Is the Republican party about to implode?

As Donald Trump makes more enemies inside his own party, a Republican civil war seems inevitable

President Donald Trump hosts a meeting with House and Senate leadership, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. From left are, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump meeting with GOP House and Senate leaders in early March (AP)

This should be the Republican party’s moment of triumph. Against the expectations of every pollster in America, their man was elected president. Making it even sweeter, he did it by defeating the GOP’s greatest nemeses, the Clintons. The party now controls the White House and both houses of Congress. This is only the second time in 60 years that their stars have aligned like this.

It gets even better. The new president will be appointing the next Supreme Court justice and possibly as many as three more over his term, stacking the court for a generation. At the state level, almost two-thirds of the legislatures are now controlled by Republicans—one more and they will have the supermajority needed for constitutional amendments. And, the new president is inheriting one of the strongest economies in decades, with a sky-high stock market and record job growth. According to an analysis by RealClearPolitics, this is the strongest the Republican party has been in 80 years.

RELATED: Thirty days of Donald Trump

But the fruits of victory have turned to ashes in their mouths. The political talk shows are filled with conservative pundits criticizing congressional leadership. Congressmen are calling for special investigations of the president. The president is accusing his staff of maliciously leaking “fake news.” His staff are attacking all and sundry and down the hall, cabinet members are directly contradicting presidential edicts on everything from trade to defence. The GOP victory has turned into a self-immolation.

The stage for this was probably set during the bloodiest primary race in memory. The endless series of debates looked and sounded like barroom brawls. Standing on a table in the middle of the mayhem was the czar of chaos himself, Donald Trump, yelling insults at every Republican in earshot. No target was off limits, from Ted Cruz’s wife, to John McCain’s patriotism, to Chris Christie’s dignity.

When Trump finally emerged as the official nominee, the party establishment (almost all of whom had called him a lying fraud and a dangerous fool at some point) painfully swallowed their pride and endorsed him. Trump rewarded them with ritualized humiliations. He forced Mitt Romney to smile and choke down frogs’ legs while the press recorded the kowtowing. Christie was made to dance for increasingly smaller offers, before finally being told to go home and get his shine box. By the time the GOP team gathered on the inaugural stage, they were already bruised and battered and demoralized.

Even a gifted leader would have had a hard time rebuilding the team at that point. Trump didn’t even try. He staffed the White House with outsiders, people who not only owed nothing to the GOP, but actively derided it, such as Stephen Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller. And the party’s only foothold in the Oval Office, former GOP chair Reince Priebus, becomes increasingly tenuous as he is undermined daily by leaks and accusations.

Meanwhile the new president has thrown one policy grenade after another at his erstwhile colleagues. Almost every initiative—the Muslim ban, the border wall, the trade protectionism and now Trumpcare—has forced at least some Republican politicians to publicly repudiate him. Even his own cabinet appointees have pushed back in remarkable ways—directly contradicting the president on issues like NATO. After only 54 days in office, the Trump presidency already looks poised to unravel into a Republican civil war.

What is missing is a rival leader. So far, no senior Republican has been willing to openly challenge the president. While men like Senators John McCain or Lindsey Graham are stepping up, particularly on Trump’s murky Russian links, neither is attracting a following. Nonetheless, the Senate is the most likely place for open rebellion to break out. The Republican seats are safe there, unlike the “Freedom Caucus” congressmen in more marginal districts. Their fortunes are more closely tied to Trump’s, and they will keep their heads down as long as possible.

But their time may be running out. Trump’s approval ratings started at record lows, and are going lower. The House Intelligence Committee launches its Russia investigation on Monday. The Senate will follow with its own soon after. And the Trumpcare fiasco is just getting going.

When you step back and look at the full picture, the possibility of the Republican party descending into a full-blown civil war seems almost inevitable: the president has spent years making enemies inside the party; many of his policies are anathema to his caucus; and their agenda is being jeopardized by his misbehaviour and missteps; the party’s mid-term prospects are being hurt by Trump’s own falling ratings; and the growing extremism of his followers is alienating more traditional Republicans. Right now the party is commanding the heights, but a fall may be imminent, and it may be spectacular.


Is the Republican party about to implode?

