[guest post by Dana]
This is really not a surprise. Keep the grift going for as long as you can:
President Trump has talked in recent days with associates about forming a new political party, according to people familiar with the matter, an effort to exert continued influence after he leaves the White House.
Mr. Trump discussed the matter with several aides and other people close to him last week, the people said. The president said he would want to call the new party the “Patriot Party,” the people said.
It’s unclear how serious Mr. Trump is about starting a new party, which would require a significant investment of time and resources. The president has a large base of supporters, some of whom were not deeply involved in Republican politics prior to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.
He certainly has a substantial base in place. And after receiving 74 million votes, we can assume that he would be able to peel off a significant number of MAGA loyalists (as opposed to the Republicans who begrudgingly voted for Trump). Calling it the “Patriot Party” is very on-brand for Trumpers too. But would it actually gain any momentum given the incredible push back that would come from the Republican Party? The longtime major party is not about to sit idly by as a third party pulls away members. But are Trump’s supporters still loyal to him – even after the events of Jan. 6? Well, at least right now, it appears so:
The new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Friday morning shows broad public support for holding Trump accountable for last week’s siege at the Capitol. But 60% of Republicans say they still want their party to follow Trump’s direction, with only one in three favoring a new direction.
Among those who approve of Trump’s job performance, a startling one in five — 19% — support those who stormed the Capitol. Two-thirds of Republicans believe the president has behaved responsibly since the election.
It points to a Trump-backing base that is feeding off different news sources and operating under different norms entirely than even their fellow Republicans…
While no one yet knows how the Republican Party will shake out in the wake of Trump’s departure from the White House, I think it’s safe to say that given the embarrassingly small number of Republican lawmakers willing to hold him accountable and vote for impeachment, he will continue to hold sway for some time.
I realize this is anecdotal but nonetheless, I’m sure this is happening in other places as well. Since the election, I know of three lifelong Republicans from separate families, who live just several doors apart from one another in my neighborhood and have left the Republican Party. Each one of them says essentially the same thing: they could not bring themselves to vote for Trump, and they had been hoping for a long time that the GOP would wake up and turn away from him. Of course, that never happened. So when Trump attempted to overturn a legitimate election, the decision was made for them. They would rather be unaffiliated with any party than spend another day as members of the GOP.
Secondly, this is another telling example of the current disarray of the Republican Party: Dan McLaughlin points to his email inbox and notes that Trump’s name has all but disappeared from Republican fundraising emails:
If you have been on Republican fundraising email lists the past several years — even if, like me, you have never given a penny to Donald Trump’s campaigns — you are familiar not only with the regular deluge of such emails, but also with the ubiquity of Trump and the Trump family in the sender line, subject line, text, and merchandise offered in such emails. Trump is everywhere. Until now: Suddenly, he’s gone. After noticing this pattern, I went through my inbox (even the spam folder) and counted up the fundraising emails from official GOP sources since January 7, the day after the Capitol riot. What isn’t said speaks volumes. I categorized these by the sender or domain…
In just under two weeks, 201 emails, of which at most eight mentioned Trump, and a few of those only obliquely. Even emails pounding away at social-media bans talk about banning “conservatives,” not Trump himself. Jake Tapper of CNN is mentioned in more of these emails than Trump is. I also saw zero examples of Trump merchandise referenced in any of these emails.
Few things are more directly aimed at the tribal id of political partisans than fundraising pitches via direct mail and email. If rank-and-file Republican donors are more likely to respond favorably than unfavorably to mentions of the president, you’d expect to see that. If my inbox is at all representative, Trump’s absence speaks volumes about what the fundraising professionals are seeing in the mood of the party.
So, while a newly sworn-in President Joe Biden is calling for unity today, the Republican Party is trying to sell their own twisted brand of it: Look the other way and do not hold a former President of the United States accountable for fomenting the horrendous events that took place on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, nor hold him accountable for a two-month effort to overturn election results because the nation needs to, you know, unify and heal. Look the other way. For the sake of the party.
[Ed. I can’t remember who it was but several weeks ago, well before this report came out, a commenter said that they thought Trump would start his own party and peel away the MAGA crowd as opposed to the anti-MAGA Republicans pulling away from the Republican Party to start a third party. It looks like you were onto something.]