The anti-Trump resistance within the Republican Party is showing signs of life, even though the former president clearly still retains an iron grip on the GOP.
Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), both outspoken critics of the former president, posted impressive fundraising hauls in the first half of this year, far outpacing their Trump-backed primary challengers, the Guardian noted Wednesday.
But Americans Keeping Country First, a super PAC dedicated to defending members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump, raked in more money than any independent political group dedicated to going after Trump's critics.
"That is a bright sign for the Republican dissidents to be able to raise that kind of money," journalist and author Charlie Sykes told the Guardian. "It's unfortunate that it doesn't change the dynamic that the Republican base is what it is. But it's a reminder that there is a constituency for Republicans who are willing to break with Trump. It's a signal that other Republicans can see that if, in fact, they do the right thing, they are not going to be completely abandoned, that there is potentially some support there.
"There are some green shoots," Sykes added, pointing to last week's defeat of Trump-backed Republican Susan Wright in Texas, as well as Senate Republicans' refusal to do the former president's bidding by killing a bipartisan infrastructure deal. "Those elements are all indications of possible vulnerability. Losing that primary where he had gone all in is significant but it's a long way to go. It's going to be a drip, drip, drip. There will be a lot of opportunities for other Republicans to find off-ramps if they're looking for it."
Tim Miller, the former political director of Republican Voters Against Trump, said: "There are plenty of Republican donors that didn't support the insurrection but are just going along to get along with Donald Trump. These are not profiles in courage but I could see them wanting to assuage their guilt by rewarding Cheney and Kinzinger. There are people that maybe don't want to speak out and earn the ire of Donald Trump but want to be supportive; I know people like that. I'm not surprised that with the combination, from your quiet anti-Trump Republicans to your 'Never Trumpers', to some good-natured Democrats, you can pull together money. The question is whether that translates into popular support."