Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Trumpist factions tearing apart the GOP

Quote of the Day: I know, it looks real dark right now. But if you look at the diverse, high-quality center-left cabinet that Biden has assembled and the principled, center-right Republicans who are looking to be problem solvers, not Trump soldiers, maybe that light in the tunnel isn’t a train coming at us after all. - Thomas Friedman.

Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times Opinion Columnist, reports how Trump Is Blowing Apart the G.O.P. God Bless Him. There still will be a place for principled Republicans. Lots of excerpts follow.

(Thanks to our Editor-at-Large Sherry.)

When all the facts come out about the treasonous attack on the U.S. Capitol inspired by President Trump, impeaching him three times won’t feel sufficient. Consider this Washington Post headline from Monday: “Video Shows Capitol Mob Dragging Police Officer Down Stairs. One Rioter Beat the Officer With a Pole Flying the U.S. Flag.”

That said, while I want Trump out — and I don’t mind his being silenced at such a tense time — I’m not sure I want him permanently off Twitter and Facebook. There’s important work that I need Trump to perform in his post-presidency, and I need him to have proper megaphones to do it. It’s to blow apart this Republican Party.

My No. 1 wish for America today is for this Republican Party to fracture, splitting off the principled Republicans from the unprincipled Republicans and Trump cultists. That would be a blessing for America for two reasons.

First, because it could actually end the gridlock in Congress and enable us to do some big things on infrastructure, education and health care that would help ALL Americans — not the least those in Trump’s camp, who are there precisely because they feel ignored, humiliated and left behind.

Second, if the principled Republicans split from the Trump cult, the rump pro-Trump G.O.P. would have a very hard time winning a national election anytime soon. And given what we’ve just seen, these Trumpers absolutely cannot be trusted with power again.

What is it that Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz were dreaming of when they went full treason and tried to get Congress to reverse Biden’s win on the basis of the Big Lie? They were dreaming of a world of Trumpism without Trump. They thought that if they cravenly did Trump’s bidding now, once he was gone his base would be theirs.

Hawley and Cruz are so power hungry, they would burn America to the ground if they thought they could be president of its ashes.

But they’re fools. As Trump and his kids made clear at the rally that inspired some of his supporters to ransack the Capitol, the Trumps are interested only in Trumpism with Trumps.

Or as Donald Trump Jr. explained to the soon-to-be rioters (whom Ivanka called “patriots”), the G.O.P. needed a wake-up. All those Republicans in Congress, said Don Jr., “did nothing to stop the steal. This gathering should send a message to them: This isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.”

If you look closely, there are actually four different Republican factions today: principled conservatives, cynically tactical conservatives, unprincipled conservatives and Trump cultists. In the principled conservatives camp, I’d put Romney and Murkowski. They are the true America firsters. While animated by conservative ideas about small government and free markets, they put country and Constitution before party and ideology. They are rule-abiders.

In the cynically tactical conservative camp, which you could call the Mitch McConnell camp, I’d put all of those who tried to humor Trump for a while — going along with his refusal to acknowledge the election results until “all the legal votes were counted” — but once the Electoral College votes were cast by each state, slid into the reality-based world and confirmed Biden’s victory, some sooner than others.

“I call them the ‘rule-benders,’” explained pollster Craig Charney. “They are ready to bend the rules but not break them.”

The unprincipled Republicans — the “rule-breakers” in Charney’s lingo — are led by Hawley and Cruz, along with the other seditious senators and representatives who tried to get Congress to block its ceremonial confirmation of Biden’s election.

Finally, there are the hard-core Trump cultists and QAnon conspiracy types, true believers in and purveyors of the Big Lie.

I just don’t see how these four camps stay together. And for America’s sake, I hope they don’t.

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