Arguably, President Donald Trump revived the waning fortunes of the Republican Party. Arguably, most of the Republicans in Congress repaid him by turning their backs on him over his claims of a stolen election and a monstrous spending bill that amounted to a progressive wish-list with a few bucks left over for struggling Americans.
Late on Sunday, the president signed the bill he had previously railed against for dishing out millions to pointless programs in foreign countries while providing Americans with just $600 to alleviate – but not by much – the pain and suffering caused them by what were clearly ineffective COVID-19 restrictions.
His signature lifted the threat of a government shutdown that was just hours away after he reportedly reached a deal for more economic relief.
Once again, then, he pulled the GOP out of the political fire – for Trump himself need not worry about re-election, no matter what transpires between now and January 20, but Republicans on Capitol Hill would have been blamed for the shutdown, as they always are.
With only a handful of exceptions, congressional Republicans have proven themselves weak, listless, and largely unprincipled. They ride the D.C. gravy train for as long as they can – decades, in some cases – and they let the Democrats push them around on every issue. This is what they have done for at least the past 20 years. It’s what they learn, apparently, at the John McCain Academy of Go Along to Get Along Political Theory.
Trump Train or Gravy Train?
Little wonder, many of them quickly abandoned Trump, even in the face of evidence that something was very wrong with the November election result. Trump is not the go along to get along type. For four years, he ran through the carriages of that gravy train, causing havoc. He flung open the windows to let in the light and the fresh air. He also often pulled the emergency cords, forcing the lawmakers to stop at places through which they would normally have whisked, full speed ahead toward their favorite destinations: Pork City, Payraise Park, and Donation Station.
While some GOPers stood up, many more cowered in fear after the election, terrified of the backlash that would come, should they dare suggest that the vote-count was irregular. Perhaps it is one of the unwritten rules of the Swamp: thou shalt not snitch on thy fellow politicians, even if they have sinned.
To their eternal shame, some Republicans have not only displayed a jaw-dropping lack of curiosity about an election that defied all conventional wisdom and all statistical probability, but they have gone so far as to berate the president for challenging it.
To suggest that questioning highly irregular voting patterns poses some sort of threat to our democratic traditions while not considering the danger posed to them by election-rigging is to achieve an almost unparalleled state of willful ignorance.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has become fully submerged in the Swamp in just ten years, even called the effort to challenge the election a “scam.” But it is because of self-serving politicians like Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kinzinger – and many others – that the Republican Party, after Trump, will revert back to its old ways; rubber-stamping the Democratic Party agenda or getting kicked around – and then rubber-stamping the Democratic Party agenda.
Those Americans who climbed aboard the Trump Train, however, will neither forgive nor forget. More to the point, the Republican Party, because it failed to do its due diligence and pull out all the stops to ensure that the election result was fair, may well suffer the same fate as the president it so flippantly discarded. What GOP representative or senator will, in the future, be able to question his or her own election loss, having so easily dismissed the possibility that elections can be fixed?
Between potentially alienating millions of Trump supporters and burying their heads in the sand rather than even consider the possibility of electoral fraud, Republicans may have signed their own political death warrants. They weren’t willing to save Trump, and, even given the chance, he will decline to revive their fortunes again.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.