Trump is unraveling before our eyes, but will it matter?

badlatitude

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In the weeks immediately surrounding the midterm elections, Donald Trump called for the “termination” of constitutional rule, openly embraced the conspiratorial QAnon movement, pledged support for the Jan. 6 rioters and hosted, over dinner at Mar-a-Lago, the white supremacist Nicholas Fuentes and Ye (once known as Kanye West), both of whom are prominent antisemites.
Does every step Trump takes off the deep end make him a greater liability for the Republican Party, potentially leading to a second Biden term, the loss of the party’s precarious control of the House and an across-the-board weakening of Republican candidates up and down the ticket — from the U.S. Senate to local school boards?
Will Trump’s wrecking-ball bid for the presidency fracture his party? Will Trump’s extremism prompt the mainstream right — Mitch McConnell, Ron DeSantis, Glenn Youngkin, Nikki Haley and all the rest — to rise up in revolt? How are the worsening intraparty fissures likely to play out over the next two years?
Most of the strategists and scholars to whom I posed these questions outlined scenarios in which a Trump candidacy is mainly helpful to the Democratic Party and its candidates. They often cited the hurdles confronting those seeking to nominate a more mainstream candidate.

“The Republican Party faces a lose-lose proposition as long as Trump is politically active,” Martin Wattenberg, a political scientist at the University of California-Irvine, wrote by email in response to my inquiry.
“If Trump succeeds in getting the nomination again, it would seem that his brand is so damaged among independents and some Republicans that he will be unelectable,” Wattenberg continued. “And if Trump loses his nomination fight, it seems highly likely that he will charge that he is a victim of voter fraud and damage the legitimacy of the Republican nominee.”
If that were not enough to satisfy Trump’s thirst for vengeance, Wattenberg suggested that “it is certainly conceivable that he would mount an independent candidacy and split some of the Republican vote. Continuing his fight as an independent would enable him to continue to raise big sums of money and attract the attention that he so intently craves. All in all, it could well be a disaster for the G.O.P.”
While Trump has suffered setbacks on both the political and the legal fronts, no one I contacted suggested that he should be counted out in the 2024 nomination fight. Instead, just as was the case in 2016, the most favorable situation in 2024 for Trump would be a multicandidate field, as opposed to a single opponent who could consolidate those opposed to him.
“It is hard to see President Trump getting more votes in 2024 than he did in the 2020 general election,” Arthur Lupia, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, said by email:
Still, if he has 16 primary election opponents like he did in 2016, his name recognition and loyal base will give him real advantages in securing the nomination. He will get 30-40 percent of every vote, leaving the other 15 candidates to split the remaining 60-70 percent. Unless someone like DeSantis can clear the others out quickly, Trump will maintain an advantage.
The split in the Republican Party, Lupia continued,
has been brewing for several decades. The Tea Party is a focal point and a precursor to the current populist movement. The evolving split within the G.O.P. represents a divide between people who believe in government but want to run it according to conservative principles and an approach that increasingly questions the legitimacy of government itself.
“Despite that split,” Lupia argued, “there is little or no chance that either faction will split off into a third party”:
The rules of the American electoral system are stacked against third parties at nearly every turn. The fact that the U.S.A. elects nearly all members of Congress and state legislatures from single-member districts makes it difficult for third parties to win elections. To have viable third parties, you typically need legislators elected from multi-member districts (imagine that your congressional district sent the top three vote getters to Congress instead of just one).
While exploring various scenarios, Robert Erikson, a political scientist at Columbia, warned that there was a substantial chance that unanticipated and unpredictable developments would radically change the course of politics over the next two years and beyond:
I think we should consider the likelihood of something very different. Suppose for instance it turns out that DeSantis cannot attract G.O.P. primary election voters and is just another bland Scott Walker. What then? The aftermath would be hard to imagine.
Instead, Erikson wrote by email:
We should steel ourselves for the possibility that the G.O.P. future turns out like nothing like we imagine today. The same is true regarding the Democrats’ presidential nominee if Biden does retire before 2024. That outcome might be something we could not imagine today. Trump critics have continually predicted that his latest outrage would be his downfall. Not even Jan. 6 caused a revolt within the G.O.P. G.O.P. leaders are too fearful of Trump’s base.
But, Erikson argued:
If the fall comes, it could be swift and decisive. The template is the fate of Joe McCarthy. He seemed invincible, with the full support of elements of the American right. Then, following Joseph Welch’s condemnation in his “Have you no sense of decency?” speech, McCarthy was defeated, and swiftly. The circumstances of McCarthy’s downfall may seem hard to believe today. But this is what can happen to a bully when they do lose their power of intimidation.
I asked Erikson and others how serious the current divisions within the Republican Party are.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive...3439&surface=home-featured&variant=0_identity
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/06/...3439&surface=home-featured&variant=0_identity
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/02/...3439&surface=home-featured&variant=0_identity
“The fissures in the Republican Party are larger than usual, but still comparable to those that regularly occur in American political parties,” he replied, but “compared to the realignment of the parties in the civil-rights era, the current conflict in the Republican Party is mild.”
Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California-San Diego, sees some potential for destructive intraparty conflict:
Republicans have a real dilemma, because they can’t win without the MAGA faction and are having a hard time winning with it. It comprises at least half the party so they have no choice but to try to keep it in the fold. I think they will succeed; opposition to Biden and the Democrats unites them for the time being at least.
Would the defeat of Trump in the primaries by DeSantis, Youngkin or another candidate provoke a damaging schism in the general election?
Jacobson replied by email:
Depends on how Trump reacts if he is denied the nomination. If it comes about because of his legal difficulties or because he appears to be increasingly off the rails (e.g., demanding we ignore laws and the Constitution to put him back in the White House NOW), then the MAGA faction may look to a DeSantis (if not Youngkin) to take up their banner. If it is an all-out battle through the primaries, then whoever backs the losing side might be disinclined to show up in 2024.
But, Jacobson cautioned, “Never underestimate the motivating force of negative partisanship; you really have to hate Democrats and want your party in power to show up and vote for someone with Herschel Walker’s character, but the vast majority of Georgia Republicans” did so.
Trump, Jacobson wrote,
is still very popular in the party at about 75 percent favorable in the recent Economist/YouGov and Quinnipiac polls. I think if the nomination took place now, he would certainly be the winner. But given his legal jeopardy and recent behavior that seems even more self-destructive than usual, on top of his damage to the Republican cause in 2022, I think Republican leaders and conservative pundits will be making every effort to keep him off the ticket to avoid losing again in 2024.
A key question, according to Jacobson, is whether Trump’s
pursuit of self-preservation leads him to back away from the crazy tweets and wacko supporters or to embrace them even further. If the former, non-MAGA Republicans may treat him as they always have. If the latter, he will put them in a real bind. They’ve shown a capacity to put up with a lot over the years, but the combination of losing winnable elections and the constant humiliation of having to answer, or duck answering, for Trump’s latest folly may finally turn them openly against him. If he fights back as hard as he is capable of, the party will split.
More at the link, no paywall.

 

Sol Rosenberg

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The Party will not forsake Him. It’s a Thelma and Louise thing. He will destroy the pretenders at the primary debates. The crazier He gets, the more the faithful will love Him.
 

badlatitude

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The Party will not forsake Him. It’s a Thelma and Louise thing. He will destroy the pretenders at the primary debates. The crazier He gets, the more the faithful will love Him.
The problem that Republican Party leaders worry about is Trump will not attract any more votes against Biden than last time. Which means they lose yet again. A cost no Republican wants to bear. So I think it is fair to expect that the Republican Party will do everything in its power to ensure that Trump is not the candidate in 2024.
 

Stingray~

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The Party will not forsake Him. It’s a Thelma and Louise thing. He will destroy the pretenders at the primary debates. The crazier He gets, the more the faithful will love Him.
That group is already shrinking and his self-destructional behavior is unlikely to abate. Being the ANGRY AT ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY victim guy goes only so far, it gets boring and makes him look increasingly like a loser.
 
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Bus Driver

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The problem that Republican Party leaders worry about is Trump will not attract any more votes against Biden than last time. Which means they lose yet again. A cost no Republican wants to bear. So I think it is fair to expect that the Republican Party will do everything in its power to ensure that Trump is not the candidate in 2024.
They may just do that. If that is how it turns out, look for him to make a run as an "Independent".*

Should he do that, it'll split the Republican vote in half and usher in a (hopefully) younger Democrat.

*I italicized that, and wrapped it in quotation marks, like I did when our friend Happy Jack would insist he was one. It's my version of sarcastic font.
 

badlatitude

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That group is already shrinking and his self-destructional behavior is unlikely to abate. Being ANGRY AT ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY victim guy goes only so far, it gets boring.
Yes, the article mentions Joe McCarthy and how easily Joseph Welchs' comment, "At long last, have you left no sense of decency? So quickly unraveled McCarthy's power and future in the Republican Party. It could happen again if the right person takes on Trump.
 

