Karma: Trump's white-hot rage is immolating the Republican party

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is mad. He is raging, seething, beside himself. Sure, he's upset with Democrats for beating him in an election, but he is far more upset with the party he hijacked to enter the Oval Office in the first place. Trump is upset at Republicans because they are incapable of doing the impossible: steal the election that Donald Trump lost by better than 7 million votes.

Trump is mad at state legislatures and governors in swing states for failing to exercise their imaginary power to appoint pro-Trump electors in states that Biden won. Trump is irate at the Supreme Court for refusing to take up crackpot legal theories hoisted on non-existent evidence of systemic voter fraud. He is wrathful at Congressional Republicans for not offering anything more than what he sees as nuisance opposition to the legally mandated certification of the electoral votes confirming Joe Biden's win on January 6. Trump is apoplectic that Republican leaders in the Senate have acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect and are actively seeking to quell chaotic challenges to the electoral college tally in their ranks.

Trump truly believes that he is a deliverance for the Republican party. He believes every Republican officeholder, including every federal judge and Supreme Court Justice he appointed owe him their servile loyalty. And he believes what is wrong with the federal government, with coequal branches and all, is its resistance to bend to the will of a mob boss installed in the Oval Office.

There is never enough loyalty to be delivered to a mob boss who sees loyalty as synonymous with subjugation to him. One can have a marriage of convenience with a psychopathic, malignant narcissist. One can even have, for a time being, an alliance that is, for all intents and purposes, to the liking of the mob boss. The Republican party has that with Donald Trump, and they have shamefully made their own beds by worshipping at the foot of The Donald.

Donald Trump has a unique talent for appealing to the baser instincts of Americans, and that appeal has earned him an adoring, cultish, dedicated fanbase that now comprises the vast majority of the GOP base. In 2016 that appeal, coupled with the media's obsession with a faux-controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's emails and Russian hijacking of American democracy, unexpectedly handed the White House to Trump.

Fierce sheepishness to Donald Trump has remained such a bedrock of the Republican base that again and again, Republican politicians even mildly critical of Trump have lost their primaries or been forced to retire. While for patriots that should have been no barrier to opposing a corrupt despot intent on abusing the powers of the presidency to pursue personal vendettas and undermine the national interest, that's not the way most Republican officeholders saw it. With Trump, they got their tax cuts, right-wing judges, and an invigorated - be it radicalized - voting base that helped them keep the Senate in 2018 and be unexpectedly successful in down-ballot races this November.

Republicans became the party of Trump not merely because as president, Trump sat atop the Republican party structure but because like Trump, Congressional Republicans, by and large, were only too happy to make a deal with the devil for the sake of power.

Even when Trump lost the presidential election, Republicans remained nearly universally either quiet or supportive of repeated efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the election through Bizzaro-world court cases (losing some 60 of them), bribing and publicly twisting arms of state legislators, and even intimidating local election workers. 18 Republican attorneys general and 126 Republican members of Congress signed onto an extraordinary, meritless lawsuit seeking to disenfranchise every voter in the state of Pennsylvania because Trump lost the state.

But Republicans are beginning to recognize - with the vote of the electors having intervened on December 14 - that they will have to live with President Biden and Vice President Harris. As much as they have been accomplices to Trump's criminal presidency and as much as they have soothed Trump's ego, they know that the election happened, that it will not be overturned, and that they will have to live with a White House without Donald Trump. They know the Trump era is ending.

That is driving Donald Trump bonkers. The recognition by DC Republicans of the simple reality that he will not be president at noontime on January 20 is seen by Donald Trump and his hardcore supporters as treasonous against the Mad King. The mere contemplation of a post-Trump government by anyone with an 'R' after their name is heretics for the Church of Trump.

Before now, Donald Trump had mostly been concentrated on performing demolition derby against the executive branch of the government in an attempt to leave as much of a disaster in Biden's path as he possibly could. And to be certain, he's still doing that.

But over the past week or so, his attention has turned to punishing Republicans. Not only has he characteristically Twitter-flamed 'RINOs', but he's also now using his troops to disrupt Republican power in and out of DC. He's focused on making them look bad, lose support, and even perhaps lose a couple of senate seats.

First, he's launched a slew of corrupt pardons, granted to his personal goon squad, family members, and people who massacred children, that are impossible for Republicans to defend. 

On Wednesday, he vetoed a $740 billion defense spending bill that garnered broad, bipartisan veto-proof majorities in the House and the Senate over the bill's provisions to allow the renaming of American bases named after people who had committed literal treason against the union during the Civil War. The veto override vote sets up impossible choices for Republicans in Congress: if they help Democrats override the veto (which requires a two-thirds vote of each chamber of Congress), it will likely drive a culture war wedge between the GOP's confederate base and its national leadership. And if they sustain the veto, they open themselves up to blocking pay raises for American soldiers and damaging the party's popular image as a pro-military party. Should the veto be sustained, the next Congress will surely pass a near-identical bill for then-President Joe Biden to sign, giving Biden an easy early victory at the cost of a self-inflicted wound for Republicans.

On Tuesday, Trump railed against the emergency COVID relief bill paired with a measure to keep the government open, demanding the direct payments in the COVID relief portion of the bill be raised to $2,000 from the $600 negotiated by the Congressional leadership from both the House and the Senate as well as Trump's own chief of staff and Treasury Secretary. Trump also demanded that certain foreign assistance be removed from the government funding portion of the bill, even though his own administration had requested the funding. Trump did this simply to blow things up for the Republicans, even at the expense of giving a political Christmas gift to Democrats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately took up Trump's demand for $2,000 checks and offered to fast-track legislation by unanimous consent to make it happen, forcing House Republicans to perform as the grinches who stole those checks from Americans on Christmas eve. Pelosi promised another floor vote on Monday, but in the meantime, there is no word on what Trump will do to the original legislation as it is sent for his signature. Trump could sign the bill, veto the bill, or take no action, forcing the bill to die. It's this last option, known as a pocket-veto, that is the deadliest. If Trump vetoes the bill, Congress can override the veto, but since there are fewer than 10 days left in this Congress before the 117th Congress is seated on January 3, Trump's failure to do anything will mean that it dies. That will also mean that the government will shut down on the Monday after Christmas, and Republicans know that they will bear the full brunt of the fallout.

The uncertain future of the COVID relief bill, as well as Trump's china-breaking demand of $2,000, is most politically hurtful in the immediate term to Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue of Georgia, who are both in close runoff elections against their Democratic opponents, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff, respectively. Purdue and Loeffler had been touting the COVID relief measure and their loyalty to Trump in an attempt to turn out disaffected Trump voters who already see Republicans in Congress as insufficiently servile to Trump. Osoff and Warnock are planning on hounding their opponents on the campaign trail every day about why they won't support the president and send the people $2,000 checks every day until the runoff on January 5.

Even if Trump ends up signing the original legislation keeping the government open and enacting emergency COVID relief, how Republicans in Congress blocked a bigger check for the American people despite the urging and support of a Republican president will be etched in the minds of middle-of-the-road Americans as an act of outrageous disregard for their economic pain and in the minds of Trump sycophants as further evidence of GOP disobedience to Dear Leader. The damage to the Republican party is done.

Donald Trump believes that he is singlehandedly responsible for Republicans having any power, that without him, Republicans would be powerless. Now on his way out, he's doing everything he can to make that belief a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It appears that Karma may have finally arrived for the GOP.

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