Trump Isn't Stumbling Into A Civil War. It's What He And Most Of The GOP Want

That's Vanilla Ice performing at the Mar-A-Lago Trump New Years Eve Party. Rep Omari Hardy (D-Palm Beach) has called for the place to be fined and shut down. "Lay down and boogie and play that funky music 'til we die" is originally from a Wild Cherry song but what could be a better use of it than at a Vanilla Ice performance at a Trump super-spreader event in Mar-A-Lago? But an argument over the Wild Cherry version or the Vanilla Ice version isn't what the Republican Party internal civil war is all about.

Thomas Massie (KY), Ken Buck (CO), Chip Roy (TX), Kelly Armstrong (ND), Mike Gallagher (WI), Tom McClintock (CA) and Nancy Mace (SC) are all extremely conservative. Buck, in fact, is a neo-fascist, probably the most right-wing member of the House west of the Old Confederacy and the head of the Colorado Republican Party. The 7 of them issued a joint statement today about the GOP sedition that is encouraging Trump's coup attempt. The salient paragraphs:

...[O]nly the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law. Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.
The text of the United States Constitution, and the Twelfth Amendment in particular, is clear. With respect to presidential elections, there is no authority for Congress to make value judgments in the abstract regarding any state’s election laws or the manner in which they have been implemented. Nor does Congress have discretion to disqualify electors based on its own finding that fraud occurred in that state’s election. Congress has one job here: to count electoral votes that have in fact been cast by any state, as designated by those authorized to do so under state law.
As of this moment, not a single state has submitted multiple conflicting slates of electoral votes. In other words, every state has sent either (a) Biden electors, or (b) Trump electors. Of the six states as to which questions have been raised, five have legislatures that are controlled by Republicans, and they all have the power to send a new slate of electoral votes to Congress if they deem such action appropriate under state law. Unless that happens between now and January 6, 2021, Congress will have no authority to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
To take action otherwise-- that is, to unconstitutionally insert Congress into the center of the presidential election process-- would amount to stealing power from the people and the states. It would, in effect, replace the electoral college with Congress, and in so doing strengthen the efforts of those on the left who are determined to eliminate it or render it irrelevant.
From a purely partisan perspective, Republican presidential candidates have won the national popular vote only once in the last 32 years. They have therefore depended on the electoral college for nearly all presidential victories in the last generation. If we perpetuate the notion that Congress may disregard certified electoral votes-- based solely on its own assessment that one or more states mishandled the presidential election-- we will be delegitimizing the very system that led Donald Trump to victory in 2016, and that could provide the only path to victory in 2024.
There is one and only one path to victory for President Trump on January 6, 2021, and it depends on state legislatures certifying Trump electors in the states at issue, pursuant to state law and the U.S. Constitution, and based on a finding that votes lawfully cast in November were sufficient to produce a Trump victory. If they believe there was fraud-- and if they believe that such fraud affected the outcome of the election-- they must, as a body, convene immediately and send us that information, along with certified electoral votes cast by a Trump slate of electors. Absent such action, there is not a constitutional role for Congress to change the outcome of any state’s vote.
The text of the Constitution is clear. States select electors. Congress does not. Accordingly, our path forward is also clear. We must respect the states’ authority here. Though doing so may frustrate our immediate political objectives, we have sworn an oath to promote the Constitution above our policy goals. We must count the electoral votes submitted by the states.”

That ain't stoppin' Mo Brooks (R-AL), Gym Jordan (R-OH) and the other Confederates and fascists trying to overturn the election and dispose of democracy. There are at least 140 in the House so far. Let me try to turn a series of Steve Schmidt tweets over the weekend into a narrative about the impending GOP civil war that he's envisioning beginning on Wednesday.

"The die," he wrote, "is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th in much the same way the Whig party was destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The act unraveled the Missouri compromise and allowed for the westward expansion of slavery. The party could not survive its factionalism. There could be no more accommodation, compromise and partnership between pro-slavery and anti-slavery Whigs. A new political party was born, the Republican Party. That party will divide into irreconcilable factions on January 6th. The 6th will commence a political civil war inside the GOP. The autocratic side will roll over the pro-democracy remnant of the GOP like the Wehrmacht did the Belgian Army in 1940. The ‘22 GOP primary season will be a blood letting. The 6th will be a loyalty test. The purge."

A little background and context, again, from Schmidt's twitter feed: "Trumpism, he began, "is an American autocratic movement with Fascistic markers. There are seven specific parts that comprise its core"

1. THE LEADER Donald Trump is the unquestioned leader of this movement. It is a cult of personality and there are no serious challengers against his leadership.

2. THUGS The Proud Boys are but one example in a toxic stew of heavily armed Militia’s, White Nationalists and other right wing extremists. As is always the case, their ranks are filled with people on the fringes of society; the lonely, dispossessed, aggrieved and resentful. Not so long ago, there would have been a near societal consensus around describing these people as losers. These people bring the menace of violence to politics and are kin to the same thuggish rabble that were wearing brown and black shirts 100 years ago.

3. ELITES All Autocratic movements fuse an unholy alliance between society’s elites and losers. It is a coalition of convenience between two groups who despise each other yet need each other. The boundless cynicism of the elites and the endless grievances of the losers become an unbreakable cement. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are perfect examples. Hawley graduated from Stanford and Yale Law School. He taught at Oxford and clerked for the Chief Justice of the United States. Ted Cruz graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School. They have become completely faithless to their oaths and American democracy in the name of their ambition. They have no convictions, only self interest.

4. PROPAGANDISTS Autocratic movements are built on and sustained by lies. Political lying and Conspiracy theories have become billion dollar businesses. Fox News, Newsmax, Oann, Social Media, Talk Radio dividers, Infowars ect. ect have poisoned the American polity and created the conditions for Trump to create an alternate reality that is now a lethal threat to American liberty.

5. FINANCIERS This autocratic movement is financed by donations from some of America’s largest and best known companies and brands in the form of millions of dollars of donations to the entities that fund the political careers of the men and women who will soon be rising on the floor of the United States Congress to betray American democracy. AT&T and Charles Schwab are two such companies. The list includes some of America’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals. Mostly they are disconnected from any interest or idea of the public good other than the selfishness of self interest.

6. RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS Trump has surrounded himself with a group of loony, corrupt, hateful, sacrilegious charlatans that make a mockery of decency and goodness with every public utterance.

7. SHEEP None of what is happening could happen without the silent complicity of a legion of men and women who lack the conviction, guts and integrity to stand up against Trumps mean tweets and thousands of indecent, corrupt, cruel and incompetent acts. These men and women are no different than all of their predecessor who found collaboration with what they knew to be immoral or evil as more convenient than resisting it. They are the weaklings and appeasers. They are the fools and the naive. They are the blind for whom what is obvious and true is far less preferable to delusion and pretend.