That line comes from a June 14 Sun Sentinel newspaper report headlined “‘Trumpicans’ throw presidential birthday bash, while Joe Biden supporters are ‘Ridin’ with Biden.’ ”
Here is the quote in its entirety:
“We don’t even call ourselves Republicans anymore,” said [Annie Marie] Delgado, Florida president for Trump Team 2020. “We are Trumpicans. It is a movement that is going to ensure the re-election of Donald Trump in the state of Florida. As Florida goes so the nation goes.”
The “Trumpicans” headline caught my eye because it potentially signifies a Republican Party identity crisis that could extend well beyond Florida. The timing of the crisis will be either 2020 or 2024, depending on whether Trump wins or loses in November.
But first, some context. On Sunday, President Trump’s 74th birthday was cause for celebration among his base, resulting in a one-day fundraising record of $14 million.
In Florida, the president’s enthusiastic nautical supporters jammed waterways for what is affectionally called a “Trumptilla.” Growing in popularity around the nation, these glistening political flotillas proudly fly “Trump 2020” banners and American flags on boats of all sizes.
Delgado’s word “Trumpican,” replacing “Republican,” mirrored my observations from February’s Conservative Political Action Conference in a RealClearPolitics piece headlined “CPAC, the Trumplican Party Rules.”
What follows is a brief synopsis about how the party I first joined as a college student in 1975 evolved from Republican to “Trumpican” (or “Trumplican”). Then Delgado, as a “MAGA” Trump activist and organizer, explains why and what the word means.
Pre-Trump, my party was obsessed with the memory and “persona” of Ronald Reagan.
The 40th president was an eternal optimist who loved freedom, detested communism, and who thought that even well-intentioned government solutions had a way of backfiring. Reagan also had near-complete faith in his fellow Americans, an endearing personal quality.
During the presidential administrations of both Bushes and Obama’s eight years, there was a constant longing and complaining that the party desperately needed a “new Reagan.” This mythical leader would be strong and charismatic. He (and it was always going to be a “he”) would unite and excite the fractured base. He would attract “Reagan Democrats” while revolutionizing the Grand Old Party’s tired old brand for the 21st-century.
Enter Donald J. Trump.
It was June 18, 2013 when I first chronicled the reality-TV star’s appeal as a serious 2016 presidential candidate. My tip-off was that on his birthday he was in the Washington, D.C., area actively courting the GOP’s evangelical Christian base. (Not much has changed in seven years!) Fast-forward to 2016. Trump, the political neophyte, slew the Bushes and then the Clintons. He unexpectedly won with votes from blue-collar Democrats in “blue wall” states, and a “new Reagan” star was born.
Over the course of Trump’s three-year reign, before 2020’s triple crises of COVID-19, economic collapse, and racial/police upheaval, the chatter among some Republican faithful was “Trump is the greatest president since Reagan.”
Playing off that sentiment, back in January I penned a RealClearPolitics piece that also compared Reagan to Trump. However, my spin was a bit more realistic, titled “If Trump Wasn’t Trump, He’d Be Reagan.” That exact quote — said to me in confidence by a Washington, D.C., radio show host at CPAC in early 2019 — was true then and more valid at the beginning of this year.
But even with his obvious flaws, and a nation in turmoil, Trump is running for reelection with such a solid Trumpican base that any Republicans not waving Trump banners and wearing MAGA hats are ostracized, practically kicked in the butt, and called “Never Trumpers.”
Curious about Annie Marie Delgado’s take on the Trumpican Party, I reached out to her.
Although the Sun Sentinel reported that “Delgado is Florida president for Trump Team 2020,” her organization states on its Facebook page, “Trump Team 2020 Florida, LLC is not affiliated with any candidates.” This declaration stems from ongoing conflicts between the Republican Party of Florida’s charter organizations and “unofficial” clubs of Trump supporters. Delgado is mentioned. Nonetheless, she is an activist extraordinaire. She told me that her Trump Team 2020 has over “10,000 members.” Delgado also elaborated on how Trump’s June 14 birthday was celebrated across Florida:
“We not only brought out thousands of Boaters for Trump, we also had our Trucks for Trump Chapter, Florida Veterans & Bikers for Trump, Golf Carts for Trump & our newest Wings for Trump Chapter (Drones). I organized all of our chapters from the Panhandle to Miami.”
Press reports confirm this activity.
Circling back to what I believe will be a future identity crisis within the national GOP, Delgado’s thinking as an engaged Trumpican in the crucial swing state of Florida is worth noting. Moreover, I found her thoughts represent and reflect those of other “Trump influencers” around the nation.
What follows is Delgado’s response to several of my questions, edited for brevity.
The Republican Party left us after Ronald Reagan left office. The establishment in DC took over both parties as the globalist agenda, special interest money, and lobbyists found that they could alter politics with big money. President Trump changed all of that when he could not be bought.
If Trump loses in November (which he won’t!) the GOP will be split into establishment and Trumplicans (or MAGA). The ideology of the Trumplicans is one of integrity, determination, and true love of country with a desire to preserve the integrity of our constitutional republic as designed by our Founding Fathers.
The MAGA Movement is gaining members and stronger than ever. With each passing day, Americans are waking up to what is the truth about our country and those who’ve been in power as our “public servants.” We are recognizing that those who have been elected to serve the taxpaying constituent are not all they say they are.
Our movement and our President are a devout, diverse group of constitutional conservatives. We now know that we outnumber the establishment and if organized, can be a formidable voting bloc driving issues and making policy.
Trumplicans are resilient, and we are keenly aware of what the real issues are, who the bad actors have been, and we now understand just how our country has been sold to the highest bidder. We are not violent, but we are steadfast in our convictions, and will use law and order to peacefully assemble in order to be heard and are motivated by our constitutional values which drives our members to the ballot box to ensure the integrity of our government.
Then I asked Delgado if she sees Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a 2024 presidential candidate who could pick up the Trumplican banner. (DeSantis is a Trump acolyte.)
Obviously, I will support Gov. Ron DeSantis should he chose to run. DeSantis has made a significant impact in Florida by cleaning house on both sides of the aisle. He is behind President Trump and has made considerable strategic decisions in the best interest of Florida voters since taking office. Assuming Gov. DeSantis stays a staunch ally and strategic partner with President Trump and the America First Agenda, he would become the de facto Trumplican Party candidate.
Before knowing that I would hear back from Delgado, I reached out to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He is a frequent Trump media surrogate, so I was curious what Gingrich thought of an influential Florida Trump supporter saying, “We are Trumpicans. We don’t call ourselves Republicans anymore.”
More specifically, I asked, “Is such thinking a warning sign for the future of the Republican Party?” No, Gingrich answered. As for the word “Trumpican,” he said it is “clever, but the vast majority of Trump’s base is Republican.”
Finally, the former House speaker added, “Of course he has made Republican more populist.”
And to that response, I ask Republicans: “How about more ‘Trumpulist’?”