Trump’s Base to GOP Establishment: Where Have You Been?

December 6, 2020 Updated: December 8, 2020

Commentary

President Donald Trump has demanded a lot from his supporters for the past five years, but he went down to Valdosta for probably the biggest ask of his brief political career—he wants his base to carry a couple of Senate incumbents through Georgia’s Jan. 5 run-off election. The outcome will determine whether Republicans hold on to the Senate. Depending on who you’re talking to, that represents either the last line of defense against a progressive offensive, or a Maginot Line incapable of stopping a blitzkrieg directed by a surging oligarchy.

It’s lost on no one that those demanding Trump’s help in turning out the vote are doing all they can to suppress it. Republican consultants say that if Trump talks about election fraud, it will only tell voters that their ballot is worthless. And thus when video evidence of election fraud in Atlanta surfaced this week, Republican officials forfeited the opportunity to advance their cause.

Look at these scoundrels, they might have said in unison—come January, we’ll flood the polls with real ballots and dispatch legions of observers to ensure this election is on the level, and the overwhelming result will confirm Trump was cheated and you were, too. Instead, Republican silence told voters to stop believing their lying eyes.

Trump’s base and the Republican establishment appear to be experiencing different realities. Without a Senate majority, warn the latter, the Democrats will, among other frightful prospects, pack the Supreme Court, end the filibuster, add two new states to the union that ensure a permanent Democratic majority in the Senate, and restore Obama foreign policies, like the nuclear agreement with Iran. But bad things, maybe worse, have already happened, say Republican voters. Where have you been?

Congressman Devin Nunes said in March 2017 that he saw evidence of spying on the Trump circle, and he walked alone for nearly a year. It was only in February 2018 when the Intelligence Committee he chaired released its memo detailing how the FBI had used the Hillary Clinton-funded dossier as evidence to spy on a presidential campaign that Republicans began to rally in force. And still, Republican senators defended the continuation of the same illegal FBI investigation, by special counsel Robert Mueller. They even talked of legislation to prevent the president from firing the man hunting him.

Mueller’s investigation likely ensured that Democrats would take the House in 2018 and make good on their threats of impeachment. That the Republican Senate patted itself on the back for acquitting Trump in January is more evidence that voters are right to wonder how Republican lawmakers can make good on their promises to protect them if they don’t understand what the country is up against.

It’s true that some in the Republican establishment are eager to see Trump gone and pocket his victories. But many are just disoriented and scared, and for good reason. What’s surfaced during the past four years—the networked interests of the deep state, media, tech oligarchs, as well as the rest of America’s political, corporate, and cultural elite whose center of gravity is its relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, and so on—isn’t normal. No one expected to see that in the United States.

Not even the various parts of the network that have risen against Trump recognized the interconnected interests they shared until the onset of the Chinese coronavirus and the subsequent razing and looting of U.S. cities by Democratic Party-backed militias. At that point, they were no longer fighting in pieces but in massed force, and not just against Trump but laying siege to the foundations of the republic.

How does a Republican majority Senate match up with what that map represents? To be frank, not great. But how that network fares against the forces Trump has marshaled is a different matter.

For the president, politics is only part of the equation. Throughout Washington, they say that’s Trump’s problem. They acknowledge he’s a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, but for all of his major accomplishments, he’s easily distracted and makes tons of unforced errors. That’s true. Look at his pre-election rallies. He read items from his platform off the teleprompter vacantly, as if he was parodying the concept of presidential candidate.

But politics isn’t why people go to Trump rallies like the one in Valdosta on Dec. 5, drive hundreds of miles to stand thousands of feet away from the president. To hear him sketch out his second-term agenda isn’t why Minnesotans gathered in the freezing cold even when they knew they wouldn’t get in. They went because they wanted to partake in the celebration of what a friend calls the Church of America. Combining the passions of a rock concert and a revival hall, the intimacy and common references of a small comedy club, these were historic events with the crowds and Trump—part Frank Sinatra and part Rodney Dangerfield—feeding off each other. Those who didn’t attend one of these quintessentially American events, joining our neighbors of every race, color, and gender, will tell their children and grandchildren that they did.

The Georgia incumbents and the Republican Party as a whole don’t just need the votes of Trump supporters, they need to tap the energies of that 75 million as well. Without that, America may indeed be staring at a dark winter ahead.

Lee Smith is the author of the recently published book, “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.