29 January 2021

The "Republican civil war" is already over

Many of us hoped that, especially in the wake of the January 6 lynch-mob attack on the Capitol, the Republicans would be crippled by a split between fervent Trumpanzees and those seeking to drag the party back to sanity and the real world.  I was a little skeptical of this, given that the latter group just didn't seem large enough to make a serious bid for control of the party, but the vigor we'd seen from groups like the Lincoln Project and the post-January-6 openness of major figures like Lynne Cheney and Moscow Mitch to a second Trumpeachment offered some basis for hope.

Well, forget it.  The "Republican civil war" is already pretty much over.  The winning side is just mopping up the last few pockets of resistance.

Wyoming is in an uproar against Cheney, who seems likely to face a serious primary challenge in 2022.  The Arizona Republican party has censured three prominent members who dared cross Trump, including the sitting governor of the state.  Other state parties are embracing QAnon qrackpottery and conspiratardia.  Fox News is purging staffers who aren't Trumpy enough.  A mainstream conservative group is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Josh Hawley, the flagship wingnut of the new insane Republicanism (after Trump himself).  The Republican rank-and-file is erupting in fury against party "leaders" who didn't do enough to help Trump overturn the election, and those leaders have gotten the message.  Some who criticized Trump are now reversing themselves, or announcing that they won't seek re-election.  It's becoming clear that the party establishment won't do anything about the deranged Marjorie Taylor Greene.  In the recent vote on the constitutionality of Trumpeachment engineered by Rand Paul, 45 of 50 Republican senators -- including McConnell -- voted against moving forward, strongly suggesting they'll vote against conviction too.

(It's now obvious that this impeachment is as big a waste of time as the first one.  Best to get it over with as quickly as possible so that Congress can return to its actual work -- of which there is certainly plenty to do.  Conventional prosecution for his financial crimes, and perhaps for sedition, has a very good chance of putting Trump behind bars for a lot more than just the next four years.)

So there will be no split on the right.  Trump won't establish a new wingnut party to rival the Republican party -- there's no need, when his followers are taking over the latter intact.  Trump is not dividing the Republicans, he's uniting them.  Leaders who challenge him are being driven out, marginalized, or scared into submission.  Even if Trump goes to prison, the dominance of lunacy -- QAnon, the "sovereign citizen" movement, and whatever other madness they come up with next -- is so entrenched that it will continue without him.  He might even become a more potent rallying figure as a martyr than as an active, blundering politician.  Hawley could step in as his avatar and prophet, carrying on the messiah's work.

We may still gain something from the Republicans' descent into madness.  There's some evidence of substantial party-switching in some states, as centrist voters who joined for the tax cuts and law-and-order decide they can't stomach all the sedition and conspiratardia.  Large majorities support Biden's most visible policy changes.  If even two or three percent of Republican voters abandon the party, that could make a difference in close states or districts.  If even one moderate Republican senator switches parties, it would increase the margin of error for passing urgent reforms.

But we need to stop thinking of the Republicans as divided in any meaningful way.  That's already over.  The party has chosen its path, and it's the path of Trump.


Blogger Johnny Profane said...


Altho Civil Wars frequently have multiple acts.

I'm keeping my powder dry...

29 January, 2021 04:54  
Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...


29 January, 2021 05:58  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

The repugs went to Trash-a-Lago to appease the Don. There'll be no division. The GOP is the party of the right wing, the Nazis, the white supremacists, the nationalists, the conspiracy theorists. That IS the GOP. It was not a glitch. It's the system.


29 January, 2021 08:02  
Blogger jono said...

I was starting to get a little hopeful, but I am afraid you are right. The Republican Party is still the monster it has morphed into. Democrats are a centrist party so maybe an actual liberal party may have to form. Unfortunately, my crystal ball can only read about 15 minutes into the future on a good day.

29 January, 2021 09:13  
Blogger Ebon Krieg said...

Watching from afar, I have witnessed the pardon of Nixon as the beginning. We must get along and rebuild. Reagan fucked us in so many ways we may never recover. We must get along and rebuild. He and his staff were pardoned. Bush 1 got us in the wars of oil. Clinton did nothing. We have to get along and rebuild. Bush 2 was a war criminal. Obama did nothing.
Trump was an abomination.
Our nation teeters on civil war and yet we must forgive. FUCK this shit and FUCK these people.
I will go in detail on each of these "fuck-up" presidents from Ford to the present if you want.
This is the way of our world that these asswipes are looked at as "statesmen"; they are sycophants.
This is the way of the media (propaganda).
This is the way of religion (cults).
This is the way of America as a bunch of idiots (truth).

29 January, 2021 14:25  
Blogger Ebon Krieg said...

I wish fishes were wishes.

29 January, 2021 14:26  
Blogger Victor said...

You're right!
The farces (sic) of darkness have sucked-up the already evil enough RepubliKKKLAN Party like a Black Hole does a Red Giant star.

On the plus side, maybe a Mitt or Murk switches over like Jeffords in 2001 who went from R to I.

