Finley: GOP riding Trump Titanic to bottom
Extracting the tumor that is Donald Trump from the Republican Party is clearly not going to be easy.
Too many in the GOP have fervently committed themselves to fighting on for Trump's lost cause, ignoring warnings the party must regroup around less toxic leaders if it hopes to thrive.
In doing so, they're playing right into the Democratic strategy of making sure the ghost of the ex-president continues to haunt voters through the next election cycle and beyond.
Across the country, Republican officials who showed less than full allegiance to Trump during his efforts to overturn the election and his subsequent impeachment are being punished by the GOP grassroots.
In Michigan, both the state's newest congressman, Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids, and its longest serving, Fred Upton of St. Joseph, were censured by county Republican committees for voting in favor of impeaching Trump.
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, got the same treatment from Hillsdale County Republicans for, among other things, not switching President Joe Biden's victory in Michigan to Trump.
Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania have been censured by Republicans in those states for voting to convict Trump on the impeachment charges, and Mitt Romney has been threatened in Utah.
Burr and Toomey aren't running for reelection, but others on the censure list likely are, and will also likely face primary challenges from Trump-approved Republicans.
The former president promised as much last week.
Although banned from Twitter and other social media — a blessing in disguise for Republicans — Trump is still communicating to Americans through regular email blasts that convey his trademark hubris and vitriol.
The message first eviscerated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for harshly scolding Trump, even as he voted to acquit him in the impeachment trial. McConnell, Trump said, "is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."
How does that help the GOP Senate minority maintain a unified wall against the Democrat's far-left agenda?
But more troubling was this threat from Trump: "Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First."
Trump's active engagement in the Republican primaries in 2022 will hinder the willingness of both incumbents and hopefuls to move away from him and offer a more attractive message to voters. His Save America PAC already contains $31 million.
A destructive civil war within the Republican Party will prevent it from focusing fully on taking seats away from Democrats in what otherwise should be a fruitful mid-term election for the GOP.
That was the Democrats' aim in pursuing the pointless impeachment, and next congressional hearings into the events of Jan. 6.
They want Trump to remain a noose around Republican necks.
Trump will never again be able to rally enough voters to either place himself or one of his surrogates in the White House.
But with his still-iron grip on the Republican base, he can complete his destruction of that once Grand Old Party.
Sign up for the Nolan Out Loud morning report at detroitnews.com/newsletters.
Watch Finley on DPTV’s “One Detroit” at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.