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Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle pleaded with Republicans on Friday to have a “Dr. Phil moment” and get themselves out of their “dangerous” relationship with former President Donald Trump unless they want to commit “party suicide.”
The column insisted that Trump has been “wrecking” the GOP for years with his “scandals” and “ego,” and claimed that if the party continues to embrace him, the idea of a red wave in upcoming elections will end up “more like a ripple.”
McArdle began her column with the premise that sensible Republicans have been secretly hoping Trump could have been kicked to the curb in 2016 but were unwilling to do the job themselves. “By mid-February 2016, it was clear that some kind of collective Republican action would be needed to keep Donald Trump from winning the nomination. Instead, everyone stood around hoping that someone else would do the job for them,” she wrote.
Over the past six years, that same scenario has played out time and time again. She added, “This was an error they repeated many times in the ensuing years, keeping quiet about outrage after outrage, passing up two separate chances to remove him from power and ensure he could never run again.”
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Writing as though the GOP is a victim in an abusive relationship that needs counseling, the columnist added, “It is long past time for the GOP to have a Dr. Phil moment: How’s that working for you?”
She then went on to describe the various ways that Trump has ruined the party while the GOP excused him. “For six years, Trump has been systematically — okay, unsystematically — wrecking the party. At every juncture, Republicans made the same excuses for keeping quiet about it: The media was biased, so no need to actually deal with the outrageous substance of what was going on in the Oval Office.”
She summed up GOP leadership under Trump: “Better to quietly work against him where possible, and otherwise bide their time until Trump passed from the scene.”
Though McArdle condemned that strategy, writing, “Reality check, friends. Donald Trump isn’t going away unless you make him. And unless you make him, he will continue sullying the party with his scandals, sacrificing its standards and, increasingly, its electoral chances on the altar of his rapacious ego.”
She added, “However temporarily expedient cooperation might seem, in the long run, it’s the most dangerous course.”
McArdle claimed that if the GOP ignores or Trump’s alleged malfeasance with the secret documents that prompted the FBI raid at Mar-A-Lago, “they are effectively deciding to let Trump have control of the party until he dies, or becomes so diminished by old age that he is no longer capable of meddling. Individually, that might even be the rational choice.”
The columnist added that would be “party suicide.”
She asked, “How far will you go to defend his erratic, self-centered and pointlessly belligerent behavior? How slavishly will you proclaim the lie that Trump actually won the 2020 election?”
She continued, claiming that this devotion to Trump is costing Republicans the midterms. “This is one major reason that the ‘red wave’ that seemed to be shaping up earlier this year is now looking more and more like a ripple — possibly even a mildly good year for Democrats, despite a troubled economy and record-low presidential approval ratings,” she wrote.
She then made her final appeal, writing, “So if Republicans would like there to be life after Trump, Republican politicians will have to take firm action to save the party now. That means making a concerted move against the former president, and sticking to it even when his voters get mad and things get scary.”
The author also rebuked Republicans to stop waiting for something else to make Trump leave the party. “So abandon all hope, Republicans, of some deus ex machina. Stop hoping Trump won’t run — he’s obviously planning to — or that some other Republican can save the party by beating him in the 2024 primary without you having to risk Trump’s ire.”
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McArdle claimed that the GOP must admit Democrats were right about Trump and step into the light. “Yes, banding together to replace Trump will mean implicitly admitting that Democrats kinda had a point about him, which will be humiliating.”
Otherwise, “there’s a good chance that Trump will split the party, either running as an independent, or encouraging his voters to stay home,” she wrote.
Her column ended with the statement, “So however scary it feels to stand up to Trump, the idea of letting him run further amok ought to frighten Republicans even more.