In my Trumpy little corner of the world, you can chart the stages of grief among the local MAGAs in the Letters to the Editor section. I’ve smugly watched them cycle through denial and despair and anger and depression while hoping for eventual silence. Increasingly, I’m getting my wish.
In a column yesterday, WaPo’s Philip Bump charts — literally — the astonishing collapse of The Former Guy as a media sensation:
For about half an hour Tuesday, a former president of the United States appeared on television to offer his unfiltered assessment of the state of American politics, of foreign policy and of the various controversies flitting around the political world. You probably missed it, because it was Donald Trump offering the same pudding of rhetoric we’ve heard so often to an anchor on the far-right network Newsmax. It was to presidential appearances what a pre-dusk set at the Indiana State Fair would be to Kid Rock.
I heard part of Trump’s spiel and thought about highlighting the ways in which his nonsensical claims about the 2020 election being stolen (it wasn’t) have evolved slightly. I’ve written before about how the Republican Party has seized on the idea that changes made to election processes before the contest were unconstitutional, as a way of implying wrongdoing by Democrats without embracing Trump’s obviously untrue claims about fraud. So Trump has seized on those, too, presenting them as another part of his pride-preserving all-you-can-eat buffet of dishonesty.
That highlighted turn of phrase — mwah! Chef’s kiss!
As for the entirety of the piece and its conclusion, that Trump is an increasingly irrelevant media has-been whose antics entertain only a dwindling pool of dead-enders, I fervently hope that proves true over the long haul and that Republicans’ decision to double down on Trumpism proves catastrophic.
But like someone screaming NO! HE’S STILL ALIVE, AND HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU! at the protagonists toward the end of a cheesy slasher film, I lack confidence that the beast has been sufficiently dispatched. It’s a form of PTSD maybe.