According to a report from the New Republic's Alex Shepard, any hope that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) had of becoming a star in the Republican Party firmament has decidedly crashed to earth and burned as he has become a pathetic object of ridicule -- particularly after being publicly humiliated the House committee investigating the Jan 6th riot.
As Shepard notes, the enduring image of Hawley -- the author of the upcoming "Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs" -- running away from violent Trump fans he encouraged on Jan 6th will haunt him the rest of his political career.
Worse than that, his attempts to paint himself as a populist and a "strongman" in the mold of former President Donald Trump is falling flat with conservative voters.
"[Hawley] was staking a claim to the future of Donald Trump’s political movement—a claim that he was hoping would come due soon, either in 2024 or in the next presidential election," Shepard added. "Eighteen months later, however, Hawley’s big gamble has shown little signs of paying off: He barely registers as a figure of national consequence."
As evidence, the New Republic report points out that Hawley's national standing with voters is barely measurable in the polls.
"No one is looking to him as the leader of anything, let alone the Republican Party," Shepard explained, "In February, he received 0.2 percent of the vote when the Conservative Political Action Conference held its annual presidential straw poll. Former Vice President Mike Pence, a reviled figure in GOP circles, received five times as many votes, though both lagged far behind Trump—and, to a lesser extent, the current front-runner to succeed him, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis."
"Hawley’s larger goal has been to take the authoritarian strongman mantle from Trump—or at least to inherit it. And on that point, he has failed miserably," Shepard summed up before wryly noting that Hawley appeared at the TPUSA rally in Tampa this past weekend -- and the event's organizers didn't even n bother adding his name to a straw poll of 2024 Republican presidential contenders.