Like Julius Caesar’s Gaul, today’s Republican Party is divided into three parts: Never Trumpers, Sometimes Trumpers and Always Trumpers.
The overwhelming GOP vote against impeaching and convicting former President Donald Trump shows the Always Trumpers remain dominant. The Never Trumpers have found the going tough. Now, Sometimes Trumpers are beginning to emerge.
The power struggle among these three factions is already proving to be bitter, epitomized by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s sharp post-impeachment criticism of Donald Trump and the former president’s heated response, and will affect whether Republicans can regain the House and Senate next year and the presidency in 2024.
In the pre-Trump era, a coherent conservative philosophy defined the GOP: smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a robust American presence abroad. Trump demolished those verities, so Republicans now define themselves almost exclusively by their relationship to a single person, Donald Trump.
Most Never Trumpers started spurning him in 2016. Though often key figures within their states, they remain on the outside nationally.