Two paths diverged in American politics and the Republican Party chose the path of disgraced former President Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theorists.
As pundits ponder the future of the Republican Party, and traditionalists hope to turn the tide away from the rubble left by Trump’s insurrection, powerful Washington players and state activists have made their decision.
Highlighting the former president’s speedy rehabilitation, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will visit Trump in Florida on Thursday after repudiating his own criticism of inciting riots on the US Capitol.
Just a week after Trump left the White House, it is clear that his party is not ready to let him go. Extremists and Trumpists are on the rise, as lawmakers who condemned their aberrational conduct fight for their political careers. The anti-Trump wing, represented by members of Congress such as Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mitt Romney of Utah, as well as Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, appears to be a small and outnumbered force.
This week’s arrangement will have significant implications for the GOP’s positioning heading into the 2022 midterm elections, and for President Joe Biden’s hopes of draining poison from Washington in the name of national unity.
But it will also raise a fundamental question for the Republican Party itself. Is doubling down on popular fury and Trump’s base the best way to win back Americans? Especially those in the suburban areas who rejected the former president who lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House in a single four-year term?
A lively pro-Trump grassroots turnout is vital to Republican hopes of winning the House in the 2022 midterm elections. But there is also the possibility that a wave of fervently pro-Trump Senate hopefuls in swing states could hurt. the party’s hopes of overthrowing the slim Democratic majority in the House.
Trump is gone but the party is still his
Across the country, Republican leaders react to Trump’s departure by intensifying the political revolution that transformed the party in his image, censoring and marginalizing those considered disloyal to a defeated former president and brought to impeachment on two occasions.
In a key test vote for impeachment this week, 45 Republican senators indicated that they plan to see Trump pay no price for inciting the most heinous assault by a president on the US government in history during the Capitol riot. .
McCarthy, who humiliatingly recoiled from his tepid pre-Trump criticism, traveled to Florida for a hearing as he seeks to make amends for the former leader in his palace in exile.
In another sign of the GOP’s future direction, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was not censored by her party after Citizen Free Press’s KFile reported that she expressed her support in recent years for the assassinations of Democratic leaders before running for Congress. . McCarthy plans to speak with the congresswoman about what her spokesperson, in a statement Wednesday night, called “deeply disturbing” comments. Axios was the first to report the statement and McCarthy’s plans to speak with Greene.
But the QAnon sympathizer’s skyrocketing rise as a prominent face of a party enslaved by lies and bizarre propaganda doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy. In fact, Greene was rewarded by being assigned a desired commission.
Alarmed by the divisions in his party, McCarthy ordered his troops to “stop that garbage” and focus on the Democrats, Citizen Free Press reported Wednesday. It is unclear if his warning applies to pro-Trump Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is traveling to Wyoming to criticize on his own turf the third Republican in the House of Representatives, Liz Cheney, who voted in favor of Trump’s trial.
The remnants of the old Republican Party, like former George W. Bush adviser Rob Portman, who are unwilling to join the deranged populism that now drives Lincoln’s party, have nowhere to go. The Ohio senator announced this week that he will not run for reelection.
But in Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders uses her war with the Washington media during her dishonest tenure as a badge of honor to appeal to the fervently pro-Trump base in her bid for governor.
And in Arizona, Oregon and Pennsylvania, anti-Trump Republicans like Cindy McCain are being purged as Trump loyalists take prominent positions and state officials who stood firm against the former president’s efforts to reverse Biden’s election victory are under extreme pressure.
‘It’s time to stand up’
Former Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is now a Citizen Free Press commentator, said on “The Situation Room” that the Republican Party needed to act quickly against Greene and compared the failure of leaders to honor their values with the courage shown by the detained leader. of the Russian opposition Alexey Navalny.
“They are concerned about losing an election or not winning a majority,” Kasich said. “These people have to stand up and say that this is not our party, we reject it and this is unacceptable to us.”
The lesson of the Trump era is that where there is a choice in the Republican Party between its values and its power, Power always wins. But the party’s descent into the sewers of electoral lies comes with a mounting price for the rest of the nation. The Department of Homeland Security issued a rare threat bulletin related to national terrorism on Wednesday warning of the potential for violence by extremists emboldened by the attack on the US Capitol.
The warning cites the presidential transition “as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives” as possible catalysts for the uprisings. Those narratives were pushed for weeks by Trump and his Republican facilitators in Washington and still find a home in sections of the conservative media.
The GOP’s embrace of Trump is perfectly logical, even if it leaves Republican lawmakers in awkward positions as they let their crimes against the Constitution fade along with lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
The former president has long enjoyed high approval ratings in his party that have protected him from the consequences of his unconstitutional takeover and his failures among Republican leaders whom he bullied for years. Their discomfort when confronting the Washington media pales in comparison to the fury of grassroots voters at home if they break up with the former president.
However, a Citizen Free Press / SSRS poll published just before he left office found that 48% of Republicans wanted to forget about Trump while 47% expected him to continue to be considered the leader of the party.
The clarity offered this week, including McCarthy’s Mar-a-Lago pilgrimage, suggests that party leaders and rank-and-file members believe that any dip in Trump’s popularity after the mob attack on the Capitol was only temporary.
And McCarthy’s strategy makes it clear that he sees Trump’s base as critical to leveraging what history suggests is a great chance to win back the House for the Republican Party in 2022.
It could also be waiting for corporate donors who stopped campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s election victory to return to the fold with the potential prospect of a Republican majority in the House beginning in 2023.
Why the Republican Party never abandons Trump
Power has always been a key motivating factor behind the GOP’s painful support in the Senate for the former president and its unwillingness to constrain him or punish his transgressions while in office.
Any senator who wants to avoid a challenge in the primaries has no practical option but to demonstrate total loyalty to Trump.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose presidential dreams were crushed by the former reality star in 2016, was long seen as the model for a new, more optimistic and inclusive Republican Party. Someone with a career path who now holds him firmly in favor of Trump and calls the impeachment “the revenge of the radical left” is an apt embodiment of the transformation Trump wrought in the party. It may also have something to do with the talk about a possible challenge in the primaries by Ivanka Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the Republicans most haunted by the attack on his beloved U.S. Senate prompted by Trump in his effort to thwart the constitutional transfer of power to Biden.
The Kentucky senator even let it be known that he was considering voting to convict Trump of felony crimes and misdemeanors in his Senate trial. He has not yet said what his decision is. But on Tuesday, McConnell was among the senators who voted unsuccessfully to dismiss the case on the dubious grounds that it is unconstitutional to try a former president who has already been indicted while in office.
The vote reflected growing confidence among Trump’s acolytes in Washington that he will escape a sentence that would prevent him from running for federal office in the future.
Another key Republican figure, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who expertly crafted her exit from the Trump administration with the former president’s blessing, has rolled back her previous mild criticism of Trump after the insurrection. Now, Haley, who is clearly setting the stage for a 2024 run for president, is putting the president who tried to destroy American democracy as the victim.
“I mean, give the man a break,” Haley said on Globe Live Media.
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