Normally, Republicans should celebrate a new House majority, but there isn’t much normal in American politics these days.
Even as President Biden remains unpopular and his administration continues to grapple with an indomitable economy, the Republican midterm election victory smacks of defeat.
The party is weak and it is not clear that it will be able to get out of the trap it has been sucked into by harnessing itself to Trump’s locomotive.
Far from being the expected landslide, the midterm elections saw Republicans make modest gains in the House of Representatives and losses in several state legislatures. In the Senate, the Democrats have retained control and should seize the majority after the second round in Georgia.
For this disappointing performance, analysts are almost unanimous in blaming Donald Trump’s support for defeated candidates in close races that would normally have gone to the Republicans.
The relative success of Republicans who distanced themselves from the former president, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, does not mean the party can turn the page.
The Republicans’ control of the House of Representatives will reveal the crisis of the party’s leadership, the poverty of its program, and the divisions that are boiling within it.
California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the favorite to run for Speaker of the House, but he’ll be at the mercy of some ultra-partisan members of his party who risk spoiling his legislative plans…if there are any.
I say “if there were plans” because the party has been rudderless since it chose to abandon its political platform in favor of a commitment to Trump’s whims.
The party’s lack of direction became apparent when McCarthy revealed his plan for the new session, which would essentially consist of launching seemingly baseless investigations into leading figures in the Democratic Party and, most importantly, President Biden’s son.
Splits and risk of rupture
Already, divisions among Republicans make headlines daily. Final example: the outcry sparked by the meeting between Trump and Nick Fuentes, a notorious white supremacist and anti-Semite. Even if the elected Republicans denounce this meeting, few would dare to publicly denounce Trump.
This wound will continue to fester in the coming months, as the commission on the events of January 6, 2021 presents its report and the criminal and civil lawsuits against Trump will lead many Republicans to distance themselves from and radicalize the former president. embodied.
Trump cultists and those who tolerate the toxic pronouncements of the alt-right unfortunately make up an inescapable bloc in the Republican Party and elected officials risk a great deal by alienating these voters.
However, the party will one day have to expel this cancer. If he does, he will face heavy losses in the short term, especially if it leads to a presidential candidacy independent of Trump. If he does not, he will succumb to extremism and American democracy will suffer.