How Trump Is Planning His Epic Comeback And Why it Will be The Death Of The Republican Party

House of Representative leader Liz Cheney was ousted from her leadership position in the Republican party on the 24th of May after a closed-door voice vote. This overthrow was the consequence of her continued criticism of Trump and rebuffing election fraud claims since January 6th. She was also one of the ten Republicans that voted for Donald Trump’s impeachment. On the following Sunday, the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy remarked that he could no longer defend Cheney amidst growing backlash from the party.
This unremarkable event in the House of Representatives is more than a power play; it is a defining moment for conservative politics. The 2020 election and its aftermath is a critical juncture in Republican politics. The vote on that same Wednesday cemented Trump’s position in the Republican Party.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Liz Cheney is not a Moderate Republican
Most party members voted against her because they felt she was too liberal. Indeed from her recent speeches, Cheney sounds like a moderate-centrist leader compared to the other leaders that outright deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. But Liz Cheney has been a far-right member throughout her career. She has consistently kept her position within the party lines. She was the ringleader in the ‘Obama Kenyan birth certificate’ drama during the Obama presidency and once remarked that her opposing every bill that the Obama administration sent was an act of patriotism. She has only been in lobbyist committees , has been against any gun control laws, and has been vocal about her fervent opposition to same-sex marriage. She also supported Trump and got him elected in the 2016 presidential election. She is anything but liberal. It seems accepting reality is seen as a liberal trait in the Republican Party these days. How did this come to happen?

She is not alone in her dissatisfaction.
Most Republican senators after January 6th expressed extreme concern and anger after the riots. In the first hours and days, most Republicans put out statements calling for Trump to take responsibility for his actions and spent the following three months absolving him of any responsibility. After the impeachment trial, the leadership discouraged anyone from showing disagreement with Trump or making any mention of the riots. And finally, on Saturday he announced  would start campaigning in June. In a span of 2 months, they practically moved on from a coup attempt and made the warlord their king. This turn is not some collective Stockholm syndrome; it is an extreme case of political opportunism.

Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Crisis of Identity
Every party goes through an identity crisis when they lose an election. They change the strategies to appease the undecided moderates. These are the most unreliable voters. The most reliable voters are the party base. After 2016 the Republicans realised that they did not need the moderates; America wasn’t as progressive as it seemed. The nerve for intolerance that was hidden suddenly came out. Trump kick-started the white American dream in the 21st century.
But he lost in 2020, so maybe a presidential candidate should appeal to the moderate sensibility  for them to win, right? Not really, Trump did lose, but he lost with 74 million votes. He got 10 million more votes than his last election. After he went back to his home in Florida, he retained a majority of his following. 

Butch Dill/AP Photo

The Triangle Of Fraud: Motive, Opportunity, and Ability to rationalise One’s behaviour
In a fleeting moment of honesty, Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News that the Republican Party needed Trump more than he did them. Trump’s strong man style, carefree attitude, and complete lack of self-awareness won them the presidential election without having any real plan to run the country. By calling Mexicans rapists and African Americans drug addicts, he could win 74 million votes.

This turn of conservative politics to just hate and violence has been seen worldwide, the most recent instance being Israel. The more there is violence and hatred, the stronger Netanyahu’s chances of winning the election. There can be irreparable damage to any country if it enters this cycle of hate. And this same cycle also makes the leaders more powerful. So the real reason Republicans are suppressing the opposition voices in their party is not that they are embarrassed at the events of January 6th or they actually believe the election was stolen; they are doing it because that is the best thing they can do politically.
Twenty sitting members of Congress are under investigation for sexual misconduct. At least half a dozen House members have potential links to sex trafficking rings. But according to them, a person admitting the truth is a bad influence on the party.
The conservative movement in America is at its tipping point ; from here, they can either become more progressive and move with the current time or go back 100 years to the civil war and put the final nail in the coffin of new-age conservatism. I have a nagging feeling it will be the latter.
-Manya Pandey
FY.BSc 2022-2025

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