Remember those predictions that after the insurrection at the Capitol, that there would be a reckoning within the Republican Party, and that Donald Trump and Trumpism would be repudiated? I cringed when I read confident analysis that predicted that January 6 would “go down as the day that broke the Republican Party as we know it and began the GOP’s ultimate reckoning with Trumpism.” It was easily identifiable as wishful thinking then—and now, in the wake of the former president’s second impeachment trial, it’s only become more apparent that far from weakening Trump’s hold on the Republican Party, Republican voters largely don’t care that he incited an insurrection. They still just love the man.
Republican voters got over any misgivings they had about Trump’s role on Jan. 6 very quickly. Fifty-nine percent of Republican voters said they want Trump to play a major role in their party going forward. That’s up 18 percentage points from a Morning Consult poll conducted on Jan. 7, and an increase of 9 points from a follow-up poll on Jan. 25, before the impeachment trial began.
Another piece of evidence: While Trump’s overall favorability rating is an abysmal 34% in our latest poll, 81% of Republican respondents gave him positive marks. Trump was at 77% approval among Republicans on Jan. 7 and 74% on Jan. 25.
That poll asked Republican voters whom they wanted to vote for in the 2024 presidential election—53 percent chose Donald Trump, and an alarming six percent said they’d vote for Don Jr. One out of every 20 Republicans wants Don Jr. to be president! Sit with that!!!
Trump’s influence on the party is perhaps best seen at the grassroots level. As FiveThirtyEight wrote, “The party’s most-Trump and pro-Trumpism contingent and the forces in the party pushing its growing radical and antidemocratic tendencies are often not national Republicans, but those at the local and state levels.”
Consider the fierce criticism directed at the few Republicans who supported impeaching Trump, like Liz Cheney, from party leaders in their home states. Again, from FiveThirtyEight:
Outside Washington, those who criticized Trump for his role in the attack are the ones facing the backlash.
Only days after Cheney’s colleagues in Washington didn’t punish her, the Wyoming Republican Party did. They passed a formal resolution condemning Cheney for voting for Trump’s impeachment, calling for her immediate resignation and declaring the party will no longer support her politically. The official state GOP parties in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina have also censured prominent Republicans in their states for breaking with the former president, as have county-level GOP officials in Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Michigan and Washington state. The Republican Party in Oregon released a resolution condemning all 10 U.S. House Republicans who voted for impeachment (none are from Oregon), compared them to Benedict Arnold and suggested the pro-impeachment Republicans were “conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship.”
The Trump brand is still strong enough that some in the family are reportedly seeking higher office, part of what the New York Times recently wrote is “part of a coordinated Trump family comeback” after the Capitol riot and the family patriarch’s second impeachment trial. Ivanka Trump is rumored to be laying the groundwork for a Senate run in her new state of Florida. And as the New York Times noted, Lara Trump, the wife of the lesser Trump son Eric, is allegedly planning to run for Senate in her home state of North Carolina in 2022, a prospect that Republican leaders like Senator Lindsey Graham fully support. “If she runs, I will certainly be behind her because I think she represents the future of the Republican Party,” Graham said in an interview on Fox News this past Sunday.
Whatever the future of the Republican Party looks like, one thing is certain—the Trumps are never going to go away.