Trump Done? Well, Maybe Not.

[ Posted Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 – 15:46 UTC ]

Donald Trump's political obituary has been written so many times it is now somewhat of a running joke. "Trump Surely Must Be Toast This Time" is a headline that just keeps on giving, because each and every time the answer turns out to be: "Nope, false alarm, his followers are unfazed." This time, however, what's notable is that the "Trump's Done!" stories seem to be coming more and more from his own diehard supporters in the rightwing media echo chamber. The knee-jerk echoes are dying down, to stretch the metaphor, no matter how loudly Trump shouts.

Conservative commentators including Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Alex Jones, and Ben Shapiro have all recently espoused a similar message: it is time for Republicans to move on from Donald Trump. Jones openly backed Ron DeSantis over Trump. Coulter created the most recent buzz by writing: "You don't need to suck up to Trump anymore, talk radio hosts, TV hosts, Republicans running for office. He's done. He's over." Coulter had previously broken from Trump, but her language was pretty scathing:

[Ann] Coulter equated Trump's most loyal supporters to those of the Grateful Dead, following him from place to place, listening to the same songs and "wearing the costumes" indicative of a fan club, rather than the embodiment of a broad political coalition.

"Trump fans are having a lot of fun, but it isn't indicative of a movement that's sweeping the nation," Coulter said on the podcast. "It's not the party of Trump. It's safe to come back, and it's safe for Republicans to stand up and run without Donald Trump."

Ouch. Conservatives calling other conservatives "Deadheads" is about as low an insult as can be flung, over on the right. It's a wonder she didn't just call them "dirty hippies," in fact.

A month ago, the Washington Post ran a story titled: "The Murdochs And Trump Aligned For Mutual Benefit. That May Be Changing." The upshot of the story was that Fox News saw Trump as a moneymaker, which worked for a good run. But now, maybe not so much. Of course, that article was written before the search warrant on Trump's Florida golf resort was served, and since then Fox News seems to have decided the old dog may have one trick left in him, as they've gleefully gotten on board Trump's endless victimhood complaint train once again -- for the moment.

More telling was the scarcity of Republicans willing to go on the Sunday morning political chat shows this weekend to defend Trump, now that the affidavit which convinced a federal judge to sign that search warrant has been partially released. Trump, as usual, is trying to throw sand in everyone's faces, talking about declassification and trying to get a special master appointed to screen the document haul, but he has notably never answered the basic questions: What was he doing with all that stuff in the first place? Why did he need to take documents with the nation's closest-held secrets with him, when he knew full well they weren't his? Why didn't he give them all back when asked? Why didn't he give the rest of them back when subpoenaed? Why did he force the F.B.I. to search for them? None of these questions have been remotely answered, either by Trump himself or any of his sycophants in Congress. Which is why most of them stayed away (or, in the case of Lindsey Graham, appeared on Fox threatening riots in the streets if Trump is ever brought to justice for stealing the nation's secrets).

The Republican National Committee isn't even paying his legal bills for the classified document case, which is rather significant since they've footed the bill for all his other (numerous) legal defenses.

Is Trump's baggage finally proving to be too much? Is the Republican Party about to enter some sort of transition to a post-Trump phase? Well, nobody really knows, but as for me I'm not all that sure. In fact, I'm not sure at all. I'd call such a conclusion doubtful at best, and certainly premature.

Even during the supposed disaffection with Trump at Fox News, their primetime opinion hosts never visibly wavered from their full Trumpian support. Sean Hannity didn't suddenly see the light, in other words. So perhaps a few on the "news" side of Fox News may have inched away but over on the opinion side there wasn't much discernable movement.

Even if the Republican Party did enter a post-Trump era, it would probably look pretty much the same as the Trump era, just without Donald Trump at the center of it. Kind of like the Dead without Jerry Garcia, perhaps. The path to success within the Republican Party ranks right now is to get out there and be as Trumpy as possible. Rant and rave about stolen elections (without a scintilla of proof). Decry the F.B.I. as some sort of partisan enterprise. Embrace the victimhood of older White Americans as closely as possible, and amplify it constantly. The names have changed, but the shtick remains the same.

