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The GOP is Trump’s GOP, and that won’t change

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Weeks after Trump decisively lost the election to Biden, not one top Republican official appeared on a national Sunday TV talk show to discuss the election. Only a handful of GOP Senate outliers, such as Mitt Romney, dared to say that Biden won the election, and that the Senate and country should get on with its business. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the official GOP capper in denial when he fulsomely backed Trump as “100 percent right” to push hard his colossal bogus stolen election pap.

How to explain one of the greatest ironies of American politics? That is, how Trump — a guy that almost no one in the GOP political establishment likes — owns and runs that establishment lock, stock and barrel. Start with the numbers. Trump’s 73 million votes is the greatest number of votes a losing presidential candidate has gotten in a free election anywhere, ever. In fact, it’s a greater number than any American presidential winner has ever gotten. But it’s how Trump got those staggering numbers that tell much about why GOP politicians of all stripes are scared stiff of Trump.

In part it’s rage and rebellion against the perceived wheeling-and-dealing corporate, beltway Democrats and Republicans. In another, it’s passionate belief that Trump talks the talk and fights the fight for less-educated rural and blue- collar workers and a healthy segment of middle-class suburbia. In even bigger part, it’s his deep tap of the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, nativist, know-nothing fear and loathing that is a foundational part of American life.

These are powerful, undeniable forces that propel American politics. So powerful, that in spite of the irrefutable proof that the 2020 presidential vote and vote process was accurate and untainted, more than half of Republicans go further and claim the election was stolen from Trump. They are so enraged that they spin every kind of ridiculous conspiracy theory about the alleged theft and make clear they’ll never acknowledge the legitimacy of the Biden presidency.

Much is made that America will no longer be an old-white-guy-run country in 2050, that white male voters have steadily dropped in national elections, and that Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women and young persons will be the new majority voters. But that’s still a way off, maybe a long way off. White males still have outsized voter clout in the crucial Heartland states and the South.

Trump knew that and talked to no one else but them in the giant circus-like exhibitions he held that passed for campaign rallies on their vote turf. He openly bragged at his 2020 campaign rallies that he’d do exactly what got him elected in 2016 — that was to continue to play hard on his base’s latent racist, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, pseudo-patriotic sentiment.

The blunt reality is that Trump was always more than the titular head of the GOP. He was the point man for GOP policy and issues and, in a perverse way, the spur to get action on them. Trump showed that he could give the GOP a big boost in its relentless drive to damp down the Democratic voter turnout by rigging, playing dirty and gerrymandering.

Trump’s rock-solid loyalist base is proof, then, that the only numbers that ever count on Election Day are the numbers that show up at the polls. Trump showed that he has those numbers and can get them out, even in defeat. That’s why the GOP is and will remain Trump’s GOP.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.