Trumpists and conservatives fight for control of a party reduced almost to an organ of support for the figure of the imminent former president
The Republican Party begins this next January 20 a new stage in which it will have to deal with the consequences of Donald Trump’s mandate, culmination of the populist trend that has absorbed the party for the last eight years and that has led to an ideological crisis within the formation, now divided sharply between its veteran conservative sector and a new wave of representatives born under the protection of the margins of politics, deeply anti-establishment and representing a wide sector of the magnate’s devotees.
The ideal moment to calibrate this schism will take place in the future vote in the Senate on the impeachment against Trump for allegedly encouraging the insurrection of the assault on the Capitol on January 6. Several Republican senators are expected to back a conviction against Trump, which is exposed at least to permanent disqualification from holding public office, although there are serious doubts that the Democrats, promoters of the proposal, will get the 17 Republican votes needed.
At the federal level, all eyes are on the still Republican leader in the Senate and for all intents and purposes leader of the formation, Mitch McConnell. The veteran politician faces the twilight of his career with the unexpected responsibility of leading the new era of a weakened party after losing, in just four years, both the White House and dominance over both houses of Congress.
During the last days, McConnell has done a real balancing act to satisfy all parties. After appeasing the radical sector of the Republican party by preventing the express vote in the Senate of Trump’s trial, sources close to the CNN chain that, as happened this week in the House of Representatives, will grant the deputies the opportunity to break the voting discipline and weighing in on Trump’s impeachment.
Likewise, and according to sources from the news portal The Hill, McConnell has initiated a round of contacts with prominent party donors to confirm that Republicans will cooperate as far as possible with the imminent Biden Administration in an act of consolidation of democratic principles , seriously deteriorated after the raid on the Capitol after Trump’s harangue, which left five dead and, for the moment, a hundred arrested.
This line of action is blurred at the local level, where each representative and senator will have to decide for themselves how to relate to Trump’s defenders under the certainty that this group will not disappear, much less once the president leaves the White House.
In addition, all of them are aware that they now share a bench with colleagues from exactly the breeding ground that the president has nurtured in recent years, such as Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, or Florida representative Lauren Boebert, who They have even spread ideas of the QAnon conspiracy movement on their social networks.
Facing them is a moderate sector with names as prominent as the ‘number 3’ of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, Liz Cheney, who announced her intention to vote against Trump for “summoning the mob and lighting the fuse of the attack “to the Capitol, or Representative Nancy Mace, a former member of Trump’s campaign team, who called the president’s actions” indefensible. “
Between the two extremes, there is a wide sector of congressmen full of doubts, between the sword and the wall of a “Trumpist” electorate and the cutting of funds from corporate donors. Companies such as Nike, Disney or Comcast have suspended their contributions to members as prominent as the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, not only for his support of Trump during the ‘impeachment’, but for being one of the no less than 154 Republican congressmen who voted to revoke Biden’s electoral victory even after the assault on the Capitol.
Polls among Republican voters don’t offer a clear answer. They reflect some erosion in what was until now a monolithic sector – polls show Trump’s support within the Republican Party has dropped eight points since the Capitol storming, to 77 percent approval – but only 17. percent blame the mogul directly for the riots, according to a Quinnipiac poll. What’s more, 64 percent of Republicans broadly approve of Trump’s behavior, according to another Axios-Ipsos poll.
Be that as it may, the shadow of Trump will continue to hover over all of them. His campaign advisor, Jason Miller, assured that the ten Republican representatives who voted in favor of the ‘impeachment’ have not only misinterpreted the general sentiment of the party’s voters, but are exposing themselves to the end of their political career.
“Any Republican member of the House or Senate who votes in favor of impeachment will be serving his last term,” warned Trump’s adviser, knowing the extraordinary importance of the figure of the president at the local level. If he has achieved one thing in the last four years, it is to divert the base of power from Washington to local legislatures.
“The people who raised Trump are still in control of the state parties,” former campaign fundraiser for tycoon Dan Eberhart tells ‘The Hill’. “They still don’t trust the ‘establishment’ Republicans. The Republican Party is no longer run by elites in Washington, but by grassroots activists at the state level,” he adds.
Thus, during the first hundred days of the Biden Administration, Republicans will have to gauge the impact of Trump’s legacy, who has no intention of disappearing from the collective imagination or the forum of public opinion, despite the massive blockade of which he has been targeted by social media companies in the wake of his inflammatory comments.
“While President Trump is likely to remain the most influential voice in the Republican Party going forward in the short to medium term,” explains former GOP Governors Association Executive Director Phil Cox, “the events of the last week could provide more space for the race and potentially open the door to more candidates in 2024, “he added in statements to ‘Politico’.
In fact, Republican sources point out that without the threat of Trump’s Twitter account, candidates have more freedom to separate from him without fear of the president’s usual public retaliation in the face of the 88 million followers he had before his suspension was suspended. bill.
“Trump’s ability to further influence Republican politics has been severely diminished over the past week by all the measures, and we still have a week left,” adds the former senior political advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce, Scott Reed.
However, Trump leaves power with a huge chest of donations that could well support a new and perhaps last bid for the Presidency in four years, pending what happens in the vote in the Senate. Trump’s advisers hope to clarify his plans to develop a political apparatus after his time in the White House after Biden’s inauguration. “His stature of him has decreased,” comments former White House press secretary during George W. Bush’s tenure, Ari Fleischer, “but no one can guess how much.”