Tensions within GOP Increase as “Loyalty” Overtakes Ideology

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The Republican National Committee met this week in Salt Lake City and, in an annual gathering meant to unify and strengthen the party as it enters an election year, the GOP did nothing but increase and deepen the number of cracks forming within the party’s foundation. In the party’s last chance to define itself prior to the elections in November, the Republicans chose fealty to Donald Trump as the only party value.

The highlight was the party’s “censure” of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their participation in the investigation into January 6th, 2021, an event the party described as “political expression.” The censure infuriated some conservatives who count themselves among former Republicans. Steve Schmidt wrote that the party is now openly autocratic.

2/ The resolution is a declaration of dishonesty and gaslighting as first principles of a national political party that has been hijacked at an official and institutional level by conspiracy theorists, liars, loons, and budding fascists. There are two major political parties in

— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) February 4, 2022

The former political director of the RNC, Mike DuHaime, tweeted out his anger while pointing out the danger in demanding adherence to a lie.

I’m a former political director of the RNC. The RNC is insane if it censures @RepKinzinger and @RepLizCheney. The party that long valued individuality and differences of opinion now demands fealty to the election results lie. And it stupidly keeps the focus Trump instead of Biden https://t.co/N9DPBppUcp

— Mike DuHaime (@MikeDuHaime) February 4, 2022

.But Politico says the real concern is the impact that the demand for fealty will have upon the party’s chances in 2022:

For all the energy he [Trump] creates at the party’s grassroots, his stranglehold on the party is emerging as one of the biggest threats to the GOP’s otherwise bright prospects in November.

“[Trump] has already singled out 10 House Republicans for extinction. He is attacking GOP governors and backing their primary challengers while meddling in Senate races where it may lead to the nomination of flawed candidates who are ill-suited for a general election. He is fomenting a rebellion against the party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell. And this week, in Salt Lake City, it was David Bossie, the former Trump deputy campaign manager, who was leading the effort to kick Cheney and Kinzinger to the curb.

So, the Republican Party is gambling its future viability by siding wholly with a man who barely survived the month with new revelation after new revelation, culminating in Trump attacking Lindsay Graham as a “RINO” and Mike Pence lecturing Trump in front of The Federalist Society about the presidency belonging to the American people.  And the Select Committee’s investigation continues to pick up momentum.

The November election will give the GOP its first evidence as to whether the Salt Lake City gamble paid off, but the stakes and risks certainly won’t end in November. It certainly feels as though the Republican Party is only beginning to wrestle with the problems it created for itself by attaching itself wholly to one man.

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