The Republicans February 2021-

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The Republicans
The Lincoln Project
What Is QAnon: Explaining the Internet Conspiracy Theory
The 45th President of the U.S.

Vaccine hesitancy morphs into hostility, as opposition to shots hardens
(WaPo) What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether.
The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions that the last election was stolen and the assault on the U.S. Capitol was overblown.
The message is resonating and the resistance solidifying. Twenty-nine percent of Americans in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll said they were unlikely to get vaccinated (including 20 percent who said they definitely would not). That compared with 24 percent who said they were unlikely to get a shot three months earlier.
On Sunday, onstage at CPAC as the final speaker, Trump bragged of pushing federal health agencies to make the vaccines a reality. “Thanks to the relentless efforts of my administration — and me,” he added after a slight pause — “we got miraculous therapeutics straight to patients with historic speed, and we produced three vaccines to end the pandemic in record time.”
The staunchly pro-Trump audience cheered. But in interviews, some attendees — huge Trump fans all — still said nothing could convince them to get their shots.

Heather Cox Richardson July 2, 2021
Today news broke that Anthony Aguero, who was in the Capitol on January 6 and who is close to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), joined Republican members of the right-wing Republican Study Committee when they traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday night. The association of sitting Congress members with someone who was apparently part of an insurrection is particularly audacious at a moment when the House of Representatives is in the process of forming a select committee to investigate that series of events.
… as I watch Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) try to figure out how to respond to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to suggest five members for the new select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. Senate Republicans killed the bipartisan select committee on which Republicans would have had significant power to limit the investigation both in scope, by refusing to agree to certain subpoenas, and in time, because Congress had required that committee to report before the end of the year. Now, Republicans are facing a committee dominated by Democrats who have subpoena power and no time limit, all while Republican extremism is on increasingly public display.
Forcing the creation of this select committee, rather than taking the offer of an independent, bipartisan committee, was a curious decision.

26 May
John Warner Was the Glamorous Republican Heretic of the Senate
By Ed Kilgore
His long congressional career, which ended in retirement in 2009, was marked by his lofty position in the bipartisan-defense establishment, tons of military pork to keep restive Virginians satisfied, and, despite a generally orthodox Republican voting record, occasional high-profile acts of heresy. It was no great surprise when Warner announced support for Democrat Mark Warner (no relation) as his successor, and he was among the early Republican supporters of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in 2016. Years earlier, he staved off the takeover of his party by right-wing zealots such as Oliver North that would presage the danger to come.
Warner was an exemplar of the days before ideological rigidity gripped the GOP. Despite supporting some abortion restrictions, he was fundamentally pro-choice, which is a nearly extinct point of view among Republicans today. He joined his friend Ted Kennedy in opposing Robert Bork’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, a cause that is still dear to an older generation of conservatives. He supported the Brady Bill and other gun-safety measures. Even on defense issues, he was not entirely predictable; as Armed Services chairman, he opposed the Bush administration’s last “surge” in Iraq and joined John McCain in opposing torture by the military and intelligence agencies.

24 May
53% of Republicans view Trump as true U.S. president -Reuters/Ipsos
The May 17-19 national poll found that 53% of Republicans believe Trump, their party’s nominee, is the “true president” now, compared to 3% of Democrats and 25% of all Americans.

23 May
U.S. Republicans clash over Jan 6 panel as Senate debate looms
(Reuters) Republicans in the U.S. Congress clashed on Sunday over the need for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, with one lawmaker warning that failure to create the panel could plague the party’s election prospects in 2022 and beyond.

