State Republican parties throughout the country reshaped themselves during Trump’s presidency — which might prove one of his most significant legacies. In the past several weeks, a number of state parties have stepped in to punish Trump’s critics in his stead. The Wyoming Republican Party censured Rep. Liz Cheney, the third highest-ranking House Republican, for her January vote to impeach Trump, and the Louisiana and North Carolina state parties censured their Republican senators who voted to convict the former president during his impeachment trial.
Even among these examples, Arizona stands out as a hotbed of conflict. It was the home of what Trump’s base sees as the original sin: Fox News (correctly) calling the state for Biden on election night, leading to days of feverish and conspiracy-driven protests outside the Maricopa County elections headquarters. As those shock troops took to the streets, Trump’s team tried to pressure state officials, from the governor down. Ward became a fixture of the effort, speaking at “stop the steal” events and focusing the state party’s fundraising appeals and social media on the election results. Arizonans were conspicuous at the Capitol riot; Turning Point Action sent seven busloads of people to Washington for the demonstrations that day.
It’s no surprise that Arizona has taken a leading role in the “stop the steal” push, because it’s always been a breeding ground for the right-wing vanguard. Clashes over immigration and social conservatism in Arizona augured national fights over those issues. And extremists and opportunists of different kinds have flourished here.
Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater’s conservative movement galvanized the right wing — and his 1964 presidential nomination was a disaster for Republicans. Goldwater, who refused to moderate his right-wing message and opposition to civil rights legislation, won just six states — Arizona and five in the Deep South. [Continue reading…]
Republicans are starting their life in the Senate minority mired in a civil war over the future of the GOP and former President Donald Trump’s role in the party.
Trump’s scathing attack on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday exposed rifts that could dash the GOP’s hopes of retaking the Senate in 2022 if they are allowed to fester. Some in McConnell’s orbit already blame Trump for losing the majority in Georgia last month. Now, the GOP leader has to hold together a fractured conference and guide Senate candidates through difficult primaries while holding onto seats in states Trump lost last year.
With McConnell castigating Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and Trump firing back in personal terms, Senate Republicans have reacted by trying to defuse the situation — a sign of recognition that they need Trump loyalists and more traditional Republican voters to stick together for future success. [Continue reading…]