If there's any consistency to the Republican Party it's that they seemingly run from Donald Trump each time things get hairy -- and then they ultimately come crawling back.
Writing for The Atlantic Tuesday, Adam Serwer predicted that history would repeat itself this time too. In the third election in a row, Republicans have lost in races that they were expected to win after multiple Trump-backed candidates flopped in November.
"Still, we’ve seen Republicans try to distance themselves from Trump before. Early in the 2016 primary, Republican leaders and conservative-media figures were willing to acknowledge that Trump was overtly racist, but when he won the nomination, nearly all of them transformed into loyal stooges," wrote Serwer. "The release of the audio of Trump confessing to 'grabbing' women... led to disavowals, but then to disavowals of the disavowals in relatively short order. The family-separation policy, the attempt to strong-arm Ukrainian leadership into falsely implicating then-candidate Biden in a crime, the attempt to overthrow the American constitutional order by force after losing the 2020 election—there is simply no shortage of moments in which conservatives had reason to break with Trump."
Republican opposition to Trump comes not because of a higher moral calling, but opportunistic political interest, argues Serwer.
It's "precisely because the rejection of Trump is a matter of political interest and not principle, it’s easy to imagine all of these Republican elites reversing themselves once again if circumstances demand, and returning to their previous role as loyal Trump sycophants, if that perception changes," he explained.
At the same time, the system that allowed Trump to rise to power is still intact, lending to the greater possibility that Trump could rise again.
"As long as the GOP relies on taking advantage of these elements of the system to gain and maintain power rather than winning over the majority of the electorate, it will continue to flit from one existential culture-war conflict to another, the better to convince its constituents that the apocalypse is imminent unless Republicans alone are allowed to govern," he closed.