17-19 May
Heather Cox Richardson: May 19, 2021
…the congressional fight over the creation of a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the events surrounding the January 6 insurrection.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made demands of the Democrats that he evidently expected Democrats to refuse, enabling him to object to the commission by claiming it was partisan. But the Democrats agreed to his conditions, forcing him to object in such a way that it was clear he is simply covering for the former president and, likely, for himself, because he does not want to have to testify to what he observed or participated in in the days around that event (including, for example, the hostile phone call with Trump when McCarthy was inside the besieged Capitol).
McCarthy and the Republican whip, Steven Scalise (R-LA), whose job is to get Republican members to vote along the lines leadership requires, set out to get Republican representatives to oppose the creation of the commission. But when the House voted on the bill this afternoon, 35 Republicans broke ranks to join the Democrats and vote to create the commission. The defections were a sign that McCarthy and the Trump caucus do not entirely own the House Republicans yet.
Why the Republican Party can’t reckon with Trump
Part cynical self-interest, part fear, and part fatalism.
By Andrew Prokop
(Vox) Most Republican critics of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election result have gone quiet.
[Liz Cheney is the exception.] The rest of the party has united around a strategy of moving on, as seen in Mitch McConnell’s newly announced opposition to a bipartisan commission investigating the storming of the Capitol in January.
For the segment of the party composed of die-hard Trump supporters, that approach makes sense. But even Republicans with deep misgivings about Trump’s post-election behavior have managed to rationalize avoiding the topic.
There are likely three reasons for this. First, there’s the cynical calculation that the GOP can best win future elections by seeming united, rather than spotlighting party divisions. Second, there’s the fear of openly defying Trump and earning the enmity of his supporters, since those deemed insufficiently loyal to the former president tend to see their jobs put at risk. And third, there’s the fatalistic view that this criticism simply won’t achieve anything, because the GOP base will trust the propaganda pipeline of conservative media and social media over their own leaders.
Spencer Bokat-Lindell: Why Can’t the Republican Party Quit Donald Trump?
(NYT Opinion) Normally when a political party loses a presidential election, it engages in a period of reflection to understand what went wrong. In 2012, for example, Barack Obama’s re-election prompted a 100-page autopsy to explain Mitt Romney’s defeat.
But that hasn’t happened this time around. “The former president has not only managed to squelch any dissent within his party,” The Times’s Lisa Lerer wrote, “but has persuaded most of the G.O.P. to make a gigantic bet: that the surest way to regain power is to embrace his pugilistic style, racial divisiveness and beyond-the-pale conspiracy theories rather than to court the suburban swing voters who cost the party the White House and who might be looking for substantive policies on the pandemic, the economy and other issues.”
Elizabeth Drew: The Big Lie and Its Consequences
By demonstrating craven loyalty to Donald Trump despite his lies about the 2020 election, the Republican Party is no longer simply playing for the base. By questioning the very integrity of America’s electoral system, it now represents an open threat to the US constitutional order.
(Project Syndicate) …should an incumbent Republican fail to exhibit sufficient obedience, Trump could “primary” that heretic by backing another Republican for his or her position. Thus, a large number of elected Republicans who know that his election claims are baseless (as are his denials that he fomented the January 6 assault on the US Capitol) espouse them nonetheless because in addition to being wary of Trump they also fear their constituents who follow him. On top of all this, Trump is far and away the party’s most adept fund-raiser.

The Larger Lesson of Liz Cheney’s Ouster
It is to her credit that she stood up to Trump, but, with the Middle East erupting again, let’s be careful that we don’t also embrace her bellicose foreign-policy views.
By Nicholas Lemann

13 May
150 Prominent Republicans and Independents Release ‘A Call for American Renewal’ Charting New Path
Signatories include former governors, members of Congress, administration officials, strategists and thinkers working to reform the GOP, or create an alternative
A coalition of 150 prominent Republican and independent leaders have released A Call for American Renewal, a principles-based vision for American leadership, as an alternative to the current direction of the Republican Party and growing extremism in the nation. Their call for a return to principles (available at: www.acallforamericanrenewal.com) follows a February summit and subsequent organizing.
As GOP leadership marginalizes Representative Liz Cheney and other honorable members and citizens for simple acts of truth-telling and conscience, founding signatories to this statement are mobilizing disaffected voters to impact competitive elections around the country and shape the future of the nation. This “common-sense coalition” seeks to catalyze the reform of the Republican Party and its recommitment to truth, founding ideals, and decency or, if unsuccessful, lay the foundation for an alternative.

