Trump may trigger Republican ‘civil war’ to mirror Labour’s disintegration after election

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Mr Trump has caused an international storm after claiming, without evidence, that the Democrats are “stealing” the election and that the US voting system is “corrupt”. The Republican President is expected to lose his shot at re-election as he is trailing behind Joe Biden — although not all votes have been counted yet. Even so, Mr Trump has divided the Republican Party ever since his unexpected victory in 2016, and this has only been exacerbated by the election.

Last month, Republican Senator Ted Cruz said he feared there would be an election “bloodbath of Watergate proportions” while fellow Senator John Cornyn criticised the President for his handling of coronavirus.

Speaking on the BBC’s Americast this week, Republican political strategist Ron Christie also explained that he thought the President had sent “exactly the wrong message, exactly the wrong tone you want to set when the country is really ill at ease” by attacking US democracy.

He explained that some Republicans were trying “to inject a sense of complacency, or normality, until we can get this all sorted out” — but that too many were not acting quickly enough.

The BBC’s Emily Maitlis said: “There was a sort of hijack when Donald Trump sort of became the Republican Party, and the Republican Party sort of went along with him.

“I guess the party is now at this crossroads, is that fair to say — you’re now deciding if you want Republicanism and Trumpism to be the same thing?”

He responded: “I don’t think so, I think I’ve been very consistent over the last four years for calling the President out for his bad behaviour, calling him out for his intemperate remarks, and suggesting that we are looking at a brand of Trumpism, not a brand of Republicanism.

“What does irritate me to no end is the lack of moral convictions of more Republican leaders.

“There’s been a silence, which is deafening from Mitch McConnell, the now incoming Senate leader once again, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, Governors, members of Congress.

“They are sitting by the sidelines and being very quiet.

“I think regardless of party affiliation, if you see something that looks bad, smells bad, doesn’t seem right, it is an affront to who we are as a nation.”

This fallout within the Republican Party could be compared to Labour’s reaction after the general election, last December.

Although the US election is still very close, whereas the Conservatives won by a landslide last year, the disintegration of the Labour Party and widespread criticism of Jeremy Corbyn echoes that of the Republicans.

For instance, Mr Trump claimed “frankly, I have won” long before all the ballots were counted.

After leading Labour to its greatest loss since 1935, Mr Corbyn said, “we won the argument” although he did add “I regret we didn’t convert that into a majority for change”.

In the aftermath of Labour’s defeat, some Labour MPs such as Margaret Hodge, said it was clear that the leader “failed” and that he should stand down immediately after the election.

Yet, this was not a universal opinion.

Ian Lavery, the party’s chairman, argued that the defeat was “not Jeremy Corbyn, it is Brexit and ignoring democracy”.

The party’s in-fighting continued with many not wanting Mr Corbyn to stay on as leader for a “period of reflection” after the election, as he intended.

Speaking to the New York Times last December, political history professor Steven Fielding said that the pro-Corbyn faction were not going to let their “historic opportunity” of leading Labour with a radical manifesto go.

He explained: “This theme of having a period of reflection isn’t to allow people to reflect, it is the very opposite.

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“They want a period of pause after the shock of this defeat to persuade members of their narrative that they need to keep on in the same direction.”

The recent suspension of Mr Corbyn from the Labour Party has led those on the left of the party into further fury, with union leader Dave Ward saying the move had “pushed Labour into civil war”.

Yet, Politico reported immediately after the general election that tensions had already begun.

The outlet reported: “When the election result became clear, one senior Labour activist summed up what would happen next: civil war’.”

Mr Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, is yet to unite the party almost a year after the disastrous election.

The Republican Party does not seem to be facing the same level of friction as the Labour Party just yet, and the election results will undoubtedly influence how united the party is over the next four years.

Additionally, since Mr Christie spoke out two days ago, other key Republicans have gone public — showing the party might not be as fractured in its view of Mr Trump as previously thought.

For instance, the Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, tweeted yesterday: “There is no defence for the President’s comments tonight undermining our democratic process.”

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