Capping a busy week filled with absolutely bleak news when it comes to multiply indicted ex-President Donald Trump, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes opened Friday’s episode of “All-In” with a commentary about how things got to this point.
Among other things, Hayes blamed the “personal cowardice” of Republicans for enabling Trump to regain his current position of dominance within the party. And he made the case that Trump’s authoritarian bullying tactics — including his frequent, implied threats of violence, and the well-documented, nearly constant string of death threats Trump supporters make on his behalf — “is the most effective, the most acutely present” among Republicans.
And as such, Hayes predicted that should Trump somehow lose the 2024 GOP presidential primary race, they party will likely “end up with the scene that looks like a January 6 Outside the Republican National Convention.”
You can watch the full clip at the top of the page now.
Hayes began by noting that next week when the Iowa caucuses begin, it “will be the first time since the Jan. 6 insurrection that voters will see Donald Trump’s name on the ballot.And a whole lot of voters are going to support it. They’re going to say, ‘Yeah, we want the guy that tried to steal the last election and is now facing years of prison for doing it.”
Noting how almost all of the candidates who initially entered the primary race in 2023 have dropped out, Hayes (accurately) explained that the remaining major candidates, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, “will most likely still lose” to Trump, who Hayes added “has spent more time in court attending his civil fraud trial this week than he has in the state of Iowa.”
“And even if now it feels inevitable that we will come to this, it was not inevitable,” Hayes continued, explaining at length how unpopular Trump was not only when he lost the 2020 election, but in the immediate aftermath of his attempt to overthrow the government on Jan. 6.
“It looked like he could very well be sent to do a sort of permanent political exile,” Hayes said. “And then he sort of came back, and then the 2022 midterms elections worked out poorly for most Trump-endorsed candidates,. He backed losers in a ton of winnable races and there seemed to be a dawning awareness in the Republican Party, that he was politically toxic, and 2024… could be a wide open race for Republicans.”
Now, of course, Trump is polling 30 points ahead of his nearest primary competitor, Nikki Haley, and Hayes broke down how this happened within the GOP.
“There is the terrible I mean, truly, almost historically terrible campaign of Ron DeSantis,” he said, before accurately noting that “there’s the growing desire in the Republican electorate for authoritarian politics. And that’s fueled by this ever sort of radicalizing conservative media industry..
Hayes then dinged “the complete personal cowardice of Republican leaders, who could have voted to convict Trump during impeachment and who wouldn’t have this problem, but have also run interference with Trump all along.” But to Hayes’ mind, perhaps the most important factor is “the tools of mob menace. The coercion, the threats of violence that Trump and MAGA movements employ, that are constantly shaping the space in which the race is itself contested.”
Related to this, Hayes brought up several recent instances of bomb threats, death threats, “Swatting,” along with actual attacks on people, which he described as “a constant stream of threats of violence, and actual types of violence against people that have tried to hold Donald Trump to account.”
And, he said, “the place where this kind of politics is the most effective, the most acutely present, is within Republican Party circles.”
At this, Hayes ran down the very recent history of Republicans who have acknowledged that they’re the victims of Trump-inspired death threats, as well as the many reports of Republicans who, for example, chose not to vote to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial out of fear for their lives.
“And that’s particularly true for people whose life is Republican Party politics, whose constituents are conservatives and neighbors who are Trump devotees,” Hayes said. “This extremism, this acceptance of coercion, of political violence or the threat thereof of terror, of just insane harassment as a tactic, it’s really powerful. I think it’s fair to say, I really believe this, that it is completely subverted the ability of the Republican Party themselves to genuinely run a free and fair election within their own party.”
Arguing that Republican leaders “understand” that Trump “will never accept defeat,” Hayes urged viewers to “just take a second to imagine what it would look like if Nikki Haley or someone else actually were to start beating Donald Trump for the nomination this year.”
“It’s just almost impossible not to imagine a situation in which you end up with the scene that looks like a January 6 Outside the Republican National Convention,” Hayes declared.
“It’s just a central part of what Donald Trump stands for about how he and his movement pursue political power,” Hayes said as he wrapped it up.