A power struggle looms between Trump supporters and moderate voices

Is Mitch McConnell, 81, about to fall? After his public suspension for the second time, Republicans expect their Senate leader to leave early. Losing McConnell as a force could increase the influence of radical movements in the party.

Star Lindhout

When the American political year begins again on Monday, Mitch McConnell will want to show up at the Capitol, as he has for the past 39 years. As if nothing was wrong.

As if there were no disturbing videos circulating showing how the Republican brigadier general froze for the second time in a month during a press conference and gave the impression that he was temporarily absent from his body. As if there was no speculation inside and out about the reason for his absence: the early announcement of a stroke, or Parkinson’s disease, or perhaps dementia?

Mitch McConnell, a senator since 1984 and leader of Parliament since 2007, is known as an old-school politician in terms of public morals: he is very frugal with information about his private life, not to mention his health.

Therefore, it does not seem that he plans to provide a medical explanation for the fugitives. And the Americans were satisfied with a short message from the attending Congress physician on Thursday evening, local time, saying that, for him, it is “medically safe” for McConnell to resume his duties.

However, there are also signs that McConnell’s party is taking seriously the fact that the most powerful Republican currently in office is on the brink of collapse. According to the news site Policy Considering forcing a number of unnamed senators into an internal debate about the group’s future leadership in the near future.

See also  Spain is greatly expanding the duty to conceal masks: it is now also mandatory on the beach and in the pool | Abroad

On the cusp of an election year, such a debate is playing with fire, almost certainly leading to an open struggle for power between Trump supporters, the so-called Maga Republicans, and the more moderate voices in his ranks.

McConnell described the storming of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 as a “violent uprising”, denouncing Trump’s role. Since then, Trump’s supporters have considered him an enemy. The fact that the Senate faction leader ultimately voted against the impeachment measures for his own self-preservation didn’t work.

What does the Republican future look like without McConnell? The aging Republican was elected to the Senate during the 2026 midterm elections. In the event of an early resignation, Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is responsible for appointing a replacement.

Until two years ago, no one would have objected if Beshear had put a Democrat into McConnell’s empty seat, expanding the Democrat’s narrow majority in the Senate by one seat.

But in 2021, Kentucky Republicans introduced a bill to change the procedure so that the outgoing senator’s party could nominate three succession candidates from whom the governor could choose. The driving force behind the suggestion was McConnell himself, who showed a prophetic view, or a realistic assessment of the combination of his age and health.

Republicans have a majority in Kentucky, so the amendment passed. This means that the possible retirement of McConnell will not change relations within the Senate.

And if it comes to leaving, the question is who is the veteran Republican who will succeed McConnell as the faction leader in the Senate at least until the federal election next fall. And the US media agree that John Thune, 62, of South Dakota, McConnell’s current right-hand man, is the biggest contender. Two other Johns are also promising: the often mentioned John Cornyn of Texas (71) and John Barrasso (71) of Wyoming. All three are part of the group’s current board of directors and are known critics of Trump, though Barrasso’s attitude toward the former president is somewhat ambiguous.

See also  Greta Thunberg protests wind farm in Norway | outside

Depending in part on when McConnell officially steps down and the trajectory of the GOP primaries, there is a good chance that the Trump camp will use this moment to field its own candidates. Maybe Rick Scott from Florida will try it again. He also ran for office after the midterm elections last year, but lost to McConnell without any chance.

McConnell’s departure would lead to an irreversible power vacuum. His network is huge, not only in Congress, but also in the judiciary. He has been known throughout his career as a political survivor who values ​​winning elections more than having solid principles. However, in the turbulent years since Trump came onto the scene, McConnell has been seen as a beacon of stability within the party, which has changed course more than it has since 2016.

Under Obama, McConnell was the epitome of a “hard right” Republican vis-a-vis political opponents, in part because of his staunch opposition to Obamacare and his skill in blocking Democratic judges’ nominations. But now that conspiracy theories are part of the daily lives of many in his own party, his political opponents see him as a moderate Republican. The eventual removal of McConnell as Senate Majority Leader and Powerholder could accelerate extremism in the Republican Party.

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *