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

Democrats, Republicans Split on Diversity and Immigration

Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005
Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005 (Thomas Hawk)

Americans overall have very liberal views of immigration, but there is a partisan divide:

  • An NBC News-The Wall Street Journal poll found that more than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, feel comfortable with societal changes that have made the country more diverse.
  • Democrats, only 29 percent of whom are white and Christian anymore, embrace ethnic and religious diversity as central to the American idea. Republicans, nearly three quarters of whom are white and Christian, see these changes as eroding what they believe America to be about.
  • Not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s supporters worry the most. The Pew Research Center found (PDF) that only 39 percent of them agree diversity makes America stronger.
  • Analysis of post-election survey data by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that 79 percent of Americans who agree with the statement “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country” voted for Trump. Read more

Trump Would Win a Republican Civil War

President Donald Trump, House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States meet at the Capitol in Washington DC, November 13, 2016
President Donald Trump, House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States meet at the Capitol in Washington DC, November 13, 2016 (Facebook/Speaker Paul Ryan)

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

Republican Attempt to Repeal Obamacare Turns into Farce

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15 (DoD/William Lockwood)

Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare have descended into farce.

Politico reports that Senate Republicans don’t even want their latest bill — which would repeal the 2010 health reforms without replacing them — to become law.

“The substance of this is not what’s relevant,” said Bob Corker of Tennessee. “This a pathway to conference. That’s the only purpose in this.”

But there is no guarantee the House of Representatives will agree to a conference, which is not designed to write laws to begin with. It’s a process to iron out differences between similar bills passed by both chambers.

The reason Senate Republicans must resort to this is that they haven’t been able to unify their own behind a health-care bill, let alone attract Democratic support. Read more

Resistance to Trump Is Making Strange Bedfellows

Republican senator Mike Lee of Utah attends the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016
Republican senator Mike Lee of Utah attends the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Democrats in the United States are heaping praise on Republican senator Susan Collins for taking a stand against her party’s health-care reforms.

The praise is deserved. Collins, a centrist Republican from Maine, refused to support a plan that would have taken health care away from millions of low-income Americans while making it cheaper for the wealthy.

But it’s too bad the left doesn’t extend the same gratitude to conservative purists who joined her.

None of the other supposedly moderate Republicans in the Senate supported Collins in her fight against the rushed effort to replace Obamacare. They all caved to right-wing pressure.

Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky held firm. Read more

Republicans Think Democrats Are Worse Than Russia

Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

How can Republicans still support Donald Trump despite there now being proof of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia?

Several users on Twitter have suggested that the right-wing media would have gone berserk if this story was about Hillary Clinton. I think they’re right. Instead of giving Donald Trump Jr. a softball interview, Sean Hannity would be screaming bloody murder.

We know, because that’s what he did during the phony Clinton email scandal.

And perhaps that’s part of the answer: To some on the American right, Democrats are such a threat that it justifies collaboration with a foreign power. Read more