For a while after the invasion of Capitol Hill on Jan.6, it looked like a critical mass of Republicans might sever their ties with Donald Trump. His little-attended farewell this week seemed to sum up his plunge into fortune.
Much of it was wishful thinking. Several hours after the assault on Congress, two-thirds of Republican representatives voted against certification of Joe Biden’s victory. A week later, only 10 Republicans voted to impeach Mr. Trump, barely 5% of the party’s House of Representatives caucus.
The rebels are already paying the price for their disloyalty. Liz Cheney, the most prominent of them, is challenged for her leadership position – she is the Republican Chief Whip. Ms. Cheney also faces a major challenge of disloyalty to Mr. Trump. The same applies to most of the other nine. With more than $ 200 million in campaign funds, Mr. Trump has made it clear that he will attempt to punish the security heretics of Mar-a-Lago. He has no intention of disappearing into the Florida sunset.
The question is not whether the Republican Party can turn a new leaf; it is out of reach in the near future. This is how Mr. Biden’s Democrats should manage an opposition that promises to obstruct most of its agenda. Mr. Biden faces a dilemma. In his inaugural address on Wednesday, he pledged to foster a climate of unity and healing. Yet he also vowed to “reject a culture in which the facts themselves are manipulated, even fabricated.” Given that much of the Republican Party remains under the yoke of conspiracy theory – including the ultimate lie that Mr. Biden stole the 2020 election – it’s hard to see how he can meet them halfway through. path.
Mr. Trump’s Senate trial next week will give some clues. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, said this week that the former president provoked the mobs that ransacked Congress. This came close to the wording of the indictment article, which accuses Mr. Trump of “inciting insurgency.” But no Republican senator, including Mr McConnell, has yet said they will vote to condemn him. It would take 17 Republicans for the necessary two-thirds majority.
This time last year, in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, only Mitt Romney voted for a conviction – for abuse of power. In contrast, a growing number of Republican senators say they will dismiss the trial as unconstitutional because it will take place after Mr. Trump leaves. Among the few people who might be more supportive of Mr. Trump’s conviction, such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio, the threat of major challenges looms. The two senators risk being re-elected in 2022.
The energy in the party is clearly with those vying for the mantle of Mr. Trump, most notably Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. New House stars include two promoters of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory: Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado. In a healthier democracy, the Republican Party would debate where it went wrong, having lost the White House and the Senate. Instead, he adopts the language of betrayal.
The party still has a chance to stick to some of the stronger elements of Trumpism – such as helping those left behind by globalization – while rejecting eccentric and selfish leadership that peddles anti-democratic myths. The United States desperately needs a principled conservative party that stands up for the constitution and the free market.
Mr. Biden should always keep his bipartisan hand outstretched. If he is rejected, he must put himself on the same level as the American people. Healing is only possible when all parties accept the basic rules of democracy.