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Caught in a trap, Part 2

by Bradley Gitz | June 27, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

The most important election since November 2020 occurred a few weeks ago in the most woke city in America, San Francisco, when voters recalled woke District Attorney Chesa Boudin by a remarkable 20 percentage points.

Republicans, in their usual intellectual stupor, might not have figured out what that means, but the alarm bells have gone off throughout a Democratic Party which has acquired an ideological identity roughly equivalent to that of Boudin.

That even the woke are becoming sick of woke bodes ill for our nation's woke party.

All of which leaves Democrats clinging even more tenaciously to Donald Trump; or, more accurately, hoping that Republicans continue to cling to him in politically suicidal fashion.

Liz Cheney might want to wean Republicans from Trump for the sake of party and country, but Democrats know that the more they attack the man, the more Trump's personality cult will rush to defend him; hence the infomercial known as the House Jan. 6 Committee hearings and their laser focus on the 45th president and his persistently unsavory behavior.

A general coincidence of interests unites Democrats and Trump, in that they each want the same thing: the GOP under his control. Indeed, had Trump been a Democratic mole inserted into the Republican Party to wreak havoc, it would be difficult to think of many things he would have done differently.

Keeping Trump around the necks of the Republicans will be even more important for Democrats given that they are almost certain to have to pick their next nominee from the residents of the Shady Hills assisted-living facility (Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren). That the only non-fossil alternative is the unendurable Kamala Harris tells us all we need to know about things on their side of the aisle.

In short, the woke, sclerotic Democrats wouldn't have a political future except for Trump, and the Republicans would own the future if not for him.

As such, we can envision five possible scenarios for 2024, with the only two that happen to be beneficial to the GOP also the least likely to occur.

That first is the one wherein Trump disavows any interest in running again, preferably sooner rather than later, such that he is, to great Democratic disappointment, largely forgotten by the time of the first GOP primary. This would clear the way for Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Ben Sasse, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott or Arkansas' own Tom Cotton or Asa Hutchinson or any one of at least a dozen other Republicans to easily prevail over the Democratic dud.

As long as Trump isn't the GOP nominee, it doesn't really matter who the Democrats or Republicans nominate because the Republican will win.

Scenario two, constituting a slight variation of scenario one, would be if Trump were to lose the GOP primary to someone like DeSantis because enough Republicans had finally come to their senses, and then gracefully accept his defeat and support the winner. This is the least likely scenario because personality/character transplant technology will not have been invented in time.

Scenario three would also feature Trump losing the GOP primary and, more consistent with personality/character, declaring himself the victim of a rigged game (because Trump never loses a fair one). He would then bolt the Republican Party that he has always viewed with contempt and as his own political plaything, run third-party, and take a sufficient chunk of his personality cult with him to hand the presidency to the Democratic dud. Trump would, again characteristically, consider this a "win."

Scenario four, moving up the probability ladder, features Trump winning the GOP nomination (because enough Republicans have moved from being cultists to actual zombies) and then narrowly losing in November to the Democratic dud, in what would be yet another "hold your nose when voting" match-up (the chances of the Democratic dud being perceived as the slightly lesser evil in such a scenario would require than their candidate to be someone other than the ultimate dud Biden).

Finally, scenario five would be the same as four, only with Trump narrowly winning in the Electoral College (while likely again losing the popular vote) over the Democratic dud of choice. This would be a bigger disaster for the Republicans (who would now be wed to Trump for four more years) and the nation (which would have to endure a repeat of the chaos and craziness of the first Trump term, the man having learned nothing) than it would be for the Democrats.

In short, the only way Democrats can win and Republicans lose is if Trump runs again.

There might be a certain mischievous pleasure in watching the Democratic Party be destroyed from within by its own woke excesses, but the truth is nothing Democrats will do between now and November 2024 will matter much.

All the action will be on the Republican side, and Donald Trump will continue to determine their fate.

The Democratic Party is now a party chock full of nuts, but they still have a chance if they keep the biggest nut of all atop the Republicans.

The Democrats' great (lone) political advantage is that they have figured that out and too many Republicans haven't.

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

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