Republicans after Jan. 6 Flirting With Reality Likely Succumbed To Trump’s Third Party Threat

Republicans after Jan.  6 Flirting With Reality Likely Succumbed To Trump’s Third Party Threat


This isn’t the first time we’ve seen reports of Trump threatening to leave the party and start a so-called “Patriot Party.”

Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported that Trump had told associates he was keeping the prospect of a third party over the heads of GOP lawmakers so they wouldn’t vote to convict him in February’s impeachment trial.

Trump later dismissed the third-party threat as “fake news.”

Where the truth lies with all things Trump is always murky, but whether Trump actually uttered such a threat doesn’t matter. In fact, since closing a very short period after January 6, the GOP leaders have acted like hostages in a hostage situation, as the After‘ notes Aaron Blake.

That’s not to say that many congressional Republicans and leaders at the state and local levels have been forced into action. Many of them have absolutely enjoyed living the MAGA dream.

But for GOP congressional leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the threat of third parties is one of the most plausible reasons for their rapid evolution from lukewarm criticism of Trump to absolute allegiance.

For McCarthy, that transformation included a blip on Jan. 13 in which he admitted that Trump “bears responsibility” for the Capitol attack that suddenly flew to Mar-a-Lago on Jan. 28. for a makeup photo.

McConnell’s evolution included declaring on January 13 “There is no doubt” that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the attack on the Capitol, then failed to rally the voices in his caucus to condemn Trump and make his ongoing presidential ambitions permanent. destroy. In the end, McConnell even found his own way to a “no” vote on sentencing by arguing through the intellectual loophole that it was inappropriate to convict a president who was not yet in office. Of course, McConnell also refused to take up the proceedings while he was still the majority leader, delaying the process until after Trump left office.

For Congressional Republicans, the specter of Trump leaving the GOP and taking a healthy chunk of the base with him would have sent shivers down their spine. Sure, they could rebuild, but it would at the very least take several election cycles along with some inspired thinking. The mere idea of ​​inspired thinking could have kept McCarthy awake at night, probably even more than gifting the party to Trump. McCarthy doesn’t care how he becomes Speaker of the House or even a graceful mouthpiece for Trump – he wants the speaker at any price.

McConnell, on the other hand, wants real power and likes to be in charge of his own design – he just miscalculated and misplayed his hand. As McConnell himself put it, he thought Trump was a “faded brand” and that the party’s energy was going back to the establishment. McConnell seemed to believe he was finally in a position to enjoy Trump’s advantage without the equal and opposite downward pull to the gutter.

He was terribly mistaken. The GOP legislator who got it right was Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of 10 House Republicans who joined Democrats to impeach Trump. Cheney Made McConnell’s Opposite Calculation: Trump’s Election Lies Were a… “continuing danger to our system” and risking her leadership position was worth making the point. Because as long as Trump remained a viable political force, he was capable of bringing down anyone, including the republic.

On January 6, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois sat in a secure location for hours with McConnell and other Democratic leaders watching the scenes of the siege on TV. McConnell “reacted with anger and disgust” at what happened, with Durbin wondering if it could be a “transformative moment,” according to the After.

Not so much. Now Durbin believes McConnell knows he missed his chance.

“Now he looks at Trump, not in the rearview mirror, but through the windshield and realizes that he… living with this man in the Republican Party for the foreseeable future,” Durbin told the After‘s Michael Wreath.

Indeed, Trump now dominates the GOP to such an extent that he no longer has to threaten a third party defect. Now Trump can simply threaten to tell his faithful to stay home — as he did a few weeks ago — and make Congressional Republicans shudder.

As the Kranish notes, “Mitch McConnell has spent decades chasing power. Now he listens to Trump, who mocks him and wants him to leave.”

Perhaps some Washington reporters are finally starting to get it: masterful McConnell isn’t as masterful as they once imagined.





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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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