Campaigning toward ‘listless vessels’ makes it hard to win and govern

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Politics/Government

photo from Indiana Capital Chronicle/Getty Images

It was one of countless interviews given by a gaggle of presidential candidates that could have gone largely unnoticed. How does describing a specific sect of GOP voters as “listless vessels” compare to one of the greatest hits of the 2016 campaign, “a basket of deplorables?”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking to the Florida Standard last week, specifically said this: “If all we are is listless vessels that’s just supposed to follow, you know, whatever happens to come down the pike on Truth Social every morning, that’s not going to be a durable movement.”

Now, I’m no fan of his politics, but in that moment, he was absolutely correct. The Trump campaign and others have jumped on the comment as synonymous with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 insult. The faux outrage about the term, once again, conveniently overshadows the important part: cults of personality don’t make for successful governing philosophies.

There were two polls released last week that back up the sad truth of the controversial comment, though data rarely moves any listless vessel. 

First, AP/NORC released a poll that showed many things, but none more important than one particularly hard truth. 53% of Americans are saying they “definitely won’t” vote for Donald Trump next year, and another 11% say they “probably won’t” vote for him either. 

Uh, that’s 64% of Americans who aren’t listless. They aren’t aimlessly floating along waiting for the next absurdity. Their vessel has docked, they have disembarked, and have moved on. It’s that other 36% that almost all of the GOP is courting with their campaigns. 


Second, in a CBS/YouGov poll, disturbing data showed how listless the bulk of that deep minority has become. 

Among Trump voters, the question was asked who is it that you “feel what they tell you is true?” The answers here are stunning. 

71% said Trump. OK, it would make sense that a voter trusts the man they support for president, even though no human, in the history of humanity, has been documented lying more than him. 

But only 63% answered “family and friends.” Huh? These people trust Trump more than Mom?

And then the punchline, only 42% answered “religious leaders.” Wow. Now, I understand that it’s hard to trust Franklin Graham, who has famously become one of the deplorable, listless vessels disguised in minister’s clothing, but this confirms the depth of the chasm into which this unendurable movement has fallen. 

I wrote about this in 2015. Trump’s support is dangerous because it’s blind. It is like his supporters’ refusal to accept the mountainous evidence of his documented criminality. It’s not just that they don’t believe he did anything wrong, it’s that they don’t believe he is capable of ever doing anything wrong. If he’s the one doing it, that must make it right.

A child to a mother? OK. An adult American to any politician ever, including Washington and Lincoln? No. Absolutely not. 

So far in 2023, and almost certainly throughout 2024, this is the GOP campaign we will see. It has long since trickled down and metastasized in Indiana too.

Indiana governor race

The two leading candidates for governor, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and U.S. Senator Mike Braun are duking it out for the MAGA vote. Both issued statements of outrage about last week’s indictment of the former president in Georgia. Really? Is that their governing plan for Indiana? A good word to describe it: listless. They don’t plan to stand up for us. Not like Georgia has. 

The Indiana Republican Party has already endorsed Rep. Jim Banks for the open U.S. Senate seat for which he is running. Arguably, there is no greater unconditional sycophant to Trump than Banks. That has become his entire platform. 

All three of these Hoosier candidates were once admirable public servants. They thought for themselves, and their platforms were, to varying degree, based on conservative principles. Their campaigns once could have led the electorate to know what it would be getting from them if they rose to office.

If any of these three win next year, what will Indiana actually get? 

It won’t be efficient to receive instructions from jail or prison. The vessels could be paralyzed waiting for the snail mail to make it through security. And even if one doesn’t believe Trump will ever be incarcerated for anything, anytime, he is almost as old as Joe Biden, and is clearly in less-than-ideal health. He won’t live forever, and he has no heir. 

Nationally, the GOP is going to get creamed next year for many reasons, but none more prominent than the bitter truth that 64% of Americans are planning to vote against Trump. Indiana Republicans are mimicking that listlessness in unrelenting style.

Democrats, don’t interrupt them.

1 Comment

  1. Marjorie Young

    Not to mention our good buddy Rokito. Another lawless MAGA troll.


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