Cracks showing in 'GOP unity' as top Republicans start moving away from Trump: NPR
Des Moines Iowa, USA, 8th December, 2016 President Elect Donald Trump at the Victory thank you rally in Des Moines. Trump addresses the crowd of supporters that swept him to victory in the campaign

According to a report from NPR's Ron Elving, while the mainstream media has been busy focusing on over-inflating the "Dems in disarray" narrative, they are ignoring a coming apart of the Republican Party that is increasingly choosing sides over Donald Trump with an election on the horizon.

As Elving notes, it has always been an article of faith the Republicans are in a continual state of lockstep, offering up an image of party comity and unity, but recent developments show there is a power struggle within the party tied to allegiance to Trump.

According to Elving, "Heightened tensions within the GOP have been increasingly visible in recent weeks, driven by the still-divisive personality of former President Donald Trump — but also by issues such as vaccines and mandates and by the prospect of big Republican gains in the elections of 2022 and 2024," adding that Republican governors are increasingly turning their backs on not only Trump but GOP lawmakers in Washington, D.C. who are mired in petty squabbles inspired by the former president.

"Eyebrows were raised over the weekend when a big name Republican, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, criticized Trump and his claque in Congress. Sununu was especially disturbed at the so-called 'MAGA Squad,' the hardcore Trump acolytes who have tried to ostracize their in-party House colleagues who voted for the Senate's bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month — or who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year," Elving wrote before adding that Sununu is not alone in keeping his distance from Trump and his enablers and balking at running for the U.S. Senate despite the pleadings of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

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"Sununu's approval in New Hampshire is 67%, [Maryland's Larry] Hogan's at home is 70%, but both have declined to run for the Senate next year, depriving the GOP of their best chance at a pick-up in both states," the NPR report states. "Also refusing party pleadings are Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, the nation's most popular governor at 79% approval, and Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who looks not too shabby at 72%. Scott has said publicly he voted for Biden and also called for Trump to be removed from office after Jan. 6. Baker has said he did not vote for Trump in either 2016 or 2020, and Trump has endorsed someone else for governor in the Bay State."

Beyond that, Elving wrote that Republicans are growing increasingly weary of Trump's insistence that the 2020 election was stolen from him -- and are now looking out for themselves and their political future as prospects of taking over the Senate and the House look promising.

"Trump's continued insistence on his 2020 alternative reality is not the only problem driving the GOP's dive into disunity. Another factor, curiously enough, is the prospect of power," he wrote, "Robust Republican turnout this month in New Jersey and Virginia gave the party near-giddy certainty about its prospects in 2022. This is especially true in the House. The party in the White House nearly always loses seats in the House in the midterm election year. The few exceptions, such as in the aftermath of the terror attacks 20 years ago or the Great Depression 90 years ago, mostly prove the rule."

Then there is the jockeying for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination that could be a referendum on Trump.

"Add to all this the familiar friction between potential presidential contestants already running shadow campaigns for 2024. Most, if not all, still say they will defer to Trump if he runs. This crew includes former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Cotton of Arkansas," the report states before adding, "But not everyone in the field is promising to step aside for another Trump bid. Take for example Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who ran against Trump in 2016, then worked hard to elect and re-elect him."

Writing, "over the years, as the nominally smaller group, the GOP nurtured the image of a tested, hardened cadre with fierce demands on members' loyalty," Elving cautioned, "Some of this was myth, of course, as the GOP always had its share of disagreements and dissension," before recalling, "[Ronald] Reagan also ran hard in the primaries against his party's incumbent Republican president, Gerald Ford."

"Clichés die hard," he conceded. "And the motif of D's in disarray and R's in lockstep is likely to live on in the popular imagination, and in the media, for a long time to come."

You can read the entire analysis here.

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