Has Donald Trump finally split the Republican party?
Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images
After four years of norm-breaking rule, Donald Trump seems close to doing what observers have long predicted, but that has not yet happened: splitting the Republican Party.
Related: America prepares for the final month of madness as the Trump Show nears its end
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As Trump stares at the prospect of only a few weeks left in the White House, significant sections of the party are finally breaking with a president to whom they have so far shown almost unwavering loyalty. In addition, Trump has managed to stir up the division in his own party and unite warring factions among his opponents.
When Democratic leaders and members of the progressive House Squad responded to the president's bombing on Wednesday night by vetoing Covid's $ 900 billion bill, they welcomed Trump's call for more direct payments to individual Americans.
"Let's do this!" said spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi.
"We can pass checks for $ 2,000 this week," wrote representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Presumably somewhere on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell buried his head in his hands.
"Send me a suitable invoice or something else"
Predictions that Trump will ruin and split the Republican Party have been rife since 2015, when he ruined and split - and won - the race for the presidential nomination. While the party remains whole and an official split will come as a surprise, it is now caught up in an internal argument. Trump loyalists fight for the lost cause of a second term while others try to adjust to life in opposition.
Trump has a strong influence on the radical right-wing Republican base, on much of the House delegation that owes its seats to that base, and on influential senators. The punishment for apostasy is clear: a right-wing primary or, as rumored in the case of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a challenge from Trump's own daughter.
But contrary to the zeal of the Maga-fueled legions, the Senate party institute has now rejected Trump's increasingly ferocious attempts to stay in power while negotiating the Covid deal that resulted in the extraordinary demonstration of the president's petulance from the podium on Tuesday evening of the White House.
In his video message, Trump lamented the spending obligations under the aid agreement and called on Congress to “send me a suitable invoice, otherwise the next government will have to deliver an aid package from Covid. And maybe I am this administration. "
That will not be the case even if Trump's allies in the House and Senate present planned challenges to the electoral college in Congress on Jan. 6. Democrats in control of the House will make sure the result is upheld there while McConnell and his MPs ensure passage in the Senate.
However, if such challenges can only be performative, then they are politically beneficial for all except the Republican establishment, which helps put them down. Trump's refusal to accept defeat, let alone the vicious fire he and his allies have directed against McConnell since Senator Joe Biden's acknowledged victory, is damaging the president's own party.
One day before the electoral college's approval, two runoff elections in Georgia will rule over the control of the Senate. The early voting has started. McConnell needs a united front to hold on to the party's best hope of thwarting Biden's agenda. This is Trump's refusal to accept party discipline or political reality, which has become impossible.
Georgia’s two seated Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have teamed up with Trump. That means supporting his claim that the presidential election was rigged, which the party system fears to suppress Republican turnout.
On CNN last weekend, Utah Senator and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a frequent Trump critic, was asked if he "still recognizes the Republican Party."
"The party has taken a different course than what I knew when I was younger," said Romney, adding that his Republican party stood for leadership abroad while at home it "balanced the budget".
“And we believed that character was essential in the executives we chose. We deviated from that. I don't see us going back to that for a long time. "
The remark about the character was shown. Romney described a battle to succeed Trump at the helm of the party that promises Thomas Hobbes to be what life was like: evil and brutal, if long-term rather than short.
"When I look at the 2024 competitors," said Romney, "most of them are trying to be as similar to Donald Trump as possible." Though I have to admit that its style and chic, if you will, are difficult to copy. "
Ambitious senators like Josh Hawley from Missouri, Tom Cotton from Arkansas and Ted Cruz from Texas would necessarily have taken this as a compliment - but also a warning. Trump is expected to announce his own candidacy for 2024 shortly after his impeachment.
“I represent a very small part of the Republican Party today,” Romney went on, “but you know everyone has to stand up for what they believe in. And I think my colleagues do what they think is right. "
For some Republicans, Trump has already proven too much.
The party stays in one piece. It remains to be seen whether it will stay that way
Outside of Congress, the Lincoln Project's Never Trumpers, Bulwark, and other groups fought for Biden while former Republican voters helped turn Georgia and Arizona blue. Some have taken a stand within Congress. The usual way out is to back out, but two members of the Michigan House of Representatives, Justin Amash last year and Paul Mitchell, found the courage to publicly leave their party.
Such numbers are small. The party stays in one piece. It remains to be seen whether it will stay that way. In the brewing war, those who face Trump are not ready to stop.
Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote for the Washington Post in November, long before Trump's refusal to admit defeat turned into martial law considerations, that the US actually “has three parties: the Democratic Party, the anti-democracy Trump Party and the Pro-Democratic Republican Party. "
Rubin advocated a bipartisan effort to rebalance, writing, “Once the anti-democracy Trump party is marginalized, we could have a functioning government again. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party for Democracy should get their heads together and develop a strategy to achieve this - quickly and safely before 2024. "
Romney has disappointed Democrats before, not least because of the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court Justice. But he seems ready for battle.
"I think I'm more effective in the Republican Party and keep fighting over the things I believe in," he said when asked if he would leave. “Ultimately, I think the Republican Party will go back to the roots of the last century.
"Hopefully people will see that we have to take a different course than what we are on right now."
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