October 25, 2021

The Republican Party Won’t Fall Apart This Time Either

When you’ve been consuming and producing political commentary for many years, you get used to certain recurring themes. One is the imminent disappearance or relegation to permanent minority status of the Republican Party.

This was widely predicted after the Barry Goldwater defeat in 1964, after Watergate in the 1970s, after the elections of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in 1992 and 2008, respectively, with considerably larger Democratic congressional majorities (a 57-43 Senate majority and 259-176 House majority for Clinton, and 58-41 and 257-178 majorities for Obama) than President Joe Biden now enjoys (51-50 and 222-213).

Those predictions didn’t pan out then, and I suspect they won’t pan out now.

The Republicans do face some difficulties. Donald Trump gave them a presidential victory they didn’t expect, and some policy victories and new support from modest-income constituencies such as those in Appalachia and Hispanics.

But nothing is free in politics; there is only some question about when you pay the price. Trump’s idiosyncratic approach to COVID-19 and his refusal to propitiate hostile constituencies produced defeat by an even narrower margin (42,918 votes in three states) than his victory in 2016 (77,736 votes in three states).

His delusional insistence that he had won by a “landslide” and his recklessness in urging supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, plus the subsequent disruption of the constitutional process of reporting the Electoral College results, produced his second impeachment by the House, this one on nonfrivolous grounds.

Democrats hope impeachment will split Republicans and provoke continuing fights between pro- and anti-Trump factions that will undercut Republican nominees and discourage Republican turnout, as in the two Georgia Senate races on Jan. 5.

Maybe, maybe not. Only 10 House Republicans voted for impeachment. But attempts to oust one of them, Rep. Liz Cheney, from her leadership position was rejected by a 145-61 vote. And freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was persuaded to renounce her bizarre conspiracy-minded tweets in the process.

The Senate trial looks likely to be desultory. Trump can’t be removed from office, because he’s not in office, and the votes aren’t there to disqualify him from office in the future. The Constitution is ambiguous on whether former officeholders can be impeached, and there are good arguments on both sides. That gives Democrats a reasonable basis to vote for conviction and Republicans a reasonable basis to vote against, as apparently all but five or six will do.

Similarly, there were plausible arguments for convicting Bill Clinton (he lied in federal court and thus didn’t faithfully execute the laws) and against (the lie was about personal, not professional, misconduct). Then all but a few members voted with their party and impeachment had no perceptible electoral effect in 1998 or 2000. I don’t expect it to have much effect in 2022 or 2024.

But heavy majorities of Republican members against impeachment and conviction as he was leaving or had just left office don’t mean that Republican politicians and voters will remain as unanimously supportive of him as they were when he was in office.

There are signs already that that support is diminishing. Polls conducted for the Republican consulting firm Echelon Insights in October, during the campaign, showed 59% of Republican voters supporting Trump primarily and only 30% supporting the Republican Party. After the election, November and December polls showed them evenly split. In January, after the assault on the Capitol, only 38% primarily supported Trump, and 48% primarily supported the party.

That polling showed the share voting for Trump in 2024 falling from 65% in December to 45% in January, with 21% of Republicans saying the Senate should vote for conviction and 30% saying he should be barred from federal office. Those findings are corroborated by a January Pew poll showing Trump job approval declining significantly among Republicans.

Perhaps they had noticed that Trump’s delusional claims that his “landslide” was “stolen” by crooked voting machinery cost the party the two Georgia Senate elections and its Senate majority.

That’s in line with historic perspective. Democrats, perhaps because their party has always been a coalition of out-groups, have tended to celebrate their presidents as philosopher-kings. Republicans, confident that their party is centered on a core constituency of people regarded by themselves and others as typical Americans, have tended to be less starry-eyed. They have regarded their presidents as utilitarian appliances, to be disposed of or upgraded as necessary. Or, as columnist Joseph Alsop said during the Watergate years, “Politicians are like toilet fixtures: they need only serve the intended purpose; they need not be beautiful.”

In that spirit, 2020s Republicans may decide that Donald Trump has served his purpose and focus on emerging issues and new leaders, as they did with considerable success after 1964, 1976, 1992 and 2008.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

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earl (@guest_1136035)
8 months ago

this is nothing but a democrat lie trump won by a few million votes but as you know the scum bags trashed millions of trumps votes

bruce (@guest_1136672)
Reply to  earl
8 months ago

Agreed Trump is still the President at 2400 hrs EST he was ahead but at 0600 the votes were flipped (180 degrees), zombies and illegals were allowed to vote and none went to Trump even in Republican states. I want the census for 2020 that is being hidden to compare to registered voters. Clinton tried to overturn the 2016 election for 6 months so precedence is there.

Ken of Mo (@guest_1138243)
Reply to  bruce
8 months ago

Only thing delusional is this writer. If there were a honest vote and count Trump would have won. Maybe not a landslide but by a greater number than what creepy joe did.

