ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Good news for QAnon conspiracy theorists, bad news for democracy: Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere. By recent history’s standards, former president Donald J. Trump was one of the most destructive and dangerous leaders in the United States and he is here to stay. Trump and his compatriots transformed the GOP from what establishment Republicans have long likened to be “the party of Lincoln” to the party of Trump. A cult.
Before Trump stumbled his way onto Air Force One with unpopular first lady Melania Trump in her red bottom heels to the tune of “Y.M.C.A.,” he presented his farewell speech to the nation, breaking tradition and going back to his “home state” of Florida instead of attending the inauguration of his successor, Joseph R. Biden. During the speech, Trump said:
“…I do want to thank Congress and I do want to thank all of the great people of Washington D.C., all of the people that we worked with to put this miracle together.
So have a good life. We will see you soon. Thank you.”
Trump has a lot to thank Congress for, especially the 147 members who voted to overturn the “landslide” presidential election results, the members who brought their guns on Capitol grounds to “defend” second amendment rights, and members who put their colleagues’ lives in danger with their fierce support for such a dangerous president.
The GOP has even turned their back on members who have been long-time leaders of the party, with the Trumpist Arizona GOP censuring Cindy McCain, the wife of late Senator John McCain (along with Governor Doug Ducey and former Senator Jeff Flake) and Florida’s own congressman Matt Gaetz (R – Fort Walton Beach) berating congresswoman Liz Cheney (R – Wy), Chair of the House Republican Conference and daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney for wisely voting in favor of President Trump’s impeachment for inciting an insurrection.
Just a year away from the start of a 2022 midterm that already looks shaky for the Republican Party, numerous Republican senators from swing states like Pennsylvania have announced their intentions to retire from congress and in the ruins of crushed dreams, popular GOP leaders like Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona have signaled that they will not run for Congress against Democratic incumbents. Instead, the party may not return to its traditionally conservative roots, it will instead go down the populist far-right reactionary position that President Trump has shifted it to. So long as President Trump continues to have his thumb on the party, it will represent the dark eras of American history.
The remnants of the failed Trump administration continue to dominate the Republican Party. On Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House Press Secretary announced her candidacy for what was once held by her uber-conservative father Mike Huckabee, Governor of the ruby-red state of Arkansas. In its endorsement of Sanders, Trump’s Save America PAC called her “a warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct.”
Sanders is not the only insider of the Trump administration running for office, rumors are circulating that a member of his own family, Ivanka Trump, might present a primary challenge against Senator Marco Rubio.
Undermining his own leadership, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also pilgrimaged down to South Florida to meet with Trump on Thursday, convincing Trump to help the Republican Party win back control of the house in 2022, as if Republicans will not help themselves do that by gerrymandering districts.
To demonstrate the gravity of how devastative Trump’s continued presence in the Republican Party is for democracy, numerous insurrectionists who have been arrested explicitly stated that their actions were a direct result of what Trump told them. Even worse is the fact that numerous Trumpist members of Congress have been placed in important committees by Republican leaders, including Georgia’s Marjory Taylor Greene (R – Rome), who has embraced fringe far-right conspiracy theories, harassed Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivor David Hogg, indicated support for executing Democratic members of Congress prior to her 2020 campaign, and much more.
Unfortunately, Rep. Greene increasingly looks like the future of the Republican Party and it is a direct result of Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency. Many members of the Republican Party, people who once called themselves nationalists and patriots now appear to put their party ahead of their country. The party that once said “America first” is now putting their party first.
The ten Republican members of the House who voted to impeach the former president are now in physical danger and their congressional seats are at stake. Rep. Peter Meijer (R – MI), the son of billionaire Hank Meijer received numerous death threats from Republicans after voting to impeach Trump, prompting him to buy body armor. Meijer held a discussion about the future of the party with CNN Anchor Jake Tapper, stating that:
“We can’t be the party of winking and nodding at the worst impulses that we have seen in the darkest corners of the internet. That’s not how you’re going to have a party that is trusted to govern. That’s not how we’re going to win over moderate independent voters.” Meijer Later went on to say “If Liz Cheney is the person who suffers the most from the events of Jan. 6 politically, it will be a very sad day for my party, I have been impressed by her leadership.”
Although the 2022 race has not started yet, Meijer is already facing a primary challenger. Meijer hails from the 3rd congressional district in Michigan, where his predecessor former Rep. Justin Amash served five terms before voting to impeach Trump the first time and switching from the Republican Party to the Libertarian Party, exiting U.S. Congress.
To counteract the dangers that will result from Trump’s chokehold on the GOP, Democrats must embrace progressives like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D – NY) and Cori Bush (D – MO), and Senators Bernie Sanders (D – VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D – MA), along with their other progressive colleagues in Congress. This means censuring Democratic Senator Joe Manchin for expressing ideas inconsistent with the Democratic Party and pushing back against Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D – AZ) and Jon Tester (D – MT) for their fierce refusal to get rid of the filibuster, which allows the minority Trumpist Republican Party to veto any legislation that Democrats bring to the table.
Democrats must not let Republicans obstruct any advancement of COVID relief aid, using every possible tool at their disposal to get bold legislation passed. Trumpist Republican Congress members have long pushed lies about the obstruction of COVID relief aid, it is time for Democrats to move on without compromising, by pushing for budget reconciliation, doing what Republicans have failed to do: the job that voters put them in for.
Supervisor Nathaniel Douglas is the youngest ever elected to the Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors in Orange County, Florida, and the youngest elected to public office during the 2020 election. He is a contributing political opinion writer for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org