Marble Falls Trumpism is hard to define, perhaps impossible, largely because it’s mainly about whatever former President Donald Trump says or thinks at the time, which may be changing by the minute or more likely by his last breath spitting out the words. Regardless of whether it’s possible to define Trumpism, it’s definitely a thing, and so far, it seems to the monster that’s eating up the Republican Party in giant gobbles and spitting out whatever it doesn’t like.
Trump has made the old political axiom of rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies an almost religious ideology, rather than a standard off-the-shelf slogan. Liz Cheney, soon to be the former Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming, didn’t just lose her primary to the Trump-endorsed candidate; she was whipped like a junkyard dog. She only received 29% of the votes while the winner had 66% in her column. She only won two counties, Teton, where Jackson Hole and the Patagonia, wealthy crowd live, and Albany, where Laramie is the principal city, which I follow closely, since that’s where I was born. She won Teton with 75%, but only squeaked by in Albany with 50% of the votes, perhaps because that’s also the home of the University of Wyoming. Remember that this is Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick Cheney, who was not only a former representative from Wyoming, but Vice-President of these once united states. Remember as well that Liz Cheney is no prom queen for anything progressive. Her voting record was solidly with whatever curmudgeon proposal might arise in the House and her mouth spit fire at any and all progressives. She just happened to have found Trump’s behavior in agitating the January 6th insurrection way too far over the line, and she’s making that the hair shirt she’ll wear on into the future, even as her moment passes. In a crystal-clear bit of truth telling a spokesman and adviser to Trump was quoted as saying, “She may have been fighting for principles, but they are not the principles of the Republican Party.”
In the meantime, it’s equally clear that the rest of us need to come to grips with Trumpism. Any remaining rose-colored glasses we might have picked up to survey the coming elections need to be put aside, unless something very radically different happens. No matter what the old school and high-and-mighty conservatives might have to say, Trump owns the hard-core base, literally lock-stock-and-barrel. His endorsements aren’t a guarantee, but of the ten who voted to impeach him, only two have won their primaries, and that is likely because they ran in “open primaries”, meaning that anyone, including independents and Democrats could vote their whims there. The words principles and courage are really a kind of kryptonite for professional politicians, so we should forget about any Republicans stepping up to push Trump back anytime soon.
If he’s alive and kicking, it’s hard to believe as powerful as Trumpism remains that Trump won’t be on the ballot in 2024.