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Mr. Trump at 2022 CPAC last week, 3/4
Note that 3/4 is the date of the post. Mr. Trump's speech was 2/26
I watched this speech. My reaction was the same as my reaction to his speech last year. I find the relationship between Mr. Trump and his supporters very disturbing.
In a Q&A session with members of the conservative media, Mr. Trump was asked whether he could show as much courage as Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy. His response struck me as candid and endearing. He said that you can tell yourself that you are brave, but until you are in such a situation you do not know how you will act.
But overall, Mr. Trump comes across as possessing a large share of the Dark Triad traits—Machiavallianism, psychopathy, and especially narcissism. He brags that he got along with Putin and other dictators, saying that he can be tough at the same time. If you were in a drinking game in which you had to take a shot every time he said “greatest ever” or “best ever” in describing his Administration, you would have passed out long before the speech ended.
He continues to regard anyone who does not believe that he won the 2020 election as an enemy. He singled out Mitch McConnell and the Supreme Court for particularly bitter rebukes. Given his fixation with personal loyalty and his propensity for turning on erstwhile allies, I cannot imagine high-caliber people joining a second Trump Administration, should that come to pass. I would add that if recent events have made you long for unity in this country and warm relationships with the NATO countries, I doubt that Mr. Trump is your man.
The crowd at CPAC eagerly complied with Mr. Trump’s demands for unswerving loyalty. He seemed to send them into ecstasy, much more akin to Beatlemania than to any sort of ordinary political enthusiasm. If his reception at CPAC is indicative, then he would likely win the nomination if he runs in 2024.
In 2016, Mr. Trump’s appeal to anti-elitism might have made him unique in the Republican Party. But since then, the Democrats have dug themselves into an arrogant progressive hole so deeply that it is hard so see how they can climb out. Republicans cannot help but capitalize on anti-Woke, anti-elitist sentiment. If in 2016 Mr. Trump might have been the only Republican who could win, in 2024 he may be the only Republican who could lose.