11-12 May
Liz Cheney removal vote gives her time to take on Trump
No longer being chair of the House Republican Conference gives Cheney back a valuable asset: her time.
Heather Cox Richardson May 11, 2021
Tonight, in a speech that claimed every piece of the Republican landscape since 1980, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney launched a broadside against the Republican leaders who have shackled the party to the former president.
Tomorrow, Trump’s own former deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, will tell the House Oversight Committee that after the election, the Justice Department “had been presented with no evidence of widespread voter fraud at a scale sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election.”
Thomas L. Friedman: The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot Against Liz Cheney — and Our Democracy
…if Trump and friends are not stopped, one day they will get where they are going: They will lock in minority rule in America. And when that happens, both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets, and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war.
…inside the Lebanese civil war in the late 1970s and early 1980s[,] I saw close up what happens when democratically elected politicians think that they can endlessly abuse their institutions, cross redlines, weaken their judiciary and buy reporters and television stations — so that there is no truth, only versions, of every story. And they think that they can do it endlessly — cheat just one more time, break one more rule, buy one more vote — and the system will hold until they can take it over and own it for their own purposes.

10 May
Rick Wilson of the Lincoln Project on the future of the GOP (audio)

8 May
Liz Cheney’s months-long effort to turn Republicans from Trump threatens her reelection and ambitions. She says it’s only beginning.
Even if she is cast out of power in the House, she has made clear that she will not stop, promising to take her argument against Trump to the campaign trail in Wyoming, where he garnered 70 percent of the vote in 2020. She has told others that blocking Trump from leading the party is a fight she sees as just beginning, no matter how Wednesday’s vote goes.

Heather Cox Richardson May 7, 2021
The Republican Party has demonstrated that it intends to control the government in the future, no matter what most Americans want. Iowa, Georgia, Montana, and Florida have already passed voter suppression laws, while other states are considering them.  …
Americans appear to like the new direction of the country. Seventy-seven percent liked the American Rescue Plan and 56% like Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan for infrastructure, while 65% want to tax people making more than $400,000 a year to pay for it. At the same time, a new Pew poll suggests that the divisiveness of the Trump years is easing and that young people in particular are not interested in the culture wars.
Faced with the prospect of voters rejecting their economic policies, Republican leaders are undermining democracy.

Jonathan Chait: When Trump’s Next Coup Happens, the Republican Party Will Fully Support It
The document that most clearly expresses the mainstream Republican view is a column by National Review’s Dan McLaughlin. To begin with, McLaughlin lays out the party Establishment’s view of the stakes: While the dispute is “dressed up as disagreements over issues and approaches,” it “is actually almost entirely about the personality and character of Donald J. Trump.” Trump is a boor and a sleaze, but there’s no larger principle at stake.
Next, McLaughlin insists that Trump’s embarrassing behavior is all behind them. “Cheney has made herself a symbol of inter-Republican resistance to Trump’s post-election temper tantrum, to his fables about a stolen election, and to his role in provoking the Capitol riot — all of which is fair to call out, but all of which is now in the past.” [Emphasis added.]
Of course, this very assumption is what Cheney contests. Her op-ed explicitly argues that Trump is laying the groundwork to undermine democracy going forward.
Republicans prepare to oust Cheney from leadership and install Stefanik as party purges Trump critics
House Republicans are poised to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership because of her confrontations with Donald Trump over the election, marking a symbolic cutting of the party’s remaining ties to the brand of Republicanism that ruled the GOP before the former president’s ascendancy.
Liz Cheney: The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us.
(WaPo Opinion) The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution. In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened — we had witnessed it firsthand.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) left no doubt in his public remarks. On the floor of the House on Jan. 13, McCarthy said: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” Now, McCarthy has changed his story.
While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country. Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people. This is immensely harmful, especially as we now compete on the world stage against Communist China and its claims that democracy is a failed system.
Charles M. Blow: Liz Cheney, We Have a Memory. You’re No Hero.
Yes, it is better that Liz Cheney stands up for the truth about Trump and the election than to oppose it, which puts her at odds with a political party in which truth is the enemy.
But her present position does not expunge her past positions. The sword she’s falling on is one she has spent her political career brandishing.

