by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
When you’ve been consuming and producing political commentary for many years, you get used to certain recurring themes. One is the imminent disappearance or relegation to permanent minority status of the Republican Party.
This was widely predicted after the Goldwater defeat in 1964, after Watergate in the 1970s, and after the elections of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in 1992 and 2008, with considerably larger Democratic congressional majorities (57-43 and 259-176 for Clinton, 58-41 and 257-178 for Obama) than President Biden now enjoys in 2021 (51-50 and 222-213).
Those predictions didn’t pan out then, and I suspect they won’t pan out now.
The Republicans do face some difficulties. Former President Donald Trump gave them a presidential victory they didn’t expect and some policy victories and new support from modest-income constituencies like Appalachians and Hispanics.
But nothing is free in politics; there is only some question about when you pay the price. Trump’s idiosyncratic approach to the coronavirus and his refusal to propitiate hostile constituencies produced defeat by an even narrower margin (42,918 votes in three states) than his victory in 2016 (77,736 votes in three states). …
… Democrats hope impeachment will split Republicans and provoke continuing fights between pro- and anti-Trump factions, undercutting Republican nominees and discouraging Republican turnout, as in the two Georgia Senate races on Jan. 5.
Maybe, or maybe not. Only 10 House Republicans voted for impeachment. But attempts to oust one of them, Rep. Liz Cheney, from her leadership position was rejected by a 145-61 vote. And freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was persuaded to renounce her bizarre conspiracy-minded tweets in the process. …
… Republicans, confident that their party is centered on a core constituency of people regarded by themselves and others as typical Americans, have tended to be less starry-eyed.
They have regarded their presidents as utilitarian appliances, to be disposed of or upgraded as necessary.