Republicans are starting to sound quite apocalyptic about their party’s short-term prospects.
While the voices raising alarm tack toward the GOP’s center or are familiar establishment figures, the increasing pessimism among party members could herald troubles for the Republican brand – and perhaps even a push to remove Trump from office.
Former RNC Chair Michael Steele appeared on CNBC Monday, where he explained the near-impossibility of Republicans passing big ticket legislation this fall despite the fact that they control both chambers of congress and the White House:
This fall is not going to be pretty for Republicans…The tension is already there on some big-ticket items like tax reform and health care that the Senate is of one mind, the House is of another and the White House is on a completely different page.
Steele then goes on to discuss the looming threat posed by Steve Bannon – former senior advisor to Trump recently booted from the White House – who he claims will continue his war with the “deep state” having returned to the far-right media outlet Breitbart.
Meanwhile, Senator Susan Collins of Maine – who has been a thorn in Trump’s side – told a reporter that “it’s too difficult to say” whether or not Trump will be the nominee in 2020.
Quite a shocking vote of no confidence from a sitting senator.
There is also Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican senator who has begun positioning himself as a foil to the demagogic Trump. Flake has remarked that there is now “more nastiness and dysfunction in the election’s wake,” and that the conservative electorate’s embrace of Trump had made him “heartsick.”
And, of course, there is Tennessee’s Bob Corker. Even this bonafide conservative flag-bearer is publicly forthright when talking about the madness and incompetence of the Trump Administration:
The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful…[he] also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.
Many analysts are arguing that there will be no Trump pivot, as the president simply cannot help himself when it comes to his most destructive behaviors. Hopes were high when John Kelly became Trump’s chief of staff. Perhaps this disciplined general – the thought went – will provide order for the chaotic White House.
Fast-forward to Trump’s botched press conference following the Charlottesville terror attack, where he provided an equivocating defense of neo-Nazis, Kelly stood in the background, visibly shellshocked and hanging his head in shame.
Republicans are getting it. They see the writing on the wall. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before they act on these feelings, if only to save their own political skin.