4 May
Paul Ryan can’t save the GOP — he is still a huge part of the problem
The former House Speaker sits on Fox News’ board and has yet to publicly stand up for Liz Cheney or Mitt Romney

30 April
Jennifer Rubin: Biden has more respect for Liz Cheney than Republicans do
It is far from clear whether Cheney or [Rep. Adam] Kinzinger will survive primary challenges in 2022. If MAGA voters dominate the primary, they could lose their seats for the grave offense of defending truth and democracy.
The Republican Accountability Project is trying to prevent that. RAP compiled a scorecard that captures the gulf between Republicans such as Cheney and Kinzinger, on one hand, and the rest of the GOP cult followers on the other. … Cheney, Kinzinger and 14 others (out of more than 260 Republicans in the House and Senate) earn an A or A- rating and therefore can depend on RAP’s support as a “Defender of Democracy.” (Some lawmakers who fall into this category are retiring, so the list of decent Republicans worthy of support in 2022 will be small indeed.)

26 April
The GOP Is a Grave Threat to American Democracy
Unless and until Republicans summon the wit and the will to salvage the party, ruin will follow.

23 April
The fading GOP establishment moves to support Cheney as Trump attacks and McCarthy keeps his distance
Inside her nearly $1.6 million haul in three months, Cheney secured financial backing from dozens of alumni of both Bush administrations, including a couple of Cabinet members and, not surprisingly, her parents, Richard and Lynne Cheney. More than 10 current and former members of the House cut checks to her campaign, including former speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and a handful of other Republicans who voted to impeach the former president during the Jan. 13 vote.

3 April
Expand access? A historic restriction? What the Georgia voting law really does.
Peter W. Stevenson
(WaPo) A close examination of the language in the law shows it does contain new restrictions on voting; some are likely to make it disproportionately more difficult for poorer voters and voters of color to cast their ballots.
It’s also correct that there are ways in which the law expands voter access, particularly in ways that will be visible in rural areas.
This is playing out in the wake of Georgia’s swing to Democrats in the 2020 presidential election and the ensuing baseless charges of fraud from the Trump campaign and its allies. Republican lawmakers in the state — as many of their counterparts across the country have — quickly began drafting a bill critics say is a political reaction from a party beholden to Trump
What Georgia’s Voting Law Really Does
The New York Times analyzed the state’s new 98-page voting law and identified 16 key provisions that will limit ballot access, potentially confuse voters and give more power to Republican lawmakers.
Heather Cox Richardson April 1, 2021
The efforts of Republican state legislators in 43 states to suppress voting have made the rubber of Republicans politics meet the road of reality.
Republicans are pushing the idea that it is imperative to pass laws to protect the sanctity of the vote because their supporters are concerned that the 2020 election was stolen. But, as observers have pointed out, if they want to reassure their voters that the election was clean, the way to do it would be to tell them the truth: the election wasn’t stolen.

19-20 March
The Republican Party’s Irrational War on Voting Rights
State-level efforts to restrict the franchise may hurt democracy—and also, the GOP’s own voters.
(The Atlantic) Around the country, indignation has driven Republicans to propose new restrictions on voting rights. Some of these are likely unconstitutional. Some appear to target particular constituencies. But one of the most striking features of these proposals as a whole is their incoherence.
In their eagerness to demonstrate their loyalty to Trump, Republican legislators are rushing to apply scattershot solutions to an imagined set of problems. And although they seem unmoved by warnings that these laws will disproportionately affect minority voters, they may well discover that they have actually disenfranchised many of their own supporters, even as their push to pass restrictive rules energizes their opponents.
Republicans don’t seem to have carefully thought through all the ways their bills might affect the state’s entire electorate. Whereas past efforts at voter suppression around the country seemed to target Democratic demographics “with almost surgical precision” (as a federal judge wrote of North Carolina’s 2013 voter-ID law), some of the laws currently under consideration in Arizona and nationwide look like blunt instruments that could end up making it harder for Republicans to vote too.

