The saga of Republican Speaker of House of Representatives continues without an end in sight. One thing is abundantly obvious: Trump’s once unbreakable hold on the GOP has ended.
Many Freedom Caucus members who used to revere Trump with a mesianic-like reverence openly mock him. Trump was a fear-monger. Trump’s Twitterfeed bully pulpit terrified all Republicans, fearing they would be insulted by his online legion.
Trump’s attempt to create the same kind of power with Truth Social has not worked. Trump can’t mobilize his base attacking the Left, because they aren’t on Truth Social. Using clever nicknames to criticize Adam Schiff (Democratic lawmaker) doesn’t work when it is not @ Adam Schiff.
Truth Social now has long and boring tweets that were concise and scathing. Trump’s famous rally speech has become drab and uninteresting to the point that he almost abandoned it.
Trump’s unwillingness to give up election denialism was partly responsible for the failure of 2022 midterms to deliver the huge returns many Republicans believed they would.
This week, it became clear that many on the GOP’s extreme right side are starting to realize that Trump is a lot like McCarthy, an opportunist willing to switch between McCarthy and establishment depending upon his personal gains.
So, Trump didn’t even move a vote when he ordered Republicans not to vote for Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the House Truth Social.
Rep. Lauren Boebert refused to follow Trump’s order to vote for Kevin McCarthy. She also directed an order at him to say to Kevin McCarthy that “it is time to withdraw.”
This defiance was unimaginable two years ago. Boebert would be attacked, and she would have to try her best to get along with Trump’s reactionary support base.
Today there are no consequences for her rebellion. Some right-wing media outlets cheer her on and praise her anti McCarthy colleagues for challenging the status quo.
Boebert is well-placed to resist Trump. Despite Colorado being redistricted, Boebert won the last election by just 1,500 votes. This was after she had won a six point victory in 2020. This means that Trump’s endorsement didn’t make it easier for Boebert to win this election.
Boebert has publicly criticized McCarthy’s performance in the GOP’s midterm elections, but she and other observers clearly see a weaker Trump. His midterm message focused on the past rather than current concerns of the American people.
Trump personally selected candidates to be in high-profile, important elections. Trumpism was reborn in the electoral arena by Mehmet Oz and wealthy celebrities such as Mehmet Walker. They had no ties to their states of residence, with Oz being viewed in particular as an outsider corporate executive in the blue-collar Rust Belt.
Trump was viewed as an outsider by the Right when he stood with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on the debate stage. Trump was seen as an individual who spoke out against the Left and didn’t mince words. Because he was inside the game, he had the authority to expose it.
Perhaps the far Right is realizing that Trump cannot be considered an outsider when it comes to supporting his celebrity, wealthy friends in public office.
Trump remains wildly popular within the GOP. However, his hold is slipping fast. Far Right recognizes that Trumpism can continue without Trump, which seeks destruction of long-established norms and institutions. We’ve all learned the hard way that Trump isn’t worth counting, but we also recognize today is not 2015.
Dr. Jason Nichols, a senior lecturer at the University of Maryland College Park in African American Studies is an award-winning scholar and editor-in-chief of Words Beats & Life The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture.
These views are solely the author’s.