The dominant storyline in American politics at the moment is the ongoing battle between the establishment wing and the Trump wing of the Republican Party.
The fights over the fates of Trump-aligned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and establishment Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) typify the larger struggle for control of the party.
Two fighters enter, one fighter leaves. Thunderdome and all that.
But what if this ugly fight for control of the party isn’t the only (or best) option for the future of the GOP? What if disbanding the current party is the right course of action?
“Instead of trying to hold it together, principled Republicans willing to put country before party need to encourage a split because a united Republican party — led by Trump or someone like him — is the greatest threat to freedom and democracy that America faces,” wrote Chris Vance, a former chairman of the Washington state Republican Party, in an op-ed in The Seattle Times over the weekend.
Vance’s argument is that there is simply no point in trying to reconcile the views of the Trump wing with what has traditionally been the mainstream of the GOP, that it is too far afield from what the party has long believed.
His suggestion? The 10 House Republicans — including Cheney — who voted to impeach Trump for inciting a riot should band together with the likes of Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) and simply “partner with the substantial Never Trump community of Republicans who have already left.”
Vance is well-aware of what that sort of schism would mean for the party’s political prospects. “Splitting your voters leads to defeat,” concedes Vance. “But at some point, principle must come before a desire to hold onto power.”
This proposal, while interesting, is extremely unlikely to happen. But Vance’s idea does prompt this question: Just how big a tent should the Republican Party have — and should the likes of Greene (or her fellow traveler Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert) be welcomed under it?
The Point: Political parties are always evolving. But what exactly is the Republican Party changing into? And is it even recognizable compared to what it was just a decade ago?