Stingray~

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Saw this earlier today, similar theme



In a recent column for The Bulwark, conservative writer A.B. Stoddard listed out the possible ways that Donald Trump could end up "burning down" the entire Republican Party if he doesn't get his way in the midterms. From running third party to going scorched earth against every sitting Republican, Trump is a timebomb waiting to go off on them. And, as Farron Cousins explains, they only have themselves to blame for this.
 

badlatitude

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They may just do that. If that is how it turns out, look for him to make a run as an "Independent".*

Should he do that, it'll split the Republican vote in half and usher in a (hopefully) younger Democrat.

*I italicized that, and wrapped it in quotation marks, like I did when our friend Happy Jack would insist he was one. It's my version of sarcastic font.
That sums it up, and the Republican candidates we see in line today are no guarantee for the future.
 

badlatitude

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My favorite comment from the post:

Note that there was ZERO discussion of public policy in this essay; it was all political horse race discussion.

Which is appropriate because neither the Republican Party nor Trump has a public policy platform, unless you consider neo-feudalism, unregulated vulture capitalism and trickle-down fraudonomics wrapped in a souffle of guns, bibles, flags to be public policy.

There's no 'there' there in the GOP except for greedy nihilism at the top and cultural nihilism at the bottom.

As usual, the Republican party's only route to electoral 'victory' is to cobble together the greedsters that run the party and the Cuckoo's Nest that forms a good part of its base.

That's been the Republican playbook since at least 1968 when the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act drove the entire South crazy and helped form the modern GOP, which today remains little more than a nationwide neo-Confederacy.

Democrats need to continue to work on delivering good public policy to 330 million Americans by reforming healthcare, campaign finance corruption, energy policy, environmental policy and investing in technology, education, voting rights, democracy and good government.

Republicans - having nothing to offer the country but tax cuts for billionaires and a giant bucket of spite for everyone else - will continue to divide and conquer the nation and rely on their GOP Supreme Court to undermine democracy to get them across the minority-rule finish line.

Nice GOPeople. - Socrates, Verona, NJ.
 

Raz'r

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The problem that Republican Party leaders worry about is Trump will not attract any more votes against Biden than last time. Which means they lose yet again. A cost no Republican wants to bear. So I think it is fair to expect that the Republican Party will do everything in its power to ensure that Trump is not the candidate in 2024.
They tried in 2015/16. He mopped the floor with other republican candidates.
 

Voyageur

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this picture would make mango mad.
1670440882016.png
 

badlatitude

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They tried in 2015/16. He mopped the floor with other republican candidates.
Since then, he has divided the party, mishandled secrets, and his company, is in serious legal trouble, faces criminal charges, and said he would take down the Constitution. These are not those times in 15-16.
 

Dog 2.0

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Saw this earlier today, similar theme



In a recent column for The Bulwark, conservative writer A.B. Stoddard listed out the possible ways that Donald Trump could end up "burning down" the entire Republican Party if he doesn't get his way in the midterms. From running third party to going scorched earth against every sitting Republican, Trump is a timebomb waiting to go off on them. And, as Farron Cousins explains, they only have themselves to blame for this.

He is an albatross. Maybe the Democrats will prop him up.
 

Go Left

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My favorite comment from the post:

Note that there was ZERO discussion of public policy in this essay; it was all political horse race discussion.

Which is appropriate because neither the Republican Party nor Trump has a public policy platform, unless you consider neo-feudalism, unregulated vulture capitalism and trickle-down fraudonomics wrapped in a souffle of guns, bibles, flags and women to be held as chattel to be public policy.

There's no 'there' there in the GOP except for greedy nihilism at the top and cultural nihilism at the bottom.

As usual, the Republican party's only route to electoral 'victory' is to cobble together the greedsters that run the party and the Cuckoo's Nest that forms a good part of its base.

That's been the Republican playbook since at least 1968 when the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act drove the entire South crazy and helped form the modern GOP, which today remains little more than a nationwide neo-Confederacy.

Democrats need to continue to work on delivering good public policy to 330 million Americans by reforming healthcare, campaign finance corruption, energy policy, environmental policy and investing in technology, education, voting rights, democracy, defending personal freedoms to love and control one's own body and good government.

Republicans - having nothing to offer the country but tax cuts for billionaires and a giant bucket of spite for everyone else - will continue to divide and conquer the nation and rely on their GOP Supreme Court to undermine democracy to get them across the minority-rule finish line.

Nice GOPeople. - Socrates, Verona, NJ.
A couple of additions. Nothing important.
 




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