Thursday, June 6, 2024

Trump's verdict – – always remember the secondary and tertiary effects

Given the situation and what we know about Trump, it has been obvious since the first investigation started gathering steam that the more intense the pressure got, the more support and greater displays of loyalty he would demand from GOP officials and candidates, and that a time would likely come when those demands would extract a steep cost. We have reached that point with countless examples of Republicans prostrating themselves, often going so far as to dress like the former president while doing it.

Far less common but perhaps even more instructive have been the cases where Republicans tried to put even a slight distance between themselves and their candidate.

Consider Larry Hogan. For a while it looked like Hogan was God's gift to the Republicans in the upcoming Senate race, a blue state GOP governor who had somehow managed to remain popular and leave office in 2023 with high approval ratings. Though the Democrats had managed to field a solid opponent, Hogan was still the favorite. Then he tried to thread the needle with a very mild middle-of-the-road statement shortly before the verdict was read.


From CNN:

Last week, Hogan had urged Americans to “respect the verdict and the legal process” before a Manhattan jury found Donald Trump guilty of all 34 charges of falsifying business records. The unprecedented and historic verdict makes Trump the first former president in American history to be convicted of a felony.

“At this dangerously divided moment in our history, all leaders—regardless of party—must not pour fuel on the fire with more toxic partisanship. We must reaffirm what has made this nation great: the rule of law,” Hogan had said.

Asked Sunday whether the RNC would withhold money from Hogan’s campaign, Lara Trump declined to answer directly but again called Hogan’s statement “ridiculous.”

“I’ll get back to you on all the specifics monetarily. But what I can tell you is that, as the Republican Party co-chair, I think he should never have said something like that,” she said.


 As TPM's David Kurtz observed, this going after Hogan could cost the GOP the senate. Remember, while Hogan's chances looked very good, those favorable odds depended on him pulling a reasonable amount of support from non-and even anti-Trump voters. The statement he put out was at most the bare minimum required to avoid alienating those voters, but it was still too much. To borrow a phrase from another era, counterrevolutionaries will not be tolerated in the party.

And you don't have to be a candidate

The official College Republicans account, which raises money on the official Winred platform, was blasted by MAGA loyalists for stating that Trump's conviction should be "respected." The group critiqued the conviction while calling for it to be respected along with the 2024 election results.


 The article provides a helpful sampling of responses from prominent Republicans. Here's a sample of the sample.





We often hear pundits discuss the presidential election in terms of a referendum on Biden or a referendum on Trump, but increasingly this applies to most statewide elections as well. Trump controls most of the money and has a cult of personality which may not be all that large in absolute terms, but is more than enough to scuttle any Republican candidate. Few if any will be allowed to contradict political prisoner/martyr narrative. If voters, especially independents, decide that the conviction is no big deal, then the impact of this will probably be minimal, but no one knows how this will play out, and there is certainly the possibility of it being a very big deal indeed.

Closing with a couple of examples of acceptable rhetoric.

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