confidence of the country, plunging to unprecedented low approval standing. Three-quarters of the country believe it is headed in the wrong direction and a majority of Democrats oppose a Biden candidacy.
The stars are in alignment for a potential Republican sweep and one-party rule come 2024. By turning away from Trump, the celestial order will remain intact.
Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University in New Jersey. You can reach him at cgolden1937@gmail.