by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans have had a brutal news cycle over the past month, between the ouster of Liz Cheney from leadership and the intraparty jousting over a January 6 commission.
The overwhelming sense of the coverage is that the party is descending into madness and civil war and is a husk of its former self.
There’s no denying that much of the party has been too willing to indulge or look away from wild theories about the 2020 election and the Capitol riot, but this shouldn’t obscure the fact that the Republicans are well-positioned to take the House next year.
All indications are that GOP voters are united and energized, and the party is doing what’s necessary to make Kevin McCarthy the next speaker, which would instantly squash the never-very-plausible talk of Joe Biden being the next FDR.
The foundation of the GOP’s unity, of course, is that Donald Trump effortlessly maintained his control of the GOP. The anticipated civil war came and went with barely a shot fired.
Cheney is certainly a casualty, although she is now less a leader of a significant faction of the party and more a voice crying in the wilderness. That is an honorable role, and she may well be vindicated in the fullness of time.
But the party will pay no electoral price for the drama over her leadership role or, likely, for its continued loyalty to Trump.
Despite Trump’s grip, he’s not front and center for average voters. He isn’t president, and he isn’t on the ballot. The focus inevitably will be on Biden and his agenda. …
… The Democratic polling outfit Democracy Corps just did a battleground survey that confirmed this picture. As Stanley Greenberg writes in a memo about the poll, among Republicans: “The percent scoring 10, the highest level of interest in the election, has fallen from 84-68%. But Democrats’ engagement fell from 85-57%.”