McConnell is a card-carrying member of the Republican establishment and has been shrugging off Trump’s criticisms of his bipartisan dealmaking over the past two years. On the other hand, hard-liners like Boebert and Gaetz have long been closer and stylistically to Trump. If they aren’t under Trump’s spell now, then no one in Congress is.

And why should they be? The dreaded powers of Trump are no more. He had enough intra-party power to secure primary victories for most of his preferred candidates in 2022 and defeat many House Republicans who voted for impeachment. Yet he could not dismiss the Republican governor and Georgia secretary of state after he (falsely) accused him of rigging the 2020 election. And his slate failed in the general election for the GOP to win back the Senate. Republican voters seem to have noticed his declining standing; During the year, Trump lost significant ground in the 2024 presidential primary elections to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The end of Trump’s dominance over the Republican Party should A healthy development except for one problem: instead of being a party, they are currently no one’s party. No leader No shared principles. No consensus on policy objectives.

A temporary period of leaderless soul-searching is not unusual or unhealthy for the party that lost a presidential election. Subsequent presidential primaries are a good way to resolve internal debates, allowing the next standard-bearer to chart the course of the party.

However, America today does not have the luxury of waiting for the Republican Party to unite. Voters just gave Republicans the keys to the House, and we need them — at a minimum — to keep government open, meet our debt obligations, and avoid a global economic downturn. Usually, these basic tasks are not difficult questions. But they can be too much for a party to manage.

While Trump may no longer be the heart of the GOP, his scar tissue remains. By waging a relentless war on imperfectly loyal party members, Trump effectively repealed Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” By fostering a diplomatic thaw with Russia, Trump has embraced far-right neo-separatists who criticize the Ukrainian resistance, and threatened a year-long streak of bipartisan support for Ukraine aid. By recklessly instigating his own government shutdown as president, Trump has whetted the appetites of Freedom Caucus members, who not only appear eager to hold the debt ceiling hostage but, for the first time, kill it,

All these scars that Trump left on the Republican Party have overcome McCarthy’s resistance. getz And boebert suggested that the protracted speaker battle was blocking the flow of funds to Ukraine. Representative Ralph Norman said on Wednesday that he wanted the next speaker to be “ready to shut down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling” (though the next day he Comment partially rolled back And voted for McCarthy on Friday.)

Most fundamentally, right-wing dissidents – similar to the left-wing Occupy Wall Street protesters of 2011 – reject the basic concept of hierarchical leadership. repealed. Byron Donalds, Joe briefly ran against McCarthy, saying that individual House members should have the power to force floor votes that could fire the speaker, as he did not want “more power in the hands of the speakership”. . Boebert similarly told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “We need a check and balance on the third [sic] Corresponding to the presidency. ,

Late Friday night, McCarthy finally flipped enough holdouts to win — not because of Trump’s endorsement, but because of several concessions, including rule changes that made it easier to oust the speaker. Gaetz claimed on Thursday night that even if McCarthy managed to win, “he would have to live out the entirety of his speaking in a straitjacket created by these rules that we’re working on now.” Just two years ago, House Republicans lived in fear of their party’s president. Today they are building a house where the speaker should be in fear of his party members.

Granted, the House Republican Conference has been unruly at times before Trump came along. Newt Gingrich’s speaker injured in the failed 1997 coup attemptComposed primarily by frustrated conservatives before being put out of their misery after Republicans lost House seats in the 1998 midterms. In 2015, John Boehner kept the government open in defiance of Freedom Caucus demands. with predominantly Democratic votes, Then he left before he could be fired.

But today’s nihilistic Republicans, infatuated with Trump’s limitless capacity for conflict, are going to historic lengths to strip the speaker’s position of power before the first blow of the gavel in the 118th Congress. What was a cult is fast turning into a state of anarchy.

Of course, anarchy does not last. Power fills the vacancies. The Freedom Caucus is taking enormous steps to fill that void. Even if McCarthy survived, as Gaetz noted, a set of rules and committee functions were negotiated by Republican factions that would allow the far-right to have more influence over the production of the House. The lopsided proposals are discouraging some on the centre-right. “I think they’re making a mistake at the convention. These handful of people want a weak speaker with a four-vote majority. The public won’t like what they see of the GOP, I’m afraid,” a Anonymous House Moderate told CNN.

But proper Republicans were under no obligation to be spectators. He did not have to stand idle while the Freedom Caucus seized power from McCarthy. As GOP Rep. Don Bacon has threatened to follow through several times, he could sidestep the far-right, form a bipartisan coalition with Democrats, and elect a speaker committed to raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government open. Could have

The partisan route Republicans took may seem like a politically safe route, but can Republicans truly rediscover their shared principles while the Freedom Caucus pressures the party to pursue a politically insane, scorched-earth legislative strategy? does she put

House Republicans should look at the unity on the Democratic side of the aisle and consider how it materialized after a rocky two-year stretch. When Democrats were intent on passing party-line legislation through a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process, they ended up in a protracted conflict with their most liberal members, one of whom in the House (Kurt Schrader of Oregon) won a primary. and lost in the second. (Kirsten Sinema of Arizona) became an independent in the Senate. But in 2022 when Democrats passed several bipartisan bills (and a party-line reconciliation bill, reduced in size by the moderate splinter faction), they were better positioned to run on a record of achievement, and an overwhelmingly conservative agenda. were against.

The GOP can’t be a party forever, and it won’t be anyone’s party forever. Republicans will eventually find their way. But America wants them to find a way that doesn’t first drag us all through an obstacle course of dumpster fire. And they’re not off to a promising start.

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