Democrats' favorite Republican, Adam Kinzinger, was on The View today. (Tangent, why is he the favorite instead of the more forceful Liz Cheney? Aside from bashing Trump, which they both do very effectively, he occasionally votes sanely, which she never does. Both are conservatives but his ProgressivePunch vote score for the 117th Congress is 9.88, the second highest of any Republican. Liz's is 6.86.)
Asked why he thinks the U.S. might be facing a Civil War, he responded that "We have to recognize that possibility... A Civil War isn't what it was in the 19th Century. It's not state against state, blue against gray. It's going to be armed groups against armed groups, targeted assassinations, violence. That's what a 21st Century civil war is... We're identifying now by our race, by our ethnic group; we're separating ourselves and we live in different realities. I don't think it's too far of a bridge to think that's a possibility and I think we have to warn and talk about it so that we can recognize that and fight hard against it. And put our country over our parties because our survival actually matters."
Kinzinger said "we're starting to see fissures" in the GOP's lockstep devotion to Trump. "A once great party, a party that stood for something, stood for principles, whether you agree with those principles or not, is now a party that stands for loyalty to one man, that was clear in the RNC censure, and that's what makes me sad more than anything."
Asked about his description of Kevin McCarthy as a "feckless, weak and tired man" and what concerns him most about McCarthy becoming Speaker, Kinzinger said that "This is a man that-- basically the day after the insurrection-- blamed Donald Trump and two weeks after that was down at Mar-A-Lago, politically reviving Donald Trump's career with that picture...
And now he does his bidding. He answers to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. These are the people he's now responsible to. So that kind of a person-- though he very may well get and want the title of Speaker of the House, that's not leadership. That is somebody more than willing to at least say that conspiracies have some merit. In this country we have a great tradition of leaders leading. That is lacking right now. Certainly that lacks in Kevin McCarthy... His cell phone going to be ringing off the hook by Marjorie Taylor Greene if he becomes Speaker.
David Jackson, writing for USA Today yesterday, speculated that Trump's hold on the Republican Party may or may not be slipping-- but it is being tested. In the past week alone, prominent Republicans-- including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Trump’s own former vice president, Mike Pence-- have pushed back on the ex-president, especially after allies persuaded the party organization to censure two GOP lawmakers over a Jan. 6 investigation. Recent polls show a softening of Trump’s numbers, though he remains the top-rated Republican and is certainly the most well-funded. The result could split the Republican party, with ever more fervent Trump followers on one side and those disenchanted by the former president on the other, complicating GOP efforts to take back control of Congress and pass their own policy priorities."
Associated Press reporter Steve Peoples' was on the same wavelength today-- more Trump chaos and a GOP madhouse: "Senate Republicans blame the Republican National Committee. The RNC blames two Republican House members. They blame former President Donald Trump. And Trump blames Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. In the midst of the GOP’s first major election year blowup, each bloc believes it represents the real Republican Party and its best interests in the bid to regain control of Congress... The sudden burst of infighting shattered a period of relative Republican peace just as party leaders insist they need to come together to defeat Democrats in the looming midterms." Everyone is calling everyone else a RINO, which is going to just confuse the Republican base, which is dominated by slow-witted non-thinkers with low IQs.
The ruckus about "legitimate political discourse" is a proxy war between the Trump's and what's left of a non-Trump Republican Party establishment. Peoples wrote that "While Trump’s allies believe there should be no limits in their loyalty to the former president, McConnell and other establishment leaders believe there is a line Republicans should not cross.
For many Republicans, the emerging choice heading into the midterm elections is clear: Either you’re with Trump or against him. That’s especially the case as Trump indicates he’s likely to seek the presidency again in 2024.
Keith Kellogg, who served as national security adviser to then-Vice President Mike Pence, outlined the situation quite simply Wednesday on Twitter: “As midterms draw close and 2024 looms large, choices will have to be made and lines will be drawn,” Kellogg wrote. “For me-- it’s Trump.”
Trump’s former communications director Alyssa Farah slapped back: “Put me squarely in the Pence/ McConnell camp. Certain denunciations must be unequivocal.”
Democrats, meanwhile, tried to enflame the Republican divisions from afar.
“Take your party back from this cult,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a message to Republicans at her weekly news conference. “It has been hijacked.”
...[P]arty strategists and Republican officials beyond Washington suggest the party’s grassroots, which represent the heart of the GOP, beat squarely with Trump, regardless of what some Senate Republicans might say.
“The anti-Trump constituency is one out of 10 Republican voters-- on a good day,” veteran Republican pollster Gene Ulm said.
McConnell is standing up against “a circular firing squad,” Ulm said, but Cheney and Kinzinger long ago ensured their political demise by crossing the former president so forcefully.
“There simply is no constituency for what they’re doing,” Ulm said.
Conservative anti-Trump Republican Charlie Sykes wrote late last night that "the GOP has leadership problem-- but it has a much worse followership problem. The vast majority of Republican voters are Trumpist or Trump-adjacent and until that changes, the comments of folks like Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell are really just political sea foam. But... At this point, any recognition of reality is a step forward. A baby step, perhaps, but a sign of progress, nevertheless." Yeah... a tiny baby step and a meaningless one unless the Republicans lose the midterms.