When one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters in his novel “Fiesta” (“The Sun Also Rises”) is asked, how did you go bankrupt?, he replies: “First gradually and then suddenly.”
It always happens that way in life. Bad behavior habits, year after year, produce in those who suffer from them an accumulation effect that in the end explodes and breaks what seemed unbreakable. We see it in economic bankruptcies, in politics, in ethics, in health, in personal, etc.
Had Hemingway lived, he would probably have been inspired by Donald Trump to create a turbulent and trickster character, plagued by economic bankruptcies and ethical bankruptcies throughout his life and, as an old man, political ethical bankruptcies. Instead of “Party” the book could have been titled “The last party of the rogue.”
“Last” because it seems that the “cumulative effect” has begun to nibble at its heels. The evidence of his guilt in the coup attempt on January 6, 2021 has been accumulating during the Congressional Hearings.
“The floodgates have been opened,” Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney said a few days ago, referring to the fact that every day more evidence and witnesses arrive at the investigative committee, which will resume public hearings in September. In other words, it is to be expected that the accumulation will still increase.
And, logically, the accumulation of evidence also continues in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation “into Trump’s conduct” around the January 6 insurrection. This investigation will remain secret until it is concluded, with or without indicting Trump, but the congressional investigation will remain public so that the American people will know the plot that almost ended democracy (And that Trump and his associates intend to repeat in 2024. Because the danger has not passed).
Republicans are starting to tire
It is important to remember that in both investigations, among the hundreds of witnesses who have testified under oath, the vast majority are Republicans who voted for Trump, supported his agenda and/or worked in his administration. People whose conscience brought them to the point of saying “enough!” and to confess the unconstitutional plot they saw with their own eyes.
The credibility of the witnesses and the reliability of the evidence have made the Hearings have a huge impact, judging by the amount of support that Trump continues to lose among the spheres of the Republican Party; among the donors who bet his money on other candidates; among many of his former voters, as polls and focus groups show. And—worse yet—among those who catapulted him to power and now ignore, criticize, or call for his removal: tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, including Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Everything points to a Murdoch-Trump divorce.
The recent editorials in Murdoch’s two papers calling Trump a threat to democracy have been devastating. And the Fox network has not even interviewed him since April 13, nor does it broadcast his speeches, but instead it does broadcast those of other Republican candidates live, and also interviews them.
For example, two weeks ago Trump returned to Washington for the first time to give a speech and Fox News not only did not broadcast it but instead broadcast 17 minutes of the speech that Mike Pence was also giving in the capital. The same thing happened days before while Trump was speaking to his supporters in Arizona and host Laura Ingraham was interviewing Ron DeSantis, ignoring Trump. It was also the second interview with the governor of Florida on Fox in less than a week.
The list of slights is long and would not fit on this page, but it is worth remembering part of the editorials of The Wall Street Journal Y The New York Post.
The first one said like this:
“Trump was sworn to uphold the Constitution and as commander in chief he had an obligation to protect the Capitol from the mob that was attacking it in his name. But he refused. And instead he fed the rage of the mob.” The Wall Street Journal concludes: “Crises reveal a person’s character, and Mr. Pence passed the test on January 6. Mr. Trump totally failed.”
The editorial of new york post sentence: “Trump has shown that he does not deserve to be president of this country again.”
“To his eternal disgrace, Trump failed to stop the violence and added fuel to the fire by tweeting ‘Mike Pence doesn’t have the courage to do what he needs to do.’ His sole purpose was to block the peaceful transmission of power, regardless of the consequences.”
Lower base support
On the other hand, support among the grassroots has dropped to levels never before recorded.
Republican strategist Sarah Longwell has conducted dozens of “focus groups” in the 17 months after the assault on Congress and until hearings begin in June. During that interval, half of those polled favored Trump running in 2024. But since June, Longwell has seen a dramatic shift across all nine groups: Only 14% of Trump’s 2020 voters wanted him to run in 2024. And even in four of the nine “nobody” groups wanted to see Trump as a candidate again.
The twist is dramatic. And again, remember that Longwell is a lifelong Republican weighing in on the views of Republican Trump voters. Among the reasons they gave: “it’s too divisive and controversial”; “It is very doubtful that she can win”; “it’s already past”; or, “there are other good candidates who can shine.”
Longwell’s conclusion is that the “cumulative” drama of the Jan. 6 hearings has given Republican voters a green light to look for better options.
Everything indicates that Trump’s decline has begun and does not seem to be going back. That will be taken care of by DeSantis, Pence, Pompeo and other candidates who have been in the “waiting room” for years.
But there are still 20% to 25% of Republicans who continue to “want to believe” the “Big Lie” that Trump was robbed of the election. That percentage actually represents only 10% at most of the US population, but still, how can they blindly believe the lie with the mountain of evidence to the contrary?
The best explanation was given by Mark Twain in his analysis of the human condition: “It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”
It may be that the Trumpist “mass” is self-suggestion and does not want to accept that it has been deceived; what is difficult is to observe how Republican congressmen, governors and other elected officials hide behind lies to maintain or ascend to power.
They were reminded by brave Congresswoman Liz Cheney of the ignominious future that awaits them:
“There will come a day when Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain forever.”
Rosa Townsend is an international journalist and analyst. Twitter: @TownsendRosa.
This story was originally published on August 4, 2022 0:12 pm.