This week the Republican Party suffered its most widespread electoral defeat in several years, as the mainstream American public sought to punish the party for its embrace of the widely despised Donald Trump. This led Palmer Report to predict that the GOP leadership would discuss the matter internally this week, in the hope of coming up with a solution to its number one problem. That prediction has proven to be, on at least some level, correct.
Republican political strategist and frequent cable news commentator Rick Wilson posted this to Twitter on Friday night: “Spent the day with a group of serious, operational politics Rs. Many were Trump voters. Mood: grim. Path forward: uncertain. Hatred of Bannon: stratospheric. Weariness with Trump: extreme.” Given the nature of Wilson’s high level connections to the Republican Party, it can be assumed that the people he met with are high ranking players in the party. The question now is what the GOP leaders are going to do next. They have very few options.
In the near term, the Republican-controlled Congress is still, for the most part, locked into trying to pass some kind of tax relief for its wealthy donors. A handful of notable GOP voices, including John McCain and Bob Corker, are pushing forward with their war against Trump regardless of what impact it might have on their own party’s legislation. But they’re in the minority, and most of the Republican Party is still committed to trying to get a tax bill passed before the holidays. The haunting question for the GOP is what do to after that.
When the new year starts, the political focus will quickly shift to the 2018 midterm races. The Republican Party is facing the no-win prospect of losing primary challenges if it angers Donald Trump’s remaining base, and losing the general election to Democrats if it doesn’t get rid of Trump. So will the GOP try to oust Trump before the midterms? If so, it’ll have to make that decision quickly after the tax bill sinks or swims, before the midterm races gear up and it becomes too late.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report