[guest post by Dana]
While the Republican Party seems on the precipice of a full-blown civil war, many have opined that it’s time for a third party to be formed. Whether such a move is undertaken by the MAGA members or the more principled members depends on who is speaking. Here are some solid arguments for the principled members of the party to officially form their own party:
In 1896, U.S. Sen. Henry Teller of Colorado, former Secretary of the Interior and one of the founders of the Republican Party, rose on the floor of the Republican convention and announced that he and 24 other Western delegates were leaving the party because they could not support the new platform language on the gold standard. In his speech, Teller said leaving his party would be painful, but “our consciences require us as honest men to make this sacrifice.” Teller and the others marched off the convention floor and formed the Silver Republican Party.
The example of Teller should guide principled Republicans today because the GOP must split. For too long, too many Republicans who were well-aware of who Donald Trump was, and what his movement represented, have been willing to look the other way to keep the Republican party from fracturing. That must end.
Instead of trying to hold it together, principled Republicans willing to put country before party need to encourage a split because a united Republican party — led by Trump or someone like him — is the greatest threat to freedom and democracy that America faces. We know that a united Trumpist GOP can win national elections. And we now know beyond all reasonable doubt that Trumpism is an authoritarian movement willing to subvert democracy and the Constitution.
To be specific, Sens. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins should join with the 10 House members who voted for impeachment, including Washington state Reps. Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Dan Newhouse, and the Republican officials who stood firm during the election, such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, to form a new party, or a distinct dissident faction within the GOP…
That is what should happen. It is what has happened at similar moments repeatedly during our history.
The writer goes on to recount the number of times in U.S. history that our political parties split up, divided, realigned, and reformed, reminding readers that it’s only been for the last half-century that Americans have remained settled on two major political parties.
With that, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has called Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial a “ridiculous circus,” is making the news again by her claims that she spoke with Trump this weekend (though it was not confirmed by Trump’s camp). And this morning, she said that she will be visiting with him soon:
“But he’s doing really well,” she added. “I’m excited to go visit him soon and continue to give him a call and talk to him frequently. Great news is, he supports me 100 percent, and I’ve always supported him. President Trump is always here for the people, and he’s not going anywhere. So I look forward to, to joining him and what his future plans may be.”
However, Green continues to be a vexing problem for her party. Her unhinged conspiracy theories, her use of anti-Semitic tropes, her endorsement of violence against Democratic leaders and general nuttiness may be coming to a head. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell actually condemned her comments today. However, he chose not to call her out by name. In doing that, he missed an opportunity to exert pressure on other members who share her unhinged views:
…McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday blasted Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of “loony lies and conspiracy theories” as a “cancer for the Republican Party.”
“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said in a statement first shared with The Hill. “This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”
McConnell didn’t mention Greene by name in his three-sentence statement, but his rare, scathing remarks about a freshman GOP lawmaker from the other chamber suggests he recognizes the potential damage her violent rhetoric and bizarre conspiracy theories could inflict on congressional Republicans as they try to take back both the House and Senate in next year’s midterms.
Greene was anything but contrite in her response
The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully.
This is why we are losing our country.
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) February 2, 2021
This is such a Trumpian response. I can hear the MAGA crowd applauding her comeback: She fights back! She doesn’t back down! She says what others are afraid to say!
Meanwhile, House Minority LeaderKevin McCarthy is expected to meet with Greene on Wednesday to discuss her outlandish comments and behavior. The question of whether she will be stripped of her committee assignments remains to be seen. However, Democrats are poised to take action to remove her if McCarthy doesn’t do so himself.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is not a fan of Greene’s, is flat-out calling for her removal:
Of course she should be removed. While we can’t prevent her from calling herself a Republican, we can take a stand, and need to.
He also responded to her on Twitter:
Eye roll emoji, followed by “price is right” fail sound. https://t.co/sjgft1YGv4
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) February 2, 2021
Kinzinger, fed up with the current state of the Republican party, is taking steps in hopes of reclaiming the party he no longer recognizes:
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump earlier this month, has launched a new political action committee that is designed to become a financial engine to challenge the former president’s wing of the GOP caucus and stand up against a leadership team still aligned with him.
Kinzinger, 42, a former star of the 2010 tea party class, said the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol served as a final breaking point for the direction of the Republican Party, providing a stark divide between those who want to continue a path toward autocracy and those who want to return to traditional conservative values.
“The reality is this: This is a time to choose. . . . And my goal in launching Country1st.com . . . is just to say, ‘Look, let’s take a look at the last four years, how far we have come in a bad way, how backwards-looking we are, how much we peddle darkness and division,’ ” Kinzinger said on the program. “And that’s not the party I ever signed up for. And I think most Republicans didn’t sign up for that.”
Along with Kinzinger, Sen. Mitt Romney, who had already rebuked Green for spreading “nonsense” about the 2020 election having been stolen from Trump, tweeted about her alleged call with Trump:
Lies of a feather flock together: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s nonsense and the “big lie” of a stolen election. https://t.co/ID4QL2ZPEV
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) January 30, 2021
Sen. Rob Portman also pushed back on Greene and her antics:
“I think Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable what she has said,” the Ohio senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “I saw a couple videos over the weekend and one had to do with violence as I see it. There is no place for violence in our political dialogue. By the way there is no place for violence in our country. I mean, this is something we got to get away from. So yeah. I think people ought to speak out clearly.”
Asked if Greene, who has been appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee, should she be stripped of her committee assignments, Portman said the move could “send a message.”
“I assume that is something they’re looking at and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. And you know, I think that is the way to send a message,” he said. “The voters who elected her in her district in Georgia, you know, ought to be respected. On the other hand when that kind of behavior occurs there has to be a strong response.”
Perhaps if other members of the Republican Party can find the courage to effectively shut down Greene’s craziness, it could be seen as a warning to other MAGA members that enough is enough: the lunatic conspiracy theories, the continued lies about the election having been stolen from Trump, and all the other accompanying nonsense will not be tolerated by the party. If that were to happen, there might not be a reason to look into the formation of a third party as sanity would return to the GOP. But, let’s face it, this isn’t a group that has demonstrated any real fortitude and spine and rising to the occasion when the moment called for it. Nope. That’s not today’s Republican party. This is a group whose vast majority of members have exerted more energy and time to condemn Liz Cheney for voting her conscience than they have Greene, who clearly deserves their disapproval and rebuke. So maybe the time has indeed come for principled members to stop trying to hold it together put country before party.