While impeached by the House for a second time, former President Trump was acquitted of incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The 57-43 vote fell 10 votes short of the requirement for guilt, with all 50 Democratic senators supporting conviction.
Notwithstanding seven GOP senators voting to convict him, Trump retains transcendent popularity with Republican voters. Even Trump’s staunch critic, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), concedes Trump would win the Republican nomination “in a landslide” if he decided to run again in 2024.
A recent Morning Consult Poll shows Trump with the commanding support of 54% of Republican voters for re-nomination in 2024, but the poll also shows that 60% of all voters have an unfavorable view of Trump compared to just 37% favorable.
In Trump’s four years in office, Republicans lost control of the House, the Senate and the presidency.
Democrats made House races a “referendum” on Trump in 2018 , and Republicans took a drubbing by losing 41 seats and their majority.
On January 5, Democrats took control of the Senate by defeating two incumbent Georgia Republicans in a Trump-incited special election fiasco.
And, Trump lost the presidency in 2020 to 78 year-old Joe Biden by 7 million votes.
The “Trump Era” has not been kind to Nevada Republicans.
Entering 2016, Republicans held the governorship (Brian Sandoval) and a U.S. Senate seat (Dean Heller). All six constitutional officeholders and 3 of 4 Members of Congress were Republicans. Both houses of the Nevada legislature had Republican majorities.
All was reversed in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Trump lost Nevada twice. Two U.S. Senate races (including incumbent Heller), two Republican House seats and all constitutional offices except Secretary of State were lost. Both state legislative chambers were “flipped,” giving Democrats near “supermajorities.”
Liz Cheney, No. 3 House Republican, was one of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, saying he was guilty of the “greatest violation of the oath of office by a president in the history of the country.”
Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Leader, voted for acquittal but insisted Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the rioting mob.
The blowback from Republican state and local parties on the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach and the 7 Senate Republicans voting to convict was immediate and intense.
Senators Richard Burr (North Carolina), Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Ben Sasse (Nebraska) and Susan Collins (Maine ) have been condemned by their state or county parties.
Multiple House Republicans have faced reprisals for their votes—including Cheney. She was overwhelmingly censured by the Wyoming GOP central committee.
Many state Republican parties run by ardent Trump supporters have moved to the extreme right.
In Nevada, GOP Chairman Michael McDonald has a reputation as a decades-long grifter. Elected to five terms, heading the Nevada GOP since 2012, McDonald presided over the steep decline of the state GOP in 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections.
A very conservative early Trump supporter, McDonald was challenged in 2019 for state party chair by Annie Black, an even further far-right Republican. Black lost but was elected to the Assembly in 2020. She now refuses to caucus with her other 15 GOP Assembly colleagues.
In Arizona, the party elected a far-right twice failed statewide candidate, Kelli Ward, as party chair. The Arizona party has censured Jeff Flake, the last elected Republican Senator; Cindy McCain, wife of the late Senator John McCain; and, Republican governor, Doug Ducey.
Former Rep. Allen West, now chair of the Texas GOP, endorses legislation allowing Texans to vote on withdrawing from the Union. And, the Oregon GOP has declared the Capitol assault a “false flag” operation designed to discredit Trump.
A poll found Republican voters favor pro-Trump Q-Anon conspiracy promoter , Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, over Rep. Liz Cheney.
This GOP veer to the hard right will make Republican candidates less and less able to win general elections.
Jim Hartman is an attorney residing in Genoa. E-mail him at email@example.com.