Outliving his usefulness.

With his whining about the “stolen” election, Drumpf does not appear to understand a basic rule of politics: politicians are only valuable because of their utility to others. Once they stop being useful they become expendable, and political utility never lasts forever.

With his transactional approach to everything, Drumpf should have been quick to realise this and in his use of pardons he seems to grasp the basic principles of the quid pro quos involved. But he also fails to grasp that he was only useful to the GOP so long as they could ride his coattails and exploit the window of opportunity his presence in the Oval Office represented for themselves and their constituents. Once it became clear that he lost the election, few GOP heavyweights came to his defense. That was left to lightweights and sycophants peddling increasingly deranged conspiracy theories.

Remember that many traditional GOP backers held their noses as Drumpf scorched his rivals during the 2016 primaries, then grabbed their ankles when he won that November because they saw that doing so facilitated Drumpf doing their bidding. The strategy worked well for them, at least when it came to domestic deregulatory and tax legislation. But in order to get that, the “old” GOP stalwarts had to swallow a lot of crow from the vulgar upstart and his uncouth entourage when it came to everything else, be it in culture wars, race relations or foreign policy.

For short -term gain, they gave up hard earned long term guarantees of stability at home and abroad, and then the pandemic exposed the basic incompetence, indifference and crude venality that passed for Drumpf’s Executive leadership. As part of his pathology, Drumpf doubled down on his destabilisation tactics, blaming Antifa and BLM while encouraging racists and other rightwing nutters to take matters into their own hands against politicians who refused to support, much less challenged him on the pandemic response and matters of race, law and order. Truth be told, by late summer the US social order was in melt down mode, and that continued through the elections last month.

Now his relentless attacks on the electoral system as a whole not only render him useless as a vehicle for the GOP’s political advancement. It also threatens to divide it between MAGA and non-MAGA factions, thereby jeopardizing the future of the party itself. For the Republican old guard, the limits of toleration of the buffoon have been reached. They are now slowly but surely turning on him because they know that when it comes to politics, the Party is more important than the person.

That is where Joe Biden comes in. In spite of the attempts to smear him, ole Joe ain’t no commie. Nor is Kamala. The “Squad” got no jobs in their cabinet. Instead, corporate America can breath easy so there is no need for the Republicans to bluster and puff about the American capitalist way of life. Joe’s 40 years of swamp living has made him a known entity across the aisle and his penchant for compromise, as distasteful as it is to me and other Lefties, allows the GOP to exit the Drumpf era with some grace, if not dignity. For all his lack of charisma, Sleepy Joe is exactly the kind of Democratic usher that the GOP can live with. Drumpf is no longer needed, much less essential for traditional Republican interests to be served.

In sum. Having moved from being no longer useful to becoming a threat to GOP unity, Trump has transitioned from expendable to expellable. His best hope now is to be ignored on his way quietly out of office, less further outbursts and outrages force the Republicans to publicly repudiate him. That moment could well be coming, even if the shadow of his future actions also weighs heavily on that decision.

The bottom line in any event is that Drumpf is done. Trumpism may survive as an ideological current within rightwing circles, but its political value will diminish without the advantages of having access to the bully pulpit of presidential office. Drumpf may agitate from the sidelines and there will be pretenders to the throne within the GOP, but it is more likely that Republicans will try to reclaim the party from Trumpism rather than resurrect it. That will be especially true if criminal investigations of Drumpf administration activities unobstructed by obstacles placed from within by the Justice Department and White House result in state and/or federal prosecutions of people connected to it.

Even Moscow Mitch knows that.

16 thoughts on “Outliving his usefulness.

  1. It seems fairly likely The $750 Man benefited significantly from increasing turnout among middle-finger voters that normally don’t have someone that excites them. These middle finger voters likely also ticked the boxes for down-ballot Repugs while they were at it. At the same time, a lot of old-skool Repugs probably couldn’t stomach Donnie Two Scoops and either voted Biden, third-party, or blank, while remaining loyal to Repugs down-ballot.

    Gonna be an interesting watch over the next few years as the Repugs try to hold on to the newly awakened middle finger voters while trying to also pull their more traditional voters back into the fold. All the while D. Jobless Drumpf is going to be shit-stirring from the sidelines.

    I couldn’t think of a nicer pack of arseholes to wish that stress onto.

  2. What possibility there’ll be another 1912-grade Republican Split, where either the Trumpniks or Never Trumpers consolidate control of the party & kick the other out?

    Will COVID Darwinism, electoral reform, bringing the Trump Inner Party to justice, and breaking up the pro-Trump Big Media/Agribiz/Oil/Tech & other cartels actually fix Trumpnik Freedumb? Or will a post-Trump America still have to grapple with an existentially threatening “stab-in-the-back” myth among his Freedumb Fighters?


  3. Very nicely summed up. I have concerns that the murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist may be Trump’s parting gift to Biden – possibly be related to a covert meeting between Pompeo and Netanyahu just prior to the assassination. It may be coincidental but somehow I doubt that it is.

