The Ugly Side-Effects of What’s in it for me Politics

Trump treats the GOP the same way the GOP treats Trump

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

On January 4th, 2021, with the Airforce One Chopper as the backdrop, Donald Trump walked to the stage in Dalton, Georgia, intermittently clapping, smiling, and pointing fingers at the boisterous crowd. He opened his remarks by saying,

For more than an hour, Trump litigated the election, talked more about himself and his election loss than he did about the senate race. During his speech, Trump also made a saint-like remark: “If they win, I’ll get no credit. If they lose, they’re going to blame Trump.”

Donald J Trump, the dear leader of the Republican base, was correct. The Republican party wasted no time to pin the blame of their Georgia loss on Trump.

Republican officials, donors, and advisors, many of them behind the scenes, blamed President Donald Trump for the party’s poor showing in the Senate runoff elections in the once reliably red state of Georgia. “Trump f — — d the party,” a staunch Trump ally told CNBC.

The Grand Old Party would have wasted no time to sidestep Trump had they won Georgia. They never attributed their better than anticipated down-ballot performance in November to Trump. The odds are better than bright for them to do the same had they scampered to victory in Georgia.

Trump understands the GOP and its leadership a lot better than we expect him to.

Donald Trump used the GOP as a gateway to step inside politics. The GOP is now using Trump to hold on to the voters he activated during his time at the top of the GOP. The radicalization of the Republican party has been going for many years. Donald Trump accelerated the trend, but by no means was he the cause.

Photo by, Text by Author

Five Republican senators have announced their retirements — Roy Blunt (MO), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), Pat Toomey (PA), and Richard Burr (NC).

Without the pressure of a re-election campaign, these five senators could have easily forced the senate to re-live its bi-partisan glory. But not even one senator felt that it would be a good idea to sign off on the Biden COVID relief bill that looked and felt the same as the COVID relief bill the GOP passed last year.

None of them questioned the size and the scale of the COVID relief bill in 2020, but every one of them wanted to know the answer in early 2021. The First Covid Relief Bill under Trump cleared the Senate on March 25, 2020, with a 96–0 vote, while the last Covid Relief Bill cleared the Senate on December 22, 2020, with a 92–6 vote.

A foreigner studying the US senate in the future may erroneously conclude that bi-partisanship is an exclusive senate arrangement only available when there is a Republican President and a Republican Senate Majority leader.

Even Republican Senators who announced their retirements are not willing to reach across the aisle because that is what they do. That is the brand of politics GOP plays.

When you actively blame Democrats for everything that is wrong in the country, when you work every single day to tell the Republican base what is wrong with the Democrats, when you are willing to portray the opposition as the villain, the option to work with them when they are in power is extremely limited.

A Sample Villainization by the Republican Governor of Texas

We won’t allow this California style lawlessness in Texas. — Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Jan 2

A light-hearted exchange between Senator Ed Markey and Ted Cruz captures this dynamic in the best way possible. Last week, when the Senate Rules Committee conducted a markup for the election reform bill, Senator Angus King (I-Maine) asked Ted Cruz: “If this amendment and others that you suggest are accepted, would you vote for the bill?”

Ted Cruz said: NO

That right there is the reality. It doesn’t really matter what kind of a bill it is, what name it has, or how it can be changed to help the people of the country. For Republicans, a bill sponsored by a Democrat has only one place to go.

The Republican party is acting in fear of Trump is simply an excuse to hide behind a single man while making a subtle case to voters who are enthralled by him. If that helps them to hide their tracks, then so be it. Their actions are in line with the kind of obstructionist politics they played whenever they were in the opposition. When you practice a certain type of game for more than a decade, it is not easy to make a turnaround.

The GOP did not fire Liz Cheney because of fear. They fired her because she will not stop talking the truth about the 2020 election.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp did not pass laws to restrict voting because he was fearful of Trump. He did so to make sure that his side has a fighting chance in a purple state.

The Arizona GOP is not conducting an audit over the 2020 election because of Trump. They are doing so to keep the lies about the election intact and help them pass even more laws to restrict voting.

Elise Stefanik did not appear on Steve Bannon’s podcast due to fear of Trump. She did so to make a case to appoint her as the GOP conference Chair.

The GOP is hiding behind Trump to cover up its actions. If Trump wants people to keep sending him checks, he has to stay active in politics and keep the GOP under his control.

Trump is in it for himself. The GOP leaders are in it for themselves.

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