Stress Cracks

Alan Zendell, December 18, 2021

Remember the Mary Maples Dodge story in Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates about the little Dutch boy? He sees a leak in the dike that’s holding back the North Sea from destroying his country, and knowing that one leak can lead to a second and a third, and eventually, if nothing is done, the dike will collapse, he sticks his finger in the hole and keeps it there throughout a frigid night. There are three monuments to his fictional exploits in Haarlem, the Hague, and Harlingen, shown below in the photo by Alamy.

The same thing happens when you’re driving and a rock bounces off your windshield, causing a starburst crack. If you don’t repair it, the crack spreads and eventually, you wind up with the windshield in your face at 70 mph on a freeway. In reality, dikes don’t leak, they just collapse when the stress gets too great, and windshields rarely disintegrate, but the parable is sound, nonetheless.

Despite his bluster and arrogant rhetoric, it is precisely what terrifies Donald Trump most. He would have us believe, with help from his friends at Fox News, Newsmax, and America One News, that his movement to take over the Republican Party and return to power is an ever-growing groundswell that’s virtually unstoppable. That’s why the Seditious Six (Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz) Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to make so much noise about it. But don’t be fooled by their distract and mislead tactics. Trumpism is not an unstoppable force, and cracks are already beginning to show.

Neither the North Sea nor a bit of highway debris is malevolent, but Trumpism is. The former two are unfortunate facts of life. Trumpism is an invention composed of lies, bigotry, greed, and power lust that is designed to transform America into something unrecognizable, something that subscribes to the hateful values that have characterized the life of Donald Trump in business and politics. Rather than plugging a hole in a dike, Americans who value the principles of democracy on which our nation was founded should rejoice every time they see a crack in the façade of Trumpism, and they are beginning to appear.

As Republicans who have been cowed by Trump until now begin to break away, I foresee a tsunami of defections that will neutralize Trump’s ability to influence our future. Robert Gonzales, who writes for, the oldest and most-visited local site in Arizona, argues against Republicans throwing in the towel to Trumpism. “The loud voices on the right and accompanying media narrative paint the GOP as the party of Trump, but miss a lot of nuance. We aren’t all election-result-denying, insurrection-endorsing, Trump-supporting extremists.” That’s a very powerful statement that is being echoed more and more by Republicans around the country, although Gonzales wrote, in October, that the Arizona Republican Party had succumbed so much, that it was time to abandon it for something better.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is a masterful politician who understands nuance. No one is better at overt obstruction, but he can be subtle, as well. He knows silence can be an effective weapon, and he has often kept mum in the face of Trump’s atrocities when it suited his political ambitions, which makes his comments on Wednesday regarding the Special January 6th House Committee’s investigation extremely significant.

When the insurrection at the Capitol occurred, McConnell was quick to condemn it, albeit in his own twisted style. CBS News reported in February that “after voting to acquit former President Trump in his second impeachment trial, … McConnell gave a scathing address denouncing Mr. Trump’s conduct, saying the January 6th Capitol assault ‘was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet earth.’”

Publicly, McConnell has remained pretty much on the sidelines in the fight to control his party since then, but as the House Committee appeared to be gathering evidence incriminating the former president and his aides, McConnell spoke up this week, cryptically remarking that “it will be interesting to reveal all the participants that were involved [in the insurrection].” There’s never been any love lost between McConnell and Trump. Whether you love or hate him, McConnell is a traditionalist who believes in the two-party system he manipulates so well. His remark is a clear signal to Republicans who have been too afraid to speak out until now. He appears to be taking off the gloves, ready to pounce on those who would wreck his party and his country.

Trump’s façade is cracking. I’d suggest getting out of the way before it all comes crashing down.

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2 Responses to Stress Cracks

  1. William Kiehl says:

    I hope that you are right. Trump has support within the Republican Party because so many Republican politicians are cowards and terrified of the imbecilic, racist Base. If they see cracks in the facade they may change their tune. Trump will eventually lose support and it may be quite sudden and dramatic.
    Criminal charges against Trump could influence a lot of fence sitters. With regards to much of the so called “Base,” well, you can’t fix stupid.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this analysis.

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