There were some whispers in the hours and days immediately following Donald Trump’s upset win of the presidency that his fragile ego would keep him on the road hosting rallies, in order to bask in the presence of the adoring Trumpidian crowds. The actual work, in the meantime, would be left to VP Mike Pence.
We’ve already seen a bit of that, as Pence is said to have been instrumental in keeping the Carrier facility in Indiana, while Trump rushed to accept the accolades for it.
Now, Republicans who are trying to keep the show rolling through the transition are bracing for Herr Trump’s planned “Thank you” tour. Or in keeping with the season, as his cult will call it, the “Come Let Us Adore Him” tour.
Trump’s tour, billed as a “thank you” to supporters, begins Thursday at the 17,556-capacity U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, and is expected to mimic the high-energy rallies that drove his insurgent presidential campaign.
Republican strategists acknowledged the political risks in Trump’s decision hold political events just 23 days after the Nov. 8 election — and more than seven weeks before his inauguration. But they were loathe to criticize the president-elect’s instincts after a surprise victory that was fueled the strong connection he forged with the voters, particularly in states the GOP hadn’t won in decades.
So they don’t want to stand up to him because they feel obligated to him?
This isn’t exactly the first time a candidate has pulled this kind of stunt.
To further mirror the unhinged insanity of Democrats in 2008, Trump is following in the footsteps of Barack Obama, whose first act as the new president was to launch a world-wide apology tour, as he went from country to country, holding rallies and apologizing for the existence of the United States.
The actual content of the speeches given may differ, but the arrogance and self-absorbed intent is the same.
Republicans’ approval of Trump’s political activities is a stark turnabout from their criticism of President Obama over the years. They have long accused the Democratic chief executive of choosing to engage in a “permanent campaign” bent on punishing political foes, rather than shift to governing and work with them.
Hate it from Obama. Love it from Trump.
Trump’s insecurity and need to be adored, so soon after his win raises other concerns. The nation is still bitterly divided, and let’s face it – Trump has no idea how to talk to people. He incites. His rallies are more to work up his base to a froth than to talk policy or bring hope.
“The risk is that these rallies become flashpoints between his supporters and his opponents, which prevents him from following through on his election night promise to bring the country together,” said a Republican strategist who has worked on campaigns and in a presidential administration.
“It’s obvious that there are very raw feelings around the country right now,” this strategist continued. “Rubbing salt in those wounds before you even get to an inauguration sets that process back.”
“Raw feelings” is putting it lightly.
Civility and decency bought their ticket out of town when President Obama told Republicans to “sit down and shut up.”
The emergence of Trump upgraded the tickets to first class, Boeing 777, parts unknown territory.
Some Democrats accept comparisons to Obama, but contend Trump raises the “permanent campaign” to a level typically found in quasi-authoritarian regimes built around the cult of personality-style leadership.
“This is yet another example of him pushing way past the usual boundaries when it comes to politics,” Democratic operative Jim Manley said. “I think this is highly unusual and fraught with some peril depending on how crowds react and what he says.”
One thing not to expect is for Trump to tell his spastic crowds to be excellent to one another. That’s not what Trump’s followers come to hear.
They want him to talk about those who are ruining the country (see: “other”). They want him to demonize the media, Hillary Clinton, and other Republicans.
They want to hear him talk about “draining the swamp,” even as his cabinet is swiftly filling up with swamp creatures.
The truth is, most of them don’t know the difference, until he tells them.
“Boy, these candidates/president-elects look awfully similar, don’t they?” said a GOP consultant. “Both won by appealing to their party’s basest voters. They both had or are having a tough time with their party leaders in Congress. Neither takes any kind of criticism well at all. All we need now is for Trump to win the Nobel Prize for doing absolutely nothing.”
And I would love to know who the consultant was that made this comment, because I owe him/her dinner, drinks, dancing, and my undying affection for that last line, alone.