So in the moment right now, the Republican Party has a bit of drama with Liz Cheney - Dick's kid who bought her way into a Congressional seat in Wyoming - trying to carve out a spot as The Voice Of Reason in a party that's long gone batshit insane. Per Mistermix at Balloon Juice:
I’ve said it before, but Cheney is in a weak position at home and in Congress. She didn’t have the political backing to run for the Senate seat vacated by Mike Enzi — instead, the absolutely terrible Cynthia Lummis won it. The fact that Cheney didn’t even try shows how little pull she has in Wyoming, despite her name. Her dad has been out of the state for 30 years, and she’s a carpetbagger herself in a state where almost every pickup has a “native” bumper sticker. My guess is that another Republican like Lummis, who voted against impeachment and against certifying the election, will give Liz a run for her money in the 2022 primary. Losing her job as conference chair is just the beginning...
Cheney's leadership position with the House Republicans is pretty much taken from her, even with all the whispered rumors that a sizable number of fellow Republicans agree with her that trump's Big Lie of a stolen election will wreck the Republican Party's reputation (if not their party's ability to gerrymander and suppress votes to stay in power anyway).
But to anyone (like Beltway pundit Jennifer Rubin) thinking that Liz Cheney - or Mitt Romney, or Joe "What Child Support" Walsh, or David Jolly - can become a beacon of a Third Party to rise up and save True Conservatism from themselves, forget it. I've said it before: There is no GOP Savior coming to rescue a party that's been consumed by rage and lies for the last three decades.
What we're getting is this ongoing fantasy, this wish fulfillment, among the Far Right pols and pundits desirous for The Return Of The Reagan Heir: the Prince That Was Promised. We're talking about a set of people pining for the days when it was 1985: when Reagan stomped the hell out of Mondale and his dirty hippie librul army of Electoral College no-shows, Bipartisanship meant Democrats paid for the bar tabs, Capitalism was ascendant, Soviets were getting blown up in Afghanistan, Wall Street was peaking, Grenada was pacified, MTV gave us endless loops of "Money For Nothing", and it was safe for decent honest hard-working folk to openly declare they were proud to be
These pundits and pols still don't get it: that was all an illusion...
When the modern Republican Party is pining for a Savior, they're really pining for a candidate who can be this Passive-Positive person, someone likable and pleasing to the audience. Which was why a lot of pundits kept falling in love with these photogenic types like Marco Rubio or Scott Walker. But that person doesn't exist anymore. And for one very good reason.
The Republican Party doesn't HAVE anyone anymore who is genuinely likable or congenial. The Far Right has driven everyone out who can be open-minded and receptive and appealing on a personal level. They've created an environment within their party ranks that every member HAS to support a dogmatic agenda - restrict or kill a federal government they view as "bad" - that can only be backed by Active-Negative types of dour and sour politicians. That type of agenda can only attract that type of candidate, no matter how hard they try to fake empathy.
This is it, Republicans. This is it, Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson and David Brooks and others raging against the oncoming storm that is Trump. No more lies, no more illusions. The reason you're getting Trump as your banner-carrier is because all your efforts the last 30 years to build a new Reagan has instead built a toxic stew of racism, sexism, anti-Establishment anarchy, and failure of leadership within your own ranks...
I am not seeing anything now that changes my mind. The current party leadership still kowtows and worships at the foot of the man who staged an insurrection that almost got themselves killed. Minority Leader McCarthy isn't leading anything but a mob of wingnuts who spew every QAnon conspiracy at the TV cameras any chance they get.
This is not a Republican Party that is in the mood to change its mind. They have spent the last thirty years shilling a Narrative that Democrats are Socialist-Commie criminals worse than child molesters (even when those molesters are other Republicans), and they're so dug into that world-view they dare not admit how much of a lie that is. They've become so calcified in their political ideology that they don't even need to post a party platform to campaign on anymore.
There is no GOP Savior coming to save them because there's nothing left of the Republican Party to save.
If there is any real, honest way for the Republican Party to regroup and rethink itself, it has to happen through straight-up implosion: Enough of the Party elected officials across the board giving up on the madness and walking away. Much in the same way the Whigs of the 1850s fell apart when their party collapsed over their failures to combat the slavery issues made worse by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act.
Problem with that scenario is that any disaffected Republican leaders in this situation will have nowhere else TO go. There is no standing Third Party of repute - sorry, Libertarians, you don't count - where these ex-GOP apostates can regroup. These ex-Republicans would have to form a new party by scratch, and I've blogged before about how hard that can be.
The biggest issue would be money: the Sensible GOP Faction - they'll need to come up with a name if they do split off - are going to need a massive bankroll to get on state-level ballots and set up campaigns. While these
ex-parrots ex-Republicans can reach out to corporations and rich folk to help out, there's no guarantee enough of them will abandon the existing Republican Party and risk it all on a brand-new Third Party. How many deep-pocket SuperPACs support the fearmongering against minorities, feminists, and immigrants? Too many, alas...
A lot also depends on how this anti-trump GOP Savior Party identifies itself: Are they going to dismiss a lot of the Culture War hysteria, the racism and sexism that has been the meat-and-potatoes of the modern Republican Party? They could form themselves as a pro-business faction and denounce the wingnuttia that has consumed the Republican base... but would enough voters swing away from that madness? When you have 70 percent of the existing GOP base believing trump's Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, there's a good bet your new anti-trump party isn't getting that 70 percent bloc and you'd be damn lucky even to get the 30 percent that still live in the Real World.
In the end, like I keep saying, there IS NO Savior coming to rescue the Republican Party from itself.
All we're going to get is a fresh new cycle of purges, similar to the RINO hunts of the 1990s that began the party's descent into the madness we see today.
It will only be a purge of any elected officials who oppose the Far Right Narrative. The Republican voters themselves won't get purged, with every sign the base will gleefully stay with a party that plays to their fears and nothing else.
Gods help us. Always.