Sarah Palin gushes for Donald Trump: "We love you"
Sarah Palin gushes for Donald Trump: "We love you"

For­mer Oval Office occu­pant Don­ald Trump dropped an “f‑bomb,” went on a tan­gent about trans ath­letes, described Elon Musk as “anoth­er (exple­tive) artist”, said cli­mate dam­age will give us “a lit­tle more beach­front prop­er­ty”, and mouthed the word “garbage” to describe Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki, all in a nine­ty-minute Sat­ur­day ram­ble before 5,000 rap­tur­ous sup­port­ers in Anchorage.

Biden’s pre­de­ces­sor came to the 49th State in quest of revenge against Murkows­ki, the lone Repub­li­can sen­a­tor to vote “present” on Brett Kavanaugh­’s con­fir­ma­tion, and one of sev­en Sen­ate Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Trump after the Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, insur­rec­tion at the Unit­ed States Capitol.

The ral­ly at Alas­ka Air­lines Cen­ter was instruc­tive, not in Trump’s false claims, but for the tone of what Politi­co described last week as “Trumpi­fi­ca­tion” of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. Court­ing crossover vot­ers is out, moti­va­tion and mobi­liza­tion of the “base” is in, as the par­ty approach­es the 2022 midterm elections.

Still of Newsmax broadcast of Trump hatefest in Alaska
A still of News­max’s broad­cast of Don­ald Trump’s hate­fest in Anchor­age, Alas­ka. Note the use of teleprompters.

“This is your pre­cious chance to dump the hor­rif­ic RINO (Repub­li­can in Name Only), Lisa Murkows­ki, who’s worse than a Demo­c­rat,” Trump told his true believers.

“She’s a total crea­ture of the Wash­ing­ton swamp and a tool of a cor­rupt estab­lish­ment the likes of which we’ve nev­er seen. The fake news media loves her.”

The for­mer pres­i­dent said Murkows­ki “wiped out ANWR”, refer­ring to the Arc­tic Refuge.

Truth be told, Murkows­ki slipped a pro­vi­sion into Repub­li­cans’ 2017 tax bill that opened the coastal plain of the Refuge to oil and gas leasing.

“She vot­ed to impeach me, and I did more for the state than any Pres­i­dent in his­to­ry, and that piece of” – Trump mouthed the word “garbage” – “vot­ed to impeach me.”

Alas­ka will be a test for Trumpification.

In 2010, Murkows­ki lost the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry in August to a far-right Tea Par­ty chal­lenger named Joe Miller. The sen­a­tor mount­ed a gen­er­al elec­tion write-in cam­paign to hold onto her seat. It was the first such effort to suc­ceed since 1956, when Strom Thur­mond won in South Carolina.

Alas­ka has moved to ranked choice vot­ing this year. The top four vote get­ters in the August 16 pri­ma­ry, regard­less of par­ty, head onto the Novem­ber ballot.

Vot­ers will rank their choic­es. Trump decried the new sys­tem, say­ing with­out evi­dence that ranked vot­ing “can be crooked as hell.”

“We’re stuck with it,” said Trump.

“You know why? Because of Murkows­ki. It’s the only way she can win.”

Ex-Gov­er­nor Sarah Palin, a Trump-backed can­di­date for Alaska’s vacant U.S. House seat, depict­ed the midterm elec­tion as a holy war. “It’s no longer Demo­c­rat vs. Repub­li­can,” she told the crowd. “This is about con­trol ver­sus free­dom. It’s good ver­sus evil. It is a spir­i­tu­al bat­tle.” Added Palin, back­ing a 2024 Trump come­back, “Sir, we need you. Four more years. Four more years.”

Trump did far more vent­ing at Murkows­ki – “a lousy sen­a­tor”, “She’s the worst” — than prais­ing the senator’s chal­lenger Kel­ly Tshiba­ka, a for­mer Alas­ka state offi­cial. The for­mer pres­i­dent also took after Alas­ka Sen­a­tor Dan Sullivan.

Sul­li­van has endorsed his seat­mate Murkowski.

“Murkows­ki is a bad per­son and Sul­li­van should nev­er have endorsed her,” said Trump. “Sul­li­van should be ashamed of himself.”

Trump was on a vengeance mis­sion, but Trumpi­fi­ca­tion could bring changes to the U.S. Sen­ate and inten­si­fy grid­lock in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Lisa Murkowski
Lisa Murkows­ki speaks at AFGE’s 2019 Leg­isla­tive & Grass­roots Mobi­liza­tion Con­fer­ence (Pho­to: AFGE)

Murkows­ki has been cen­tral to what bipar­ti­san coop­er­a­tion there is in the cap­i­tal. She helped craft the bipar­ti­san gun safe­ty bill passed by Con­gress after the Uvalde, Texas, massacre.

She was a force behind the infra­struc­ture pack­age, which will pro­vide $3.5 bil­lion in high­way fund­ing for Alas­ka and mon­ey for essen­tial fer­ry ser­vice to sup­port rur­al communities.

Murkows­ki and Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, D‑Washington, have bro­ken the ice to get con­struc­tion under­way on a new polar ice break­er, with a sec­ond under design.

Sev­er­al Sen­ate Repub­li­cans, back­ers of infra­struc­ture and gun safe­ty, are retir­ing this year. Would be replace­ments, in Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia, North Car­oli­na and Mis­souri, are hard lin­ers. Run­ning to replace Sen­a­tor Richard Burr, R‑North Car­oli­na, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Budd has called the infra­struc­ture pack­age “a lib­er­al Tro­jan horse for a social­ist agen­da.” J.D. Vance, nom­i­nat­ed to replace Sen­a­tor Rob Port­land, R‑Ohio, has described the bill as “a total dis­as­ter for our country.”

Celebri­ty physi­cian Mehmet Oz, run­ning to replace Sen­a­tor Pat Toomey, R‑Pennsylvania, has aban­doned his past sup­port for such gun safe­ty mea­sures as red flag laws, and vowed to “fight against fed­er­al gun con­trol schemes.”

Trump is a speak­er who goes off in many direc­tions. He butchered pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the name of new U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son, talked about giv­ing advice to U.S. com­man­ders in Iraq with the words: “I’d hit ‘em on the left, hit ‘em on the right, I’d hit ‘em in the (exple­tive) cen­ter – right smack.”

He mor­phed into a denun­ci­a­tion of trans­gen­der ath­letes, describ­ing NCAA swim­ming cham­pi­on Lia Thomas as “a per­son with a man’s body.”

Once “total­ly pro-choice”, Trump took a vic­to­ry lap over the Unit­ed States Supreme Court deci­sion that over­turned Roe vs. Wade. “We got it done,” said Trump, who named three of the indi­vid­u­als that signed the major­i­ty opinion.

Nor could Trump ignore the deci­sion by Tes­la mak­er Elon Musk to back out of his $44 bil­lion plan to pur­chase Twit­ter. “Elon. Elon. Elon,” exclaimed Trump. “He’s not going to buy Twit­ter. He’s got him­self a mess. I’ve looked into his con­tract. Ya know, Elon says he’s nev­er vot­ed Repub­li­can, but I didn’t know that because he told me that he vot­ed for me, so he’s anoth­er (exple­tive) artist.”

Such words are fre­quent­ly used to describe Don­ald Trump.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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