Last night Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman reported that when Trump spoke at the North Carolina GOP convention, he "was both a diminished figure and an oversized presence in American life, with a remarkable-- and many say dangerous-- hold on his party." A woke 6th grader could have written the entire predictable gaslit, low-energy speech for him.
Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, said Mr. Trump had defied the model of ex-presidents who lose an election and tend to fade away, and the experience of Richard M. Nixon, who was treated like a pariah in the way Mr. Trump has managed to avoid.
As for being simultaneously big and small, Mr. Beschloss said: “He’s big if the metric is that politicians are afraid of him, which is one metric of power in Washington. Many Republican leaders are terrified of him and abasing themselves in front of him.”
...From his strange dual perch of irrelevance and dominance, Trump has been narrowly focused on three things-- his repeated, false claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and his support for efforts to try to overturn the results; the state and local investigations into the practices of the Trump Organization; and the state of his business.
Trump, who White House officials said watched with pleasure as his supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College vote, has told several people he believes he could be “reinstated” to the White House this August, according to three people familiar with his remarks. He has been echoing a theory promulgated by supporters like Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow, and Sidney Powell, the lawyer being sued for defamation by election machine companies for spreading conspiracy theories about the safety of their ballots.
President Biden’s victory, with more than 80 million votes, was certified by Congress once the Jan. 6 riot was contained. There is no legal mechanism for reinstating a president, and the efforts by Republicans in the Arizona Senate to recount the votes in the state’s largest county have been derided as fake and inept by local Republican officials, who say the result is a partisan circus that is eroding confidence in elections.
...Trump’s first post-presidential rally is scheduled for later in June, followed by more appearances both for himself, paid for by his super PAC, and on behalf of House Republicans who support his agenda, advisers said.
He has been so eager for an audience that he is even billed as a speaker who will appear live, via Jumbotron, at a rally in New Richmond, Wis., where the other headliners are Diamond and Silk, the MAGA movement social media stars, and Dinesh D’Souza, who received a presidential pardon from Trump for a felony conviction of making illegal campaign contributions.
Despite the modest nature of some of the events he is interested in attaching his name to, even some of his biggest detractors are loath to write him off.
“I wish I was more confident it was ridiculous,” said Bill Kristol, a prominent “Never Trump” conservative. “It’s missing the forest through the trees to fail to see how strong he is.”
...[H]e has been eager to get back to holding rallies, announcing states where he planned to travel to before his team had finalized any venues or dates.
“If you’re a one-term president, you usually go quietly into the night,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “He sees himself as leading the revolution, and he’s doing it from the back of a golf cart.”
If you're not going to church this morning, ket me recommend a sermon, I’m a Christian Pastor. Evangelicals Have to Be Defeated in 2022 released last night by Rev. John Pavlovitz on his blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said." And what needs to be said this morning is that, Pavlovitz's words, "white Evangelicals need to be stopped, now."
He warned that "If the 2022 midterms elections allow Republicans to gain control of Congress, Conservative Christians will decimate this nation, and LGBTQ people, Muslims, women, people of color, and non-Christians will never have equality under the law again. We will all be at their mercy-- and they will no longer have use for mercy. This is not alarmist, sky-is-falling histrionics, it is the clear and sober forecast from someone who knows these people better than anyone. Over the last decade and a half, as my theology shifted and my beliefs grew more and more progressive, I’ve been a kind of undercover Liberal in an increasingly extremist movement, that while once relegated to minor fringe noisemakers is now at the precipice of Roman Empire-level power. They are less than two years away from having a dominance that they will wield violently and not relinquish."
These are not followers of Jesus despite the trappings and window dressing. They are Jesus-less extremists: blind zealots for nothing but power. They have been conditioned by decades of polluted theology and FoxNews alternative facts to see diversity as a threat, to see progress as attacks on America, and to interpret more people being treated with dignity as oppression of white people.
Trust me when I tell you that we won’t recover from the theocracy Evangelicals are constructing once it is established. If we fail in 2022, they will have a political power that will render every election null and void, and we will never have a voice again in our lifetimes.
Women will lose autonomy over their own bodies.
LGBTQ people will have the rights to marry and adopt taken away.
People of color will be fully squeezed out of the electoral process.
Immigrants will be denied access to opportunity and refuge here.
These are not creative projections. They are precisely what Evangelicals have repeatedly stated as their intentions, and they’re closer than they’ve ever been to having a rubber stamp.
...We’ve seen this play out throughout history and we know how it ends. We know what unchecked religious extremist is capable of and we know the cost of the silence and inaction of good people. We also know what people are capable of when they refuse to accept fascism and white supremacy cloaked in the Bible and wrapped in the flag, when they fight for something inherently good together.
As someone who knows just how much these Christians have lost the plot of their faith tradition, believe me when I tell you that they cannot be allowed to steer this nation. It will not end well for the disparate people who call it home or who one day wish to.
Love and equity and diversity are in the balance.
It’s time we made a choice.
It may be the last one we get.