According to several new polls, the Grand Old Party is in the throes of a death rattle. Or at least a severe case of whooping cough settling deep in the chest. Rasmussen Reports found that 53% of GOP voters say “it’s a good idea for Trump to start a third party.” Reuters chimed in on the salacious rumors of a disintegrating political behemoth, discovering an alarming number of individuals ready to abandon the party “for any perceived slight against their leader.”
Was it only four short years ago that Republicans and others of conservative ilk were deliriously lip-smacking about a fractured Democratic Party? A party in shambles from a 2016 presidential primary that mistreated America’s favorite frumpy socialist? Ah, the good old days of dreaming about the imminent destruction of a nemesis. And then Republicans said, in genuine red state flair, “Hey, watch this!”
Hold My Beer
Conservatives, Republicans, and Libertarian-lite folks have dealt with RINOs for decades. Constituents watched Arizona Senator John McCain dance and dip to his own tune. The former Governor of Massachusetts Willard Mitt Romney surfaced with a spit and shine for which most politicians would sell their soul. Alas, both men appeared to succumb to the bitterness of losing the presidential election. They would be anti-Trump people to their core. Trump didn’t wait his turn.
Factions of the GOP today include members of the Lincoln Project, NeverTrumpers, and now former loyalists quickly scrambling away to save their political hides in the looming shadow of a second Trump impeachment. Even George W. Bush’s former staffers have made noises of late. Jimmy Gurulé, who was undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told one news outlet, “The Republican Party as I knew it no longer exists. I’d call it the cult of Trump.”
As so-called cults go, Trump’s GOP is incredibly strong and vocal. Those America First conservatives pushed their party to give the man 74 million votes – more than any other Republican candidate in history. Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak lays out the facts the party faces: “We can’t win without Trump’s base; the question is, can we hold onto Trump’s base without Trump?”
The Trumpian candidates and elected officials are also bold and brash like their leader. Newly elected Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is already causing heartburn among her House colleagues for introducing impeachment articles against President Joe Biden. Greene laid out Biden’s “pattern of abuse of power” and called the new Oval Office occupant a “threat to national security, and he must be immediately impeached.”
And Greene also claimed: “The vast majority of Republican voters, volunteers and donors are no longer loyal to the G.O.P. Their loyalty now lies with Donald J. Trump.” This is the Trumpian Party. And it could very well become a powerful third-party option, taking from Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans and delivering a throat punch to the last.
The Seismic Shift
Some say the Republican Party needed a cleansing enema long before Trump came along. Was anyone happy with Dubya, McCain, and Romney? Heck, Romney’s dog probably doesn’t like Romney. GOP leaders — Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader – now face their biggest challenge: wresting power back into the hands of Republicans. In less than two years, their mettle will be tested.
And unfortunately for both, they must somehow forge a consensus on how to move forward. McCarthy jetted off to Mar-a-Lago to be able to report Trump is solidly in the GOP camp. And others are scolding the likes of Greene and Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and telling Trump folks spatting with the old guard to “knock it off.” McConnell appears to have tightened his sphincter muscle, refusing even to entertain a relationship with the former president.
A win for red states in 2022 seems a pipe dream at best the way the Republicans are fighting from within. Will there still be a Republican Party when votes are cast again? Or is there going to be a drubbing of the elitist ranks that Trump set out to accomplish in 2016? However, this assault will be effected by none other than the electorate itself. Ah, the good old days when everything still made some lick of sense. Ahem, is that a cough I hear?
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.