It amuses me that some New Jersey media personalities and pundits continue to write columns about former Governor Chris Christie as if he had a ghost of a chance for the Republican presidential nomination. There is absolutely zero likelihood of his becoming remotely competitive for the nomination, even if unforeseen developments result in a major downturn in Republican support for current frontrunner former President Donald Trump. The impossibility of the Christie candidacy was established conclusively by the Granite State Poll results in New Hampshire reported Tuesday. Among Republican New Hampshire primary voters, Christie is by far the most unpopular prospective 2024 GOP presidential nominee. He has the worst favorable/unfavorable rating, 10 percent favorable and 64 percent unfavorable. A full 35 percent will not vote for him for president under any circumstances.
Yet when one considers the evolution and nature of today’s Republican Party, Chris Christie has every right to wear these unfavorable poll numbers as a badge of honor.
For almost 15 years, I have been writing column after column describing in depth the political and character flaws of Chris Christie. His present poor GOP poll numbers, however, are a tribute to his virtues, which become most evident when one evaluates the current decadent state of the Republican Party nationally.
The Republican Party which I venerated throughout my adult life was the party of Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight David Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. That party no longer exists.
The GOP is today no longer a party of democracy. Instead, it has devolved into an American cult of authoritarian fascism, reminiscent of the Fascist Italian Party of Benito Mussolini in the 1920s. It is The Cult of Maga, a sick society with two principal characteristics: 1) White grievance politics, appealing to the basest racist elements in the American body politic; and 2) Veneration of Donald Trump, who not only is an unabashed racist but also a profoundly sick misogynist.
Indeed, Trump has now been confirmed by a distinguished New York jurist as a rapist, a misogynist in the extreme. Yesterday, Lewis Kaplan, the judge in the E.Jean Carroll sexual assault law suit against Donald Trump, held that the jury in the case found that Trump had raped her.
Rapist Trump does not belong in the White House. He belongs in Rikers Island. Indeed, the mass fanatical support of Rapist Trump by rank-and-file Republicans is an unprecedented, and indeed terrifying development in American political history.
Chris Christie has two unimpeachable political virtues relevant to his unacceptability to the Cult of Maga.
First, he is not at all a racist, and thus has never participated in the white grievance politics which is the Maga trademark.
Second, Christie’s anti-racism and anti-misogyny account for his refusal to participate in the veneration of Donald Trump.
Christie’s refusal to embrace white grievance politics and Trump veneration irrevocably disqualify him as a Maga acceptable substitute candidate in the event of an unanticipated Trump decline. The two Maga alternatives to Trump in the event of his unanticipated fall from frontrunner status are Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Ohio US Senator J.D. Vance, neither of whom is presently an announced candidate.
Youngkin will be the candidate of white collar Trumpists (Wall Street), while Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy will be the standard bearer of blue collar Maga stormtroopers (Steve Bannon followers). Vance has already attained the status of a decorated veteran in the Army of Maga – Trump himself offered to send Vance as a surrogate for him recently to a social conservative gathering in Iowa.
As for Youngkin, many “mainstream” Republicans are under the mistaken impression that he will be a departure from the Cult of Maga. They are going to be very disappointed.
A September 3, 2022 Washington Post column, aptly entitled “Youngkin builds — and burns — bridges with Black voters“, described in vivid detail the Virginia governor’s continued sycophancy to white grievance politics constituencies. He also has demonstrated fealty to Trump by echoing the Donald’s false claims regarding his recent indictment as “sad” proof of the nation’s “two-tiered justice system.”
While Vance and Youngkin compete for the affections of Trump and Maga, Christie continues to attack Trump for the unconstitutional danger to democracy that he is. A recent New York Times article with sources close to Trump details how, if elected, Trump will govern with an unprecedented authoritarian agenda.
Every time Christie attacks Trump, he becomes more persona non grata to Magaworld and further forecloses any hope he may have for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination. From the standpoint of modern American political history, however, this is Christie’s finest hour.
Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.