‘An all-hands moment’: GOP rallies behind voting limits
(AP) From statehouses to Washington, the fight over who can vote and how — often cast as “voting integrity” — has galvanized a Republican Party in search of unifying mission in the post-Trump era. For a powerful network of conservatives, voting restrictions are now viewed as a political life-or-death debate, and the fight has all-but eclipsed traditional Republican issues like abortion, gun rights and tax cuts as an organizing tool.
That potency is drawing influential figures and money from across the right, ensuring that the clash over the legislation in Washington will be partisan and expensive.
So far, the states have been the center of the debate. More than 250 bills have have been introduced in 43 states that would change how Americans vote, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice, which backs expanded voting access.
… the fight over voting laws now extends far beyond Trump and is shifting to Washington, where the Democratic-led Senate will soon consider an array of voting changes. The package, known as H.R. 1, would require states to automatically register eligible voters, as well as offer same-day registration. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and restore former felons’ voting rights. Among dozens of other provisions, it would also require states to offer 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting. Democrats, who are marshaling their own resources behind the bill, argue it is necessary to block what they describe as voter suppression efforts in the states.

9 March
Bad news’: Wave of GOP retirements signals battles ahead
By STEVE PEOPLES
(AP) Missouri’s Roy Blunt on Monday became the fifth Republican senator to announce he will not seek reelection, a retirement wave that portends an ugly campaign season next year and gives Democrats fresh hope in preserving their razor-thin Senate majority.
History suggests Republicans are still well-positioned to reclaim at least one chamber of Congress next year. But officials in both parties agree that the surge of GOP departures will make the Republicans’ challenge more difficult in the Senate.
Opinion: The Republican Party isn’t in trouble
By Hugh Hewitt
Redistricting in the next two years will advantage the GOP. The Senate map is tougher for Republicans in 2022. … Most people in both parties assume that President Biden will not be leading the Democratic ticket in 2024, so there will likely be a nasty battle to replace him on the Democratic side.
… Former president Donald Trump complicates the picture. If he ran as a third-party candidate, he’d surely hand the White House back to the Democrats, but that’s an unlikely scenario. He could have an outsize influence on who is the nominee, and his personal favorites are probably Cotton, DeSantis and Pompeo. Whether the rift between Trump and the former vice president mends, Mike Pence will be in the mix as well.
… The corrupt and now exposed Lincoln Project took out one tribe of anti-Trumpists, but many of great character and intellect remain, talking to each other and very few other people. The center-right and old right are simply angling for position while facing a new order, a different coalition of voters and a set of issues defined by the rising menace of the Chinese Communist Party.

5 March
GOP governors scorn pandemic restrictions as they compete for primacy in a pro-Trump party
(WaPo) The decision this week by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to end his state’s mask mandate and lift all restrictions on business reflects a broader move by politically ambitious Republican governors to channel the rising anger of conservative constituents over government efforts to curb the coronavirus.

28 February
Allies of Rep. Adam Kinzinger launch super PAC to support Republicans who have bucked Trump
Allies of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are launching a super PAC [Americans Keeping Country First] to collect large sums of money to support Republicans willing to buck former president Donald Trump, the latest sign of the party’s deepening internecine war.

