This weekend was filled with appearances on Sunday talk shows by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) who in the previous week had been ousted from House leadership at the prompting of former President Donald Trump. Cheney's supposed offense? She is "out of step" with the Republicans in the House who support Trump and she won't stop refuting Trump's claim that the election was stolen.
In defending his position, McCarthy claimed "I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election." That's not a joke...McCarthy actually said that. McCarthy's boss, former President Donald Trump, has questioned the legitimacy of the presidential election CONSTANTLY. Writing on his blog, Trump has questioned the legitimacy of the election 29 times since his first post on March 26th, including 13 times so far in May.
Many in the media have asserted that Trump's popularity and control over the GOP has increased since his electoral defeat. But has it really? While Republican officeholders and candidates are racing to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the defeated ex- President's ring, the numbers suggest the Florida Blogger is, in fact, losing his mojo.An NBC poll conducted in late April shows Trump's approval rating was down to 32%. Right before the election, Trump's approval in the NBC polls stood at 43%. In January it was down to 40%. What's more, the poll also showed that 50% of Republicans consider them primarily a supporter of the party rather than of Trump. That's the highest percentage ever reached when NBC has asked the question.
Despite the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) being a non-stop Trump Love Fest, only 55% of the attendees indicated they wanted him to run for re-election in 2024. In the Texas Congressional District 6th special election held on May 1st, the Trump endorsed candidate Susan Wright finished first and will be in the runoff. However, she received only 19% of the vote. While Democrats also voted in that jungle election and, thus Wright's percent was lower than it would have been in a Republican-only primary, she probably did not get more than 1/3 of the Republican votes cast. Given that she was the widow of the deceased incumbent and had name recognition, she probably would have gotten to 19% even without the support of the Florida Blogger. It's not clear that Trump's support actually did anything for Wright.
Harry Enten, CNN analyst, says that in removing Rep. Liz Cheney "GOP leaders are playing it smart when it comes to Trump." Enten, for whom I have immense respect, suggests that the Republican Party just needs "to turn out his voters, while keeping Trump out of the limelight." Since Cheney refusal to support the Big Lie was antagonistic to Trump voters, her removal from leadership fits into that strategy, according to Enten.
Where Enten's analysis goes off track is in the assumptions. The notion that Trump can be kept out of the limelight is wishful thinking. Trump's ego won't allow allow others be the face of the Republican Party going into the 2022 midterms. And when Trump is the face of the GOP, Democrats go to the polls in droves. As far as getting Trump voters to the polls, the record is well-established that when Trump is not actually on the ballot, such as the 2018 midterms and the special elections when he was President, many Trump voters stay home, while Democratic turnout remains juiced.
Enten would respond by pointing to 2021 special elections in which Republican candidates have done better than projected. But a 2021 special election, with Trump out of office and out of a lot of voters' minds, is not the same thing as a high profile mid-term election during which Trump will reassert himself as the dominant figure in the GOP.
OOP's short takes:
- It's just been announced that the United States Supreme Court will hear an abortion case involving a Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks. I fully expect the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade and its progeny, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which threw out the Roe trimester approach in favor of viability. My guess is a majority of the Court will conclude the Court erred in drawing the line at viability (which is now about 5 1/2 months) to 4 months and allow states to ban abortion (except for the life and health of the mother) after that. That would pretty much coincide with the Mississippi law. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 91% of abortions happen during the first trimester. Maybe 4% or 5% happen in the fourth month, i.e. the early part of the second trimester.
- I typically fall asleep to the TV. This morning I woke up to Fox and Friends First, a lead-in for Fox and Friends. (I think one of my cats must have switched channels while I was snoozing.) The host had on four law enforcement type officials. The issue was the increasing homicide rate in certain cities. Who is to blame? Joe Biden of course! He wants to defund the police! So people start murdering each other based on who the President of the United States is? Of course many of these murders happened while Trump was in office as Biden has been President for less than four months. What I can't fathom is the depth of the intellectual dishonesty. Every one of those panelists knew how absurd their statements were but they said them anyway. Such is tribalism.