In Part One of this article we reviewed at least some of the reasons why Donald Trump may have lost the 2020 election to the corrupt, basement dwelling Joe Biden. Some hope remains that ultimately proves not to be true, but in the event the nightmare transpires, here are some proposed prescriptions for making it short. What do we do differently in 2024?
Whatever is going to be done to prepare to retake the White House in 2024 needs to start now. The Democratic Party was at work prepping the battlefield for 2020 well in advance. It made clear decisions and stuck with them. The spontaneity and grassroots nature of the MAGA movement has always been one of its hallmarks. That energy cannot be lost, but it must now be combined with organization and efficiency.
Take Control of the Party or Start a New One
Donald Trump emerged as the leader of a populist movement that opposed many of the most sacred tenets of the Republican platforms of recent decades. He tapped into a magma chamber of resentment that had been bubbling below the surface in American political life at least since Ross Perot’s failed bid for the Presidency. Ridiculed and reviled by his Republican opponents, Trump channeled the energy of this people’s uprising into a successful bid for the White House.
Trump led the revolution. He stormed the city. He took the Oval Office. He left the Republican Party as an institution untouched. He remained an outsider, nominally heading a party, which in reality was run by individuals who did not share his agenda and who wished more than anything else to just go back to the way things were.
That cannot remain the case. The MAGA movement cannot continue to coexist with Republican Party establishment types who are as much a part of the Swamp as any Democrat. Either the movement needs to take control over the Republican Party structure and push out those who oppose the people and populism, or the MAGA movement needs to emerge formally as a new party. We cannot continue to look past fundamental differences. We can never again go into battle against a brutally efficient Democratic Party machine with traitors in our midst and divided loyalties.
The process of breaking this one way or the other needs to start now. It needs to begin with a reckoning with GOP party leaders and office holders. The entire Pennsylvania state legislature, with a Republican majority, went into recess on November 30th and went home washing their hands of any effort to confront the enormous electoral fraud just perpetrated in the Commonwealth. Every single one of the Republicans who voted to do so should face a primary challenger and hard questions. That process should be repeated across the country.
Prepare Now to Take Control of the Government
Just as Donald Trump never took control of the Republican Party he never succeeded in taking control of the federal government either. This almost unbelievably vast and powerful structure in many ways successfully waited him out and resisted his attempts to master it. To those unfamiliar with Washington, that may seem almost impossible to believe, but the reality is the President can only directly control the federal government via the appointees he selects. Trump came to D.C without any such cadre of individuals on whom to call, and he never really succeeded in finding a sufficient number of loyalists with the right credentials.
That cannot happen again. That means as the MAGA movement presses ahead, either as a new party or firmly in control of the GOP, it needs to start building that infrastructure now. The man or woman who takes the Oval Office in 2024 needs to have a stable of individuals on whom to call to head up all the key federal agencies and to staff other critical positions several layers down. There can never again be a President sitting in the White House surrounded by bureaucrats who proudly proclaim they are part of the “resistance.”
The Movement Has to Be About More Than Trump
At any Trump rally you will find a sea of Trump banners, many of them with his image on them, more than a few with the well-known “Rambo” Trump picture. This has been part of the energy of the MAGA movement from the beginning. It is also part of the problem going forward.
Donald Trump is a historic figure. He changed American politics for good. He said things out loud that millions were thinking but were afraid to verbalize. There is no going back. Without him there would not be a populist movement in America today.
This cannot be true going forward. Trump may remain a standard bearer. He may be the man who retakes the White House in 2024. The movement cannot be defined by him. As noted above, the challenge now is for a spontaneous uprising to morph into something that can govern and rule. That means a movement that transcends any one man.
It has been said that it is much harder to govern than to lead a revolution. We have just seen that this is true. The skills and abilities that make for a successful insurrectionist do not necessarily lend themselves to gaining control over a vast hostile bureaucracy and holding onto the “throne.”
That does not mean it is not possible to institutionalize the revolution. It just means a battle may have been lost. Now the challenge is to incorporate the lessons learned and make sure we don’t lose another one.