The January 6 committee portrays Trump as an anomaly, but Trumpist ideology extends beyond the man who originated it
Is Trump done? The Republican party leadership would certainly hope so. When the former president and would-be autocrat announced his third run for the presidency, in the days after the Republican party’s paltry and historically anomalous midterm showing, hardly any elected members of his party showed up. Since he left office, civil suits have accrued around Trump and his companies, like a river leaving silt deposits that slowly build up into muddy land. Investigations have proliferated in New York, where the state attorney general has accused Trump of various real estate frauds, and in Fulton county, Georgia, where his threatening phone calls to the state attorney general in the wake of the 2020 election have earned him a criminal inquiry.
Last week, Trump teased a “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” on social media, briefly leading to speculation about what his plans might be, and how they could shake up American politics. Was he announcing a running mate? Was he going to throw his hat in the ring for speaker of the House? But no; instead, he was unveiling a new product: a line of wish-fulfillment greeting cards that depict him as a musclebound superhero. Even worse, the cards were digital only, selling for $99 a pop in a form that’s become the last and most embarrassing refuge of scammers: the NFT. The spectacle was almost sad – tacky and desperate and low-rent, even for him.