Of course, that's only the path to success within the Republican Party itself. We'll have to see how many of these firebrands actually manage to get elected in November. If Trump's handpicked candidates cost the GOP control of the Senate, control of several governor's offices, and even (gasp!) control of the House, then Republicans are going to see Trump's influence in a vastly different light (one would assume). Maybe they would stop "sucking up" to Trump, at that point. Maybe he would be "over... done" if that came to pass.

But then again maybe not. Whether or not he gets indicted for any crimes (state or federal) in the next few months, Donald Trump is almost certainly going to announce his 2024 presidential bid before the end of the year. He has reportedly been talked out of announcing before the midterm elections, because his advisors are pointing out to him that if Republicans lose the Senate after Trump announces his run, he will likely be blamed for the loss. He may be blamed anyway, but this has apparently convinced him to wait.

But he's not going to wait long. He's going to try to intimidate the whole rest of the GOP field into not running. He wants a clear path to the nomination, and the earlier he announces, the fewer candidates he'll likely have to run against.

And a "Trump 2024" campaign will have a life of its own, especially within the rightwing media. Even if he just continues to beat the dead horse of the 2020 election and vociferously complain about all the perceived wrongs done to him, he'll probably hold some big rallies where he can feel the rapturous love from his followers. Maybe he'll even break out "Dark Star" (note: ask a Deadhead, if you don't get that reference).

To most of us, Trump's message is increasingly stale. But his followers don't really care what he says as long as he is his old feisty "own the libs" self. He tops most of the 2024 GOP polling already, and he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt back in 2016 that all he really needs is about 30-35 percent of the base to win enough primaries to get the nomination. Or to put it another way, it's hard to see any other Republican beating him, at least at this point. Even if he's running from a jail cell, in fact. And even if his handpicked Senate candidates go down in flames and leave Chuck Schumer in control.

So while some conservatives are saying Trump is down, he's definitely not out, at least not quite yet. He's not done. He's planning his third act on the presidential stage. He's itching to start it all. He's going to take the band on tour one last time. And he's going to make a big splash when he does. So I just can't get on the "Trump's done" bandwagon, because it is quite likely to be yet another case of: "Whoops, he weaselled his way out of it, somehow, once again." At least politically, if not legally. Even if Trump is charged with a crime and tried for it, Trump is an absolute master of legal delaying tactics, so he'll get the trial pushed out as far into the future as possible. And he'll continue to rake in money decrying his victimhood to his loyal fans all the while. If you listen close, you can hear them singing along (apologies to Jerry, Robert Hunter, and all the rest, but somehow it seemed appropriate):

Saint Stephen Donald will remain,
All he's lost he shall regain.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


10 Comments on “Trump Done? Well, Maybe Not.”

  1. [1] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Running for president from a jail cell would not be very easy if your strategy revolves around holding large rallies.

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Loved the Dark Star reference.

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    That goose is cooked well done.

  4. [4] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    We'll see how tight the orange one's grip is on the cult. The DOJ made that flunky judge look like a flunky fool for saying that she was inclined to appoint a pointless special master. Does she go for it anyway? That's what Dear Leader expects.

  5. [5] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    Also social media access. For most prisons, all internet time has to paid for and comes in limited, specific windows. No 4AM tirades...

  6. [6] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I thought Trump was done when the Reddit zeitgeist moved on from him to shooting the moon with Gamestop stock. Beyond the political subreddits, especially the conserative ones, it has never gone back to him...

  7. [7] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Trump will run in 2024 simply because he cannot stand NOT being the focus of everyone's attention. This was what NY Time's reporter Maggie Haberman concluded when she was asked what she thought Trump's political plans were going to be; and I have to agree with her answer and the reasoning behind it. As long as Trump's successes are front page news and any loses he experiences are pushed to the back pages, Trump is a winner in his own mind.

    It's why Trump is so willing to back a wildcard candidate in a political race over the candidate everyone expects to win. Even if the candidate most likely to win is a Trump cultist, Trump doesn't seem to back them as enthusiastically as he the wildcards. When the wildcard surprises everyone, that is front page coverage. That's why, later on, when his wildcard candidate gets trounced in the general election, Trump doesn't seem to care. That loss is not NY Times' front page news.

