Could the GOP dump Donald Trump?
The tides are shifting. Donald Trump, who has dominated the GOP for seven years, spent his reign demanding fealty and obedience. The results were a GOP inclined to treat Trump with sycophantism, public praise, and forgiveness.
Now, however, following Trump’s abysmal midterm record, the GOP is turning on their former master, saying things in public that would have been unspeakable just weeks ago.
Trump is a uniquely bruising political player.
He is a master at marketing his opponents in an unflattering light, i.e., Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Boring Jeb Bush, and so on. And for rivals who criticized Trump or suggested an alternative, Trump was vicious in rebuttal.
The effect was a cooling on public dissent against Trump.
Members of the GOP were scared to speak out against him. He was too powerful, too vindictive, too good at turning his MAGA base against a dissenter. So, the GOP stayed quiet – even when they didn’t agree, even when they were mortified, and even when they sensed their political fortunes were being jeopardized.
The final product was a party that operated as a single-celled organism. The thing thought and moved and breathed at the will of Trump and Trump alone. The downsides of such singular leadership are obvious. Ideas weren’t scrutinized, tested, or improved.
Blind spots weren’t explored. Weaknesses weren’t addressed. Impulses were left unchecked. The strengths and weaknesses of one individual were amplified. And as far as the general public was concerned, the GOP became a one-man show. Politically, that one-man show has been a flop.
Trump lost in 2020 – to Sleepy Joe. Trump endorsees lost in 2021. And Trump endorsees were summarily destroyed in 2022. That’s three straight election cycles where Trump has lost. And now, only now, are GOP members starting to turn on their standard-bearer. Whereas any other candidate in any other party would have been replaced after losing one election – especially losing an election as an incumbent president – Trump was given the benefit of the doubt through three straight cycles. It seems that finally, however, after three losses, the GOP is turning on Trump. Sensing that Trump’s power has diminished, detractors are beginning to speak up.
At the Republican Jewish Coalition conference late last year, several prominent Republicans denounced Trump either impliedly or explicitly.
Chris Christie, who was an early Trump supporter and transition team leader, said that “Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.”
Mike Pompeo, who served as Trump’s Secretary of State and CIA director, said that Republicans won’t win elections if they simply “go on Fox News or send tweets.”
Chris Sununu, the Governor of New Hampshire said that “[Trump is] not going to have the internal support that he had before. And so therefore, there’s opportunity there. That political weakness is blood in the water for some folks.”
Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s U.N. Ambassador, had vowed not to ever run against Trump. She seems to have changed her mind, saying that she was taking a serious look at running while point out that it was time for “a younger generation to lead across the board.”
Et tu, Brute?
The frequency and intensity of the criticism against Trump have both picked up exponentially since the midterms concluded. Like Sununu said, blood is most certainly in the water. The former president is hemorrhaging, and even his former allies are positioning themselves to land the death blow. The GOP primary may turn out to be a captivating affair.
While either Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis are expected to land the nomination, the field may be crowded – with plenty of former Trump allies going after their former boss.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.
January 9, 2023 at 3:12 pm
The GOP has lost endorsements from educated, independent thinkers who are disgusted with the lies and disinformation of the Trump era. GOP members who continue to ignore common sense and the good of the people do not belong in government for a U.S. democracy built upon a great Constitution and led by our first President. Read the Constitution, act and vote for the good of our country. Start gun control so 6 year olds do not shoot teachers and people once again are no longer afraid to visit our downtowns. Let women control their own bodies. Start now!