According to Washington Post political analyst Philip Bump, a video clip of Donald Trump's "please clap" moment that was filmed at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend is indicative that the public is rapidly losing interest in the former president as fellow Republicans adopt his rhetoric but do it without the actual baggage of being the twice-impeached president who lost re-election.
Describing the video moment by recalling a similar humiliating clip of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in 2016 just before his campaign to be the GOP presidential nominee died a quiet death, Bump wrote that Trump seems to be suffering the same fate, while also noting polls seem to bear that out.
"Until now. Before January 2021, Trump was consistently identified as the target of more support among Republicans than was the GOP. A year ago, after Trump lost his reelection bid, the two pulled even. And since then, the GOP has built a widening lead," Bump wrote. "Seven years after Trump first emerged as a significant political force, and with him now in semi-retirement post-2020, the party seems finally to have figured out how to use to its own advantage what made him appealing. Trumpism, if you will, has been licensed out like so many Trump products before."
Using the election of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) as an example of someone who got Trump's endorsement while keeping him at arm's length, the analysts said that lesson has not been lost by other GOP candidates who want Trump's fans -- but not him.
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Bump also noted Trump's attempts to make the case that he is still important with his curious decision to endorse two GOP candidates running for the same seat so he can take credit for their win.
"It’s an unintentionally revealing consideration, one that would make explicit that Trump’s concern is not values but the demonstration of success. This isn’t really a secret, but Trump’s generic-to-the-point-of-parody endorsements were in the past at least theoretically predicated on issues," he wrote. "This is the “please clap” of endorsement strategies, an effort to simply gin up the appearance of importance where it otherwise wouldn’t exist. It would demonstrate not Trump’s exaggerated power but, instead, emphasize his weakness."
"It’s also a sign that the party is moving on. Lots of candidates — most candidates! — running for Republican nominations are echoing Trump’s rhetoric and priorities, and nearly all would rather have his endorsement than not. But it’s not hard to imagine that Trump’s endorsement would simply become another factor in the mix as candidates scramble to appeal to the Republican base," he added before suggesting, "But, out of office and trying to find his footing, there is a lot of evidence that Trump’s position itself has softened, that the GOP has figured out ways to make his priorities and energies work to their advantage — just as he, in 2016, figured out how to make the GOP work to his."
"Trumpism isn’t going anywhere, clearly," he predicted. "The question now is the extent to which Trump himself will still get to benefit from it."
You can read the whole piece here.