The leadership of the Republican Party is in a dilemma. They supported Donald Trump, put up with his aberrant behavior to carry out their goals, and now he, like the Frankenstein monster, is out of their control. The Republicans used Trump because he had the ability to create a powerful base of support and, over four years, he was able to increase that base without broadening his coalition.
Now, since Trump lost the presidential election, they thought their Frankenstein monster would fade away, but he has taken on new life. He plans to continue to lead his base and the Republican Party for the next four years.* Trump plans to run again in 2024. This poses a deep problem for the Republican Party but also for Democrats.
The Republicans need and fear Trump’s base. Trump had 73 million people vote for him in the 2020 election. That’s an incredible number and a force for the future. If Trump is able to maintain his control, that means no Republican who wants to be re-elected will dare to cross him, lest Trump’s base turns on them and destroys them politically. The reason more Republicans have not turned against him recently is that they still need Trump’s base in the two Georgia senatorial runoff races to maintain control of the Senate for the next two years.
Trump’s accusations of election fraud and dead people voting for Biden have been thrown out by judges in several states. It doesn’t matter to Trump or to his base. His base believes him.
They don’t believe the media or the courts. They have placed judges, Fox News, and some Republicans who have spoken out against their hero into the same category as they have put the Democratic Party – as socialists, communists or the “deep state.” Conspiracy theories abound and are ever increasing, encouraged by Trump’s tweets and public statements.
During Trump’s four years as president, Republicans were silent. They could have pulled the plug on him in December 2019, but they kept him alive by choosing not to remove him from office after the House voted for impeachment. They made excuses for him and told the American public that his behavior did not rise to the level of impeachable offenses. They knew they were lying.
Politicians write books and have them published just before elections. What about all the Republicans who chose not to run for re-election this year rather than compromise their character any more than they already had? There will be off-year elections in 2022 and if Trump runs in 2024, there are going to be a number of Republicans who will be looking to make a lot of money with tell-all bestsellers. There will be Republicans who will care more about profits than party loyalty. These books will reveal the backroom deals and decisions that the Republican leadership made while Trump was president.
When Trump supporters find out how they were manipulated and lied to, they will not be happy. It may mean the end of the Republican Party.*
There will also be issues for the Democrats over the next four years. President Biden will have to tread very carefully. His most difficult job will be to bring the country together again. He’ll have to listen to those 73 million Trump supporters while at the same time work to meet the demands and needs of those on the far left. Neither the left nor the far right have much capacity for compromise. Their worlds are black-and-white. For them it will be a zero-sum game: If they win, the other side loses. Meanwhile, ex-president Trump will be spewing out his lies and divisive statements, making Biden’s job even more difficult.
The best thing for the country is for the Republican leadership to renounce Trump, the sooner the better, but that will require a great deal of moral courage and a deep sense of patriotism and concern for the common good. It will also mean political suicide for those courageous enough to make the attempt. For at least the last four years the Republicans have sowed division and dissension. They have become the Dr. Frankenstein whose monstrous creation will turn on them and tear them to pieces.
Character really does matter.
* My source for this information comes from a YouTube video by “Beau of the Fifth Column.” It can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxPey5-09CA&feature=youtu.be.