    If Trump does not run in 2024, he would start finding his successes popping up a few pages back from the front page. The GOP's 2024 candidate will rightfully take over the front page spot that Trump has come to covet, and Trump's fragile lil' ego won't be able to handle that.

    Trump should take comfort in the fact that his being indicted, convicted, and being sent to prison will definitely get him on the NYTimes' front page for quite a while! And, really, isn't that what is truly important?

  8. [8] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Found this on and it is a fascinating read! "Scary" doesn't do it justice, but it truly makes you stop and take a step back to try to look at the last few years through a much wider lens.


  9. [9] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    MtnCaddy (From Prev)

    My Dear Fellow Traveler,

    All kinds of nope.

    The First Amendment prohibits governments from prohibiting free speech and that would most certainly include forcing "news organizations" or "opinion programs" or what not to have to post warnings.

    JUST WHO decides what's false and what's real? Not only totally unworkable but it's the complete opposite of what the Framers wanted.

    I am not saying that FoxNews' news division would be required to post such a warning, because they are actually extremely good about reporting the facts as they are. It's why so many good journalists have had to leave the network -- they couldn't take the constant lies coming from the opinion shows that they are forced to work with.

    Warnings do not prohibit free speech. It's why before every "infomercial" you see TV stations play at 3am there is warning informing the viewer that the program they are about to see is an paid advertisement and that the station is not supporting or defending any claims being made in the program.

    Do you think that Big Pharma likes listing every potential side effect that the drug they are trying to sell you has caused in others? No way! They'd much rather you not know that those eye drops to get rid of redness that they are offering to you COULD cause explosive diarrhea or stigmata in some patients. Or that people who are pregnant or may become pregnant while using the drug, or who may know someone who will one day become pregnant should avoid taking their drug.

    We restrict speech and require warnings all the time if there is a chance that people can be harmed by what is being said. Yet we have carved out protections for politicians and networks that allow them to knowingly spread misinformation (lies) without the risk of being held culpable for the damage that their lies have caused others.

    FoxNews only exists because our country struck down the Fairness Doctrine that required networks provide equal air time for differing political views. The creation of a conservative propaganda network was WHY it had to be struck down.

    JUST WHO decides what's false and what's real? Not only totally unworkable but it's the complete opposite of what the Framers wanted.

    The courts can. But so can the FCC commission. When the GOP ran political ads claiming that Obama's policies shut down an auto plant in one state; but the plant actually announced it was closing when Bush was still in office, a newspaper and a calendar could decide what is false and what is true!

    We aren't talking about OPINIONS! We are talking about FACTS -- a word that, sadly, on this site has been corrupted by he with one testicle.

    Donald Trump knew how deadly the COVID-19 virus was from the very beginning. He lied to the nation and the networks let him promote his lie. Donald Trump could not wear a mask without it causing his makeup to smear all over the place. Over a million Americans died because of his need to always be orange-faced. We all heard Trump admit how deadly it was to Bob Woodward. If Big Pharma has to tell you that what it is selling you could cause you to die, why shouldn't Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham have to do the same with what they are selling you? The courts ruled that we KNOW that what they are selling us isn't FACT based. So if we KNOW this already, how could requiring a warning be attached to what we already KNOW be viewed as prohibiting free speech?

  10. [10] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Even if Trump is charged with a crime and tried for it, Trump is an absolute master of legal delaying tactics, so he'll get the trial pushed out as far into the future as possible. And he'll continue to rake in money decrying his victimhood to his loyal fans all the while.

    Not from a jail cell he won't. Trump should be denied bail for good reason. He is definitely a flight risk -- he has access to a shit-ton of money, is in possession of multiple passports (now you know why the FBI so publicly gave them back to him), and has already shown the willingness and ability to cause violent followers to do his bidding -- making him a threat to public safety and national security.

    Trump is FAR TOO DANGEROUS to be free once he is indicted. He will attack anyone he feels is a threat to his freedom. It'll be time to finally put a muzzle on Kujo... he can still wimper and whine, but he won't be barking threats at anyone anymore!

Comments for this article are closed.