EDITORIAL: State GOP sounds a lot like Trump

Dispatch Editorial Board
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters where he formally announced his 2020 re-election bid Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Pennsylvania's Republican Party bent its collective knee this past week and bowed to its patron saint, President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, following the U.S. Supreme Court's punt on the question of gerrymandering, acting state GOP chairwoman Bernadette “Bernie” Comfort donned her Trumpian garb and went on a gaslighting tirade that would make her idol proud.

The top court's decision, which ruled that federal court's shouldn't fiddle in state-level political questions, meant the state Supreme Court is packed full of left-wing "activists," she said. The state court's 2018 ruling that overturned a slew of intentionally Republican-heavy districts was the act of a body anointing itself a "shadow legislature," she said.

And it was all done to undermine his excellency, President Donald Trump, she complained.

That's a mouthful.

More:Supreme Court allows partisan districts, blocks census query

More:Roberts' Supreme Court defies political labels

But Thursday's diatribe by the new leader of the state GOP is classic Trumpism. It contained all the elements of the smoke-and-mirrors campaign that has permitted Trump to survive scandals and corruption that would sink any administration before it. 

Comfort adopted Trump's three-pronged approach to propaganda designed to confuse the public and anger the less-informed voter.

First, it intentionally misstated the facts.

The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, explicitly stated that drawing congressional districts was, in fact, a political question for the states.

Pennsylvania's highest court just so happens to be a state institution and, as such, the U.S. Supreme Court this past year declined to hear the GOP's challenge to its ruling that said GOP-drawn maps violated the state Constitution.

Second, it blamed the "deep state," a phrase culled from the conspiracy theory-laced Internet where paranoia thrives and fact goes to die. The new maps are the work of a "shadow" government, Comfort said. It's all a grand conspiracy of "activist judges," she complained, summoning a term that's only used by zealots angered by a legal opinion that doesn't go their way.  

And finally, Comfort griped that the whole thing is part of some grand conspiracy aimed at undermining Trump.

That last component is especially frustrating since Trump — the whiner-in-chief — constantly complains that he's somehow the victim while holding the world's most powerful office.

Comfort's statement this past week was just another example of Trump's complete and total takeover of the Republican Party.

Throughout the country, party leaders who refused to kiss Trump's ring in 2016 have been ousted, and replaced with sycophants and opportunist willing to sacrifice their own dignity for a sniff of influence.

Trump's state-party lapdogs embraced a cult of personality that erodes confidence in government and strips the GOP of any semblance of a long-term platform outside of espousing Trump's personal greatness. 

And, in so doing, they're sounding more like Trump each and every day.