Intrigue, and Backstabbing, in the GOP

I’m seriously having a hard time keeping up with all this. But let’s start with Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times, How Trump Hopes to Use Party Machinery to Retain Control of the G.O.P.

Ronna McDaniel, Mr. Trump’s handpicked chairwoman, has secured the president’s support for her re-election to another term in January, when the party is expected to gather for its winter meeting. But her intention to run with Mr. Trump’s blessing has incited a behind-the-scenes proxy battle, dividing Republicans between those who believe the national party should not be a political subsidiary of the outgoing president and others happy for Mr. Trump to remain in control of it. …

…Mr. Trump will have no political infrastructure once he leaves office except for a political action committee he recently formed, and absent a formal campaign, he is hoping to lean on the R.N.C. to effectively give him one, people familiar with his thinking said.

This is especially intriguing:

The continuing influence of Mr. Trump could also have implications for some of the national committee’s most critical assets: Its voter data and donors lists contain thousands of names of contributors and detailed information about supporters. The voter data in particular is a focus of attention, after distrust arose between the committee and the Trump campaign over the data’s use in the final months of the campaign.

While the committee and the Trump campaign are in the process of untangling joint agreements over access to that information, Mr. Trump sees control of the lists that he helped build over the past four years as a way to keep a grip on power — and to neutralize potential challengers for supremacy over the party, according to Republicans close to the White House.

Trump is making noises about running for another term in 2024, which could inhibit other candidates from putting themselves forward.

See also Alex Isenstadt at Politico, Trump threatens to wreak havoc on GOP from beyond the White House.

President Donald Trump has spent the three weeks since he lost the election savaging a pair of GOP governors for not backing his claims he was robbed.

Republicans are worried it’s just the start of what’s in store from the soon-to-be-former president.

Trump’s attacks on Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Mike DeWine Ohio — both of whom are up for reelection in 2022 — has led to broader concerns within the party that he will use his post-presidency to exact revenge on perceived enemies and insert himself into races in ways that are not helpful.

There is talk that Trump voters plan to boycott the Georgia Senate runoff elections. I’ve seen this reported in several places. It might not pan out, of course. But it does bring up the question of how much of the Republican voter base is now assimilated into the MAGA-Borg, and whether those voters will bother to turn out if Trump isn’t on the ticket.

And this brings us to David Atkins, Washington Monthly, Can Republicans Get Trump-Style Turnout Without Trump on the Ballot? The short answer is, maybe. Or maybe not. This analysis is worth reading all the way through. Much that will happen over the next decade will depend on whether Trumpism will turn out voters without Trump on the ballot. If so, we’re screwed. If not, there is hope.

While Trump is stabbing Brian Kemp in the back — and he tried so hard for so long to be a good toady — Trump may need to be watching his own back. This is from Marcy Wheeler:

Amid reports that Ronna not-Romney McDaniel is the favorite to become RNC Chair again — which stalwarts view as Trump’s attempt to run the RNC as his own operation, undercutting any challengers in 2024 — I find this quote in the WaPo story particularly interesting.

A fresh indication that Trump’s options are dwindling came Friday from an organization with close ties to his education secretary, Betsy DeVos. The conservative Michigan Freedom Fund, which the DeVos family finances, issued the following statement Friday: “The election is over. The results are in, and here in Michigan, they’re not going to change.”

There have been hints that Betsy and Dick were tiring of Trump already. Betsy’s former Chief of Staff, Josh Venable, even joined one of the anti-Trump groups during the election.

That has interesting implications for the fate of two men — Betsy’s brother Erik Prince and Trump himself.

Oh, dish, Marcy. You really need to read this all the way through. Basically, the Prince-DeVos faction has closer ties to Mike Pence than to Trump, and collectively this Prince-DeVos-Pence faction could post a real threat to Trump. They know things, and once Trump is no longer president they have no reason to do Trump any favors.


15 thoughts on “Intrigue, and Backstabbing, in the GOP

  1. IMO, you have to consider what each group or person wants. Trump is trying to keep his "ratings." His cult base is the source of his power – this is why the GOP in Congress and the RNC bows and scrapes. Trump has an exquisite feel for the walking dead who lurch behind him. Trump's power will wane if he's perceived as a loser. (How much of the base Trump can retain by repeating the lie that he was cheated, nobody knows. But being driven out of the White House isn't a benefit.)

    Trump is terrified of going to jail. NY state has cases ready to file, I read. The documents suggest Trump indulged in fraud, paying his daughter consulting fees to reduce the declared profit. She's part of the Trump Corp and can't draw consulting fees that way. So I read, anyway. Is she criminally liable?  A pardon from Pence won't stop those charges. 

    For the RNC, it's all about two elections in GA on Jan 5. If Trump goes down to do rallies for the Republicans, they will win. If Trump sulks and ignores the Senate races, we have a good shot. The deafening silence from Republicans is abject feat that the baby POTUS will throw a tantrum when the last card is played and the GOP gained seats in an election Trump lost. Who will be the target of Trump's rage?

    Trump has used the DOJ as his personal law firm. That goes away in January. Trump would like to use the GOP as his piggy bank for the legal fees in a tsunami of legal cases that are waiting for Trump's loss of immunity. A bunch are civil suits for sexual harassment, rape, and defamation related to rape accusations. 

