The Longterm Effect of the Trump Cult
During the primary campaign in 2016, Republican Party leaders rightly reviled the charlatan and grifter competing against them, but when he improbably won the nomination and the election, they realized that he was of great use to the Party because his mode of demagoguery attracted and energized great numbers of voters, who were fooled into thinking he cared about them and would act on their behalf. This substantial block of voters –– the Trump cult –– conferred on Republicans the political power they needed to advance their plutocratic agenda, block progressive initiatives, and stack the courts with right-wing ideologues.
As has long been known, bargains with the devil tend to have long-term negative consequences. The Trump cult, energized by pulsating streams of disinformation and conspiracy theories, flourished and now effectively controls the Party. Republicans can’t win primary or general elections without support of its adherents.
If Republican leaders weren’t lacking in courage and a basic sense of moral responsibility, they would risk their political careers in the service of truth, justice, and decency by repudiating Trump. Almost none have. Nearly the whole lot of them either echo outrageous lies and behavior by Trump and his lackeys, or pretend not to notice the damage Trump has inflicted on our country. Their status as indentured servants to the Trump cult will outlast Trump’s term in office.