I have seen an ever-increasing number of people asking some version of this question over the last two weeks:
What will it take to get Republicans to stand up to Trump?
The answer to this question, I think, is that, with the exception of a few edge cases, the Republican Party will remain silent pretty much regardless of what Trump does.
Here is the calculation I think the GOP leadership and most of its members have made. While Trump’s disapproval ratings are historically high, his base (probably somewhere around 20%) remains entirely committed to him. They don’t believe the press, they hate the Democrats, and they will stick with Trump because he’s their guy. The Republican Party needs these voters—they are probably electorally doomed without them, so they do not want to do anything to alienate them.
At the same time, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, etc. are not stupid. I am pretty sure they know what Trump is and understand that the wheels are off the bus, the whole thing is on fire, and Trump will continue steering it into every tree and utility pole on the road until the whole thing explodes.
Given that, I imagine their plan is to stand back and let him keep driving until the ugly, fiery end. They can then point to the Democrats as having been the ones to push for investigations, prosecutions, etc. and turn Trump into some sort of martyr. They will have rid themselves of him, but as long as they are not actively participating in his downfall, they can claim to his base that it’s not their fault.
The frightening part is that, given the epistemic closure on the Right, this strategy just might work.
There are comments.