How the GOP Used Trump and Why They Can Dump Him and Still Keep Screwing Americans

Tim Libretti, PhD
5 min readJul 11, 2022
flickr.com

The emerging trend in right-wing politics, which is quickly gaining steam, is, in a quick phrase, to dump Donald Trump.

Maybe the right wing isn’t going full-on Liz Cheney in equaling her outright denunciation and prosecution of Trump for his misdeeds, but they are distancing themselves from him, for sure, in more polite and politically strategic ways, hoping to keep Trump’s supporters in the fold while discarding Trump as unobtrusively as possible.

Let’s be clear, though. They aren’t dumping Trumpism, just Trump. Indeed, what some pundits have termed Trumpism is really just what mainstream Republican politics have been for decades, fomenting racism and manipulating people’s basest impulses to hate to their political advantage, pursuing gerrymandering and other voter suppression measures to enable their minority rule, eschewing standard constitutional procedures to stack the Supreme Court, and more. These practices preceded Trump (as I’ve written about here , here, and here , among other places); but he brought them out in the open and exercised the brute power grab in a way so overt and so unpalatable to many Americans that the GOP has now realized it must dump Trump in order to preserve its wins and sustain its long-term more covert agenda of minority autocratic rule.

The GOP can dump Trump because they have fulfilled substantial elements of their agenda by effectively using Trump to carry out their wishes. Trump, we all know, is a small-minded, insecure, megalomaniacal man who craves power and desperately requires constant attention and aggrandizement. He doesn’t have an ideological bone in his body and lacks any serious convictions. When it comes to politics, he’s an empty vessel. The GOP and the broader right, including the evangelical right, know he’s a thoroughly amoral, even profoundly immoral, man.

But he served a purpose, and they harnessed his evil skills and powers, filling up that vessel empty of political conviction with their own ideological agenda. He carried it out.

The Supreme Court is stacked with a 6–3 conservative extremist majority. Roe v. Wade has been overturned. In 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts led the charge to gut the Voting Rights Act, enabling — indeed…

--

--

Tim Libretti, PhD

Professor of Literature, Political Economy enthusiast, Dad, always thinking about the optimal world