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US politics

Republicans are stuck with Trump

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

The Republican establishment is desperate to ditch Trump, says Luke Savage in Jacobin, but “they’re probably stuck with him”. In the wake of the GOP’s disappointing showing in the midterm elections, “a swelling cavalcade of right-wing pundits, talking heads, and elected officials” have distanced themselves from the former president and declared that the party’s future lies elsewhere. Even “the most abject and pathetic Trump grovelers”, such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham, have abruptly left his side. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff, has said his old boss is “the only Republican who could lose” in 2024.

Yet none of this will do The Donald much damage. On the contrary, such attacks help him “reclaim the mantle of transgressive outsider” that served him so well in 2016. Throughout his improbable political rise, conservative elites – big-money donors, GOP power brokers, the uptight intellectuals at National Review – branded him an “electoral albatross” and urged Republicans to vote for other candidates. And they were completely ignored. “Far from blunting the mercurial front-runner’s momentum, the Republican establishment’s attack on Trump only seemed to make the base like him more.” People loved his ability to overcome overwhelming odds – especially the opposition from both party establishments – to seize an electoral victory. Republican voters have rallied around an “anti-establishment” Trump before. As he becomes increasingly ostracised, they might do the same again.