Former President Donald Trump and his followers have made a name for themselves as deeply divisive when it comes to various issues. They’re pro-Russia, anti-Ukraine, and against any sort of government overreach whatsoever. They’re an incredibly loud subset of the Republican conference, and many – including moderate Republicans themselves – have grown tired of the far-right movement, which has been named after Trump’s original campaign slogan: MAGA (Make America Great Again).

Birth of a Movement

The moment Donald Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16th of 2015 to announce his presidential candidacy to a rally of supporters fed up with the current establishment that American politics as we knew them would be forever changed.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Tia Dufour

To many in the Republican party, Donald Trump’s populist messaging deeply resonated with them. Many of them finally felt heard after decades of feeling like the government had left them behind, especially after the perceived liberal elitism of the Obama administration. Many believed in his promise to “Make America Great Again.”

From The Apprentice to the White House

Even before his presidential run, Donald Trump was a well-known figure in the pop cultural zeitgeist, having made various cameos in films and television, as well as having hosted The Apprentice. To many, this made him more relatable because he wasn’t a politician. He was one of them.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Trump’s 2016 presidential run was not without its controversies, ranging from allegations of sexual assault to misuse of funds and tax evasion. But for many, it was his total disregard for the establishment and the fact that he didn’t speak in the usual political jargon which won him the election.

Frankly, We Did Win This Election

The only thing more controversial than Trump’s presidential run was his actual presidency. By 2020, Trump had already gone through his first impeachment, COVID was in full swing, and it was an election year. An election which would end in victory for Joe Biden.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

To say that Trump refused to concede defeat would be putting it lightly. In fact, Donald Trump did everything he could to stay in power, from falsely claiming victory to asking Secretaries of State to “find more votes.” This election denialism would do little to quell tensions within the country, and it sparked fury in his more fervent supporters, which came to a shocking head on January 6th, 2021.

January 6th, 2021 

In an attempt to stay in power, Trump asked Vice President Pence not to certify the election on the basis of fraud, with the belief that the Vice President had the power to do so. When Pence refused to do this, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capital.

Source: Wikimedia/Tyler Merbler

The “Stop the Steal” rally was a horrific event on the scale of 9/11. Trump supporters invaded the Capitol while Congress was in session to certify the election, and managed to stop the session in the middle of the certification, forcing the House and Senate to hide. It took hours before the Capitol was cleared of all the protestors, and though they cut the deadline close, the certification was ultimately completed for the 2020 election. 

Trump and His Supporters

Though Trump is no longer in office, there is no denying that his hold over the Republican party remains. In the wake of the events that took place on January 6th, as well as other investigations that were ongoing long before 2021, Donald Trump now faces 88 criminal indictments including, but not limited to attempting to subvert the 2020 election.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

With 88 criminal indictments, one might think that support among his followers would dwindle, but on the contrary, his support has never been stronger. It only continues to grow among those who choose to believe his election lies.

MAGA in Politics

Support for Donald Trump has not only grown amongst everyday Americans, it has also taken an arguably stronger hold over Republican elected officials. These individuals, even after January 6th, continue to defend him by pushing the Big Lie.

Source: Wikimedia/Evan Guest

These voices are most prominent in the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives. This is a section of the House which sprouts off very Trumpist views, deeply conservative and fundamentalist. The views are even more evident when it comes to what the United States should do about the war in Ukraine.

MAGA and Ukraine

Since Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion, Congress has been divided on funding for the war in Ukraine. Although there are many Republicans who are in favor of aid for Ukraine, there are also quite a few, specifically the Freedom Caucus, who greatly oppose this. One of their main reasons for this is because they believe that we should focus on the crisis at the border instead of funding a war for a country that isn’t even a NATO member. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Since October, funding for Ukraine has been in Congressional limbo. Many Republicans have repeatedly said that without anything being done about the border, funding for Ukraine is a nonstarter.

Republicans at War With Themselves

As Ukraine continues to lose ammunition and as Putin’s military offense gets more brutal, elected officials here in the U.S. have been scrambling to get legislation passed. Finally, over the weekend, House Republicans and Democrats were able to come to a compromise and pass a bipartisan package which included aid for both Ukraine and Israel.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

While there were some rumblings from individuals who were unhappy with the compromise, the overwhelming majority of congress were happy. Funding Ukraine and Israel is a widely popular legislative move, as exemplified by one congressional candidate who is currently under fire for his reaction to the news. 

A Dig at MAGA

Nate McMurray, a Congressional candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, over the weekend about the news.

Source: X/Nate_McMurray

McMurray quickly came under fire for the comment. Many people on X said that it appeared, through his comment, that he was hoping for the deaths of MAGA movement voters. Others said that they had reported McMurray to X for violating the terms of services against inciting violence.

Digging in Further

McMurray, in response to these accusations, posted a follow up message directed at Trump supporters. “Dear MAGA: Send your regards to MAGA Mike, not me. He loves freedom and Ukraine too. You see, not even your leaders REALLY like your sick, twisted anti-freedom, anti-American MAGA movement.”

Source: X/Nate_McMurray

The statement concluded, “It should…let me see, what word should I use? Expire? Fade? Or maybe something stronger that starts with a ‘d.’ Disintegrate?”

Legal Troubles for McMurray

McMurray is currently facing a lawsuit from a Democratic competitor in the House race, Tim Kennedy, who asked a state court to remove McMurray’s name from the Democratic primary ballot.

Source: Instagram

The lawsuit claims that the 1000 signatures that were collected for McMurray’s electoral petition are invalid, either due to circumstances “constituting fraud,” or were collected by an ineligible canvasser. McMurray has denied the claims, but the controversy has dogged the congressional candidate since.

Republicans Against Ukraine

As far as the Ukraine funding bill, many Republicans have come out strongly against the funding. Chip Roy (TX-R) released a statement saying that he had voted no on the bill, due to the fact that there was no funding for the border contained within the four bills that were passed by wide bipartisan vote.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-R) went further, criticizing Speaker Mike Johnson for praising the bill’s passage. She called him a “traitor to our country,” and is currently leading the charge to oust Johnson from the speaker’s seat, though his successor to the position should she succeed is unclear.

Shooting Himself in the Foot

While McMurray’s opinions about the MAGA movement are understandable, given the history of the MAGA movement and Donald Trump, there is a right and wrong way to go about expressing an opinion. 

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

McMurray, with his tweet, showed that he is unwilling to listen to the other side when it comes to politicking. While the MAGA movement are not all Republicans, they do make up an important faction of the conservative conference. Understanding them is not the same as agreeing, and McMurray, through his ill-considered tweet, may have ultimately lost himself the election that he was hoping to win in the first place.