A wave of sycophantic support was evident this past weekend when Donald Trump coronated himself as the leader of the Republican Party at a rally held in Ohio.
Any doubt about the demise of conservatism and the brokenness of the Republican Party and how Trump — the man who destroyed it in order to rebuild it in his orange image — has seized complete control of the GOP was eliminated with his appearance before the crowd of adoring worshippers in attendance.
Over the course of his bloviating presentation, Trump rehashed many of the same worn-out rhetorical nonsense we’ve come to know. He took aim at his political enemies, aired a long list of grievances against those he called RINO Republicans — people who refused to give him unconditional obedience, especially those who didn’t buy into his “the election was stolen” rhetoric — waxed poetic about his fake accomplishments while serving in the Oval Office, and he served as emcee for a lineup of QAnon nut jobs who helped him fan conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
For example, before the rally officially got started, members of QAnon were sited getting their pictures taken with the man they say is JFK, Jr.
In case you weren’t aware, #QAnon followers believe the man in the hat is JFK Jr. This was taken at Trump’s rally last night. He is frequently at Trump events.
This is our country now. pic.twitter.com/uHB4hpRnVI
— Ed Greenberger (@EdGreenberger) June 27, 2021
Prior to Trump’s appearance on stage, QAnon disciple Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) enjoyed a standing ovation and the roar of cheers for feeding the crowd a dose of 2020 election conspiracy theory nonsense. “Let me ask you a question — who is president?” Greene said. “Trump! Trump! Trump!” the crowd called back.
Having coronated himself as leader of the Republican Party, Trump used his appearance in Ohio to endorse Republican candidate for Congress Max Miller as part of his effort to oust Anthony Gonzalez, who was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol.
Calling Gonzalez a “sellout” and a “disgrace,” Trump attacked the congressman for his lack of fealty. “He’s a grandstanding RINO — not respected in D.C. — who voted for the unhinged, unconstitutional, illegal impeachment,” Trump said, repeating the rhetoric that his impeachment was a “witch hunt.”
The main message during Trump’s Ohio appearance was, of course, how he won the 2020 election “in a landslide” (via National Review):
In his first campaign-style rally since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump was not willing to let the 2020 election go. Trump called that election “the scam of the century and the crime of the century,” asserting that he had actually won.
“We didn’t lose. We didn’t lose,” Trump said, noting that his popular-vote total had increased from 2016, yet he “so-called lost” regardless. He also wondered “what’s the real number,” given that he won 75 million votes despite all of what he called the “shenanigans” in the vote.
“It was rigged. We won the election in a landslide,” Trump said. “You know it, I know it, and you know who else knows it? The fake news knows it.”
Trump also said that the “big lie” was “what took place on the evening and the morning of November 3rd, November 4th, November 5th,” alluding to various unfounded allegations tied to misperceptions concerning the manner in which votes were counted during and after Election Day. He called these and other vote-counting methods “North Korean-style” and the kind of thing “the State Department used to criticize in communist countries.”
When I wrote an article last summer about how Trump and Trumpism was here to stay regardless of how the election turned out, I was written off by the Cult of Trump as just another never-Trump conservative too blind to see that he had saved the Republican Party and, as a result, America herself.
Many of the lazy, so-called conservative sycophants who wasted the past four years fighting to save Trump and the Republican Party because “socialist Democrats are worse” also told me that my #neverTrump and #neverGOP approach to conservatism was a waste of time. “Some day, Trump will be gone,” they often told me, and when that day comes, Republicans will be forced to get their act together.
Besides the fact that Trump might run again in 2024, the cultists are wrong for three major reasons.
To begin with, Trump isn’t responsible for the GOP’s demise. Republicans have been self-destructing under the “leadership” of Mitch McConnell for a long time; Trump is just the end result of that destruction. To say the Republican Party will change after Trump is gone is to ignore how it was responsible for him becoming President in the first place.
Next, it’s simply a fact that Trump’s Republican Party has adopted the far-left’s socialist ideology and created a new conservative agenda under a Nationalist banner. Trump’s rebranded conservatism has become the identity of the Republican Party, and we are seeing the reality of this fact in the potential 2024 campaigns of Sen. Josh Hawley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Finally, there’s the reality that Trump’s egomaniacal narcissism won’t allow him to fade away into history. He needs attention like a drug addict needs a hit. Trump’s not going anywhere, as we witnessed this past weekend.
When Trump coronated himself the leader of the Republican Party in Ohio this past weekend, he continued the destruction of any remnants of conservatism remaining within the party. And if Trump doesn’t go away, and soon, the party will continue the downward spiral that began when they made Trump their standard bearer (via Washington Examiner):
There is some good news for House and Senate Republicans in the latest Battleground Civility Poll.
The results indicate that the GOP stands on the cusp of winning back the House and Senate if it can build out its base and reach just a few more wavering voters, such as older and suburban women.
But a longtime Republican pollster and co-director of the Georgetown University Battleground Poll said there is a big hurdle in the way.
“We need Trump to go away to get them,” said Ed Goeas. (emphasis mine)
Unfortunately for conservatives, Trump coronated himself the leader of the Republican Party this past weekend in Ohio and as long as he has breath, he isn’t going away. Trump will keep the focus on himself while letting America burn to the ground, with the Republican Party and the Trump cult providing the matches.
Trump’s bought-and-paid for Republican Party will support him if he chooses to run in 2024. And if he doesn’t run, there’s an army of nationalist Republicans prepared to run on a Trump 2.0 platform — all of the Trumpism without the baggage that comes from being Trump.
Regardless of who runs on the Republican ticket, the party that destroyed conservatism to embrace Trumpism will continue doing so until it no longer exists. Ironically, then the party really will be Republican In Name Only (RINO).
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.