America won’t let Donald Trump just go away, and it would probably take a psychoanalyst to explain why.

He roared into the mainstream news cycle last night with a series of lawsuits, which, frankly, don’t entitle anyone to headline news in a country where everyone sues everyone. But like victim/volunteers or tragedy profiteers, gatekeepers put him on and it was business as usual… except for one interesting, late-night rant that lasted 77 minutes, where one former Republican president, through a series of three separate statements, lambasted the Republican president who preceded him.

George W. Bush’s statement on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 obviously got under Trump’s skin. In particular, it was Bush the Younger’s denunciation of extremism at home that set Trump off. Were Trump’s hands clean of fanning the flames of internal hatred, the recently retired president wouldn’t pay a nanosecond’s attention to this.

But, obviously, Trump paid at least 77 minutes’ attention.

When he was president, plenty of people made fun of W. They called him bumbling and dimwitted, and later, more seriously, a warmonger.  He even had to face the ridicule of being played by Will Ferrell in a movie.

For the most part, he took it all in good humor and, having completed his two terms in office, went away quietly to paint portraits of disabled combat veterans afterwards. Because he was president on 9/11 and unified the country in its immediate aftermath, someone asked him to speak earlier this month — were it not for that, he probably would have stayed quiet.

It is in thinking back to the Bush days (disclaimer: I worked for him and am biased) that the more recent calls to demonize the other side, the quickness to call our political opponents enemies of the Republic, seem all the more jarring.

While “style” seems a silly thing to debate nowadays, there’s a more important question out there for Republicans: Are we, at all, serious about winning next year? Yes, the Biden administration is dropping the ball wherever you look, but nothing is guaranteed.

Two broken arguments can derail Republicans who insist on riding them to the polls next fall: the “big lie” and the refusal to face the facts about Jan. 6.

Last month, a friend of mine quit as the executive director of the Michigan state GOP.

Why? He refused to say the 2020 election was stolen. My friend is the consummate political operative and throughout his career, had to stomach all sorts of things he probably didn’t agree with or believe in his time, but this was a bridge too far.

You cannot base your ideology on a lie, even if it is because a whole bunch of other things are messed up, too. No serious person he knew believed Biden stole the election, so he threw up his hands and walked away.

The second poison pill is the insistence that nothing all that bad happened when rioters stormed the Capitol to prevent the certification of election results.

I can certainly relate to fury against Congress, but at some point we need to decide whether we all agree this democratic procedure thing is working or not. You cannot honestly participate in an election unless you’re willing to accept defeat if in fact you lose. When it comes to violent insurrection, you really can’t hedge: Either you’re for it or against it.

Now that the Democrats are on the ropes with foreign and domestic problems galore, it is no surprise a House investigative committee is subpoenaing Trump administration officials about who was where and thinking or saying what when all hell broke loose Jan. 6.

Let them have what they want, neither resist nor blow it up into the grand distraction they seek.

The only people who can really stop Republicans from taking back control of Congress next year are, well, Republicans.

Let the Democrats shriek about optics on the southern border instead of giving a moment’s thought to, say, border security. Let them fight with themselves about how much bigger they can make their Build Back Better bill. But don’t double down on the “big lie” or soft-peddle an insurrection of half-wits.

On Thursday, Marjorie Taylor-Green used a Scooby Doo cartoon on the House floor to suggest the mystery villain in America is, in fact, communism. Even that is less stupid than continuing to take cues from Trump.

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.