Trump battles gag order, but Republicans should pray he shuts up if they want to win 2024

While lawyers for former president and current criminal defendant Donald Trump were in a Washington, D.C., courtroom trying to get a gag order lifted, the whole of the Republican Party should have been outside rallying for a universal gag order to be put in place.

You see, one of the GOP’s biggest problems heading toward the 2024 presidential election is that every time Trump opens his mouth, stupidity falls out. And that’s on a good day. More often, we get something like this fascist garble-blargle he posted on Truth Social over the weekend:

“2024 is our final battle. With you at my side, we will demolish the Deep State, we will expel the warmongers from our government, we will drive out the globalists, we will cast out the Communists, Marxists, and Fascists, we will throw off the sick political class that hates our Country, we will rout the Fake News Media, we will evict Joe Biden from the White House, and we will FINISH THE JOB ONCE AND FOR ALL!”

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Nothing wins over suburban swing voters and “the youth” quite like tossing around antisemitic code words like “globalist,” threatening to “expel” and “cast out” Americans who disagree with you politically and promising to “FINISH THE JOB” when your previous attempt to finish the job involved a domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol.

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President Joe Biden’s favorability numbers aren’t great, and the new 81-year-old is only several years older than Trump, but at least he’s not spouting “final battle” gibberish like a doddering old drunk at a Mussolini cosplay convention.

The GOP would benefit greatly if Donald Trump wasn't allowed to speak

The absolute best thing that could happen to Republicans and their hopes for winning back the presidency would be a judge ordering Trump’s lips epoxied shut and his social media accounts launched into the sun. Because as much as they want to focus on Biden’s age – reminder: Trump is 77 – and on the economy and on whatever vast left-wing conspiracies Fox News’ crackpot factory happens to be churning out, having Trump regularly reminding everyone he’s a hurricane of hatred and chaos kind of undercuts the message.

In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump, center, answers questions at the New York Supreme Court on Nov. 6, 2023.
In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump, center, answers questions at the New York Supreme Court on Nov. 6, 2023.

It’s a little hard to explain how your polices might help middle-class voters when the leader of your political party is saying something akin to: “I’M RIGHT, I’VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG, AND THE RADICAL LEFTIST, MARXIST, COMMUNIST, FASCIST, SOCIALIST, GODLESS WEREWOLF DEMONS WILL EAT YOU IF YOU DON’T ELECT ME AND LET ME PUT THEM ALL IN A DUNGEON!!”

It's hard to become a fascist leader when you keep talking like a fascist

The reason Trump has been hit with gag orders in some of his criminal cases – remember, he’s facing 91 state and federal felony charges compared with Biden’s zero state and federal felony charges – is because he never closes his pie hole and is constantly leveling scurrilous accusations at prosecutors, judges and potential witnesses.

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The man is, quite literally, incapable of shutting up. And I have to imagine most Republicans wish he would pipe down, beat Biden and implement his fascist agenda rather than blabbing on and on like a fascist eager to implement his fascist agenda. (The first rule of Fascism Club is you never talk about Fascism Club.)

Trump's plan to exact revenge on enemies isn't subtle

But barring a sweeping judicial gag order or a welcome (for Republicans) bit of divine mouth-sealing, Trump will keep talking hateful nonsense and dispensing dystopian social-media posts and very loudly – quite loudly, indeed – telling voters EXACTLY who he is and what he will do if we’re dumb enough to again give him power.

He sees 2024 as a “final battle.” The man is many things, but subtle ain’t one of them. Take what he says literally. The vile toxicity of his first term would be nothing compared with another.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump fights gag order, but shutting him up would help GOP win 2024