Opinion: Once defeated, ‘Trumpery’ returns to the polls in 2022

Editor’s note: Norman Eisen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and editor and co-author of “Overcoming Deception: How to Restore Ethics, Rule of Law and Democracy.“Colby Galliher is a research analyst at Brookings and co-author of the book. The opinions expressed in this commentary are their own. See more opinion on CNN.


In our new book, “Overcome deceptionwe explain that former President Donald Trump’s seemingly chaotic style was actually a corrupt philosophy of governance — and it’s spreading.

We see that in the primaries Across the country where candidates such as Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Herschel Walker in Georgia and dozens of others are running on a Trumpery platform. He represents a clear and present danger to the American republic.

The book analyzes the Trump years, examining in detail his actions and those of his appointees, and extracting seven defining characteristics – what we call the “seven deadly sins of deception.”

Colby Galliher

Perhaps the deadliest of these was the one that dominated the end of Trump’s presidency: the outright “big lie” assault on democracy. Walker, Oz, and dozens of other federal, state, and local officials enthusiastically embraced it; in many ways, he appears to be the gateway to Trump’s approval.

Oz, for example, said during a debate in April that “we can’t move forwardof alleged fraud in the 2020 election – despite a lack of evidence of wrongdoing and, in fact, damning evidence there was no widespread fraud.

For his part, Walker took to Twitter prolifically in the aftermath of the 2020 election and into early 2021 to claim the vote was tainted by fraud. He continued with a penchant for baseless conspiracy theories.

And these two have had plenty of company, as gubernatorial candidates such as Kari Lake in Arizona and David Perdue in Georgia, as well as over 80 other candidates for Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State from coast to coast.

These candidates also demonstrate another hallmark of Trumpery: dishonesty and misinformation. In the case of Oz and Walker, it’s not just about lies about the 2020 election. They’ve also shaped their campaigns in Trump’s image with a plethora of small and medium-sized lies.

For example, Walker would greatly exaggerated his professional record and the success of the companies he founded. His campaign challenged evidence and claimed that the stories on this subject are efforts to support his opponent in the race for the Senate.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Deception

  • 1. Disregard for ethics
  • 2. Attack on the rule of law
  • 3. Persistent lies and misinformation
  • 4. Immodest
  • 5. Pursuit of personal and political interests, not the public interest
  • 6. Exploitation and exacerbation of the division
  • 7. Attack on democracy itself
  • ounces claimed that he had “never been politically involved in Turkey in any capacity”, although he voted the 2018 Turkish elections. A spokesperson for Oz replied that he had simply done humanitarian work in the region and took the opportunity to vote. Neither this explanation, nor the fact that his main opponent tried to exploit the issue as part of a nativist appeal, fully answers the question of dishonesty.

    This disregard for the truth may seem petty compared to Trump’s thousands of lies and misleading statements during his presidency, but it is a bad sign if these candidates are elected.

    The Trumpery ticket is also characterized by a disregard for ethics, another mainstay of the former president’s style. Reports suggest that Walker’s personal financial disclosures are missing information it would tell voters if he would bring conflicts of interest to the Senate. His campaign has yet to comment on the allegations.

    Sound familiar? A separate story says companies Walker founded or owned allegedly failed to repay several loans totaling millions of dollars, with his campaign defending his business case in response but failing to respond to specific allegations of non-repayment of the loans.

    Oz, meanwhile, has shown a propensity to endorse suspicious or downright pseudoscientific medical treatments that raise questions of medical ethics. Like Trump, he pushed hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19. The Oz Campaign responded that ‘government’, ‘mainstream media’ and ‘the medical establishment’ were stifling debate about untested treatments.

    Trump has let nothing stand in the way of his personal gain, and that naked greed is also visible among his potential political heirs. For example, Oz’s promotion of unfounded medical remedies has not started with the pandemic. A group of doctors alleged in 2015 that Oz had pushed unproven treatments for various conditions in pursuit of “personal financial gain‘, and a study a year earlier found that the treatments he plugged into his TV show were evidence-based 46% of the time. In response, Oz questioned doctors’ motives for writing the letter, alleging various forms of bias.

    These contenders for Trump’s favor have also embraced his propensity to exacerbate our country’s social rifts to fuel the base. Oz identified the culture wars as a path to victory, saying at a trump rally that Republicans “entered into these culture war knife fights with slips.”

    Instead, Oz argued, they have to “go at it sometimes with fists,” raising the specter of violence at Trump rallies before adding, “metaphorically.” Don’t be left behind, Walker slandered Black Lives Matter leaders as “trained Marxists” opposed American values ​​and insisted that racism no longer affects American society.

    Then there is the shamelessness of Trumpery. If Walker feels embarrassed by his complete lack of preparation to be a U.S. senator, he has hid it well by relying heavily in his speech to voters on his athletic prowess and celebrity — rather than a cohesive political platform or solutions to the nation’s ills.

    Oz has done him better: the Ivy League-trained doctor has genuine political positions, but he has brazenly abandoned them. It shows in his flip-flop on abortionas well as recent reversals on other topics, such as his “earlier reflections on systemic racism and how it leads to disparities in health outcomes, and his discussions of how to reduce gun deaths and injuries,” according to The Guardian. Every Politician changes position, but Oz takes it to a whole new level.

    A final characteristic of Trumpery, and close to the attacks on democracy with which we began, is contempt for the rule of law.

    Walker’s ex-wife accused him of be physically and verbally abusive to her, according to an Associated Press report, citing court records, and she told ABC News that at some point in their marriage he was holding a gun at his head. Walker said he was “indebted” for these violent episodes, that he suffered from mental illness at the time and gave details in a book on his mental health. But recent reports challenged some aspects of his story. His the campaign says that he “categorically denies these false allegations”.

    Oz, meanwhile, has been flagged by experts as a potential risk to national security, given his alleged ties to the Turkish government and business elites. He inscribed his links with these layers of Turkish society in his fame level and has sought to frame its ties with Turkey as part of its family history. Oz also rejected the claim that the Turkish president has any hold on him.

    But all this behavior is no worse than the constitutional ban on their copy foreign emoluments – It is, payments to Trump properties by foreign entities posing a direct conflict to our national interest. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, say that ‘the president cannot have a conflict of interest’, but courts have allowed litigation over the issue proceed during his tenure. (It was dismissed as irrelevant after the end of his presidency.)

    The American people overwhelmingly rejected Trumpery at the polls in 2020. As we explain in “Overcome deceptionthis competition was in part a referendum on this corrupt style of governance. Trumpery is on the ballot again in 2022. Exposing this is an important part of clarifying the choice our nation faces.

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