The cult of ideology versus the cult of personality

Hamilton optimistically argues that the right will be less difficult to reform because the cult of personality is driven by the search for a “winner.” Change the identity of the winner, and you change the nature of the cult. I hope he’s right. While I don’t like the cult concept in general, I could at least sip the Kool-Aid in a cult of Sasse, but I’m dumping out the entire glass of Trump.

Unfortunately, however, there is now evidence that parts of the right might “move on” from Trump by becoming more aggressive than Trump. Alex Jones (don’t laugh, he has a huge following) has threatened to turn on Trump for pushing the COVID vaccine. Candace Owens (again, another person with a huge following) has also sharply disagreed with Trump on vaccines, suggesting Trump is too old to follow the latest “independent research.”

Most notably, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, arguably the leading contender for post-Trump Republican leadership has triggered a feud with Trump by being evasive about his vaccine status and criticizing the president’s early handling of the pandemic as too draconian. And don’t forget he recently signed a bill in Brandon, Florida—an obvious nod to the right-wing “Let’s go Brandon” slur.