Trump's Supporters Are Not Cult Members. We're Americans.
Former one-term Republican congressman and radio host Joe Walsh recently withdrew from running against Trump in the Republican primary. He apparently got the message that his candidacy was dead when the Iowa caucus crowd responded with raucous cheers for Trump to his comment "if you want four more year of the Donald Trump show" and roundly booed his claim that the president "makes every day about himself."
Any birdbrain knows that Trump makes every day about us and the U.S. The only reason he has had to talk about himself is because he's been under constant attack, and Democrats demanded his head. Past Republican presidents likely would not have responded, concluding that it was beneath the dignity of the office. Perhaps. But at some point, you have to fight back, or you'll eventually be ousted. When they called George Bush a liar and accused him of starting a war for oil we never got but would somehow benefit him, he just took it and virtually disappeared. When you don't present your case forcefully, the accusations become the truth, no matter how false.
Republicans are trained to respond like that. When running for office, you are advised not to address outrageous accusations — because it drives more media and public attention to the issue, keeping it in the spotlight. Instead, candidates are supposed to pivot towards what they can do or have done or what one's opponent hasn't done, etc. The tactic of punching back should be deployed only in very rare circumstances. This might have worked in a more chivalrous period of American politics, but once the Democrats shifted to a strategy of relentlessly lobbing mostly false accusations at their competitors, Republicans should have altered their strategy. But they didn't, and, for too long, the Democrats have been cage-fighting while we pretend-fight with our Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots.
Democrats got used to bullying Republicans, and Republicans forgot how to stand up for themselves. That all changed when Trump seismically disrupted the status quo, and Democrats and establishment Republicans went nuts. Democrats lost their stronghold over Republicans, and the Republican establishment didn't know what hit them: they couldn't control someone who burned their playbook and didn't care about perceptions.
Taking the high road is admirable, but if you continue to come up short, you are going to have to find another path if you want to win. The new path forged by Trump is that of punching back with whatever you've got — facts, insults, rumors, truths — and, duh! It's working, and Democrats don't like that. Neither does Joe Walsh or Trump's remaining challenger, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld.
Walsh labeled Trump a "dictator" and "king" and said he withdrew from the race because the Republican party had become an unbeatable cult of Trump. Walsh couldn't be more wrong. Cultists follow their leaders with blind faith and, like automatons, comport themselves exactly how the cult leader instructs them. Trump, on the contrary, is doing what we want him to do — what we've wanted every Republican president, presidential candidate, and congressperson to do for decades.
That's not a cult; it's literally the definition of a Democratic Republic — we vote for representatives to do what we want them to do. If they don't, we vote for others who will. We are not blindly following a manifesto that Trump drafted in the bowels of his basement, but abiding by a Constitution that has withstood the test of time. Our "Kool-Aid" is the relatively benign patriotism and flag-waving that have been a staple of the American ethos.
Cultists see no faults in their cult leaders. They see them as G-d — omnipotent. Omniscient. Trump-supporters see his weaknesses and faults clearly, and, frankly, he doesn't hide them. He's comfortable in his imperfect skin.
But — and this is what NeverTrumps, Walsh, the entirety of the left wing, and the Democrat Media Complex still do not fully comprehend — the flawless, slick, well dressed, well spoken, polite presidential candidates of the past who repeatedly let us down (like Romney, who...oops, did it again) and saw compromise versus commitment to conservatism as the only way to govern didn't work for the average American anymore. They alienated vast swaths of our broad middle class and allowed the left-wing fifth column to march into our homes, schools, houses of worship, and workplaces and destroy our families and our futures and trample our civil rights.
The intolerance and hate, of which we are daily accused, oozes from the pores of most left-wingers. They call us the most loathsome of names and marginalize us, and we are told to make nice. They try to destroy our president, accuse him of treason, impeach and remove him, tear this country in half for three years, ridicule his supporters, and then we are told to turn the other cheek, call for unity, and move forward. Sometimes.
Other times you have to call people out for what they have done and demand accountability. Trump deftly demonstrated this as they escorted Lt. Col. Vindman out of the White House and recalled that colossal boobenheimer Sondland.
Democrats are experts at fake outrage, fake sincerity, and transferring all of their insincerity and provocation to the Republicans. Take Debbie Dingle dingling around on Fox News, trying to look sincere and wringing her hands, brow furrowed with fake worry about how divided the country is, insisting she is open-minded about working together, and then she does an about-face as she becomes divisive talking about how divisive Trump's non-divisive State of the Union is.
Democrats don't want unity or collaboration. Their messaging post-SOTU and post-acquittal has been It's not over yet, my pretty. Meanwhile, they shredded the Constitution, denying the accused president any due process, and literally shredded the SOTU speech, then promised to continue to investigate, "do oversight," and impeach over and over until they destroy the country, the president, or both. They can't win 2020 on merit, so they have to win with chaos.
Like a kid throwing a tantrum knowing eventually he will get his way as long as he doesn't stop screaming, Democrats will keep it up as long as they think we will cave after enough of us have been broken, bankrupted, and canceled. Trump punched back, making clear we won't capitulate, and that has knocked them so far off their game that they are, as we say in Yiddish, vertutzt.
When another choice emerged (and it could have been anyone, but this time it was Trump) who understood us, understood we'd been shafted and shivved, it didn't matter if he was a smooth talker, a great rhetorician, an experienced politician, or even groomed in the manner we'd become accustomed to.
Trump's entire appeal was I get you, I see what's happened, I see what you want, and I will fight to get you that. I will not be bullied or pushed into compromises for the sake of compromise unless it directly benefits you. I'm not perfect and don't pretend to be. I haven't been consistent in my political beliefs, but I am firmly grounded now. I don't need this job but feel a sense of duty because I see how it can be fixed and no one else seems to get that or be willing to do what has to be done to right this ship. I will work for you every day, and I'm not just saying that like other politicians do — although you will have to take a leap of faith on that. Try me. If I fail to deliver, vote for the next guy.
So we went with Trump, with our eyes wide open. We see clearly who he is and how he lived his life and, so far, how he has fought for us. That doesn't make us cultists. It just means we are discerning voters.
In a way, I think we have made Trump a better man — a man maybe he never realized he could be. Meanwhile, guys like Joe Walsh and Mitt Romney and their newfound pals Bernie Sanders and Adam Schiff will be relics of the past, residing on the ash heap of history...with the rest of the dirtbags.