Hawley of Missouri announced he’ll object to the certification of the Electoral College votes next week. David Plouffe thinks Hawley will have company in effecting a brief and pointless certification delay. Plouffe also predicts the spectacle will foreshadow a repulsive clown show in the next Republican primary:
Hawley willing to shred our democracy to improve his talking points for the inevitable QAnon Debate in Roswell, NM. They’ll all have to follow now. The 2024 GOP primary will be a race to the bottom like none we have ever seen.
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) December 30, 2020
There’s good reason to suppose Plouffe’s prophesy will come to pass. Even elite invertebrate Marco Rubio is attempting to bolster his anti-elitist cred by slapping an 80-year-old physician around. It would work better if Rubio managed to land blows on Fauci instead of punching himself in the face, but Marquito’s pathetic antics aside, he does have an unerring instinct for following his party down identity rabbit holes, having latched onto and discarded every dominant strain of Republicanism in its turn.
There’s an interesting piece in The Atlantic that explores UC Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild’s theory about Trumpism, i.e., the narrative Trump cultists perceive in our political drama, and how that might evolve when the object of veneration is sulking in Palm Beach rather than the Oval Office:
Hochschild is telling us that Trumpism is not just a garland of public-policy proposals that any other Republican can drape around his or her neck. And it is more complex than a personality trait, or a talent for saying mean stuff on Twitter. Rather, Trumpism is an emotional planet that orbits around Trump’s star. Breaking the connection between Trump and the better part of the GOP will require either that Trump disappears (an unlikely proposition) or that a larger star emerges from the Republican backbench (also unlikely).
At the end of our conversation, I asked Hochschild what she’s learned from the past four years. “I used to think of political identity as something more solid,” she said. “I now think of political identity as like water that’s always going somewhere, that needs to go somewhere, but where it goes depends on the lay of the land, the rock formations that stand in its way,” she told me. She’s still waiting to see where Trump moves the mountain.
Somehow, this made me feel better. I’ve been pessimistic about America ever since the election. I’m overjoyed that we’re getting rid of the buffoonish monster, of course, but it’s distressing that 74 million people voted for four more years of chaos and calamity. Or, to put in more accurately, 74 million voters no longer recognize chaos and calamity when they see it.
Hochschild’s quote about political identity as a fluid thing sounds right, but that said, I think it’s possible Trump won’t “move the mountain” at all. He’s a lazy fuck, for one thing, an obese, 74-year-old man with a poor diet and habits. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself, so it’s hard to imagine him putting serious effort into grooming a successor. From Trump’s perspective, even Ivanker is just a reflection of his own greatness, not really a separate person with ideas of her own.
So, absent any credible sluices to channel it forward, maybe Trumpism just stagnates, like a fetid bog, while the country surges past it. Maybe we’ll be living in such a different reality three years from now that the thought of GOP primary contenders aping Trump will seem preposterous. I don’t know about you, but that possibility cheers me up a bit.