Repubs making bets

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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Confused by what’s going on with Repubs these days? Let me explain: what you see right now in the Republican Party is two camps making bets.

The larger collective is betting that in a year’s time Donald Trump will still have just as many voters as he had on Nov. 6, 2020 … and they are betting that they can use those voters for their own political purposes.

The other camp — which includes Congresswoman Liz Cheney and former Vice President Mike Pence — is betting that the libel lawsuits, criminal tax probes, Jan. 6 investigations, and the rest of Trump’s upcoming legal catastrophes will quell Trumpmania and allow a return from the Ku Klux Klan corner of the party to the dog-whistle wing.

Right now, Cheney and her daddy Dick Cheney look pretty lonely out there. So does Pence, who, while still coming in on the obsequious side, acknowledged that Trump actually lost the election. It’s a sad day in America when preferring to go by your own two eyes instead of swallowing every Trump lie is deemed heroic, yet here we are. The smart money says that the unTrumps (anti-Trump is too strong a moniker for most of them) are fighting a losing battle, but I’m not so sure.

In January 2016, no one thought that an openly racist, stupid tycoon who bankrupted multiple businesses could go on to become an openly racist, stupid president who bankrupted America. Yet, that happened. So can the unTrumps actually win their bet?

In February of this year, 46% of Republicans said they’d go with a new Trump political party as opposed to 27% who would stick with the Republican Party, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll. But in April, half of Republicans said they felt more allegiance to the GOP than Trump, according to an NBC News poll. That’s a lot of slippage in just two months! What can happen in 18 months? Especially after the testimony in federal and state courts over criminal charges of tax fraud, libel lawsuits where Trump will have to prove his voter-fraud allegations, and Congressional hearings and criminal probes on the January 6th insurrection.

Right now Senator Mitch McConnell, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and a few others are hedging their bets, trying to keep from declaring themselves in either camp. That will become harder and harder as time goes on. You can make your own bet that McConnell et al will be the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to Trump. Keep your eye on them. When they declare their allegiance, you can bet that’s which way the wind is blowing.

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