26 February
How Trumpism Has Become a Cult of Losing
By Jonathan Chait
Donald Trump …has moved into a role of opposition leader and president in exile, a sort of hybrid between a parliamentary system (where a defeated prime minister might often slide immediately into opposition leadership) and banana republic, where a deposed strongman flees the country with a Swiss bank account and a retinue of goons.
The Republican response has ranged from resigned acceptance to active encouragement. Examples of the former include Mitt Romney, who conceded that Trump will win the 2024 nomination if he seeks it, and Mitch McConnell, who agreed that Trump will have his full support should that happen. Examples of the latter include Representative Jim Jordan, who has deemed Trump the party’s leader and urged him to take an even more active role in its direction, and the CPAC Conference, which includes a Golden Calf–style statue. (The worship is metaphorical, though Politico recently reported on some Christian sects that prophesize Trump’s return quite literally.)
The Republicans’ understanding of the January 6 insurrection follows from their delusional beliefs about the election itself. A USA Today poll found that 58 percent of Republicans believe the attack was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters,” more than double the number who describe it as “a rally of Trump supporters, some of whom attacked the Capitol.”
Why Republicans Are Still Holding Onto the Big Lie
Even with a new president, it’s in Republicans’ interest to undermine the idea that democracy is worth it.
(Slate) Why is the lie so sticky for so many? MSNBC’s Marc Ambinder reminds us of one big reason to persist in the fiction: The lie serves the party’s ultimate goal of suppressing the votes of likely Democrats. It’s clear that while even Trump’s own agencies determined that this election was “the most secure in history,” the record voter turnout in the midst of a pandemic means that the sustainability of the GOP as a political party now lies in constricting the franchise, including placing needless limits on mail-in voting. The laser focus of state-level Republican efforts right now is thus to limit voting rights. Ari Berman reported this week on a new analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, showing that in the two months that constitute 2021 so far, 253 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states, with Georgia serving as ground zero for experiments in restricting voting by mail, Sunday voting, and tweaking the Georgia runoff rules.
Some local GOP leaders fire up base with conspiracies, lies
(AP) A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly through GOP ranks fueled by algorithms that boost extreme content.
The Associated Press reviewed public and private social media accounts of nearly 1,000 federal, state, and local elected and appointed Republican officials nationwide, many of whom have voiced support for the Jan. 6 insurrection or demanded that the 2020 presidential election be overturned, sometimes in deleted posts or now-removed online forums.
The bitter, combative rhetoric is helping the officials grow their constituencies on social media and gain outsized influence in their communities, city councils, county boards and state assemblies. And it exposes the GOP’s internal struggle over whether the party can include traditional conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and militias as it builds its base for 2022.

25 February
Republican Senators Haven’t Represented a Majority of Voters Since 1996
By Ed Kilgore
(New York) Thanks to the filibuster, of course, on many key measures, the 43.5 percent of voters represented by a Republican minority in the Senate have as much clout as the 44.7 percent represented by a Republican majority when the GOP won a trifecta four years ago. That’s why Democrats are trying to cram as much legislation as they can into a budget-reconciliation bill that cannot be filibustered and why the parliamentarian’s ruling on the scope of that bill is such a big deal for Americans trying to survive on minimum wage.
McConnell Would ‘Absolutely’ Support Trump As 2024 Nominee
By Matt Stieb
(New York) The reason for McConnell’s retreat is obvious. One poll taken in February showed that a majority of Republican voters preferred Trump as their 2024 candidate and that his favorability rating sat at 81 percent just after the Senate impeachment trial — compared to McConnell’s 33 percent. With this preference clear among GOP voters, it would only be surprising if McConnell chose not to back the candidate who has physically mocked him, called on Republicans to replace him, and arguably cost him his Senate majority. Just as McConnell bailed on a reported plan to sabotage Trump after it became clear the billionaire would dominate the 2016 GOP primary, he has no desire to spar in a party civil war that Trump has already won.
The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages
The GOP has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.
By Tom Nichols, Author of Our Own Worst Enemy
(The Atlantic) I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.

18 February
David A. Graham: Ted Cruz Is No Hypocrite. He’s Worse.
The senator’s error is not that he was deliberately shirking his duty, but that he couldn’t think of any way he could help.
If Cruz’s problem were mere hypocrisy, that might be manageable. Politicians (even Ted Cruz) are deeply susceptible to shaming, and voters’ memories are short. But Cruz’s problem is deeper. He didn’t go to Cancún despite knowing he should be hard at work; it just didn’t occur to him that he could help. That, too, is a kind of power failure.
Democrats slam Sen. Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun while Texans are ‘literally freezing to death’
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flew to Cancun on Wednesday, a trip that has sparked intense backlash as his constituents continue to struggle with one of the worst winter storms in years.

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