Last Saturday, Arizona judge Peter A Thompson of the Maricopa County Superior Court delivered another body blow for Trumpism as a political movement, when he dismissed a case taken by defeated gubernatorial candidate, Trump ally, and former television news anchor Kari Lake.
Prior to delivering his verdict in the case — brought by Lake against the county and the winner, new Arizona governor Katie Hobbs, a Democrat — the judge was told that American democracy and its basic guiding principles “had been under sustained assault from candidates who cannot or will not accept they lost”.
In Trump’s case, that lack of acceptance prompted the insurrection, death, and mayhem in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021; in Lake’s instance, it only made her look like a fool.
It has also led to a growing feeling within the Republican party that the era of ‘Trump politics’ is no longer in his hands, and that his grip on the party is not what it once was.
And, although Donald Trump is the only Republican to have thus far announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2024, a slew of opponents are now lining up to take him on.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, former vice president Mike Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson are all said to have been emboldened ahead of the Republican presidential primaries, and are ramping up campaign and fundraising efforts.
Party insiders are no longer feeling that a Trump victory in those primaries is a foregone conclusion — a reflection of a growing sense that he is far from being the inevitable nominee.
That he has shipped the blame for the Republicans’ failures in the recent mid-term elections is encouraging many to put the twice-impeached former president in their rear-view mirrors.