Alice Dozier (@guest_1136797)
Reply to  earl
8 months ago

The election results were as corrupt as the person running the house and many in the house and rhinos!
The truth is coming out and the snowflakes will be crying again!
I do believe many are already crying be of the changes slept Joe has done that has affected their lives!!!

Barry L Blackstone (@guest_1136044)
8 months ago

Mr. Barone you are so full of shiff your eyes are brown.

Carole Hope (@guest_1136056)
8 months ago

I have read report after report of election fraud. There is no way all those ballots were dumped over night with no votes for Trump. He was leading so far ahead before the voting was counting was shut down to complete the cheating. Have you ever watched Mike Lindell’s proof? And he is not the only one. No one would even look at the evidence that was given by hundreds of poll watchers and counters. Trump was attacked from many sides. Well now look how Biden is destroying and hurting the Americans by reversing all the good things Trump did for us. Hopefully in the near future the truth will come out and the evil ones will learn their fate.

Victoria (@guest_1136099)
Reply to  Carole Hope
8 months ago

Your absolutely right. TRUMP WON!!!

Ron (@guest_1136078)
8 months ago

you are a liar amongst a pack of liars. Pelosi is going down quickly, The Fraud Squad and shifty shiff to follow.

Calvin Sibert (@guest_1136083)
8 months ago

Mr. Barone should apply at CNN. He’d fit right in.

Dan Stone (@guest_1136113)
8 months ago

I look at it as biden as an illegitimate President therefore he isn’t one. Our President Trump has a lot more followers than biden ever had so you know it was a fraud election.

Trump (@guest_1136116)
8 months ago

Change the subject! I want all of us to wish our President Mr Trump a Happy PRESIDENT Day!! Go on to all of bidens social media sites and wish President TRUMP a Happy PRESIDENT Day

Erik Johnsen (@guest_1136124)
8 months ago

Michael Barone Is So FULL of CHIT ( typ DemonRat ) Just Like the First Impeachment Trial That Went South and The Rats Still Think Pres Trump Is Still Guilty and Now The Second Impeachment Went Sour…This Michael Barone
Still Has the Gull to Mention ” Perhaps they had noticed that Trump’s ” delusional claims ” that his “landslide” was “stolen” by crooked voting machinery cost the party the two Georgia Senate elections and its Senate majority.”

WHY Didn’t The Rats INVESTIGATE, Instead of DENIAL, These Claims of Election Fraud AND Jan 6, 2021 ??? Bcuz The Rats KNEW They Were Doing It All The Time…I Also Feel That Pepsi INSTIGATED ANTIFA and Whom Ever Else To Attack the WH on Jan 6, 2021 and Probably Paid For By Soros !!!

Not-to-mention That STUPID AOC and Her Claims, When She Was 6 Football Fields Away ( 1/3 of a mile ) From the Action !!! AND WHERE Was Pepsi During Jan 6, 2021 ???

Edna Todd (@guest_1136167)
Reply to  Erik Johnsen
8 months ago

If any one wants know the truth about a stolen election watch the video: Absolute Truth. It lays it all out with facts by tech experts. Just watch it.

asianladyphil (@guest_1136160)
8 months ago

Trump have won landslide! Watch Mike Lindell’s video how it happened and post it here!

Margaret McCord (@guest_1136176)
8 months ago

More Fake news!!!! President Donaldn J. Trump won and is still our President!!!!

stuart nolting (@guest_1136195)
8 months ago

TRUMP is still the PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on man! (@guest_1136234)
8 months ago

Trump won and he didn’t cause jan 6, that was a Pelosi Schumer set up, even Democrats should be able to see that. Guess they like their jobs and freedom stripped away.

Rodney Rhodes (@guest_1136415)
8 months ago

IT is not over ,though Trump is not in the White House. The world knows the election was a fraud,but there are many who would like to be lied to by the likes of CNN ,MSNBC Twitter etc. A lesson to be learned. In 1917 Lenin said that Great BRITAIN would expand itself out of existence as a World Power.Germany would militarize itself out of existence as a world power. America would spend itself out of existence as a world power.They have eyes but do see they have ears but do not hear.Nor do they want to. Much more could be said.

Billy Wilson (@guest_1136444)
8 months ago

COMMUNISM is coming if not here now.

Alice Dozier (@guest_1136799)
Reply to  Billy Wilson
8 months ago

Sad to say, I have to agree with you on that?!?

Elizabeth (@guest_1177921)
7 months ago

I’m not impressed with Michael Barone’s writing. He obviously doesn’t do any research like a good writer would do. There is way too much evidence to give anything in his article any credence. I won’t waste my time reading his articles anymore!

Javiernop (@guest_1234349)
5 months ago

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