Do not count a human dead until you’ve seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake.— Frank Herbert, Dune
WC has read articles from many political pundits pronouncing the Republican Party “dead.” When the U.S. Senate voted to acquit, they claim, the subsequent voter backlash will kill the GOP. Trump’s guilt, the pundits claim, was so apparent, so devastatingly proven, that votes for acquittal will be viewed as a Republican betrayal of American values. They claim the Trump wing has gone so far off the rails that it is doomed.
One of the few advantages of living a long time is that you develop a bit more perspective, a bit of understanding of just how hard it is to either kill or create a political party.
On Nixon’s forced resignation and the fierce backlash against President Ford’s pardon of Nixon, with the attendant election of Jimmy Carter as President, political pundits predicted the end of the Republican Party. Four years later we had Ronald Reagan as President.
Five Thirty-eight, the website that aggregates polls, reports that even now Trump enjoys a 38% approval rating (admittedly the lowest, ever for a former President, but still). And among registered Republican voters it’s more like 79% approval.
At a slightly deeper level, there’s a split inside the Republican Party. One group, led by Republicans like Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska), former Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Mitch McConnell (R, Kentucky), are ready to move on, separating the party from Trump. But a three-quarters majority of the party are still enamored of Trump. Given that more than three-quarters of Republicans approve of Trump after the devastating evidence presented at Trump’s second impeachment trial, the bloom isn’t likely to wear off that particular rose anytime soon. Or maybe the stink off the skunk is a better metaphor.
But dead? No more than immediately post-Nixon. WC isn’t even sure that, given that reapportionment and a lot of nasty right to vote cases lie between now and 2022, that Congress will remain Democratic.
If the world were fair, the Republican Party would die a miserable, highly public death for sucking up to Trump in the first place. But the world isn’t fair. WC hopes the news doesn’t come as a surprise.