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Donald Trump and his vaunted base have revealed themselves in a mob of thugs taking siege of the U.S. Capitol to try to overthrow our democracy.

The question arises whether this development might inconvenience Trump's leading servants in Arkansas as they contend for the privilege of defiling the state as its next governor.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, not yet announced as a candidate and who for two years was director of gaslighting services in Washington for the monstrously vile Trump, put out a tweet Wednesday afternoon saying that violence is not who we are in America.

Never mind that it is exactly what Trump's mob was. And never mind that Trump incited it and was said to have gotten a kick out of it.

Sarah didn't mention Trump. I replied to her tweet that didn't mention him by inviting her to do so. But, alas, she must not have seen my communication.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge speaks in messianic tones of the mob-inciting would-be despot. She does so on the chance that Sanders doesn't oppose her for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2022. That would free for Rutledge the mantle of Trump's biggest fan. She said in her Twitter post that violence is bad.

Rutledge also invited everyone to join her in prayer.

I can do that. If our attorney general will bow her head with me now, I'll pray that Trump gets deservedly run out of office immediately and that Joe Biden restores America as a nation led and defined by goodness and decency. Amen.

The point, of course, is that Trump got 62 percent of the Arkansas vote in November, and probably 75 to 80 percent of the white rural vote.

The question, then, is whether any or many in that 62 percent--75 or 80 in pockets--weren't either cheering those seditionists Wednesday afternoon while watching them on Newsmax or believing the cynical right-wing lie that those were liberal protesters in disguise.

Were any Arkansas Trumpsters beginning the logical process of wondering whether Trump wasn't maybe just a bit ... oh, I don't know ... horrid or nuts?

If so, the question would become where that doubt might take those people in the next governor's race.

Weakening Trumpsters might turn their natural attention to a big-talking, hot-dogging Karl Rovian in Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.

He also is running in the Republican primary for 2022. He is distinguished in the race by pandering less blatantly to Trump than the others if only because there's very little room for posterior affixing after Sanders wrote a book about being Trump's BFF and Rutledge attached the state to a laughable lawsuit trying to steal a second term for him.

I've been writing that Griffin actually is the worst gubernatorial prospect of the three, but I am considering the possibility that he could only be as bad because no one could be worse.

Let me put it this way: None of the three is in Mike Beebe's league, or, indeed, Asa Hutchinson's, or even Daddy Huckabee's.

Amid this Trumpian meltdown, the fanciful thought even arises that a new and better politics might emerge from last week's bottoming-out. It's that a couple of gubernatorially interested and independent-minded anti-Trump Republicans might have a shot at new life for their known gubernatorial interests.

I asked Jim Hendren and Davy Carter about that last week, and neither wanted to talk for the record. But let me say that they're monitoring the situation closely. And they've been tweeting aplenty about the disgrace of Trump and his acolytes.

Hendren is a retired fighter pilot and a longtime conservative state legislator from Gravette who moved center-ward after his Uncle Asa became governor and relied on his pragmatic leadership of the Senate to keep government running well.

He lately has been on an absolute liberal-worthy rant against Trump and an absolute liberal-worthy crusade for a hate-crimes law.

Carter is a lawyer and bank executive who was the smart young centrist Republican state representative who leveraged a path last decade to the House speaker's office from which he helped Beebe pass the private option for Medicaid expansion.

While Hendren's possibilities have been viewed as the Republican primary or an independent candidacy, Carter's have been viewed as an independent candidacy or even the Democratic primary. He might be able to present himself as a reprised Beebe Democrat to whom partisans could flock if stopping Sanders or Rutledge became a greater imperative than any left-lurching ideology.

One of the things the Trump presidency has surely taught us is that sometimes the priority must become defeating the opposing horror rather than advancing any ideological agenda.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.


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