Republicans Stick with Trump Through Scandals. Why?

Republican officials, including House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, speak with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 20, 2017
Republican officials, including House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, speak with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 20, 2017 (White House/Benjamin Applebaum)

Jonah Goldberg warns Republicans that all they accomplish by rushing to the president’s defense whenever he says or does something indefensible is convince more Americans that “Trumpism” isn’t confined to Donald Trump.

That damage won’t be erased by another record stock-market closing or an uptick in the GDP numbers. It will outlive The Trump Show for generations.

And yet. Read more

How Significant Is Latest Republican Criticism of Trump?

Republican senator Jeff Flake of Arizona attends a campaign event with his wife, Cheryl, in Mesa, December 12, 2015
Republican senator Jeff Flake of Arizona attends a campaign event with his wife, Cheryl, in Mesa, December 12, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Senior Republicans have castigated President Donald Trump in the last week, some implicitly, others explicitly.

  • George W. Bush, former president: “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. … We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. … We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism — forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. … Our identity as a nation […] is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility.”
  • John McCain, Arizona senator, former presidential candidate and chairman of the Armed Services Committee: “To fear the world we have organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of Earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
  • Bob Corker, Tennessee senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee: “The president has great difficulty with the truth. … I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in a way that he does, but he does. … He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona senator: “We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency.” Read more

Trump Declares War on Republicans. Will Republicans Fight Back?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Now that Donald Trump’s Rasputin, Steve Bannon, has declared open season on Republicans, will the party finally see its president for the saboteur he is?

Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan report for Axios that Bannon is recruiting right-wing primary challengers against every incumbent Republican senator running for reelection next year except Ted Cruz. He told Fox News: “Nobody’s safe. We’re coming after all of them.”

Opposing the leadership of Trump critic Mitch McConnell is “a de facto litmus test in Bannon’s recruitment.”

Allen and Swan conclude:

If Bannon were to field the slate he envisions, the Republican Party would have a civil war on its hands that makes 2010 look like a tea party.

Read more

Trump Is Taking Over Republican Party, Making Realignment More Likely

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Donald Trump is splitting America’s Republican Party in two — and his side is winning.

NBC News and The Wall Street Journal asked Republican voters if they consider themselves to be a supporter of the president first or a supporter of the Republican Party. 58 percent said Trump, 38 percent the party.

The Trump supporters are more likely to hail from rural areas and to be men while Republican Party supporters are more likely to be women and residents of the suburbs.

CNN found a similar divide: Trump’s support is strongest among old white voters without a college education. Republicans under the age of fifty with a degree are disappointed in him.

These trends portend a realignment of America’s two-party system in which the Democrats become the party of the affluent and the optimistic and the Republicans a coalition of the left behind.

Before such a realignment can happen, though, the Republicans need to break up. Read more

The Many Scenarios of a Republican Civil War

Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008
Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008 (PBS/Tom LeGro)

In August 2016, I was penning an article titled “The Coming Republican Civil War”. The premise was simple: after a self-inflicted Trumpian defeat in November, the party of Lincoln would tear itself asunder assigning blame and shedding factions.

But Hillary lost. For a few brief months, the Grand Old Party looked triumphant.

Not so much anymore.

The long-term trajectory of the Republican Party isn’t great; factional infighting has already sunk several attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and by the end of the month we’ll know just how deep the divides go should tax reform and the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill fail. Read more

Trump Would Win a Republican Civil War

Republican officials, including House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, speak with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 20
Republican officials, including House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, speak with American president Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, March 20 (White House/Benjamin Applebaum)

Donald Trump is on a collision course with his own party.

Republicans have publicly rebuked the president for threatening to shut down the government if they don’t fund construction of a southern border wall.

Building a wall between Mexico and the United States was Trump’s signature campaign promise. But it is an impractical plan that few lawmakers are willing to spend billions of dollars on.

When they return from summer recess in two weeks, Republicans will have about twelve working days to pass a budget that Trump must sign to keep the government running.

If Trump makes good on his threat (and he seldom does), it could trigger a civil war inside the party — which he is most likely to win. Read more

Republicans Must Start to Wonder: What Has Trump Done for Them?

American president Donald Trump waves at a crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 17
American president Donald Trump waves at a crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 17 (North Charleston/Ryan Johnson)

Firing Reince Priebus as his chief of staff has allowed American president Donald Trump to put even more distance between himself and the party that elected him, argues Tim Alberta at Politico:

More and more, Trump talks as though there are Democrats and Republicans — and him, a party of one.

With the exception of his vice president, Mike Pence, none of Trump’s remaining confidants have a history in the party.

Many, including the president himself, weren’t even Republicans until one or two years ago.

Republicans must start to wonder what, other than winning the presidency and putting a conservative, Neil Gorsuch, on the Supreme Court, Trump has done for the party? Read more