Partha Chakraborty is an Indian-born immigrant; a naturalized US Citizen since 2018. Educated in India and at Cornell University, Partha is currently an entrepreneur in water technologies, Blockchain, and wealth management in the US and in India. The views expressed are his own.
Mitch McConnell should be a very happy man today, his man on trial has just been acquitted of charges brought before the Senate. He was not. Rising up to speak he looked somber, defeated almost. “January 6th was a disgrace” he started a speech that could only be deemed as a scathing attack on the former President Trump for his actions leading up to and on the day of the Capitol Insurrection. He put culpability on the “One Man” for the “foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.” In the weeks of Impeachment Drama, this could easily be deemed as one of the most stinging rebukes laid on Donald J. Trump. Wow!
Except that it was timed to matter zilch, nada. A perfect play by a shrewd politician, you say? Very possible. Buyers’ Remorse is another possibility.
To understand better the position of Trump against the Republican Party, let us revisit three established facts. First, anybody who thinks Trump is politically finished is a living in their own make-believe world. We are not even forty days from the infamy of January 6th that caused his losing access to his megaphone, all of which were drowned by the drumbeat of Impeachment. Trump lying low is no way indicative of his hesitation in getting back on the field. Trump is neither sorry nor disarmed, he is just days away from his next move.
Second, Trump is the ultimate non-politician politician. A veteran shapeshifter with no conviction of his own except that suits his short-term interest, this long-time Democrat overnight occupied the Republican Party, unseating more than a dozen very credible candidates in 2015-16. He instinctively knows what appeals to his base, a coalition of rag-tag interests that was never thought possible. If it is a credit to a politician that they have a finger on the pulse of vox populi, Trump is the ultimate populist who is not ashamed to speak and behave in public the way other chameleons only wish they could. Even in the most ordinary of times, there will always be a place for a carefully choreographed spontaneity that borders on boorishness; it is just that Trump weaponized it to success in so many battles. Even if every single thing in his life before politics belies privilege and contempt for the less fortunate, Trump is the one who managed to rally ‘the forgotten majority’, some of whom he incited to violence on January 6th.
Third, everything in the Trump world revolves around him, or his family. If I were to divine a set of priorities in his orbit it probably would go down like this – his own self, his financial interests, revenge against opponents real and perceived, his family and then everything else. Anybody outside of his family but in close proximity is tolerated only so far as they serve the master and his priorities as above; many were viciously humiliated and castigated for carrying out their duties faithful to the Constitution but contra Trump’s personal interests. In business or in public service, some things never changed about him.
What happened on the floor of the US Senate today was a sorry spectacle of obsequiousness. Impeachment Managers handed the Republican Party Trump’s head in the proverbial guillotine, politically. A neutered Trump is a dead possum on the road, so went the argument, a party can drive over with but a small bump. In choosing to refuse that gift, Republicans have given a dead cat’s bounce to Trump’s dangerous legacy. Forty-three grown women and men kissed the ring of a Trump who is not currently the King, even if King Trump incited murderous rioters against them.
It is said that Trump ‘owns’ Republican Party, and there’s a lot of truth to that. Trump’s hold on the grassroots of the party is so pervasive and absolute that within hours of criticism of Trump in the context of January 6th gets senior Republicans, some long-time Congressmen, opprobrium from county or state level operatives. Before having the spectacular courage of censuring Trump – only when such censure had no teeth whatsoever – Mitch McConnell did everything he could to delay getting the Impeachment motion to vote, thereby creating a procedural ground that gave some Senators an excuse for doing what they did. Not that some needed any excuse, Senators Cruz and Hawley made it a show of appearing disinterested in the proceedings – after some insurrectionists were shown rummaging through papers on Cruz’s seat inside the Senate Chamber. As many in Trump’s orbit proudly proclaimed before and on January 6th, it is Trump’s party, squatters beware!
In light of, it is not difficult to predict what happens to the GOP in very short order – it ceases to exist as it was known. The power equation is plainly visible and it is in Trump’s favor. Trump still does not have anywhere from twenty-five to forty percent of party members under his spell, a fact that should not lie easy on his head. To get to where he can truly treat the party as another of his family businesses, an energized campaign of the humiliation of the Old Guard is to begin shortly. It is quite conceivable Team Trump will use existing, or to-be-launched, (social) media platforms that have little business interest to serve anybody but his most fervent followers. The final objective of all these is to force an absolute, and abject, surrender by those remaining around mid-terms in 2022. I wonder if we have seen this movie elsewhere already.
I can see why Mitch McConnell may have a buyer’s remorse. He, and the Party, are solely responsible for twisting into pretzels to accommodate Trump thus far, they went far outside of their comfort zone and their belief system with great effort to make it possible and such actions shall have long-term consequence when Trump is gone. Trump’s “Occupy Republicans” movement is subversive as it is successful – possibly affecting every single Congressman who will face primaries in 2022 or 2024. Short of a miracle on Mar-a-Lago, there is nothing they can do; and a very vigorous Trump is not answering anybody’s prayers. So yes, buyer’s remorse is understandable.
There’s still a small hitch. Mitch’s remorse came fifteen precious minutes after he could make a difference, and, his speech must had been written before he cast his vote – so I do not buy his remorse. I see it as an opportunistic grandstanding, no different than that by Senators Cruz and Hawley. The word I will use is “cuckolding”. Every Republican Congressman knows they are just custodians of a party and its organs, but the party belongs to somebody else – Team Trump.
Jake Angeli – the “Q Shaman” – was not the only person wearing horns inside the Senate Chambers recently. Forty-three women and men wore one today.
I do not think they were completely unaware.