I must admit, I don’t have much use for the spate of “End of Year” type phony awards-designations that emerge as the world barrels towards the conclusion of one calendar year and creeps towards another one.
In the ever-topsy-turvy world of politics, for example, it’s almost impossible to characterize an entire twelve months because each one is usually very different – and consequential – in its own way. Who remembers, for example, that back in January of this year, 2023, politics watchers were treated to a steady diet of establishment media stories boasting about “dysfunction” and doom in the House of Representatives, simply because the new holders of the majority couldn’t settle on a new Speaker right away?
How many times did the in-chamber cameras pan to capture former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nasty disapproving smirking face as Republicans pointed fingers, yelled (a little) and generally looked to be a well-dressed collection of bickering little children who couldn’t decide whether they wanted cake or cookies for their post-holiday bash?
Who recollects? Probably lots of people, now, simply because the House went through a second round of similar infighting and backbiting over electing a new Speaker to replace the one (Kevin McCarthy) who’d been compromised over back in January. At the time, I predicted (and was proved right, at least for a while) that as soon as Republicans decided amongst themselves about the direction of the faction that the January hubbub would all be forgotten.
Americans have remarkably short attention spans when it comes to politics – and they tend not to recall much when current events supersede the media’s hyped story of the moment. Take the infamous Chinese Spy Balloon that completely supplanted the House GOP leadership struggle in February, together with monotonous and continuing congressional wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, a quarrel that never seems to end – primarily because Republicans don’t and won’t use their power over the budget to force a reasonable solution.
All this being said, there is one end-of-year “award” that merits some manner of recognition. Therefore, the winner for the most inconsequential political group of the term goes to… Democrats? Nope. 2023’s hands-down champion of irrelevance is the nebulous group of naysayers, whiners and nincompoops known anonymously as Never Trump – or #NeverTrump – or Anyone-but-Trump or… who cares.
Most political people who entered 2023 as committed Never Trumpers were full of optimism that Donald Trump would be treated to the reckoning that he, according to them, richly deserved. Whereas many conservatives, myself included, decided long ago that we’d leave the result of the 2024 Republican nominating contest up to the voters, the anti-Trumpers couldn’t bring themselves to remain so open-minded.
As the months went on, Trump was indicted on nearly a hundred serious criminal charges (in four separate jurisdictions), and, as Republican polls steadily moved in Trump’s direction, the Never Trump adherents only became more and more bitter – and disbelieving. Now that it looks as though Trump is a shoe-in to win the GOP nomination – unless all the polls are markedly off-base in historic, career-ending ways for the survey-takers – Never Trump faces the prospect of a bleak 2024.
Therefore, the holdouts warrant an award for sticking to their bullet-less pop (off) guns and maintaining their stupid steadfastness in the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Ironically enough, even though they were dead wrong in their 2023 predictions, some Never Trumpers are still making forecasts for 2024. In an opinion piece titled “The most important ‘what-ifs’ of 2024”, intractable and terminally frustrated establishment Republican (and Never Trumper) Myra Adams wrote at The Hill last week:
“Raise your hand if you are dreading 2024. Keep it up if you believe it will be more traumatic than 2023.
“As I was writing this piece, the news broke that the Colorado Supreme Court had ruled former President Trump is ineligible to appear on the 2024 presidential ballot, citing the Constitution’s 14th Amendment insurrection clause.
“This unprecedented ruling, likely headed to the Supreme Court, illustrates how alarming, destructive, distressing events and circumstances from 2023 will continue unabated or conclude with more polarizing or dangerous consequences. Thus, 2024 could rank among the most harrowing and catastrophic in national and world history…”
Well, Ms. Adams, the Colorado Supreme Court didn’t disallow Trump from the 2024 presidential election ballot, “only” the state’s primary ballot. Further, after the ruling, the Colorado GOP announced it would hold caucuses – which the party controls – rather than an open primary, if the decision isn’t overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Yes, this is a big deal, but, one, the federal high court will almost certainly send the Colorado outlier deep into the dustbin of history, and two, the Rocky Mountain State’s liberal justices might’ve only made it more certain that Trump would win the 2024 general election. The more Trump looks like he’s being singled out for special establishment scorn, the more people flock to his banner. The same phenomenon happens in elementary school when some kid (or group) tries bossing everyone else around, but primarily concentrates on one individual they view as vulnerable and an easy target.
