Is Trump’s Train Steaming or Derailing – “The Sunday Political Brunch” – July 31, 2022

Sunday, July 31, 2022


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President Donald Trump PHOTO: file

We are a wee bit more than three months until the November elections, and I am still pondering the influence of former President Donald Trump. Last week’s prime time hearing of the January 6th Select Committee was pretty damning, but we all know Trump has a lot of fight in him, and if he goes down, he’ll go down swinging. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.


“Down Goes Trump?” – My jaw dropped during the January 6th Committee hearing. For two hours, Trump was a human punching bag for committee members of both parties. The witnesses portrayed him in a very bad light, and at least three of his own family members expressed that he would not entertain their conclusions that he lost the election. It began to make me wonder if he really had any shot as a viable candidate for president again in 2024. You get the idea he wants to, but can he? That’s a whole different question.



“The Trump-Pence Feud” – Like a pot of near-boiling water, this divorce is about to boil over full steam. There is no “kiss and make-up” here. It’s over! So far, the starkest example was in Georgia where Pence backed current Gov. Brian Kemp for re-election. Trump, who blames Kemp, in part, for the election being “stolen” in Georgia in 2020, backed former U.S. Senator David Perdue (R) Georgia, in the gubernatorial primary. Pence-backed Kemp, crushed Trump-backed Perdue, 74 to 22 percent. To be fair, this is one of only a few Trump v. Pence primaries. In most races elsewhere, Trump-endorsed candidates are winning by big margins, in many races, in many states.


“Chapter Two: Arizona Wants Me” – After Georgia, the next big state where Trump and Pence-backed candidates are facing off, is in Arizona this coming Tuesday August 2nd. (Like Georgia, Arizona is another state where Trump feels the 2020 outcome was rigged). Current Gov. Doug Ducey is term limited. Trump has endorsed former TV reporter and conservative activist Keri Lake, who regards President Joe Biden’s 2020 win as “illegitimate.” Pence is supporting Karrin Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents. Regardless of which GOP candidate wins the primary, Democrats have a real shot here. Arizona, a once solidly red state, has turned purple. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs looks to be the Democrat nominee and has a real shot at winning the governor’s mansion.


“Pence, Not Trump Called Pentagon” – Is it just me, or was anyone else out there struck by some of the nuggets that came out during the most recent January 6th hearing? Evidence indicates that Vice President Mike Pence, called the Pentagon inquiring if military forces would be coming to help quell the riots at the U.S. Capitol. That’s fascinating since the vice-president has no Constitutional role in the military. Yes, Constitutionally, the president has the role of Commander-in-Chief and can order the military at will. The VP has no such shared authority. But it raises eyebrows and questions, why did the vice-president, under siege at the Capitol, have to call the Pentagon for help, while his boss sat on his hands?


“Manchin’s Musings” – We know the balance of power in Washington, DC lies in a few people’s hands. One of them is Trump, but one of the others is the key swing-voter, Sen. Joe Manchin (D) West Virginia. With the Senate tied at 50-50, Democrats get the “plus-one” majority with VP Kamala Harris as President of the Senate. But, rarely, if ever, does it get to a VP tie-breaking vote. That’s because Sen. Joe Manchin (D) West Virginia, the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, often votes with the GOP. Like his predecessor Sen. Rober C. Byrd (D) West Virginia, Manchin is a Congressional “kingmaker!”


“Build Back Boomerang” – Speaking of Senator Manchin, last week he announced he would not support the latest Reconciliation Bill in the Senate offered by his own party. This week, Manchin changed his mind after changes were made to the bill. The measure would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with big pharma (something the Veterans Administration already does). The goal is to keep drug prices low for seniors. The bill would put fossil fuels (something Biden wants to phase out), on equal playing field with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The bill would also raise corporate taxes on billion-dollar businesses, as well as on people making more than $400,000 per year.


“The Backlash?” – As the key swing vote, Senator Manchin is a lightning rod on both sides of the political aisle. Thursday, he defended his change of heart on the amended spending bill, after more changes were made. Manchin said, “I just felt there was an opportunity here to really give us an energy policy with security we need for our nation, but also driving down the prices, the high prices of gasoline. driving down inflation.” Manchin had initially sided with Republicans who opposed the original bill. Now they feel betrayed. Republican political operative Greg Thomas with the Coalition for a Better West Virginia said, “And here Joe is cutting a compromise that includes a tax increase, that includes part of the Green New Deal, and stuff that’s really going to hurt West Virginia. and, you know, this compromise, it’s bad for West Virginia.”


“The Forward Party” – After hearing of this week’s political bickering, are you tired of it all and wanting another choice? Well CNN is reporting the launch of a new political party known as “Forward.” Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R) Florida, whom I know and have covered, is joining former Gov. Christie Todd Wittman (R) New Jersey, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D) New York, for a moderate, bipartisan alternative to the two big parties. I have always advocated for a viable third choice, whether it is the Green or Libertarian parties or the new Forward party. I’m not endorsing the new party. What I am endorsing is the viability of alternative choices. After all, democracy is about giving people choices among many options, and not about a two-party stranglehold on the political process.

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the seven Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five neighboring states and the entire Washington, DC media market. He is also a MINDSETTER™ contributing political writer and analyst for and its affiliates.



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