The Republican Party is at a crossroad and they know it. Whether anything positive will come from knowing that or not is still undecided. They have a rattlesnake at arm’s length, held behind the head and thrashing its tail. The longer they hold, the heavier it gets and they’re terrified it may bite if they try to throw it.
Spoiler alert: It probably will.
So what now?
Well, the what now? is where all the intrigue is going on. There’s a who if not Trump? factor headed by either Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. Probably Ted because Lindsey is too normal and Rand too certifiably nuts.
The trouble with who if not Trump? is the fact that the party cannot win without Trump as candidate. There is absolutely no other reason for Senate Republicans to pre-determine that they will fail to impeach. None.
My opinion is that there is not a single republican in the party that isn’t appalled that he won the election and shaking with fear of what lies in the future. Not one supported him until it was clear he would be the nominee. Not one expected that he would turn out to be such a loose cannon. Not one imagined in their worse dreams that he would rally the ‘base’ to such an extent that no extreme was too extreme.
One by one they lay down their morals on the field of battle rather than die in the trenches. Lindsey Graham was the worst and first, enabling others to follow. The trenches were howling with QAnon, election disbelievers, Proud Boys, 3-Percenters and Oath Keepers. Any two nut-cakes could find a third on the internet and organize an armed militia. The military and the civilian police that had for decades been heavily racist, added a form of approval to grab opponents by the shirt-collar and thrust them against a wall. Or a hail-of-bullets for a broken tail-light, take your pick.
A long time simmering, but slow to boil
Republicans are now formally split into two groups of malcontents with the common goal of defeating liberal democracy.
The first to turn radical were the business class, the old-style conservative wire-rim-glasses guys who might run a medium size business and have a finger in the stock markets. They saw the homeless, jobless, poor and disadvantaged as losers from another planet called liberal democracy. Hopeless and unworthy.
The second bunch derived from the southern evangelicals, mainstream racists, white supremacists and confederate-flag waving conspiracists the Republican Party gained after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The South saw themselves as second-class-Americans ever since the end of the Civil War and the CRA simply shamed them further. The complaint in their minds was not racist, but second-classnest, which is much the same thing and it played to their darkest instincts.
As far from old-style, wealthy Republican conservatism as they might be, their common bond was a hatred of liberal democracy. All those yummy things the North seemed to have in abundance that were denied in the South. The Republican Party was crucified on the southern cross of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Republicans are finding themselves on the wrong side of history
It’s an existential problem for rich Republicans that the wealth-gap at the top of their party is too wide for the middle class to jump. America was built on doing better than your parents and we’ve cashed that in for grand wealth at the top and grand decline in the middle. Which defines the wrong side of history in a modern society.
It’s a stretch to judge those who rioted against the Electoral College vote on June 6th and damned near took over the Congress as the other half of the Republican Party. But because of Trump they have become a significant portion of that party. Whether they are in advance or retreat is questionable, but they have some valid complaints. Failing to answer those is an ongoing problem because the answers are found more in liberal democracy than conservative republicanism.
Hatred, conspiracy-theory and armed rebellion are the wrong sides of history in a modern society.
So Republicans tied themselves to Donald and Donald will bring them down
More genie than genius, Donald has was let out of the bottle by compliant Republicans and that made winning without him impossible. Maybe that is some sort of convoluted genius.
So it goes without saying that he absolutely cannot be convicted in the Senate, because that would be the end of a national party that entered a contract with the devil. Without Trump playing Faust as either candidate or cheerleader, Republicans simply cannot win. Rebuffed, should Donald choose to run as a third-party candidate, the party will be destroyed.
The weird thing is that he’d probably be okay with that. What is left of his life depends upon never being a loser. That’s why he clings to the stolen election fantasy like a lifeboat in a sinking. In his mind and rhetoric it will always be stolen.
The other part of his life he clings to is being relevant. King-maker is okay, all that presidential stuff was a drag on playing golf anyway. The rallies are the thing. The rallies are his home base. The rallies are his Apprentice.
When justice finally arrives, it’s often messy
History moves inexorably on the side of justice, but sometimes it moves painfully slowly. It may not even come with Joe and Kamala. But it will come.
The question is, will the Republican Party survive to come with it?
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