Most of the pundits were right for once; almost everyone on the GOP debate stage gave Donald Trump a pass.
Except for Chris Christie of course.
“Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct,” Christie said to a swarm of boos, plus a smattering of forced applause. Clearly, the audience at the GOP primary debate wasn’t in agreement.
Chris Christie SLAMS Donald Trump:
“Someone has to stop normalizing this conduct.”#GOPDebate
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) August 24, 2023
And that’s precisely the problem.
There are no more words that could possibly be written about Donald Trump that hasn’t been written already. Polarization has helped usher in this bizarre era where Trump, a fundamentally flawed and disgusting human, has somehow convinced half of America that he is the hero they’ve always wanted. He’s their bloated, orange savior, complete with meandering answers to softball questions (thanks Tucker!) and impossible-not-to-notice, Adderall induced clumps of saliva in the corners of his illiterate, filthy mouth.
Trump was absent but the #GOPDebate still saw a fire hose of lies and a competition as to who could be more authoritarian
Vivek Ramaswamy tried his best to appeal to the worst among the GOP base. He was a Trump 2015 clone
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) August 24, 2023
Virtually every candidate on that debate stage were careful not to say anything that would endure the wrath of his minions, except for Christie.
He hardly had a choice.
Once a proud-if-not-strategic Trump loyalist, Christie gambled long ago to detach himself from the Big Orange Daddy and has been politically invisible ever since. In 2016, after a failed presidential run he actually endorsed Trump. He was rewarded for his loyalty as Trump named Christie to head a transition team if Trump was victorious. Trump eventually reneged on that deal after Christie staffers were convicted in the Bridgegate scandal.
Christie, to his credit, then turned down offers from the Trump administration, including Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Veteran Affairs, and Secretary of Labor. Trump then released an 18-page dossier eviscerating Christie as a punitive measure for Christie’s refusal to join his administration.
It appears Trump supporters have never forgotten about Christie blasphemy.
Ep. 19 Debate Night with Donald J Trump pic.twitter.com/ayPfII48CO
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 24, 2023
The boos were a good barometer that not much has changed in America. The indictments and accusations of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election are seen by Trump fans as a conspiracy orchestrated by president Joe Biden, who they view as a senile, corrupt political lifer with a crackhead son and a penchant for Chinese money.
SHOCKING: @CNN @jaketapper finally admits that @realDonaldTrump was right and @JoeBiden was wrong or lied about Hunter Biden not making money from #China. The left loves to call people on the right conspiracy theorists. I can confirm that's totally false and nonsense! WATCH pic.twitter.com/p7JIHPgagB
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) August 19, 2023
The best part about America is that in their quest to move swiftly towards an all-out civil war each side often has a point about the other side. Biden does look like he helped facilitated deals for his son, who is a crackhead, and who did become enriched with Chinese money.
The problem with America is the rank hypocrisy that was once mostly a characteristic of the political class, has completely infected the regular civilian class as well.
Which makes politicians like Christie both vital, and almost entirely marginalized.
Moderates are scarce in America these days, at a time when the only cure for rabid partisanship is the ability for effective politicians to call out the bullshit on their side of the aisle. Chris Christie is almost certainly not effective enough, but in the sad state of affairs known as American politics, he’s the best the GOP can currently muster.