Republicans want Trump to go, but dare not make him go

In 2023 there will be an encouraging development in US politics. Yes, Donald Trump will still be awkwardly reining in, with legal and political turmoil all around him. But, quite literally, things will be different. Trump is no longer in office, and the courts have made it clear that since he is a private citizen, he will face all justice due to him, even if formal charges threaten.

Last week in Washington, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot made criminal referrals against Trump to the Justice Department; The next day, another committee voted to make six years of his tax returns publicly available. Two years ago, of course, he lost his candidacy for re-election and was leading a motley crew of hand-picked senator candidates to defeat in November’s midterm elections.

Donald Trump remains the Republican Party's problem, but not everyone else's.

Donald Trump remains the Republican Party’s problem, but not everyone else’s.Credit:The Washington Post

And yet, despite all that, he’s a declared candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. That prospect would seem like an incipient disaster to the few remaining adults in the party, but Trump is keenly aware of his lunatic obsessive support base. and has the sociopathic ability to willfully undermine the party in the 2024 general election if he doesn’t prevail. This leaves the Republican Party stuck between a Trump and a hard seat. And since these people showed long ago that they don’t have the backbone to stand up to Trump, it’s hard to feel sorry for them.

So what will happen in 2023? Remember that the important battles take place behind the scenes. First, watch the Republic primary race grow together. A large field helps Trump. His superpower takes on an unrelenting base against an uneven list of opponents who have divided the votes.

Can those sections of the Republican Party that have no interest in political suicide bombing do anything about it? It will be difficult. Incumbent senators like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham can smell weakness, and you don’t want to get between an ambitious senator and a debate stage anyway. Furthermore, it’s now a given that various agitators and wingnuts on the right will use a half-baked presidential campaign as a ticket to lucrative, if dubious, notoriety. They flock to these races to the point where there’s even a name for the resulting phenomenon: the Republican Primary Clown Car.


Also keep an eye out for some wildcards that weren’t there in 2016. First, there’s Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, who wants to present himself as a more eligible alternative to Trump – but one with the same bitter appeal to the party’s worst instincts. Second, Liz Cheney, Trump’s most prominent prosecutor on the right, appears to have the personal courage to take her fight against him to the heart of her party. And third, watch out for a possible run from Tim Scott. He’s an African-American senator who could force the party to confront its openly racist elements — and provoke Donald “black people love me” Trump into making some inappropriate remarks.

Of course, the Democrats also have some problems. Ignore the campaign to make Biden look aged or weak. Aside from a few clumsy blunders (like the messy retreat from Afghanistan), he saved America from another four years of Trump. He leads a strong, calm and effective administration. This has helped him to some notable legislative successes over the past two years. He also scored an unexpected win in the midterms.

He’s making progress, however, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to stand for re-election. (At the end of a hypothetical second term, he would be 88.) That’s a problem. Vice President Kamala Harris would be his natural successor. But: Harris ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and did a terrible job. And her tenure as Vice President was pretty mysterious; She was the most invisible vice president of all time. But the conventional wisdom is that the party will have a hard time supplanting a black woman in the natural line of succession. Republicans want Trump to go, but dare not make him go

Callan Tansill

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