Bender: Donald Trump is a GOP arsonist

"After a flaccid midterm performance, Republicans desperately need my expert advice. I'm serious. I'm also wearing a dress. Don't worry, it's for a good cause."

Tony Bender
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I control a vast media empire. I publish newspapers in McIntosh County and that's why it's the bluest blood-red county in the state. Then there's this wildly influential leftist column which explains the scourge of Birkenstocks, kombucha, and drag shows in Fargo, the latter a greater carnal threat to children than the priesthood, some pearl-clutchers say. Somehow, when bearded farmers wear lipstick and fishnets for rural fundraisers, it's less threatening.

As evidence of my woke liberal sway, Attorney General Drew Wrigley was held to 83% of the vote in McIntosh County, a mere 12% higher than the statewide average, attributable to my scurrilous, albeit insightful, attacks on him and other Republicans. Hey, I'm not against smearing Commie Socialist Demoncrats, but Republicans are all we've got. My media kingdom for a sketchy lib!

The point is, when I wave my poison pen, political careers crumble.

I'm not saying Wrigley's a bad guy, but when he and John Hoeven attended a football game in Wishek recently, his loyalties were misplaced. Seriously, who cheers for the referees?

Another division of my fake news conglomerate is Odd Knee Advertising. Unfamiliar? We pretty much fly under the radar. Burrow, actually. We specialize in political consultation, but curiously, not orthopedic ad campaigns. Anyway, every Odd Knee candidate for county commission won except for the ones who didn't. Conservative or liberal, we offer objective advice to all. We'll treat everyone just as bad as the next guy.


Where's this going? I'm establishing credibility because after a flaccid midterm performance, Republicans desperately need my expert advice. I'm serious. I'm also wearing a dress. Don't worry, it's for a good cause.

Trump's candidates floundered, yet he's threatening to run again. Into another brick wall. He's presided over election catastrophes in 2018, 2020, and now, 2022. Republicans, it's time to disengage. It's understandable why in the beginning, as a matter of political calculation, theoretically sane Republicans sought his endorsement. They didn't anticipate the monster they'd create and got stuck like bugs on flypaper, hostages to a vindictive, incompetent man-child.

But aligning with him after Jan. 6? A Bridge to Nowhere.

Clearly, fewer Republicans now support the insurrectionist, even in North Dakota. For instance, who was the Trumpiest candidate on the ballot? Rick Becker. Yet, he managed just 18.5% of the vote. It was politically unnecessary for Hoeven, an erstwhile moderate, to align with Trump. There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Hoeven landslides. Legacy matters. At least he cheered for Wishek.

Angst about offending Trumpers is the calculation, but voters broadcast a clear message Nov. 8, if conservatives are attuned. Most Republicans embrace democracy more than they like Trump or despise Democrats. They want no association with a shrill minority of antler-wearing floor-poopers. Sticking with Trump at this point is like clinging to the coattails of a man with diarrhea.

Even conservative talkers are inching away, simultaneously trying to save face by painting Trump as some kind of heroic “disrupter.” Like the drunken bully who pukes on the pool table at Hooter's Saloon is some kind of trailblazer.

Call him what he is. An arsonist. With his ginormous ego and tiny hands, he'd rather torch the party than move aside. Move him aside, Republicans. You gave President Firestarter the power. Take it back. Move on. Move forward.

Opinion by Tony Bender
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column from North Dakota for Forum News Service.
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