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Is Trump Burning Down the GOP?

National Republicans are now paying a huge price for their slavish deference to Donald Trump, the twice impeached president whose massive ego prompted him to lead a violent coup to overturn the 2020 election, jeopardizing our democracy.

That was evident today as House Republicans were unable to settle on Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker due to determined opposition by 19 MAGA GOP lawmakers seeking to install one of their own in that powerful position, second in line for the Presidency.

McCarthy's bid to garner the needed 218 votes to win the Speakership was unsuccessful Tuesday because of the determination of far-right Republicans to install one of their own, perhaps Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), or Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-PA). However, the result is that the House of Representatives can do no official business until a Speaker is elected.

"You cannot put the biggest alligator in charge to 'drain the swamp'," said Rep. Matt Goetz (R_FL), a leader in the opposition against McCarthy. "I'm a Florida man, and I know of what I speak."

The House adjourned today without electing a speaker after McCarthy failed to win a majority on three ballots, actually losing one less vote the third time around to Jordan. Immediately, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, issued a fundraising appeal saying this:

"Minutes ago, extreme MAGA Republicans failed to vote for a Speaker of the House for the first time in decades. Let me repeat that: Kevin McCarthy’s own Republicans just rejected him – proving House Republicans are fighting themselves instead of fighting for the people.

"This changes everything for Democrats," Jeffries wrote. "We now have a huge opportunity to step in and show what we can do – but only if we move quickly to prove our numbers." And with that, he asked for 1,000 gifts before midnight to "show that Democrats are ready to take back the House."

Trump Third Party Bid?

Last week, Trump stirred rumors that he might run as a third-party candidate in the 2024 presidential election, a move that likely would doom the GOP's effort to regain the presidency. Trump shared an article on his Truth Social site from the pro-Trump website American Greatness saying he could leave the GOP to punish it for its disloyalty.

Earlier, former Attorney General William P. Barr called for a new GOP leader, warning that Trump "will burn the whole house down" if he doesn't get his way.

“Unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading ‘his people’ out of the GOP,” Barr said in a scathing op-ed published in the New York Post.

“Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism,” Bar said. “His egoism makes him unable to think of a political party as anything but an extension of himself — a cult of personality.”

Republicans were widely expected to regain control of Congress in the 2022 election in a "red wave" that would swamp Democrats in the House. Instead, Democrats held the Senate and the GOP gained only a slim 10-vote majority in the House with many of Trump's endorsed candidates going down to defeat.

Whatever happens to Trump -- whether he's indicted for his crimes or not -- it is clear that acquiescence to him is proving to be doomsday for the GOP, and politicians like McCarthy are getting what they deserve.

Will Trump launch a third party bid? Is McCarthy finished?

Interesting times are ahead in 2023, and the future of American democracy could well hang in the balance.

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