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New Trump Loyalist-- GOP Senator John Thune

GOP Leader (NOT) Senator John Thune--Another Flip Flopper on the TrumpBandwagon  March 3, 2024         Leaders. They are supposed to help or "lead" their followers.They are people who give their followers messages and strongsuggestions, not have their followers tell them what to do. Well, in2024, the GOP has turned the definition of "leaders" on its head. Thefollowers have become the leaders. When the followers yell they are forDemagogue Donald, the leaders quake in their boots and follow them.Any hostility or opposition they have to Donald's anti-democracyattitudes gets tossed overboard. Look at how Senator Lindsey Graham(R-SC) behaves. After calling Trump a bigot who should never get nearthe White House, Sen. Graham suddenly flipped and became his best friend. Andnow, GOP Senator John Thune has joined the Senator Graham "flip flop"club. After making some very harsh statements about Demagogue Donald,Senator Thune has endorsed Donald in his 2024 re-election campaign. AndSenator Thune is no irrelevant back-bencher or wild provocateur. He ispart of the GOP leadership. He is the Minority Whip, the fellow who"whips" or makes sure that his fellow members fall in line with theirtop leadership on key votes. He also tells top GOPers howrank-and-file Republicans feel about current issues (See CQ 118thCong. At Your Fingertips). Who is this Senator Thune?         Fourth- term Senator John Thune (63) currently represents the"Rock Red" State of South Dakota. A native of that state's capital,Pierre (Peer),Thune grew up in small- town Murdo. He is the son of aNorwegian immigrant and WWII Navy Veteran who became a teacher. JohnThune graduated from evangelical Biola University in La Mirada, CA andreceived an MBA from the University of South Dakota. His family wasDemocratic. John Thune's politics soon changed. As a college freshman,Thune was spotted at a grocery checkout counter by SD GOPCongressmember Jim Abdnor, who remembered Thune as a high schoolbasketball star. The two kept in touch. After he finished businessschool, Thune joined Abdnor's staff. Abdnor was now a U.S. Senatorfrom SD. Thune worked on Abdnor's Senate staff until he was 25 (Cohen & Cook2022 Political Almanac). Thune then worked for the Small BusinessAdministration (Cohen & Cook).             In 1989, Thune became executive director of the SD GOP.Republican Gov. George Mickelson appointed him state railroad directorin 1991. In 1993, he became director of the South Dakota MunicipalLeague. In 1996, with the backing of religious conservatives, Thunewon an upset primary victory and clobbered his Democratic opponent towin SD's at-large House seat, 58%-37%. He was chosen freshman classrepresentative to the GOP leadership, which started his rise (Cohen & Cook 2022).               In 2002, Thune, with W Bush's encouragement, ranagainst Dem. U.S. Senator Tim Johnson. Thune nearly defeated him. Thune lost to Johnson by just 524 votes. Thune next worked as a lobbyistand D.C. consultant. In 2004, GOPers encouraged Thune to take on Dem.Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Although Daschle demonstrated thathe had brought home a lot of "bacon" to SD, Thune and fellow GOPerscalled him "out of touch" with conservative SD and a D.C. "insider."In the end, Thune beat Daschle 51%-49% and was seen as the GOP’s "giantkiller (Cohen & Cook 2022)."             In the Senate, Thune, of course, has a hard-right votingrecord. He is not a bombastic "bomb thrower" who would tend to scare voters.However, in 2019-2020, he had a 96%-4% composite Conservative v.Liberal voting record. Thune has since breezed to re-election. He is atalk show favorite and a fund-raising star. He was vice-chair of theSenate GOP Conference and later became Republican Policy CommitteeChair (Cohen & Cook). Since 2019, he has held the #2 position in theGOP leadership. Thune used his Senate influence to help pushlegislation to radically reduce the estate tax on thesuper-rich.              Donald, however, was often mad at Thune, despite hisstrong right-wing Trumpist voting record. Why? Because, Thune had the"nerve" to criticize "perfect Dear Leader" Donald for telling him tostay off Twitter and be less bombastic. Thune also told Trump that heneeded a far less confrontational tone to keep middle-of -the roaderswith the GOP and that he would have to deal more with "substance andpolicy (Cohen & Cook 2022)." He told Trump to stay away from personalattacks, stop hounding health expert Anthony Fauci, and lay off goingafter the media. OMG! No wonder Trump dislikes Thune (See Cohen & Cook2022).                  Thune can easily keep getting re-elected in his"royal Red" State, as long as he wants. He is making sure of thatby now saying he is a loyal Trump follower. With ailing and aging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stepping down as GOP leader, after the 11/ 2024 election, Sen. John Thune, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the “Three Johns,” and other GOPers may want to take McConnell’s place. Even if Thune fails to win the race to replace McConnell, he will continue to be quite influential in GOP politics. You can bet on that.

 

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