I know this isn't going to sit well with many, and I know the comments it will engender. I know the accusations coming my way – that I'm suffering from TDS, that I'm a swamp-apologist, or an establishment flunky. It won't matter that none of that is true; these are the knee-jerk, reactionary defense mechanisms of those who are professional passengers aboard the Trump Train.
In the insular MAGA community, no one is allowed to offer legitimate, evidence-based critiques of the former president. No one is allowed to question his character or fitness for office. And those who do so are nothing more than useful idiots for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
And they will maintain that irrational assumption even as Trump himself goes scorched earth on some of the greatest champions of conservative policy in the country, even as he becomes increasingly belligerent, and even as he willfully echoes the ideological preferences of leftists in an attempt to attack his Republican rivals.
Progressives have said for years that most Trump supporters on the Right are in a cult of personality – that is, their loyalty is to him personally, and not to any grounded political ideology. I don't know that I would say "most," but the point is very hard to argue for those who remain unwilling to acknowledge that despite successfully undoing Barack Obama's legacy and appointing responsible justices to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump is not a friend of conservatism.
Of course I understand the nature of politics and I get that Trump, who is perpetually in fight mode, is just doing what he does best – insulting and petulantly re-litigating the past without offering any positive agenda for the future. Senator Grassley, who supported Trump during his impeachment ordeals, even noticed:
At this point, you'd think a former president seeking re-election would be detailing the precise changes he would implement, contrasting the conservative vision he holds with the current meandering nonsense coming from D.C. Instead, he's concentrating his firepower on a fellow Republican who hasn't even declared a run for president.
If Trump is truly panicked about DeSantis being a primary threat, there's a smart way for him to handle it, and it's not like this. Praise DeSantis, celebrate his successes, tell everyone you're glad you endorsed him and helped him get elected. Tell everyone that it's time governors like DeSantis don't have to do it all on their own, that he and others like him will have administration support once you're back in the White House. Act like a former president who is on his way back home, not a jealous 7th-grader afraid his bid for student council will be upended by the cool new kid.
That seems too much to ask for Trump, who has opted to ally with MSNBC and radical progressives like Joy Reid to attack DeSantis from the left.
That's not all, of course. The former president has sided with Disney in their battle with Florida despite Mickey Mouse's preference for sexual content being presented to schoolchildren.
Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise for a man like Trump, who as recently as a few months ago was grooving to tunes like "Macho Man," and "YMCA" at Mar-a-Lago during a swanky event to celebrate the LGBT political crusade. That's where Trump dropped this eye-opening line:
"We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard," the former president and 2024 candidate said. "With the help of many of the people here tonight in recent years, our movement has taken incredible strides, the strides you've made here is incredible."
"Our" movement? Trump considers the gender-bending madness brought on by sexual revolutionaries to be his movement, but those of us who question the rationality behind conservatives supporting him for another term are the establishment flunkies? That's nonsense.
It makes you wonder what other movements Trump is willing to consider "ours." Maybe the Covid lockdowns?
While some Trump apologists on the Right want to credit the former president with the overturning of Roe v Wade, the former president is yet to give vocal support to the 6-week abortion ban enacted by Florida. Some might suggest that's because he doesn't want to give DeSantis credit. But it's also distinctly possible that he is opposed to the policy. Remember, it was Trump who blamed the pro-life movement for the Republicans' midterm debacle, which along with other remarks he has made about the life issue, has led major pro-life organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List to distance themselves from him.
If it were up to me, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. Trump would have ridden off into the sunset and we could be debating and selecting one of a new generation of capable conservative leaders. But Trump has insisted on a revenge tour, and Republicans would be wise to have no part in it.