  1. Doubtful. Most of them are as crazy as he is.

  2. Best thing about the trump era is the end to 40 years of a locked political system. Both parties are crashing, both parties are having internal civil wars, all former political alignments are on the table. I think for the average american they learnt more civic lesson this election cycle then at any other time in the last 30 years since Watergate.
    once the boomer dying rate hits the middle of that demographic and they lose there numerical advantage i think the millennials will get pass their distaste for voting and do it on mass. They have the only numbers to equal the boomers at this time so a little change in that and they will dominate, That’s taste for electorial blood will forever alter the voting pattern setting up the next monolithic voting block to dominate for the next 30 years or so.

    • Well the Boomers are frrom52 to 70… it will be awhile.

      Question is…..what will Millennials do any differently?

      I’m guessing not much seeing as both Clinton ad Dubya are Boomers.

      • they will move the political to benefit themselves but along with that will be other ideas of identity etc to a new paradigm that will be different then the current,if its good or bad will be a point of view question

        • Well that’s a totally non-committal answer.

      • According to the Strauss–Howe generational theory, baby boomers are defined as people born between 1943 and 1960, which would include people who are between 57 and 74 years old in 2017.
        Please use references when you cite information.

    • Boomers were supposed to change everything once they got serious about voting. But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box: they got jobs, bought homes, started raising families, and before you knew it, their aspirations and concerns started to look a lot like their parents’ aspirations and concerns.

      Possibly it’ll be different with millennials, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Having said that, the current unaffordability of housing (in many areas), the automation of jobs, and the potential for a ‘gig economy’ could result in differing behaviour for millennials vs boomers – time will tell.

      • Actually I think it was more ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ that did them in.

        As parents they’re still hippies…..vegans and anti-vax and so on.

      • This is completely incorrect. look at the politics of the 1950’s to 1970’s very different ideas methods and concerns.

        By the 1980’s their definition of what the political alignments are and would be were fairly fixed and continued to this election.

        • I lived through it.

    • Your thinking is sadly, hateful, immature, and poorly researched.

  3. The question posed in the title of this article contains a serious typo error.
    The word “Republican” should be properly changed to “Democrat”.
    Then the answer to the $64.00 question is a definite, “Yes.”
    It has not only imploded, self-destructed, and decimated itself with special kudos to Hussein Obama, and the Clinton Machine, it has also been left in a state of mass psychosis that will take at least a decade from which to recover.

    • Now Eleanor was definitely a hippie.

      • hell no she got stuff done.

        • Yeah she went on an acid trip and never got back

    • there all in the same leaky boat.

    • Eleanor,
      You are absolutely correct. Trump is now making peace with the unions-a first for a Republican-so there goes another part of the Democrat base. And the Democrats are spending their whole time pouting and sucking their thumbs believing that they have the best set of policies in spite of losing the House, Senate and Oval Office.
      Emily calls you a Hippy but she’s in love with the surfer dude in Ottawa-the product of a hippy and a Marxist.

      • LOL Poor Jerome

  4. Donald Trump came to blow both the faux parties up…the Democrats, and the Republicans. And he came to blow up the party that has been running the country for the last 50 years…the Deep State.

    He is a bull in the china shop. He knows how to break things. The question is whether he will be able to fix anything, or is putting Humpty-Dumpty together again a task for others after Trump has demolished the status quo.

    There’s a civil war a-raging.

    • Weetabix is another hippie.

  5. The Republican Party controls the Presidency, both houses of Congress, (the Senate and the House of Representatives), and a large majority of State Houses (Governors).
    They will shortly successfully nominate a conservative Justice to the Supreme Court,replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
    And Scott Gilmore, on behalf of Maclean’s magazine is wondering if the Republican Party is about to implode? Give me a break!
    Gilmore and Maclean’s would be well-advised to swallow a large dose of reality pills, mixed with a big swig of truth serum and leave behind the fantasy world they presently occupy.

    • Like I said, a hippie would think in terms of pills and booze.

      • Emily-why don’t you think before you launch such crap!!

        • I know hippies when I see them. They babble. Like you.