Donald Trump ain’t vulnerable and he’s no easy target, no matter how many establishment media pushers and hapless Democrats insist that he is. Trump, if he wasn’t renowned as a master manipulator of public opinion before, has just been tossed an invaluable weapon to use against the shrinking conglomerate who swears he’ll never be president again. The Never Trumpers’ bad year just got worse last week – and probably ruined their Christmases.
Imagine what it will be like next year at this time. Far be it from me to put the proverbial cart before the horse, but what possibly could intervene to prevent Trump from winning the GOP’s nomination, and then take his massive momentum into the fall campaign for the general election vote? Never Trump adherents count on a Liz Cheney effect keeping its relevance into 2024. They’re wrong.
Hatred of Trump only lasts so long when the country has deteriorated to the point that it has in 2023 (and before). Senile Joe Biden’s – and his party pals – counted on Americans dropping their lifelong preconceptions and desires and preferences for gas-powered vehicles to convert to electric car believers. Biden himself went to EV factories, rode in demo trucks, smiled a lot for the cameras and shuffled back to the White House convinced that average citizens were fooled. Wrong again.
Biden created policies designed to greatly increase the price of gasoline so that Americans would see electric vehicles as a possible means to save money in the long run. But his shortsighted inability or unwillingness to see the inevitable backlash over the fact that EV car batteries are made in China, are incredibly expensive, toilsome to charge and impossible to foresee in terms of their long-term viability – led to car lots full of unsold electric cars in 2023.
Who knows, maybe Biden and co. can sell the boondoggle EV brand to Disneyland as a futuristic attraction that will never come to fruition in Tomorrowland.
That’s not all. With some reports indicating African-Americans, particularly black men, moving in sizable percentages to back Trump, it’s quite possible corporate-loving, wishy-washy suburban white voters (think Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney here) will join traditional Democrat constituencies as the ones who make up the strongest opposition to Trump. It’s a little early to predict a complete realignment of party membership, but trends are trends, and the former president is benefitting from them.
Another factor in Trump’s favor – and again, demonstrates the ridiculous stubbornness of Never Trump – is the fact he originally launched his campaign as a mission to solve the illegal immigration plague that’s become particularly chronic since senile Joe Biden and Democrat crew took over. Video images from the border don’t lie – and neither do news reports of red state border governors sending migrants to blue cities via bus and plane.
Never Trump whiners base their opposition to Trump on personality critiques and notions of “un-presidential behavior”, particularly seizing on, at least lately, the former president’s comment that he intends to be a dictator (but only on the first day of his second term). They’ll usually credit Trump for being a decent policy president, but the meat & potatoes issues take a backseat when working over his supposed “crimes” and impeachments and inflammatory statements over the past eight years.
Forgive and forget is not in the Never Trump soul. So much for the concept of redemption at Christmastime.
Never Trump’s most basic problem is that they’ve been left behind by current attitudes, recent history – and by the Democrats’ swift turn to the left. The perpetual establishment media’ s light on Trump has shown that he’s not the one who’s changed a whole lot. He’s aged a bit and he’s not quite as orange as he used to be, but his brand is the same. And it works because it’s simple and memorable – Make America Great Again.
Never Trump continues to lose because its diehard defenders can’t find an attack angle that controls. They tried complaining he was unpresidential. Then they joined with Democrats to hit the Russiagate controversy. Then COVID and Trump’s administration’s response. Then January 6th, which they’ve attempted to milk for years now.
Americans would rather have results. And beyond Ron DeSantis (and maybe Vivek Ramaswamy), there’s no one to compete with Trump for best candidate of 2024.
If there were a “most irrelevant” award for 2023, it would unmistakably belong to the remaining Never Trump holdouts. They’ve earned it. Sooner or later, if Never Trumpers wish to stop being outcasts, they’ll have to make a choice of worldviews. Most conservatives have already made the journey, but there’s always room for one – or millions – more.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election