HO Chi-Ping Patrick



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Unbeknownst to them, the Democrats have saved the Republican Party from epic debacle in the 2024 elections. How so?

The recent eviction of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Republican) from the House leadership when the Congress has a 222 versus 212 Republican majority, is the latest manifestation of the internal war within the Republican Party between Make America Great Again (MAGA) Republicans and establishment Republicans over the future of the party.


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The results of the 2020 elections raised hopes in the GOP establishment that the Trump era had finally come to an end and that the party can finally rehabilitate itself and rid itself of some of its vocal and more radical elements. But they failed to account for the ideological transformation their electorate had undergone in recent years. Indeed, MAGA voters are not a fringe group anymore in the American right. The current GOP primaries are making it all too clear. According to polls the three candidates most ideologically aligned with the MAGA movement – Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis – capture roughly 80 percent of the Republican vote while the other 20 percent are shared among half-a-dozen establishment Republicans like Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Tim Scott and Mike Pence. While MAGA’s ideological dominance is reflected in the street, in the corridors of Congress the movement is vastly under-represented. This is about to change in the coming election cycle as more MAGA candidates are poised to challenge establishment Republicans in primary races. MAGA supporters are under attack not only by their party establishment but also from their own government and the mainstream media which increasingly treat them as “domestic terrorists”. President Biden defined MAGA movement as a threat to the American democracy, and Newsweek Magazine recently revealed that the FBI seeks to track and counter MAGA activists. The MAGA movement has to signal that while its numbers in Congress may be small – for now – its electoral power should not be underestimated. This was exactly the message the group of eight Republican House members who staged the coup against Speaker McCarthy wanted to convey.


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The GOP establishment’s dislike of Trump and Trump’s sense of betrayal by them after the 2020 elections may have caused him to decide to rally his base behind him, break from his party and run as an independent, anti-establishment candidate. Nothing could have harmed the GOP more than such breakup.

The role of third-party candidates in a two-party system has been extremely consequential and is often ignored. In 1992 Ross Perot acted as a spoiler, causing George H. W. Bush (incumbent) to lose to Bill Clinton. In 2000 consumer advocate Ralph Nader took away essential votes from Al Gore (incumbent) and handed the presidency to George W. Bush. In 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein denied roughly half a million votes from Hillary Clinton (incumbent), handing Trump the presidency. In a country where the last two elections were decided by a margin of less than 100,000 votes a third-party candidate could easily decide the 2024 elections. This is why Democrat Robert Kennedy Jr.’s announcement that he would run as third-party candidate after it has become clear to him that the Democratic National Committee would not permit him to compete in open and fair primaries should keep the Biden team awake at night. To make matters worse for Democrats left-wing scholar Cornel West is running as independent, criticizing Biden for failing to deliver on a sweeping leftist agenda. Together, Kennedy and West could deny Biden millions of votes and thereby decide the outcome of the elections in favor of Trump.

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If not for the Democrats’ vindictiveness and short-sightedness this is exactly what could have happened to the GOP. Had they acted smartly and invested energy in deepening the rifts within the Republican base, Trump may have become fed up with the GOP and run as independent. Instead, they attacked him with four criminal indictments which changed his calculus. The indictments left Trump with a stark choice: he could either stay with the GOP, win the elections and pardon himself and then move on to purge the deeply politicized justice system, or he could run as independent, risk losing the elections and face an almost certain conviction and years in prison, not to mention the destruction of the Republican Party. Facing such “prisoner’s dilemma” Trump had to stay with the Republican Party and do all he can to win the presidency as the its candidate.

An independent run by Trump would have brought not only catastrophic GOP defeat in the 2024 elections but a permanent bifurcation of the conservative movement. It would have also sabotaged the GOP’s efforts to win the Senate and maintain control over the House. All of this was avoided thanks to the prosecutorial zeal of the Democrats.


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Politics is not only the art of persuasion, it is also a game of self-control, but Democrats could not contain their hatred of Trump and by weaponizing the justice system against him they may have lent him a second life, and the GOP a second chance.

Edited by Fang Fang

Proofread by Wang Yan