  6. This probably the most corrupt US Government we have ever seen sad thing is that Trump fans, and the GOP representatives don’t give a damn about it. They are embracing this as their opportunity bring in old dated conservative rules. While the GOP representatives see this as their chance to get richer, quicker; then gain the promise of full aristocratic control as it is built into the system legally by them with new found wealth.
    I do not for one minute believe these men & women are working for the people… they know they can buy politicians … Trump wants good relations with China & Russia. As in preferential (advance notice on stock options) treatment for the GOP members that have invested in both countries.
    The fox truly is in the hen house.
    How can this be so easily done, first tell American’s that the greatest system in the world is CAPITALISM, dumb down the people with ultra conservative lies, when the Left speaks out call them ‘fake’ ‘anti-American’ ‘un-Christian’ and the list goes on.
    Republican’s love to hate on the Clinton’s … I suspect because seeing a mirror of your own behavior is repulsive.
    Will the Republican party implode? Not likely, the rich will continue to get loopholes and tax gifts, while the public will pay higher state fees, for fewer services; and the GOP propaganda will continue to sprout ‘alternative facts as real facts’ that the public well eat it up. Because they are told to blame those around them for their financial problems and they believe what they are told to believe. . . Pizza gate, trickle down economics, and that being the biggest bully on the block gives them the right to take, destroy and interfere anywhere they like without moral or ethical concern.

    • Had Clinton been elected, what you say would be fully correct. Trump has drained the swamp by banning lobbying for the next five years. That would NEVER have happened with Willy’s wife. There will be a lot of Democrats not receiving the graft they’ve fallen in love with under the Obama tenure.

      If Capitalism isn’t the greatest system in the world what is-Communism?

      • That’s slick willy’s wife!

      • Trump had best get cracking…the swap is far more vast than he ever imagined!

  7. The republicans have made a living at doing nothing and opposing everything. Now that they are in power and all their cheap talk is coming back to haunt them they have nothing left but to oppose themselves.

    Health care is going to be their Waterloo as Trump said they can come up with a cheaper alternative that would insure just as many people. Ryan said that it was ok if people do not have health care as it is a choice. What a joke.

    The only way they can get decent health care is to get the big corporations to accept less. It is doubtful that is going to happen.

    When Trump was running it sure sounded like he was going to make decisions that were good for people such as anti free trade even if it is not good for the corporations. we shall see if this happens as the rich finance all the politicians including Trump.

  8. Hehehehehehe……………………..

  9. So a MSM head line back in December told us the Republican party was EXPLODING from within.
    Now the party is IMPLODING???

    Explode = internal forces
    Implode = external forces

    Does this mean that the Republican party has achieved equilibrium?

  10. This same clown told us that Trump was gonna lose. Now he’s assuring us that the party who has been kicking Democrat ass is gonna implode. Yea ok there Gilmore.

  11. Truth be told, it is America itself that is imploding.

    The typical American has been born and bred to believe in alternative facts (Washington chopped down a cherry tree, Bell is American, Edison discovered the light bulb, Columbus set sail to prove the world was round) to feed their narcissistic loading. Americans have become so dependent on fake news, they no longer have the capacity to determine what is real and what is not. They believe that America has a God-given right to be the greatest nation, and only the devil can stop it. In God we Trust, no other action necessary. It’s not only Trump that is narcissistic, it is the entire American narrative.

    But the world is quickly passing by America, while it slept, content in its own self-generated false illusions. No statistical ranking on world economies that is pre-2012 is valid today. Almost every ‘world’s leading’ position in almost every category has been overtaken, pushing the former leader way back in the standings. A drastic equilibrium shift has occurred in the last four years. Over 25% of the students in American post-grad institutions are on student visas, the best and brightest in American tech research facilities are foreign-born, Silicon Valley runs on work visas, China graduates more Phd’s per year than American institutions, there hasn’t been an entirely American team win the Nobel prize in physics in over a decade, the biggest and best scientific facilities (Haldron collider for example) are in Europe, the Chinese economy is bigger than the American economy, there are more middle class Chinese than the entire American population, leading private allegedly American corporations in space launch are led by foreign-born (a Canadian (Musk) and a Brit (Branson)), three times as many cars are sold in China as in America, of the top 15 industrial robotics firms in the world only one is American, French Airbus has dethroned American Boeing and Lockheed, the American navy had to go to China to have their newest and largest floating dry dock (for their naval ship repairs) built – there was no shipyard in America that could build it, American ship-building is less that 1% of the world total, and over half of the physical greenbacks are outside of America.

