In order to win a battle or, more pointedly, an election, you must be able to admit when your opponent has done something right. It doesn’t make you a fan, but it proves that instead of being petty and delusional, you can think strategically.
When President Donald Trump pointed out some strengths of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, he didn’t say it out of affection; he understood what he was up against.
In this case, President Joe Biden’s done something right. When he coined the term “MAGA Republicans” or at least shined the spotlight on them, it was a stroke of political genius.
Yes, I know, “Biden” and “genius” appear awkward together in the same sentence. And maybe it was just dumb luck. But it was, and remains, a very effective weapon to induce Republicans to do one of two things: shy away from their MAGA Republicanism, or double down on it.
As was the case in 2016, many Republicans simply remain uncomfortable admitting their support for Trump out loud. And even when they do, they often nervously preface it with “I know he has a lot of faults” or “he’s not my first choice” as justification.
Of course Trump has flaws — so does every human being who ever walked the face of the earth. The problem is that those who condemn Trump so eagerly rarely point out the flaws in their own candidates of choice. Why, then, should Trump supporters feel the need to apologize for Trump when no one else apologizes for their own pick?
Then there are those who go in the opposite direction. The more Trump gets bashed, the more in-your-face they become about him. The MAGA hats are not enough; they drape themselves in Trump flags, wear T-shirts with bombastic slogans (e.g., “Get on the Trump train or get run over!”), and show up to rallies like they’re ready to go to war.
It’s great that they’re not embarrassed about being staunchly pro-Trump, but it’s almost as if they’re goading someone to challenge them (“Go ahead, tell me Trump’s not the greatest president ever, I dare you!”), and that type of over-the-top fanfare is likely to turn off crucial independent voters.
Right now there’s a man in rural Oklahoma who has about 100 friends and family members who all voted for Trump, and he can’t believe anyone would vote for Biden, and so surely the election must have been stolen.
Just as there’s a woman in the Bronx who lives in a building where all 100 residents voted for Biden. She is horrified to learn that tens of millions of people actually voted for Trump, and she’s convinced that they all must be white supremacists.
What neither the Oklahoman nor the New Yorker knows is that there’s a large swath of voters — sometimes as high as 15 and maybe even 20 percent — who swing back and forth about whom to vote for dozens of times. To them, the choice is far from clear, and any little thing can cause them to change their mind: like shirtless Trump supporters wearing Viking horns.
Let’s remember that not everyone’s taken the plunge into Trump Lake. Some people are still on the shoreline gingerly dipping their toes, and they need to be reassured that the water’s fine.
And if you think we don’t need them, think again: An election hasn’t been won without them in 40 years.
Those who say, “Well, I’m not going to change who I am, how I speak, or how I dress to impress them!” can be admired for their purity and positive self-image, but they’re going to need to cling to those for consolation on election night 2024, because they probably won’t have convinced enough swing voters to propel Trump to victory.
When you call Democrats “Commiecrats,” you’re no better than the leftists who refer to Republicans as “Republitards.” Remember, fighting fire with fire burns down the building that much quicker and everybody loses.
If a MAGA Republican is a person who voted for Trump twice and hopes he runs and wins again in 2024, then count me in as a proud MAGA Republican. Join me in supporting Trump with pride, but with enough dignity and decorum to bring those on board who aren’t fully decided yet.
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