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A chance for the GOP to regain its soul

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

We can't say we're surprised by reports that American President Donald Trump is losing support among Republican lawmakers after last Wednesday's violent siege of the US Capitol by his supporters whom he had encouraged to march on the Congress.


Neither are we amazed by the fact that it took those legislators this long to publicly acknowledge that the hammerlock Mr Trump has on their party has tarnished the Grand Old Party (GOP).


The cold, hard fact is that many of those legislators are salivating at the massive support that Mr Trump continues to enjoy across the United States and are basically afraid to alienate that many voters.


That explains why, after last Wednesday's assault on the country's democracy, 147 Republicans in Congress, including eight senators, still voted to reject Mr Joe Biden's victory in the November general elections.


A report by The Associated Press tells us that Republican pollster Frank Luntz has had extensive conversations with grass roots voters and Republican officials about Mr Trump's standing since the siege.


According to Mr Luntz: “The professionals are running away from a sinking ship, but his own supporters have not abandoned him, and they actually want him to fight on. He's become the voice of God for tens of millions of people, and they will follow him to the ends of the Earth and off the cliff.”


How that level of support will play out over the next four years of the Biden presidency is yet to be seen, given speculation about whether Mr Trump will make another bid for the presidency in 2024, or if he will even be able to, as there is a renewed push for his impeachment for the role he played in inciting last week's insurrection.


Add to that news emerging yesterday that growing numbers of Republicans are changing their party registration since the siege, and you get an indication of the political fallout the GOP is now experiencing.


The Republican party, we believe, would do itself well to take this time to regain its soul, for it has allowed itself to be browbeaten by a leader who discarded decorum, tradition, diplomacy, and truth-telling.


We are told that powerful Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is among those who have now lost faith with Mr Trump because of the siege. His could be a most influential voice in that process of redemption, if he is genuine.


So, too, could Mr Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary for President George W Bush and a GOP strategist who voted for Mr Trump. Mr Fleischer is reported by the AP as saying he can no longer defend Mr Trump.


“I won't defend him for stirring the pot that incited the mob. He's on his own,” Mr Fleischer said.
Concern for the future of the GOP has also been shared by President-elect Biden who, last Friday, told reporters: “We need a Republican Party. We need an Opposition that's principled and strong.”


Mr Biden, of course, is right, and the GOP would do the American people a great service by engaging in introspection that will hopefully help the country regain some moral authority to address instances of injustice and undemocratic behaviour around the world.