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Trump’s GOP Takeover is Great for the Democrats but Could be Disastrous for America

Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

Donald Trump formally anointed himself head of the Republican Party at Sunday’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

The Grand Old Party, founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin, is now dead. What’s left is a dwindling number of elected officials who have stood up to Trump but are now being purged. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s popularity has dropped 29 points among Kentucky Republicans since he broke with Trump.

In its place is the Trump Party, whose major goal is to advance Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Its agenda is to exact vengeance on Republicans who didn’t or won’t support the lie or who voted to impeach or convict Trump for inciting the violence that the lie generated, and to keep attention on his grievances.

As the Trump Party takes over the GOP, anti-Trump Republicans are abandoning the party in droves — thereby weakening it for general elections while simultaneously strengthening Trump’s hand inside it.

It’s great news for Democrats and Joe Biden.

Democrats couldn’t hope for a more perfect foil — a defeated one-term president who never cracked 47 percent of the popular vote, left office with just 39 percent approval and is now hovering at an abysmal 34 percent, whom most Americans dislike or loathe, and a majority believe incited an insurrection against the United States.

 

The gift will keep giving. Courtesy of the Supreme Court, Trump’s tax returns will soon be raked across America like barnyard manure. Expect more of his shady business dealings to be exposed -- more payoffs, cheats and cons — as well as civil and criminal prosecutions.

The Trump Party isn’t interested in appealing to the nation as a whole, anyway. It’s interested only in appealing to Trump and the base that worships him.

All this is making it nearly impossible for congressional Republicans to mount a strong opposition to Biden’s ambitious plans for COVID-19 relief followed by major investments in infrastructure and jobs. Lacking unity, leadership, strategy, clarity or a coherent message on anything other than Trump’s grievances, the Trump Party is irrelevant to the large choices facing the nation. Democrats in Washington have the public square all to themselves.

Biden is in the enviable position of getting most of America behind his agenda — and he can do so without a single Republican vote if Senate Democrats end the filibuster.

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