Welcome to MAGA Nation
Trumpism conquers Massachusetts.
1. MAGA Nation
Prepare to hear a lot this week about the “Glenn Youngkin Model” after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp crushes Sad David Perdue. Trump’s influence is waning! This is the future of the GOP! The page is being turned!
You may hear somewhat less about Charlie Baker.
Baker is the extremely popular Republican governor of Massachusetts—dude has a 74 percent approval rating. Highest in America.
Also: Baker is not running for reelection because he could not win his own party’s nomination.
So Baker is stepping away and the Massachusetts Republican party met this weekend to choose its nominee. Surprise! They picked an election conspiracy theorist who wants to send Bay State National Guard troops to the Mexican border.
Here’s a summary of the totally normal Republican convention from the Globe:
Republican activists Saturday overwhelmingly endorsed a Donald Trump-backed conservative for governor at the Massachusetts GOP convention, where speakers leaned heavily into national themes and culture war debates, railing against abortion, characterizing Democrats as “evil,” and issuing vague yet vulgar warnings about the state of education. . . .
Geoff Diehl, a former Whitman state lawmaker who’s trumpeted Trump’s false claims the 2020 election was rigged, received 71 percent of the 1,194 votes cast by party delegates, winning the party’s backing for governor. . . .
Diehl pitched himself as progressive Democrats’ “worst nightmare,” promising to hire back state workers fired by the Baker administration because they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and dispatch members of the National Guard to the southern border “to stop the lawlessness.” . . .
Diehl and other statewide Republican candidates leaned into the idea that a one-party state could spur “indoctrination” of their children and schools. They promised to be bulwarks against what he called the threat of critical race theory. . . .
Rayla Campbell, the party’s candidate for secretary of state, urged Republicans not to sit back and say, “Maybe somebody else will take care of it. That’s not so nice.”
“I don’t think it’s nice when they’re telling your 5-year-old that he can [perform a sex act on] another 5-year-old,” she said, drawing gasps from the audience. “Do you?”
“Because that’s what’s happening in your schools!” she added. “If this makes you uncomfortable, it should.” . . .
Pressed by a Globe reporter, Campbell did not provide evidence of this . . .
But wait! There’s more!
That 74 percent approval rating that Gov. Baker has . . . who could possibly not like that guy?
Oh, his own party. The Republicans. They hate him.
Baker, the party’s nominee each of the last three cycles, is not seeking reelection, and in a sign of intense friction between Baker and the party’s conservative leadership, neither he nor Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito attended Saturday’s convention.
There was no mention of Baker on Saturday from the stage, though he was the target of veiled shots, with some Republicans slamming his administration’s early COVID-19 policies. Outside the MassMutual Center, a delegate handed out packages of candy with the phrase “Adiós Chuckles” and a caricature of Baker wearing a red clown nose.
There’s more. So much more:
Thomas Homan, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement who Trump named his “border czar” in 2019, spoke for more than an hour, leading the crowd in a “Trump! Trump! Trump!” chant after he finished.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who is serving as an adviser to Diehl, weaved through the delegates throughout the day, occasionally getting stopped for a handshake or a selfie.
And all of this insurrection stuff isn’t just backward-looking. It’s the future these Republicans want:
Campbell, vying to be the state’s chief elections official, also charged that Republicans “watched our elections be stolen” . . .
“We are going to crush and destroy these rotten devils that call themselves Democrats!” she thundered into the microphone. “This is a battle of good versus evil.”
But hey, how about that Glenn Youngkin! And Brian Kemp! Everything is fine! Don’t go asking Republicans to do anything crazy like fully repudiate Trump and devote themselves to protecting democracy, even if it means temporarily supporting a . . . [gasp] . . . Democrat.
That’s just West Wing-style fantasy politics.1
2. Mike Pence Is the Hero We Need?
I am only half (or maybe three-fifths) kidding when I say that Democrats ought to be embracing Mike Pence as the man who saved democracy by standing up to Donald Trump.
Pence refused to violate the Constitution when ordered to by the POTUS. And since January 6, Pence has:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Pelosi and Schumer ought to introduce resolutions praising Pence for saving the Republic and being a great American and then watch how many Republicans vote against them.
Hell, they ought to propose putting a plaque somewhere in the Capitol commemorating Pence’s stand.
Because here’s a pretty likely scenario for where we could be two years from now: