10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump. Will any be left in Congress after November?
Republicans should nominate a new standard-bearer, and Democrats should stop screaming about the health of American democracy on TV while funneling millions to those who seek to undermine it.
There’s no doubt former President Donald Trump remains the most potent force in the Republican Party, both from a fundraising perspective and as an influencer for GOP voters. He has successfully lined up opposition to Republican politicians who either voted to impeach him or opposed him publicly in some way.
The next test of this will be in Wyoming, where political analysts expect Rep. Liz Cheney to lose her primary against a Trump-backed opponent on Aug. 16. Cheney has been the most outspoken Republican against Trump and is vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee. Cheney's primary contest comes on the heels of Rep. Peter Meijer's defeat in Michigan's GOP primary Tuesday.
Putting country before party has cost some Republicans
Like Cheney, Meijer boldly put country before party by being one of the 10 House GOP members who voted to impeach Trump after the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Meijer lost his primary race to the Trump-endorsed John Gibbs.
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Fellow impeachment voter Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., was also trounced by a Trump-endorsed candidate in June. In addition, four of the House GOP members who voted to impeach Trump have announced their intentions to retire from Congress.
Only three of the 10 have survived GOP primaries this year. In June, Rep. David Valadao of California advanced to the general election. Last week, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Rep. Dan Newhouse appear to have moved on to November after the Washington state primary.
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But it remains an open question whether any of the GOP members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump will stay in the chamber after November.
Trump's candidates have been getting support from unlikely places
Trump’s crusade against his enemies hasn’t come without outside intervention. Democratic Party committees have invested millions nationally in propping up the Trumpiest GOP primary candidates because they are perceived to be weaker general election opponents. In Michigan, Meijer's opponent was buoyed when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed up with more than $400,000 in ad money.
Even so, Trump's not omnipotent. And others who have opposed Trump or sparked his ire have held on.
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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ignored Trump’s attacks and coasted to renomination earlier this year. South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace displeased Trump and still won a contested primary a few weeks back.
What's the logical conclusion of Democrats' meddling?
I don’t expect Jan. 6 to be a huge issue in November’s midterms, as inflation, the economy and other issues dominate. But come 2024, the Republican Party and America will have to resolve these issues when Trump runs for president a third time.
Can someone who so badly failed to uphold the standards of the presidency be entrusted again with a shot at the White House?
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The logical conclusion to this program of Democratic meddling is that some too-cute-by-half party apparatchiks help Trump win the GOP nomination on the theory that he’s destined to lose. That is playing with fire, especially if an unpopular President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris is the Democratic nominee.
Both parties have a responsibility to move the country forward. Republicans should nominate a new standard-bearer out of a deep talent pool, and Democrats should stop screaming about the health of American democracy on TV while funneling millions to those who seek to undermine it.
Scott Jennings is a Republican adviser, CNN political contributor and partner at RunSwitch Public Relations. He can be reached at Scott@RunSwitchPR.com or on Twitter: @ScottJenningsKY