29 January, 2021 14:36  
Blogger MarkS said...

From an aspirational point of view, the optimal outcome would have been a split between conservatives and radicals.That would have been vastly preferable as a split and diminished conservative party would have some time in the wilderness to reconstitute itself (and we do need them, or someone like them). What we're going to get now appears to be the new Confederacy.Reconstruction isn't over until we finish it.

29 January, 2021 14:58  
Blogger Mary said...

Excellent post and absolutely true. It will be the undoing, not of the Republican Party, but if they gain enough control and trump or a trump wannabe returns in 2024, then humanity and any hope for a future with an address to global climate change, ends.

29 January, 2021 15:39  
Blogger Kay said...

Sad but looking very true. I'm losing all respect for them.

29 January, 2021 16:22  
Blogger Mike said...

Republicans have gone over to the dark side.

29 January, 2021 20:48  
Blogger The New York Crank said...

>> Conventional prosecution for his financial crimes, and perhaps for sedition, has a very good chance of putting Trump behind bars for a lot more than just the next four years.<<

Well, yes, But also maybe no. Assuming that a) They manage to bring him to trial under New York law and b) they get a conviction, the case will be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. on whatever technicality Trump's lawyers can manage to manufacture. And then, I predict, the court will decide, 6 to 3, that under the U.S. Constitution, Trump cannot be found guilty by reason of osmotic transmogrification of Presidential immunity to state criminal cases.

Remember, you heard it from me first.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

29 January, 2021 21:58  
Blogger Hackwhackers said...

The Rethuglicans / Trumplicans are utterly invested in the delusional and violent cult that Trump leads. The initial whimpers by "establishment" Rethugs about the Capitol riot / insurrection have given way to demonstrations of loyalty and pilgrimages to Merde-O'-Lardo. (And thank you for the link).

30 January, 2021 12:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get ready for the return of the Trump Religion.

30 January, 2021 13:51  
Blogger Kwark said...

I suspect you're correct although it remains to be seen how this plays out in the next few years. Up and down the ballot there are plenty of Republicans who can be tarred with the "not sufficiently loyal to Trump" brush and thus face a Trumpist challenger but who may not go quietly into the night - perhaps giving Democratic challengers an opportunity in some areas. In the longer term too I wonder about the effectiveness of a party wholly given over to a cult of personality focused almost exclusively on personal grievance and the rather self-destructive tendency to discard and destroy loyalists when they appear to make a convenient scapegoat.

30 January, 2021 21:16  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Johnny: Thanks. I suppose the non-crazies might eventually assert themselves, but the last five years has shown they're not good at that.

Debra: Most of what goes on among the wingnuts is.

Sixpence: Yep. The monster they created has completely absorbed them, like the Blob.

Jono: No, any serious third party on the left would just divide the left-wing vote and let the Republicans win everywhere.

Ebon: It's predictable -- letting criminals get away with things just encourages more criminality. I don't think Trump will get away with it, though.

Victor: I really hope we get some party-switching. No remotely-sane person should want to stick with the party of Trump.

MarkS: Even the Confederacy wouldn't have embraced stuff like QAnon or space lasers. They've just gone completely nuts.

31 January, 2021 02:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mary: Yes, it's vital that we keep getting the vote out to avoid having them take power again.

Kay: The last Republican I had respect for was McCain, and he's been gone for what already feels like eons.

Mike: I don't know if even Darth Vader would want them.

Crank: It's always possible that a prosecution could misfire, but there are so many crimes to charge him with, something will stick. The Supreme Court didn't rule in favor of his election-fraud nonsense. Even if they want to support him, they need some basis for doing so.

Hackwhackers: Yes, they cower and fall into line when he snarls at them. He must consider them pathetic.

Anon: I'm not sure it ever went away.

Kwark: The monster will tend to devour itself, over time -- but that could take quite a while. And I see hardly any Republicans willing to stand up to the madness, nor any way for them to accomplish anything (except get ostracized) if they do.

The only way the party returns to sanity is if the Trump cultism and reality-denial among the voting base subside. That will probably happen, but not easily and not fast.

31 January, 2021 02:42  
Blogger forestvillain said...

I'm not too concerned about Josh Hawley's prospect of taking up the mantle of Trumpublicanism. Trump's is a cult of personality; simply put, Hawley doesn't have one...

01 February, 2021 08:22  
Blogger Bohemian said...

You are spot on and said it all... they have chosen their Poison, bought the Ticket and are on for the whole ride aboard The Crazy Train now. Trumpanzees are a Lost Cause, you can't Reason someone out of something that took no Reason to get into. Cult devotion is evident and there is no Unifying with Extremists and Domestic Terrorists, they are the new Enemy from within, whether people want to stomach that Truth or not.

01 February, 2021 12:44  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Forest: Does Trump have a personality? Vituperation seems to be an acceptable substitute.

Bohemian: Thanks. We shouldn't want to unify with people who can't bring themselves to even condemn Taylor-Greene for endorsing death threats. It's not a difference of opinion, it's a malignancy.

02 February, 2021 04:09  

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