    And every multi-national is deserting America like rats deserting a sinking ship. For every two cars Ford sells in America, it sells one in Europe. It has eight plants in America, seven in Europe. Even Elon Musk is abandoning the US for greener pastures – more than likely, Australia. His space port will probably be moved there. He is not really anxious to complete his battery plant in the US, instead building at least four others in other nations. There has been almost no real investment in American production in over a decade (except for Musk), and all America has left are zombie industries. They will continue to produce inefficiently for a declining American market (because of high tariffs) , but they will never compete on the world stage. Americans NEED to re-negotiate their trade deals, because American industries can no longer compete in world markets, and they NEED trade barriers to protect them. American industries are out-classed, inefficient, non-competitive, and technologically obsolete.

    America is out-educated, out-produced, out-researched, out-consumed, out-spent, out-invested, out-dated, and out-classed by other nations. America is in decline, and the American psyche is absolutely tearing itself apart. To a narcissist, being second is being the first to lose, and Americans can not tolerate losing. The entire nation (except for California, which has the fifth largest GDP in the world) Americans are collectively throwing a hissy fit tantrum, and the rest of the world is saying ‘so sad, so bad, suck it up’.

    It really didn’t matter who was elected POTUS, America is beyond recovery. And like most narcissists, they (in their entire collective narcissism) are blaming everyone else but themselves, have wrapped themselves up into a national cocoon ( with their border walls) where the truth is blocked out, and have fallen in behind the chief narcissist, who will perpetuate the dream and spread fairy dust to make it all great again.

    This is just the tip of the collective American in-fighting iceberg, as every American out-competes in their attempts to blame everyone else but themselves for America’s spiraling decline. And the average American will not accept anything even close to the real truth, ignoring the facts and evidence they need to understand in order to reverse the decline. They will grasp to the bitter end the alternative facts that perpetuate the illusion of their greatness, and that the problem is with everyone else but themselves, collectively.

    America itself is imploding, and the rest of the world is quite enjoying the spectacle.

    • Your above narrative rings ABSOLUTELY true …. I kinda like the American people, but America is destined for failure. America’s focus has been on the big, bad old war machine and not on things that matter. Looking at the election results it is plain to see the regionalism that is gripping the USA. As has often been quoted it is now the Divided States of America. Is the USA headed down the same road as did the USSR in the ’90’s and divide itself into 13 different countries? My be a good solution. Then they can all calm down and do some good rather than cause worldwide problems.

  12. The thing about democracy is that it’s inherently liberal, in that it’s egalitarian. The poorest and least among us have a say in how all of us live. Conservatism values hierarchies, which means inequality. Within a healthy, functioning democracy conservatism has to remain mild and limited. What we’ve seen in the U.S. over the past 20 or so years is the growing resentment of conservatives and conservatism over its limitations. The ultra right, the pseudo-Christian right, the tea partiers — they represent the forces that are always aligned against democracy. It seems democracy has been weakened enough now to give those forces ingress. American democracy has sprung a leak and the alt-right is pouring in to sink the boat. The only hope is that they’re so disorganized and so fueled by emotion that they’ll gut each other before they can muster sufficient organization to gut the country.

  13. Let me begin by saying that I’m new to Maclean”s and have no idea how the readership or these comments are broken down as far as people from Canada, the US, or any other nation. For those not from the US, I’m from the South and if y’all have filled your minds with any of the many stereotypes of the American South being filled with racist, backwards, ignorant, redneck, peckerwoods, you’re way off. You’ve underestimated it far more than you can imagine. It’s so far backward it’s almost turned around again. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Just to let you know a little of where I come from (it’s a Southern thing. I’m 60+, and have literally been interested in and studying politics since I was in grade school ans I’d walk to my mom’s office for us go home together when she got off work. In 1972, they opened a Nixon re-election office there and that’s where I hung until the day of the election and they shut it down. I started learning a lot and learning young. I took notes and after election day I lived in the library looking up stuff. Not so surprisingly, a lot of it didn’t jive with what Nixon and his campaign said. Later on got a degree in Pol. Sc. and History. That’s my political CV. Thank you Mr. Johnson for getting me started and making me think. See y’all in the comments.