When I look at the current drama in the Republican Party, I’m reminded of an article I wrote back in 2009. This was a time when Republicans were foaming at the mouth in rage at the idea of a Black man in the White House.
I could see what was happening; instead of leaning into America’s racial demographics, Republicans encouraged racist views about President Barack Obama. Ex-President Donald Trump harnessed that rage to fuel his presidential run. Former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh admitted this too.
“I had strong policy disagreements with Barack Obama and too often I let those policy disagreements get personal,” said Walsh in an ABC interview.
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He said that he frequently repeated lies about Obama being a Muslim, even though he knew it wasn’t true. Walsh, FOX News and other right-wing outlets also did this because it was catnip for their supporters. Who cares if it’s true as long as it makes your followers angry?
Back then, I predicted the Republican Party would eventually split. There would be a time when the modern GOP would realize it had to do way with its racist elements; the neo-Confederates, the alt-right and now the Trumpists.
This split would lead to a breakaway party that would be a purely white nationalist version of the GOP. I miscalculated. When Trump took over the party, it empowered the far-right wing of the GOP. And he led them to lose the White House and both chambers of Congress.
But about six months after Trump’s loss, instead of walking away from him, as most political parties do to failed leaders, Republicans still cater to 45’s whims and conspiracy theories. Of course, veteran political watchers realize this makes them untenable as a national political party. Sure they may be able to win over their core group of deluded voters, who still believe in the Big Lie. But most Americans are repelled by the blatant white nationalism and Alex Jones-like mumbo jumbo.
Following a failed leader
And we’re seeing that play out right before our eyes. The Republican Party has rejected Rep. Liz Cheney (R.-Wyo.) who dared to question 45’s conspiracy theories and election lies. Cheney has a chequered past that includes supporting torture and birtherism, but as I said in a previous article, she realizes Trump can’t be the way forward. You can’t have a political party based on a cult of personality and lies.
The Republican Party faces an existential threat. As American becomes increasingly diverse, the GOP is focusing on the shrinking pool of white voters. This is why Republicans are pushing hundreds of voter suppression bills around the country. They intend to keep power, even though they’re a minority party.
In addition, Trump has admitted that he sees Russian strongman Vladimir Putin as his role model. He admires the way Putin has used Russia to promote his personal fortune. Trump’s long-term goal was to turn America into a Trump family operation. He was grooming his vapid daughter Ivanka and dimwit son Don Jr. to replace him. As Cheney said, this represents a threat to democracy.
Like Cheney, Walsh eventually saw the danger of Trump. He briefly ran against him in the 2020 presidential election.
“The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects. In this, he inspires imitators,” said Walsh in a prescient 2020 New York Times editorial. “Republicans should view Mr. Trump as the liability that he is: No matter his flag-hugging, or his military parades, he’s no patriot. In front of the world, he sides with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence community.”
Over 100 Republicans, including former officials, threaten to split from the G.O.P.
More than 100 Republicans, including some former elected officials, are preparing to release a letter this week…
The first crack?
But what did the Republican Party do? They kicked out Cheney in the most cowardly way. They voted to remove her from her leadership position in a secret vote.
However, Cheney is not going quietly. She said she would dedicate her life to preventing Trump from ever entering the White House again. And there are some sane Republicans who are with Cheney. According to The New York Times, about 100 Republicans have said they will form a breakaway political party.
“This is us saying that a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans think that the situation has gotten so dire with the Republican Party that it is now time to seriously consider whether an alternative might be the only option,” said Miles Taylor, a former Trump administration insider, who savaged the ex-president in “A Warning,” penned under the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”
These Republicans realize the party is heading for extinction if it follows its current path. And they’re right. The Republican Party faces an existential threat. As American becomes increasingly diverse, the GOP is focusing on the shrinking pool of white voters. This is why Republicans are pushing hundreds of voter suppression bills around the country. They intend to keep power, even though they’re a minority party.
This should send chills down Americans spines because any country where a minority of people clings to power, while the majority is disenfranchised is heading for disaster. That’s why the Apartheid South African government eventually had to share power with Nelson Mandela. The alternative was a bloody civil war.
I’m not sure how I feel about the Republican Party’s current dilemma. I know that for the good of American politics we need a sane party on the right and the Trump wing doesn’t represent that. However, the current dysfunction in the Republican Party only makes the Democratic Party more attractive — if they can hold it together. Democrats are renowned for their fractious infighting.
We definitely live in interesting times.