Here we go with another week in the 'stranger things' world that is US politics. Every week I think, OK things will start to make sense to me soon, but alas.... let's begin with the bizarre spectacle of Donald J Trump holding a cult gathering in the villain's lair to perpetuate the big lie and plan the next assault on democracy. I read the most bizarre report by Caren White about Trump recreating the Oval Office at Mar-a-Largo to continue his delusion that he is still in his mind, the President of the United States. In most circumstances, this behaviour would be addressed with a straight jacket and a secure padded cell, but in Trump world this is perfectly normal, as he holds court to actual lawmakers and people of influence. It's like he's running a shadow government and the Republican Party remains his hostage.
The weekend gathering for donors and his followers was just a chance to fuel the big lie as the GOP cower at his feet while he plays kingmaker. The Senate minority leader got the usual treatment as Trump described McConnell as a '"stone-cold loser". Then as a side dish, he attacked his wife for good measure. The most bizarre thing of all to me, is that attendees for his show had paid $100,000 each for the privilege of listening to the former guy carping on about not losing the election. Now these people weren't conned into attending, they actually went there willingly and paid silly money to do so. The normal person in me wants to laugh at their idiocy, but the cynic in me is mildly concerned because I just can't get my head around the possible threat.
I still hold the view that the electoral sway Trump has is not what the GOP thinks it is, but I would never dismiss the threat he presents to the democratic process. At the moment, he has a social media disability, which hinders his attempts to disrupt, but the one fear I do have, is the damage he could do if here were to be given back access to Twitter. I can only assume by this obsession not to get on the wrong side of Trump that the GOP has become too dependent on small donations from his followers. My question is, how can he reach those followers effectively if he has no social media platform? I appreciate he will have big email lists, but it really is not the same as a social media mainline into their lives. If you add to this, the number of people who were sucked into the recurring donation payment scam, the original reach may now be at the very least dented.
Given that Trump has absolutely no intention of endorsing anyone who is not absolutely loyal to him and the presence of his hit list of those who have strayed from the Trump position. He only looks set to cause further disruption in the Republican Party. I simply can't get my head around what Trump brings to the party anymore. All he has is this perceived massive base which is yet to be tested in battle, where he has no access to social media. Personally, I think it's a case of 'The kings's new clothes', but the GOP has clearly not arrived at that conclusion, even if the likes of Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney have. Every time I try to rationalise the situation, I draw a blank on the benefit of Trump's influence. I know it amounts to millions of cult followers, but I honestly beleive it's not enough to win an election. This is why there is a co-ordinated effort by Republicans to suppress the minority vote to guard against the possibility.
As things stand, Biden is on the verge of a massive breakthrough as the vaccination program is on fire, delivering now up to 4 million vaccinations a day. Consider that when Biden took office the program was in total disarray. He has proved beyond doubt that a well co-ordinated federal response, was the only way forward. The new administration had virtually no systems in place to get these vaccinations in arms, so Biden has gone from a standing start to the world leader in less than three months. It's a real measure of exemplary leadership, in a time of crisis. It's about the man at the top staying absolutely focused on the mission and deploying a world class team to deliver the objectives. Add to this, the passing of the American Rescue Plan and Biden has delivered beyond measure to the American people. What's more, he's done it with little fanfare, for the love of his country and I suspect little sleep. He's not made it about him, he's made it about saving the lives of Americans and helping those so dreadfully affected by the pandemic.
The end of the current drag on the economy is now just in sight. In a normal world, Biden would be able to appeal to the nation to hang on in there and abide by public health messaging, so as to minimise deaths in the home stretch. However, the politicisation of the virus has led to many losing all sense of responsibility and brought out the ugly selfish side of human nature. Even when it can be seen that the end is in sight, some people refuse to accept inconvenience, even if it means killing others. What shocks me most, is the hard right influence on the anti-vax movement. Disruption, no matter what the cost is the objective and just like the big lie gained traction, so is the perception that the vaccine is somehow a threat. It's the classic, 'don't let the truth get in the way of a good story and a potential profit', the only difference being that the truth might save your life.
The coming weeks look set to be really interesting as the political situation moves forward and the GOP set about the task of obstructing progress, aided and abetted by Joe Manchin, who seems to want to reward the people that incited insurrection, by offering them his vote. I have no words.