  4. Di:

    The US would have been informed of but uninvolved or involved indirectly in the latest Iranian nuclear scientist assassination, which more than likely involved Israel using the Iranian dissident group MEK as proxies, as they have before. Netanyahu needed to strike before Trump left office in order to try and prevent a resumption of US participation in the nuclear arms control deal with Iran (P5+1) and by doing so he has tried to box in both the Iranian regime and Biden, in each case because of their respective domestic considerations. The good news is that it appears that neither Iran or Biden are going to take the bait and will proceed with a reapprochment regardless of the hawks on both sides. This will disappoint their domestic hawks and the Saudis and other GCC members as well as Netanyahu, but truth be told the petroleum oligarchies and Bibi are just trying to sucker the US into a bigger fight that they do not want to undertake themselves.

    The risks are great for the Iranian leadership, who have now suffered two senior leader assassinations in less than a year carried out by their greatest enemies, which has caused militants in the Revolutionary Guard and elsewhere to demand revenge. But the longer-term gains of staying calm, playing the long game and resuming negotiations with the Biden administration under a resurrected P5+1 format will outweigh any satisfaction of the blood lust expressed by the hot heads. Plus the moment to strike back can be delayed and seized at a time and place and by means that are more advantageous to Iran. After all, only fools rush in to the traps set by their enemies.

    For Biden the problem is if Iran retaliates immediately or in the near future. That may force his hand when it comes to retaliation given the balance of power in Congress and the media framing of the contest. Doing so will scuttle resumption of the P5+1 talks and likely lead to conflict escalation in the region, dragging the US into another endless and unwindable war. So for him the best thing would be to work through intermediaries to offer the Iranians a return to the negotiating table in exchange for their refraining from escalating things by way of immediate retaliation.

    The first order of business for Biden and the mullahs is to see Trump out of office. Once that happens, the field will open for better engagement. But that can only happen if Iran keeps its knives sheathed for the foreseeable future.

  5. “What possibility there’ll be another 1912-grade Republican Split, where either the Trumpniks or Never Trumpers consolidate control of the party & kick the other out?”

    Unlikely. I remember a lot of speculation that this would happen in 2010-12 between the Tea Party/Palin wing and the mainstream wing. Both wings benefit from formally remaining in the same party. A first past the post system, as the US has, is an incentive to keep large, loosely-aligned parties formally and legally united. It is not in the interest of either wing to have a formal split.

  6. It’s remarkable that the only winners to come out of the Trump years are the Republican Senators/Representatives/etc.

    Biden won by fewer than 50,000 votes (and there were a lot of Biden/Republican voters. That should worry a lot of people…

  7. Thank you for your far more positive take on the Iran/Israel situation Pablo. If it plays out as you say (and hopefully it will) it will have stymied the GOP hawk’s wish for confrontation and the world will be able to breathe a bit easier. It will be interesting to see what Iran does. I am sure they will retaliate in some way at some time, as you say, but if Biden is the wise man I think he is he will take the approach that you put forward. The Iranians have much to be gained by Biden reinstating the nuclear arms control deal.

  8. “Biden won by fewer than 50,000 vote”

    The margin in Pennsylvania alone was 80,000 votes in Biden’s favour.

    Having said that, you are right, it was definitely not a landslide in Biden’s favour.

  9. @Görkem

    Biden won by three states Az, Ga, and the tipping point state: Wisconsin. Winning Pennsylvania would not have been enough if he lost the other three, if would have been a tie with Trump having a big advantage in the tiebreaker scenario.

    Biden won by a narrower margin than Trump won in 2016.

  10. “Unlikely. I remember a lot of speculation that this would happen in 2010-12 between the Tea Party/Palin wing and the mainstream wing. Both wings benefit from formally remaining in the same party. A first past the post system, as the US has, is an incentive to keep large, loosely-aligned parties formally and legally united. It is not in the interest of either wing to have a formal split.”

    On the other hand, the Proud Boys/Patriot Prayer/Atomwaffen were still afterthoughts in 2010, and make the Tea Party & Sarah Palin look like Nelson Mandela.

    Would GOP unity still hold if those military-LARPing blowhards went full Christchurch/El Paso/Quebec City or even Moscow 1991/93 or Italy 1923?

  11. …they did go El Paso. In El Paso. And other places.

    The “moderate” right has, and can always, claim that these kinds of atrocities are done by “bad apples” and that they not encouraging them by embracing Trumpism.

  12. In six months time I think Trump will still be able to command headlines by saying something outrageous. A few years out it might depend on whether he’s the GOP’s candidate again. The ‘bully pulpit’ of the presidency is useful to him but not required for America’s attention I think.

  13. AVR:

    My biggest concern is that Trump will use the war chest he has amassed over the last few months (reportedly around US$150 million) to play kingmaker in future GOP primaries. If the GOP holds the Senate, that money can also be used to launch media attacks on moderate GOP members who choose to cross the aisle and cut deals. He can also use the money to buy into OANN or Newsmax and turn whichever into a 24/7 Trump propaganda outlet (the owner of Newsmax is a Trump friend that, once again, was given a very big public boost by serving as a paid commentator on CNN much like McEnany and other scumbags were). With those three funding options available for the next election cycle in 2022, he could do some damage unless the Dems have major successes and/or he spends his time fighting indictment. So even without him, the Trumpist legacy will remain a force to be reckoned with.

  14. The normal sad rave from the 39th parallel where nobody goes or ever heard of him, especially the USA, eh Pablo. but anyway >> After Great Caesar the sick poisoned Caligula

  15. When Paul is off his meds and it is past midnight, he does not so much think as he angry dreams. Trying to elicit a coherent response from him when he is in such a mental state is an extremely big ask. Best to let him sleep it off.

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