'Knifing one another in the back': Reporter reveals how Trumpism started a civil war in the GOP

'Knifing one another in the back': Reporter reveals how Trumpism started a civil war in the GOP
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump participate in the pre-recorded National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, on the Blue Room Balcony of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump and his supporters have filed countless lawsuits in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election — and so far, Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud have been rejected by one court after another. President-elect Joe Biden, despite Republican attempts at a coup d'état, appears to be on his way to the White House. But journalist David Siders, in an article published by Politico, argued that even though Team Trump's legal efforts have been unsuccessful, they are "showing signs of having far-reaching effects that will reshape the Republican Party for years to come."

"State party chairs are tearing into their governors," Siders explains. "Elected officials are knifing one another in the back. Failed candidates are seizing on Trump's rhetoric to claim they were also victims of voter fraud in at least a half dozen states. As his presidency comes to a close, Trump has not only imprinted his smash-mouth style on the GOP, he has wrenched open the schism between the activist class and the elected class, according to interviews with more than a dozen Republican Party officials and strategists in the states."

Siders notes that Trump "is leaving the party at an unfamiliar crossroads." Unlike other "one-term presidents," Siders adds, Trump is "adored by the base and is the source of a significant expansion of the GOP's ranks."

"Millions of Republican voters remain convinced, without evidence, that the election was unfairly taken from him," Siders observes. "And Trump will leave behind a party apparatus controlled by loyalists unbeholden to less populist, less Trumpian holdovers. The result is that many of the party's field officers in the states are preparing to dig in to ensure that Trump — and his style of politics — remains the party's guiding light. That is putting them at cross-purposes with more traditionalist Republicans, such as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who are positioning themselves as alternatives to Trump."

One Never Trump conservative who is quite worried about Trump's effect on the GOP is Daniel Barker, a former Arizona Court of Appeals judge who started a PAC of Republicans who supported Biden in 2020's election. Barker told Politico, "There clearly is a major problem (in the GOP)…. If people for the next two or three years view Trump as having 60 or 70 million votes, it's going to be hard to say no to him."

Michael Burke, chair of the Republican Party in Pinal County, Arizona, told Politico that although the "chances are getting slimmer every day" that Trump's challenges to the election results will be successful, the GOP is "still Donald Trump's party." And Burke predicts that Trump will be "the most consequential former president in our lifetime."

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