Interestingly enough, my take on the election dovetails with Trump’s victory lap press event this morning during which he pointed out all of the Senate Republicans who won thanks to his rallies. He also mentioned my personal “bellwether race” in KY-06 between Barr and McGrath. McGrath is a woman, a military vet and a Democrat. It was also the one House race he made a point focusing on … and it worked. I predicted that a flip would portend a wave and that, on the other hand, a GOP hold would mean they turned out enough Whites and Evangelicals to forestall an electoral bloodbath.
And that’s exactly what happened … and now Trump knows he’s proven to the party that his election was not a fluke. He made that crystal clear with the rest of his opening comments in which he also pointed out by name those Republicans who, as Trump said, refused to “embrace Trump.”
And that’s the real takeaway … this election completed the transformation of the GOP into the party of Trumpism. Dissenters and non-conformers and “non-embracers” have been purged from the party. It has been purified. And it now has a distinct neo-fascist ideology at it core … one that emphasizes a culturally-focused type of ethno-nationalism as a form of sacred politics organized around a divinely-anointed leader who revels in a level of infallibility that affords him the latitude to literally say anything … to lie profusely and to make up a phony invasion supposedly teeming with killers and lepers and “Middle Easterners” … without ever being questioned by his devotees.
As such, Trump is now more than a demagogue. He is now an ideologue who can command absolute electoral obedience from his supporters … true believers who will show up and vote for and against whomever Trump wishes.
Now Trump’s base has hardened into a multi-generational force … stoked by the Kavanaugh debacle and the psycho-spiritual need for group identification by the rank and file in this new GOP. Trump gives them meaning through their identification with him and they are coalescing around an ideology he has developed over the course of the campaign .. one rooted in “our heritage” and “our thought” and “our flag” and “our soil.” And last night that ideology was embraced by the rural-dominated Red States that now form a nearly impregnable Red Wall in both the Senate and the Electoral College.
Today, we have a new politics with a new political party and a newly emboldened leader who is poised to win reelection.Tweet