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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    OPINION: Conn. GOP should be watching walls close in on Trump

    There was a time, not that long ago, when Connecticut Republicans still had enough electoral clout to significantly impact public policy.

    After all, U.S. Sen. Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, back when he confronted Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandals, became a national Republican rock star for his brave challenge to a scandal-beleaguered president of his own party. (Of course, he eventually left the GOP before being elected governor with a party of his own making.)

    Connecticut sent other moderate Republicans (moderate at the time they were elected anyway) like Fairfield County’s Chris Shays and our own Rob Simmons of eastern Connecticut to Washington, D.C.

    Republicans have laid their heads on the governor’s mansion’s pillows for long periods of time.

    Jodi Rell managed to hold on to the mansion even as her Republican gubernatorial predecessor went down in the flames of tawdry scandal.

    Very recently, Democrats had to share power with Republicans in the state Senate, but got their clear majority back in the era of former President Donald Trump.

    Indeed, the most recent Republican slide in influence in Connecticut coincides with the rise of stubborn Trumpism, a movement, or a cult, that has clearly forever changed the party here as it has in the rest of the country.

    It’s hard to imagine any time in recent history Connecticut Republicans signing on with a national party that struggles to find aid for an American ally trying to fight the Russian despot Vladimir Putin. But here we are.

    Republicans are going to find it increasingly difficult to run for election or reelection in Connecticut as representatives of the party that stands for abortion bans and against reasonable gun control.

    And honestly, GOP leaders in Connecticut must be beside themselves in electoral angst about 2024 as the leader of their party stews in anger, trapped day after day in a New York courtroom as a criminal defendant.

    If they are not worried, they are really in trouble.

    I understand the hardcore Trumpists will recite the mantras of the cult, that it is a “Biden trial” on manufactured charges, even though reasonable Connecticut voters understand there is no evidence to link the president to the state charges in New York.

    Honestly, who in Connecticut doesn’t believe that Trump had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels and then paid her $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election to buy her silence? It’s hard to imagine anyone.

    The solid proof is unfolding in a courtroom in which Trump is entitled to and using the checks and balances granted in our remarkable and envied system of justice.

    You can see the walls closing in on him, as he is made to respect the process and stay seated and quiet, hours, days and weeks on end.

    A conviction will mean nothing to the believers in the cult, who are also prepared to excuse him for any criminality in the Jan. 6 insurrection. They don’t care that he certainly won’t respect the results of any free election that he loses again, especially if he is returned to power.

    Dictators don’t respect elections.

    If I were a Republican on the ballot this fall, I would start to think about my options and what I’m going to say in the very possible event that the guy at the head of my ticket is a convicted felon, accused of tampering with an election he won and trying to overturn the one he lost.

    I would urge Connecticut Republicans to consider the wisdom of the late Lowell Weicker, who, whether you liked him or his policies or not, knew how to win an election in this state.

    This is what Weicker wrote in the Hartford Courant in 2016 as Trump was rising in power: “Embracing a presidential candidate who has insulted and offended nearly every American, the GOP is reaping its just desserts.”

    And that, of course, was before Trumpism really got rolling.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.


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