In his Washington Post column, Philip Bump noted that It’s still too soon to suggest that Jan. 6 prompted any massive GOP exodus. The NY Times published some promising data that indicates that "Some Republicans saw the actions of the mob inspired by and loyal to former president Donald Trump as beyond the pale, a reflection of a change that they couldn’t stomach... Even in this deeply partisan time, a short-lived insurrection is a step too far." Or is it? Bump sees just a small erosion of GOP registration overall and fears that the anecdotal stories and early data are just "isolated examples that may not actually reflect a significant exodus from the party."
Another anecdotal piece of this puzzle breezed by yesterday compliments of Navigator Research, which tested QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's name with voters nationally. With American more worried about domestic terrorism than with foreign terrorism (79-68%), the pro-domestic terrorism Greene is getting better and better known-- and not in a good way. Only 14% of voters have a favorable view of her. And as many Republicans see her in a good light as a bad light-- 24%. A strong majority supports Congress' decision to kick her off her committees-- 57-22%-- and even 33% of Republicans agree it was the right thing to have done. More than half believe she should be expelled from Congress.
More problematic for the Republican Party is that most people now see them as the party of the rich, the party of violence and terrorism, the party of extremism, and the party of knee-jerk and societally harmful obstructionism.
Yesterday, the Republican Accountability Project announced it had created 17 30-second TV spots thanking Republicans who had stood up to Trump's failed coup attempt-- 7 for senators (Toomey, Romney, Burr, Murkowski, Cassidy, Sasse and Collins) and ten for members of the House-- Herrera Beutler (WA), Valadao (CA), Katko (NY), Gonzalez (OH), Kinzinger (IL), Newhouse (WA), Upton (MI), Cheney (WY), Rice (SC) and Meijer (MI). They also announced they plan to spend $1 million on Fox News airing some of the ads. Take a look at this one for Tom Rice. I'm not so sure this won't do more harm than good for him in a South Carolina district where Trump won, 58.8-40.2%.
Cheney may be in an even more precarious state. 185,732 of her constituents (68.7%) backed her in November. On the same day, those same constituents went for Trump even more strongly-- 193,559 (69.9%) for Trump. This ad airing on Fox could stir up a hornets' nest:
Replacing "Socialism!!!"-- at least partially-- this cycle in the Republican nonsense lexicon of Democratic Party depredation, travesty and atrocity is "cancel culture," a phrase repeated endlessly on Hate Talk Radio, Fox News and by brain-dead GOP candidates. Yesterday the #2 Senate Republican leader, whip John Thune (SD) pissed all over their parade, accusing the Trumpists engaging in cancel culture, by rushing to censure Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach and convict Trump. (Thune, always the coward, wanted to but didn't.) He warned against shutting out dissenting voices in the party.
Thune who had called Trump's role in the coup attempt "inexcusable," before voting to excuse him, told South Dakota voters that "there was a strong case made; people could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves." Trump won South Dakota, 261,043 (61.6%) to 150,471 (35.6%). South Dakota's all-Republican government mishandled the pandemic so badly that the state is now considered the most dangerous place on earth in terms of COVID. Around 111,000 South Dakotan have been stricken-- a horrific 125,326 cases per million residents, more than double the national average-- and over 1,800 have died (2,088 per million residents, 8th worst in the country.
Thune suggested he would be taking steps to assist candidates “who don’t go off and talk about conspiracies and that sort of thing.” He praised Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, who was censured by the Wyoming GOP for voting to impeach Trump, for doing an “exceptional job on most issues” and said he was ready to jump into primary battles like the one she is sure to face.
“At the grassroots level, there’s a lot of people who want to see Trump-like candidates,” he said. “But I think we’re going to be looking for candidates that are electable.”
Thune himself was hit by Trump last year after he said efforts by some GOP members in the U.S. House to reject Electoral College results would “go down like a shot dog” in the Senate. Trump called Thune a “RINO,” meaning Republican In Name Only, and “Mitch’s boy,” in reference to McConnell. The attacks inspired some Trump loyalists in South Dakota to huddle for a primary challenge to the state’s senior senator, whose candidacy has gone unchallenged in previous elections.
On Thursday, the senator attempted to downplay those attacks, likening them to “food fights within the family” that hurt Republicans’ goals, He noted there was no evidence to support Trump’s claim of voter fraud.
“You’ve got to face the music, and at some point, it’s got to be over and you’ve got to move on,” he said, adding, “I think it’s just important to tell people the truth. The most important responsibility of any leader is to define reality.”
Trump has so far been unsuccessful in finding a credible primary opponent to take on Thune. Kristi Noem, widely considered the worst governor in America and a Trump ally, declined after Trump publicly urged her to. And South Dakota Attorney General/murderer, Jason Ravnsborg, looks like he'll be two busy trying to stay out of prison to run for anything.