Republicans fall all over themselves to give in to Trump.
Acquiescence to Trump is now the defining trait of the Republican Party more than two years into his presidency — overwhelming and at times erasing principles that conservatives viewed as the foundation of the party for more than a half century.
Trump’s ownership of the GOP was on vivid display again Saturday, when the president appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, an annual gathering that has transformed into a raucous celebration of Trump, featuring propaganda-style art and a speaker who declared that the president was “chosen by God.”
Standing before an exuberant crowd chanting “Trump!” and “U-S-A,” Trump spent two hours railing against the “failed ruling class,” calling the special counsel’s Russia investigation “bullshit” and portraying his election as a major moment in global history.
“We are reversing decades of blunders and betrayals,” Trump declared at one point, before asserting that he was only joking in 2016 when he asked Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s private emails.
“Lock her up! Lock her up!” CPAC attendees roared at the mention of the former Democratic presidential nominee.
In interviews over the past week, Republicans on Capitol Hill offered an array of reasons for their unflinching loyalty to Trump as the 2020 campaign begins to take shape: a deep-seated fear of his pull with their supporters in primary races; fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism takes hold of the party; and shared partisan disdain for Trump’s perceived enemies in the news media and the Democratic Party.
“We’re not going to turn on our own and make the Democrats happy,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who is up for reelection in 2020. “We don’t see any benefit in fracturing, but we do see a lot to lose.”
It’s not unusual for politicians to fall in line behind what they perceive is the trend in their favor for themselves and their party, but on scale this massive and without so much as a peep in acknowledging that everything their new leader stands for is counter to pretty much everything they stood for?
Yes, we’ve seen it before.
Oh, you think I’m exaggerating? Being alarmist? I don’t think so.
The base — which is where all of this marathon two-hour rant that rivaled you-know-who for blaming all of his and his party’s troubles on someone else was directed — is eating this up like hot wings at an open bar at NASCAR and forcing the mainstream of the GOP to either get in or get out. It’s going to take more that just an election in 2020 or the Mueller report or the 25th Amendment to remove this cancer.