The Republican Party is imploding, and the non-Trump loyalists are suddenly realizing -- far too late, mind you -- that they will never be allowed to remain as Republicans.
The Republican Party is entering a period of political powerlessness in Washington badly fractured from within, lacking a unifying message and set of principles and missing a clear bench of national leaders — a party with internal divisions and outside obstacles so significant that it may not easily weather the splintering underway.
While all parties go through reckonings after losing power, the G.O.P. has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections and, for the first time since Herbert Hoover, ceded the White House, Senate and House in a single term. President Trump is staring down a second impeachment, members of his administration have resigned in protest of his actions, and senators from his party have called for him to do the same.
What’s more, the party’s political messaging is likely to be inspected intensely by social media platforms that have already barred Mr. Trump and others on the far right. Business and corporate donors are threatening to cut off the party’s financial spigot, and tech companies are stifling Mr. Trump’s ability to raise money online, the lifeblood of his political operation.
But the most acute danger for the health of the party, and its electoral prospects to retake the House and Senate in 2022, is the growing chasm between the pro-Trump voter base and the many Republican leaders and strategists who want to reorient for a post-Trump era.
“Have you heard what some of these folks waving MAGA flags are saying about Republicans?” said Representative Peter Meijer, Republican of Michigan, whose first days in Congress this month were marked by evacuations to escape from a mob. “They don’t identify themselves as Republicans.”
Mr. Meijer was among the Republicans who voted to affirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College victory last week, in the proceedings that rioters incited by Mr. Trump interrupted. The vote set off another round of vitriol and threats.
“Our expectation is that somebody will try to kill us,” said Mr. Meijer, an Iraq war veteran. “That is the scenario that many of us are preparing for.”
Yes, this is a sitting Republican predicting there will be assassination attempts against Republicans in Congress by Trump voters.
Stop and think about this.
I will repeat this.
This is a sitting Republican predicting there will be assassination attempts against Republicans in Congress by Trump voters.
Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist who served as a top adviser for Chris Christie in his 2016 run for president, said the violence at the Capitol represented a breaking point for his party’s relationship with Mr. Trump.
“Now the two camps are, who is a Trump sycophant and who is not,” Mr. DuHaime said. “That spells doom until we can get past Trump.”
Mr. Trump won 74.2 million voters, a Republican record, even in defeat in 2020. Some party leaders fret that as of now, they cannot win with Mr. Trump, and they cannot win without him. Right-wing voters have signaled that they will abandon the party if it turns on Mr. Trump, and more traditional Republicans will sour if it sticks by him.
The twin losses last week in Georgia, where the Republican incumbents yoked themselves closely to Mr. Trump and his baseless accusations of election fraud, not only cost Republicans control of the Senate but also offered a warning sign for the future. The dynamics mirrored the 2018 midterm elections, when Mr. Trump’s divisive brand of politics was better at mobilizing Democrats than Republicans when he was not on the ballot himself.
In the coming days, the specter of more violence is clear and present. The National Guard said Monday that it was planning to deploy up to 15,000 troops in the nation’s capital for the inauguration, and the F.B.I. warned in a bulletin about the potential for armed protests at all 50 state capitols between now and the inauguration.
It looks like the predictions of a violence-filled start to the Biden era is coming true.