    Cohen may be a witness in some of these trials. If there is testimony and evidence of bank fraud at the same time Trump is trying to refinance 400 million in debt, the banks are gonna squeeze Trump hard. Mayor Bug-eyes is literally sweating hair dye. Is the source of Rudy's stress the laws he broke in Ukraine going after Joe? Will Trump pardon Rudy if he fails to get at least one appeal to the US Supreme Court? If Rudy is charged, who can he turn on to save his hide? Pompeo? Trump won't care if he's got his pardon from Pence. 

    It still comes back to the zombie following Trump has. While the cult keeps drinking the Koolaid, the GOP has to bow and scrape to Trump. When the GOP voter starts looking elsewhere for leadership, the spell begins to break. (I expected GOP sanity three years ago, so I quit predicting when.) 

    Trump's humiliating departure will hurt Trump's brand. The name is now associated with graceless ignoble failure. Yes, the cultists will cheer but will they part with money?  The cash Trump grifts from the RNC is money not available for elections in 2022. That will be noted by 2021.

    More popcorn.

  2. I'm gonna just sit.

    And watch.

    And read.

    And hope for casualties.

    Serious casualties.

    And then, I'll smile.


    • Trump casualties?  I think you're gonna see them. IMO, Biden will back the DOJ going after every enabler in every criminal act Trump led. This is second-best, but still pretty good as a future deterrent to signing up to carry out illegal actions.

  3. There is talk that Trump voters plan to boycott the Georgia Senate runoff elections.

    Please God, make it so. It’s completely hilarious how Trump’s incompetence is undermining a hugely strategic race.

    I discovered an amazing historian of fascism + authoritarianism, Ruth Ben-Ghiat

  4. Let's throw in a catch-22 just to make things interesting.

    The state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee sent a letter Saturday to the board members asking them to delay certification for 14 days and wait for an audit of Wayne County's election results. An audit cannot happen in Michigan until votes are certified.

  5. I figure Trump can doom Republicans in 2024 by running as an independent.

    And yes, I think Trump would do it if it serves his best interests.

  6. Pretty sad to be stuck rooting for Trump, because he's the only person who can save teh Earth from the GOP.

    How can we (progressives, non-GOP, non-MAGAts) help drive wedges between Trump & the traditional big-money GOP?

    We can't influence the GOP machine, but the MAGAts are reactive, and therefore manipulable.  Their hatred of us can be used as a handle.  I suggest (temporary) vocal support for Kasich, Kemp, and all other "sensible" Republican Pols who defy Trump.  BUT make sure to "let your freak flag fly" when you do (Hippies For Kasich!).  The point is not to reward the "moderate" Republicans, but to enrage the Trumpists against them.  Anybody that we like, they will hate.  Look for places on-line to post comments supporting GOP pols who defy Trump. Throw in some gratuitous Snark against Trump (intellectual snark really fires them up), but keep the focus on your "support" for the "good" GOP pols.  

    Puff pieces in MSM supporting "sensible" Republicans against Trump will help, too.

    GOP is trying to thread the needle – to ease Trump out, without alienating his "zombies" (thx, Doug!) – and it was looking like they had succeeded (Trump lost, GOP won).  But Trump is Craaaazy – narcissistic, paranoid, labile – and easy to anger, so it's still a delicate time for the GOP.  Whatever we can do to help focus Trump's anger at the GOP increases the chances of a good outcome.

  7. Every time a president is about to leave office, people who should know better overestimate the political influence they will yield. The truth is, they disappear, whether by choice, or by natural selection. Trump will be no different. And he has unique circumstances to hasten his political decline.
    • He's made too many enemies 
    • He'll be in court almost full time
    • He'll soon be broke
    • He'll grift any influence he retains and any money he gets for his library, PACs etc.
    • Too many young wingnuts ready to fill the void.
    • His base are fickle and stupid sheep. They'll flock to the next fresh orange face, Just as Fox news is losing viewers to Newsmax now.

  8. I see that Trump jettisoned Sidney Powell. I guess she didn't understand how to navigate the crazies, and she went a little overboard in her assertions. What's funny about that is the idea that Guiliani was the one who pulled the plug on her for being a whack job. If that doesn't take the cake?

    I kind of feel sorry for her. Here on her first public foray into Trump's whirlwind of crazy she gets knocked out of the box for not knowing the nuances of the crazies. How does one know the bounds of allowable crazy when crazy has no bounds?

     Powell's overstep reminds me of a joke I heard about 60 years ago.

     An Englishman comes to visit a family in the United States. During the evening meal they are serving fish that was caught locally in a lake by a dam. The family's habit was to refer to the fish caught by the dam as the dam fish. During the meal the mother mentioned that this was some of the best dam fish she had ever eaten. The father agreed, and asked that someone would pass him some more of the dam fish. Junior chimed in saying, I'll have more of that dam fish also.

    Whereupon, the Englishman wanting to blend in with the laid back and liberal mood of the American family commented.. "Why, this seems like a jolly good party, I think I'll stick my dick in the mash potatoes".

    • <i>"and she went a little overboard in her assertions."</i>

      Seriously? Giuliani has been saying crazy shit like that for years. They just don't want to hear it from HER. Also, this is not her first wing nut rodeo by any means. Her problem wasn't in the punchline of your joke. Her problem is not having a dick to stick in the mashed potatoes in the first place. She should have taken a cue from Victoria Toensing who kept her mouth shut and stared at the floor like a good little wife.

      My theory: Powell is guilty of upstaging a man at a presser while middle aged, non-blonde and female. Why are feminism hating right wing women always surprised when conservative men pin their ears back?

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