“We're going to win so much. You're going to get tired of winning. You’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don't win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I'm going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ You're gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘Nope, nope. We're gonna keep winning.’ -
Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States & WWE Hall of Famer
If there is one thing Donald Trump respects above all, it’s winning.
Winning is his gold standard. Winning is his North Star. All manner of sins can be forgiven by winning. All shifts in narrative, policy, or principle can be explained by winning. Even the corporate press is willing to meet Trump on his own winning terms, as they carefully keep track of his win/loss record in the 2022 midterm election cycle.
President Trump loves winning so much he’s become well-versed in branding his losses, real or perceived, as wins. He shifts the burden of blame better than anyone in the political arena while also possessing an uncanny ability to sell his short-term losses as necessary steps for long-term gains.
The Big Win is always right around the corner when riding the Trump train. If only certain people had been more loyal along the way, if only certain saboteurs had been captured earlier, Trump would have already delivered us to our glorious destination, so they say. Trump continues to foster this appeal and momentum almost single-handedly with his infectious wink-and-nod, tongue-in-cheek charm as well as his stubborn refusal to ever admit defeat. Even when you know Trump is engaging in hyperbole and innuendo, you want to be in on the joke despite the literal facts. When the joke is good enough, it can never be false.
For instance, did anyone ever really believe that Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK, as Trump intimated in 2016, citing David Pecker’s National Enquirer? Probably not; but still millions of Americans wanted it to be true as they laughed and joined in Trump’s victory march. To steal a joke George Carlin once made about Bill Clinton — Donald Trump may be full of it, but at least he’s honest about it.
That said, there’s no better way for Trump to guarantee winning in Alabama than to bet on a sure thing. And at this point in the 2022 Alabama US Senate race, Katie Britt is pretty much a sure thing.
Don’t call Katie Britt’s success mere luck unless you’re also willing to say luck is the residue of design. Criticize her tactics or associates all you like, but Britt’s campaign design has been damn near impeccable if winning is what matters most.
No surprise then that President Trump — who once dismissively referred to Katie only as Richard Shelby’s unqualified “assistant” — is now praising Britt as a “fearless America First Warrior” who “has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
So, what accounts for Trump’s change of heart?
In a word: winning!
Here, in part, is Trump’s official explanation:
“Last year I endorsed Mo Brooks for the U.S. Senate because I thought he was a Fighter, especially when it came to the Rigged and Stolen Presidential Election of 2020. The evidence is irrefutable. Then, out of nowhere, and for seemingly no reason, Mo backtracked and made a big mistake by going Woke at our massive Cullman, Alabama Rally. Instead of denouncing the Voter Fraud in the Election, Mo lectured the crowd of 63,000 people saying, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,’ meaning that, in effect, forget the Rigged Election and go on to the future…Mo was strongly booed by tens of thousands of Great Alabama Patriots for abandoning his constituents, and what they know to be true about the Election Fraud. He foolishly started listening to the wrong consultants and not to the people, and his 54-point lead evaporated overnight. Likewise, his words caused me to withdraw my Endorsement, and Mo has been wanting it back ever since— but I cannot give it to him!"
In hindsight, the August 2021 Cullman rally does seem to be the turning point in this race. What was supposed to be a victorious hootenanny for Congressman Mo Brooks turned into a Big Muddy Mistake. Some have described the backstage scene at the Cullman rally as nearly turning into WWIII. To their credit, the Britt campaign noticed Mo’s crackup in Cullman and swiftly got to work exploiting it to great effect publicly and behind the scenes.
But Mo Brooks wasn’t the only one booed that night; so too was Donald Trump booed by thousands of Great Alabama Patriots when he recommended they all get the jab. It must have been a tough crowd assembled in Cullman that evening. They were in no mood to take medical advice, not even from Trump. I’m sure the poncho weather and delayed speaking schedule probably didn’t help their mood either.
As much as Alabamians may love him, Alabama politics has proven to be a harsh mistress for Donald Trump. From Jeff Sessions to Luther Strange to Roy Moore to now Mo Brooks and those thousands of COVID vaccine skeptics in Cullman, Trump has been burned in odd ways by Alabama more than once. My guess is he didn’t want to be burned again. So, he withdrew his early bet on Brooks and bided his time — only in the endgame to go all-in on a sure thing.
“Above all,” Trump said in his most recent endorsement, “Katie Britt will never let you down.”
That’s what makes Trump’s endorsement of Britt all the more remarkable. Trump endorsements are usually framed as a test of his clout. But with the timing of this particular endorsement coming so late in the game, Trump is clearly riding Katie Britt’s coattails to victory in Alabama. Donald Trump needs this endorsement much more than Katie Britt does.
Whereas countless candidates around the nation seek to kiss Trump’s ring to secure a win, Katie Britt won over the people of Alabama first and made Trump kiss her ring.
Even a malcontent like me must admit when he’s impressed. One does not completely and totally flip the script on Trump and beat him at his own game by mere happenstance or good fortune. I hope it doesn’t prove too premature to say this, but congratulations, Senator Britt.
Unfortunately, thinking about all this winning is now giving me a headache. Please, Mr. President, don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.
Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and currently, the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 9 am-12 noon. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback please email email@example.com. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.