The Week (US)
The GOP: Why it just can’t quit Trump
Republicans are stuck with “a ball and chain,” and his name is Donald Trump, said James Downie in The Washington Post. During his four years as president, Trump triggered such a backlash that the GOP lost the House, the Senate, and the White House. But the MAGA base still loves him, and last week, the Republican National Committee bused 400 of its top donors from a Palm Beach conference to Trump’s country club, Mar-a-Lago, to figuratively kiss Trump’s ring. In a speech that left some donors squirming, he repeated the false election-fraud claims that inspired the Jan. 6 insurrection, called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “stone-cold loser” and a “dumb son of a bitch” for accepting the election defeat, and said former Vice President Mike Pence lacked “the courage” to reject the Electoral College vote. Afterward, veteran Republican fundraiser Fred Zeidman called Trump’s continuing grip on the party “a tremendous complication.”
The Republicans who want to succeed Trump don’t seem to think so, said Tim Miller in The Bulwark.com. Among those who came to pay tribute to Trump were 2024 hopefuls Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi
Noem, and Sens. Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton. You’d think people who want to be president would want to give “some pushback” to Trump’s “effort to become an unelected autocrat.” But no—they smiled and applauded his unhinged rantings. That’s no surprise, given that DeSantis, among others, “continually expressed explicit support for Trump’s attempt to overturn the election” right up to Jan. 6. Trump’s “fixation on McConnell” portends “chaos” for the 2022 midterms, said Zeeshan Aleem in Vox.com. By demanding total loyalty, Trump could divide Republicans against themselves. With his fat war chest of $85 million, he’s already planning to help fund primaries against any Republican who seeks to distance the party from him.
The GOP is obviously at “a low point,” said Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. “It is a badly divided party” that seems to exist only to stir up grievance and “own the libs.” But I still believe that it’s worth saving, if only to preserve the two-party system. Remember, “with a third party you can win the presidency with 34 percent”—and that will be the end of majority rule. “That won’t help national unity.”