What a wild turn this phantom GOP primary has been taking lately. Where else are you going to hear a candidate reminisce about the good old days of Calvin Coolidge? Oh, yes. We all remember Coolidge with great fondness, as we remember his compatriot Herbert Hoover. Some memorable times, the Depression. Well do I recall my parents and friends from that generation discussing the matter — except their recollection wasn’t anywhere near as fond as Ron DeSantis’s.
And then the next day Casey really threw the Gucci into the gears, when she claimed that supporters from all states will “descend” on the Iowa Caucus, forcing the GOP in Iowa to not so gently remind everybody that if you plan to vote in said caucus, you had best be a citizen and you better have your photo ID handy. Talk about sabotage and gaffes, the DeSantii had a great week for both. But Donald Trump, per usual, says “hold my beer” and bottoms them with this nonsense.
Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify for GOP Primary Debate Three, which put him out of range of Debate Four, obviously, so he’s been out of commission for quite some time. Now he did say, back in November, that he wasn’t going to formally suspend his campaign at that moment, even though he was then polling at an average of 0.6 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight, trailing Chris Christie at 3.1 percent. So where Trump is getting 2.0 percent, we don’t know. But we also don’t know where he’s getting 64%, either.
Also last month, Hutchinson was resoundingly booed at the Florida Republican Party’s annual Freedom Summit, on November 4.
“Next March not only brings us March Madness, it will also… we will witness our justice system at work and on trial, in federal and state courtrooms,” Hutchinson said.
“As someone who’s been in the courtroom for over 25 years, as a federal prosecutor, and also in defending some of the most serious federal criminal cases, I can say that there is a significant likelihood that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury on a felony offense next year,” he added.
His comments sparked loud boos and groans from the largely pro-Trump crowd.
That was not the comment to make to that crowd. But getting back to Trump and Hutchinson, if you know why Trump’s even bothering to bring the man’s name up, please tell us. Or tell the folks at FiveThirtyEight, they’re dying to know. Maybe Hutchinson, for reasons known only to himself, thinks that there’s going to be some “Ah ha!” moment in March, or at some other point, when Trump will finally get convicted of some of his 91 felonies and then the GOP will have a Come To Jesus moment and realize that they need another candidate. I suppose that’s within the realm of possibility, but Hutchinson being that candidate is simply delusional.
Hutchinson’s even more delusional than Mike Pence, if he thinks he has a prayer of being the 2024 GOP candidate. The only realistic way that could happen is if all the candidates’ names were simply put in a hat and Hutchinson won the draw — and in all truth, as patently insane as this 2023 GOP Primary has been, that would not be the strangest part of it, were that to happen.
And Trump playing along, like this is a real thing, that Hutchinson is still in the game, is beyond delusional, it’s sheer fantasy. Hutchinson has zero tangible standing in a GOP primary process that is an illusion to begin with.
We have witnessed two primaries this primary season, one which is real and one which is imaginary. In the imaginary one, Tim Scott had a chance. Glenn Youngkin was going to blast to a red victory in Virginia and then announce he was the savior of the GOP and somehow be catapulted to the top of the ticket, as if the orange elephant in the room was invisible and/or didn’t really exist.
And I guess Asa Hutchinson is a believer in the fantasy primary as well. Because he didn’t formally suspend his fantasy campaign, he just let it drift away, as dreams always do, moments upon awakening into the real world. Tim Miller wrote about this in July:
THERE’S ANOTHER WORLD out there—one that’s better than ours. In this world there are two healthy political parties waging vigorous primary campaigns with vibrant debates between factions and these factions have genuine disagreements over what policies will best serve our fellow Americans. I don’t begrudge anyone aspiring to build such a world. I don’t even begrudge those who have chosen to live in a blissful state of disreality and disconnect from politics entirely, rather than face the Super Not Great world we do live in.
But I would expect professional political commentators, and donors shelling out millions in campaign cash, and the political strategists receiving that cash, to live in the real world.
Alas this is not the case. Instead we have a heavily capitalized right-wing ecosystem that exists to prop up an imaginary Republican presidential primary so that the participants can feel better about their party identification. This way they can do business with Republican politicians or chew the fat at the club without feeling icky at having to admit that their Grand Old Party has become something dark.
It has become something dark and it is fumbling along in the dark, in major denial as to who’s who and what’s what. Meanwhile, their standard bearer is likewise running his own version of the primary, where he’s soundly beating everybody, even though it was never any other way. There’s never been any competition to beat. The GOP cracked open back in 2015, as rotten logs are wont to do, and out swarmed Donald and his MAGA horde and he has ruled ever since.
The bottom line is that the GOP is now the Party Of Trump, POT. And POT’s nominee in 2024 will be Donald Trump. And all those who pretend otherwise are either: 1. Not in touch with reality; 2. Not capable of being in touch with reality, i.e. mentally ill; or 3. Hoping for a miracle, because they can’t face reality.
That is the state of POT. The GOP is long gone. The rest of us see this. When will they wake up?