With the removal of Kevin McCarthy from his post as Speaker of the House, has the long-expected Republican Civil War kicked off?
For “moderates” in the party (moderate in the sense that there’s a moderate Taliban), it is far too late to expunge the radical elements in the GOP. The time to fight this civil war was years ago, when Trump was in the 2016 primaries or, failing that, in the wake of January 6th.
Instead, Republicans embraced the chaos, dysfunction and treason of the Trump era as Kevin McCarthy put aside his scruples and flew to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of the mob boss.
Everything which has happened since then was inevitable.
Rather than repudiating the bomb-throwers, moderate Republicans invited them inside the tent.
Nancy Pelosi was able to govern with a narrow majority but Republicans could not, failing to pass a budget and relying upon Democratic votes to bail them out to prevent a government shutdown.
Kevin McCarthy then bad-mouthed the Democrats that had saved him, dooming his fate.
Moderates are a step behind, failing to imagine that what the bomb-throwers want is a not deal or a compromise, but to burn the country to the ground. They want to finish what they started on January 6th.
MAGA voters are marching with banners reading, “Trump or Death” and moderate Republicans think that they can finesse this issue, rather than realizing that they are in a life-and-death struggle for their party, democracy and the survival of the United States.
I watched House members exit after overthrowing their Speaker and leaving the institution leaderless.
Rather than stay and elect a new Speaker, they were going on vacation for a week.
But the visual was like a scene from the West Wing, all these august white men (and they were virtually all white men) descending the marble steps of the Capitol to talk to the press.
Watching this serene and somber moment, you could imagine that democracy in our nation is timeless and secure. But just 1000 days ago, a Trump mob stormed up these steps and sacked the Capitol.
Democracy is fragile, and there are millions of our fellow citizens willing to do away with free and fair elections if it means that they can remain in power.
For moderate Republicans, it is far too late. They had multiple opportunities to rid themselves of Trump and his mob but they were too weak and self-interested.
Now, they have reached the finding out stage, as the bomb-throwers will tear apart the party from within.
As President Biden said in March, 2021, about the 2024 election, “I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party.”