Dear Commons Community.
The dean of conservative commentators, George Will, slammed Donald Trump as “a suppurating wound on American life” in a column highlighting what appears to be the former president’s gradual loss of influence over his own party.
Trump “looks increasingly like a stray orange hair to be flicked off the nation’s sleeve,” Will, who quit the GOP in 2016, wrote in his latest essay (see the entire piece below) for The Washington Post.
The former president’s power to influence the GOP’s selection of candidates up and down the ballot is in serious danger following a series of “unimpressive” interventions in primaries, said Will, who noted how several Trump-backed MAGA Republicans are floundering in the polls.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “a hellacious distraction” from Trump and his allies’ self-absorption,” Will concluded. “Fortunately, their ability to be major distractions is waning.
Bless you, George, for telling it like it is!
The Washington Post
Opinion: Donald Trump looks increasingly like a stray orange hair to be flicked off the nation’s sleeve
March 4, 2022
Floundering in his attempts to wield political power while lacking a political office, Donald Trump looks increasingly like a stray orange hair to be flicked off the nation’s sleeve. His residual power, which he must use or lose, is to influence his party’s selection of candidates for state and federal offices. This is, however, perilous because he has the power of influence only if he is perceived to have it. That perception will dissipate if his interventions in Republican primaries continue to be unimpressive.
So, Trump must try to emulate the protagonist of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” In Mark Twain’s novel, a 19th-century American is transported back in time to Britain in the year 528. He gets in trouble, is condemned to death, but remembers that a solar eclipse occurred on the date of his scheduled execution. He saves himself by vowing to extinguish the sun but promising to let it shine again if his demands are met.
Trump is faltering at the business of commanding outcomes that are, like Twain’s eclipse, independent of his interventions. Consider the dilemma of David Perdue.
He is a former Republican senator because Trump, harping on the cosmic injustice of his November loss in 2020, confused and demoralized Georgia Republicans enough to cause Perdue’s defeat by 1.2 percentage points in the January 2021 runoff. Nevertheless, Trump talked Perdue into running in this year’s gubernatorial primary against Georgia’s Republican incumbent, Brian Kemp, whom Trump loathes because Kemp spurned Trump’s demand that Georgia’s presidential vote be delegitimized. In a February poll, Kemp led Perdue by 10 points.
Trump failed in his attempt to boost his preferred Senate candidate in North Carolina, Rep. Ted Budd, by pressuring a rival out of the race. As of mid-January, Budd was trailing in the polls. Trump reportedly might endorse a second Senate candidate in Alabama, his first endorsement, of Rep. Mo Brooks, having been less than earthshaking. Trump has endorsed Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in the gubernatorial primary against Gov. Brad Little. A poll published in January: Little 59 percent, McGeachin 18 percent. During Trump’s presidency, a majority of Republicans said they were more supporters of Trump than of the GOP. That has now reversed.
Trump is an open book who has been reading himself to the nation for 40 years. In that time, he has changed just one important word in his torrent of talk: He has replaced “Japan” with “China” in assigning blame for our nation’s supposed anemia. He is an entertainer whose repertoire is stale.
A European war is unhelpful for Trump because it reminds voters that Longfellow was right: Life is real, life is earnest. Trump’s strut through presidential politics was made possible by an American reverie; war in Europe has reminded people that politics is serious.
From Capitol Hill to city halls, Democrats have presided over surges of debt, inflation, crime, pandemic authoritarianism and educational intolerance. Public schools, a point of friction between citizens and government, are hostages of Democratic-aligned teachers unions that have positioned K-12 education in an increasingly adversarial relationship with parents. The most lethal threat to Democrats, however, is the message Americans are hearing from the party’s media-magnified progressive minority: You should be ashamed of your country.
Trump’s message is similar. He says this country is saturated with corruption, from the top, where dimwits represent the evidently dimwitted voters who elected them, down to municipalities that conduct rigged elections. Progressives say the nation’s past is squalid and not really past; Trump says the nation’s present is a disgrace.
Speaking of embarrassments: We are the sum of our choices, and Vladimir Putin has provoked some Trump poodles to make illuminating ones. Their limitless capacity for canine loyalty now encompasses the Kremlin war criminal. (The first count against Nazi defendants at Nuremberg: “Planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression.”) For example, the vaudevillian-as-journalist Tucker Carlson, who never lapses into logic, speaks like an arrested-development adolescent: Putin has never called me a racist, so there.
J.D. Vance, groveling for Trump’s benediction (Vance covets Ohio’s Republican Senate nomination), two weeks ago said: “I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine.” Apparently upon discovering that Ohio has 43,000 Ukrainian Americans, Vance underwent a conviction transplant, saying, “Russia’s assault on Ukraine is unquestionably a tragedy,” and emitting clouds of idolatry for Trump’s supposedly Metternichian diplomacy regarding Putin.
For Trump, the suppurating wound on American life, and for those who share his curdled venom, war is a hellacious distraction from their self-absorption. Fortunately, their ability to be major distractions is waning.