In his column for the Daily Beast, conservative and Never-Trumper Matt Lewis explained that GOP lawmakers are seeing the writing on the wall and are doing all they can to put distance between themselves and Donald Trump as his re-election prospects sink.
Calling them "Republican rats" who are "slowly abandoning" the ship, the conservative columnist said that GOP lawmakers are looking at their own internal polls which indicate there is no advantage in sticking with the president as his bungling of the COVID-19 pandemic has sent his approval numbers into the tank.
"These Republicans (who have their own pollsters) have demonstrated that they will go whichever way the wind is blowing. And it is now clear that Trump is running against the wind," Lewis wrote before noting Republican Senator Ben Sasse (NE) took an open slap at the White House this past week, telling the New York Times, "I want the whole White House to start acting like a team on a mission to tackle a real problem.”
As Lewis notes, Republicans aren't in full-fledged retreat from Trump but the cracks are beginning to show, with the columnist writing, "What we are starting to see, however, is some distancing (and not just the social kind) on the issue that will probably define (and doom!) Trump’s presidency. Some independence. Some daylight between Republicans and their president. "
Having said that, Lewis lamented that Republicans who may be ousted along with Trump might be the more moderate members, leaving what is left of the Republican Party in the hands of "Trumpist" idealogues like Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and Josh Hawley (MO).
"If Trumpism is a cancer in the Republican Party (the theory goes), then you must root it out completely before it metastasizes. The problem is that most of these Republicans aren’t Trumpists—they’re opportunists. Their behavior was based on a rational conclusion that their voting base wanted them to support their president," he explained. "If George W. Bush were president, they’d never stop talking about the importance of 'compassionate conservatism.' Destroying them reminds me of the line about having to destroy the village to save it."
Writing, "Just how low should de-Trumpification go? In my opinion, it would be nice to have a check-and-balance on the potential excesses of the next regime. Just because you hate Trump doesn’t mean you have to reverse engineer your entire belief system," Lewis admitted before expressing hope that a more level-headed Republican Party might rise from the ashes.
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