Right and Left React to Fractures in the Republican Party

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Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post

“The unpleasant reality for Trump, of course, is that having neglected or attacked his own party he may find many of its members replaced by hostile Democrats who will seek to remove him. That is certainly reason for Republican pessimism.”

The damage is clear, according to Ms. Rubin: “Trump may have successfully demonized his own party within the G.O.P.” to the point that it may be hard to return Republican majorities to Congress in the midterm elections next year. Ms. Rubin blames congressional leaders for a “paucity of policy ideas” and “excessive infighting” as well. Read more »

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From the Left

Photo
Mr. Trump and Melania Trump, the first lady, board Air Force One on their way to Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Credit
Doug Mills/The New York Times

Zack Beauchamp in Vox:

“Public clashes between the president and top aides can literally undercut the administration’s foreign policy goals. This past weekend, for example, Tillerson said that he was negotiating directly with North Korean officials — but then Trump tweeted that he should knock it off.”

The “mixed signal” between Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson “makes it hard for the North Koreans to figure out what the U.S. government wants from them,” Mr. Beauchamp explains. It also has a more pernicious effect on the administration’s ability to carry out its business: “The fact that Trump’s rough management style has been publicly reported makes all of this worse. It makes it hard to fill vital open positions.” Read more »

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Jeet Heer in The New Republic

“A Moore-style G.O.P. can remain an electoral force in the same way that the current G.O.P. does: with a combination of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the Senate and Electoral College’s overrepresentation of small, rural, overwhelmingly white states — their bias toward conservative voters, in other words.”

Mr. Moore’s recent victory in the Alabama Republican Senate primary leads Mr. Heer to conclude that the party is actually in much stronger shape than others appear to believe. “While such a Republican Party eventually might have a harder time winning national elections,” he argues, “it can do well enough in Congress to block Democratic legislation.” Ultimately these moments give parties “more energy by riling up the base.” Read more »

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Robert Schlesinger in U.S. News:

“We interrupt your stunned disbelief about the tragedies visited upon the nation in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas for a periodic reminder that things are as preposterously dysfunctional as you think they are in Republican-run Washington, D.C.”

Mr. Schlesinger connects the recent controversies surrounding Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Ayers to earlier ones in the Trump administration, concluding that the White House has a “well-earned reputation as a tumultuous freak show of instability.” The problems have extended to the “fraying relationship between the Hill and the administration,” he argues. And he views the relationship as “in decline if not out-and-out disintegration.” Read more »

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And Finally, From the Center:

Albert R. Hunt in Bloomberg:

“Tillerson tried, but his effort proved to be futile. Trump ignored his chief diplomat, allowing him to be undercut by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has no foreign policy experience.”

Mr. Hunt is blunt in his view of the state of the Tillerson-Trump marriage: “As a result of his rift with Trump, Tillerson has limited credibility with foreign leaders.” Mr. Hunt notes that history is unkind to these kind of partnerships and that “the history of C.E.O.s moving to top cabinet posts is mixed at best.” Read more »

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