Given recent events in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, it is hard to know what image to use to describe GOP behavior. Is the Republican Party melting down, or are members of the House GOP arranging themselves in a circular firing squad?
Just last week, for example, House Speaker Mike Johnson killed the National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act by refusing a House vote. This bill would have given billions to support Ukraine and Israel. It also contained provisions that would have contributed to reducing tensions at the southern border, and was painfully put together by a bipartisan group of Senators.
Johnson did this because Donald Trump doesn’t want anything done to improve conditions at the border so he will have a campaign issue. Never mind that the Republicans have been screaming for months that there was a crisis at the border. A crisis is something that should be addressed immediately.
“It appears that Trump is trying to turn the Republican Party into an instrument he can use as he wishes,” wrote columnist Heather Cox Richardson. Richardson is too tentative. Trump has already turned the GOP into a servile instrument of his will.
Further evidence of Trump’s control of his sycophants in the House also occurred last week when sixty House Republicans drew up a resolution saying that Trump “did not engage in insurrection” on January 6, 2021.
Yet, Trump isn’t the sole reason for the GOP’s embarrassing failures in the House; he is the instigator of this debacle, but Speaker Mike Johnson must share the blame.
Also last week, Johnson failed in a vote to impeach Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas because Johnson apparently had not counted his votes carefully before he put the bill on the floor of the House. Johnson also failed to pass a measure to send military aid to Israel.
Even some Republicans are getting fed up with the chaos in their party.
Senator James Langford (R-OK), who worked laboriously to create the bipartisan border agreement in the Senate, complained about being attacked by his GOP colleagues: “They have done everything they can to destroy me in the past several weeks.”
Another Republican colleague, Mike Murphy (R-IN), responded to Trump’s statement that Nicki Haley cheated to run against him in the primaries by saying: “The bottom line is he’s completely unhinged. He is literally off his rocker.”
Several week ago, I asked in this space for the “real Republicans,” those opposed to Donald Trump, to make a stand and take their party back from their erratic, narcissistic new leader. I now sadly say that I no longer believe that this is possible. Those non-Trump political leaders in Congress and elsewhere are not rallying around Liz Cheney, the Republican who has the clearest vision of both Trump’s danger to America and of the importance of defeating him.
Keeping Trump from becoming President will certainly not solve all our domestic or foreign policy problems, but it will preserve our country and its Constitution long enough to give us time to address those problems.
That task is now up to the rest of us, young and old, Democrats and Independents and real Republican voters. Whether you like or dislike Joe Biden, voting for him is the only way to keep Donald Trump out of office.
I end with some encouraging news. Remember that in the Iowa Republican caucuses 49% of those attending picked someone other than Trump. In addition, a YouGov poll (Washington Post 1-11-24) showed that when U.S. adult citizens were given a list of 30 of Trump’s declared policies, majorities opposed 22 of them.
The most unpopular Trump positions were these: getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, ending birthright citizenship, ending aid to Ukraine, and sending troops to U.S. cities to enforce order.
We are bombarded with media reports wondering what the courts might do to make a Trump presidency less likely. What they do may or may not matter to the outcome of the election.
We are still a democratic republic, and in our country voters still matter, and make the big decisions. May we make a wise one for America on November 5.