Amanda Marcotte in Salon: It’s no secret, among political junkies anyway, that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and much of the Republican elite have been casting around for a way to derail Donald Trump’s bid to be the 2024 GOP presidential nominee. It’s a delicate operation, to be certain. Trump’s allure to the GOP primary voting base isn’t just that he triggers the liberals, but that he ruffles the feathers of the Republican establishment. It makes the deplorables feel powerful, watching people like McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy bow and scrape to the ludicrous reality TV host foisted on them by their own voters. So the strategy is always about trying to find some way to undermine Trump without provoking him to unload personal invective on Truth Social in retaliation.
…Trump’s voters forgive him for being a liar, a criminal, a whiner and a narcissist, but only because they think he’s a “winner” who owns the liberals. The GOP elite is betting the base can be dissuaded from backing Trump if he’s stripped of that “winner” image, so voters can see the insecure loser underneath all the bluster. The NFTs portray Trump as a big, tough guy, but they are just cheesy and worthless crap. In this, they are the perfect symbol of who he is. The only question is whether Republican voters are ready to accept the Trump everyone else sees, the world-class loser whose “winning” exists only in the realm of lies and delusions. More here.