Politico columnist rips media for pushing 'GOP civil war' narrative: It's a 'fantasy'

In his piece published on Wednesday titled, ‘A GOP Civil War? Don’t Bet On It,” Greenfield mocked recent coverage that has been depicting the GOP as “eating itself alive” and that such infighting will help Democrats maintain control in the 2022 midterms, but the media “shouldn’t be so sure.”

“First, beyond a few spats that make headlines, it’s getting harder to detect any serious division among rank-and-file Republicans. In Congress, and at the grassroots, the dominance of Donald Trump over the party is more or less total,” Greenfield wrote. “Second, and more significant, history is littered with times that critics on the left, and in the pundit class, were positive the Republican Party was setting itself up for defeat by embracing its extremes … only to watch the party comfortably surge into power… And, contrarian as it may seem, the lockstep devotion to the former president may actually enhance, rather than lessen, its chances. What we’re seeing isn’t a civil war. It’s a purge, and there’s every reason to believe it will work.”

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Greenfield pointed to a recent report from The New York Times that cited anti-Trump Republicans like Barbara Comstock and Jeff Flake sounding the alarm of the direction of a pro-Trump GOP who don’t actually speak for the “Republican base.” He also mocked all the media attention that Texas congressional candidate Michael Wood received ahead of the recent jungle primary, in which he finished in ninth place with just 3% of the vote. 

He went on to argue that Republicans are in a “strong” position ahead of 2024, even suggesting that former President Trump could win reelection if he chose to run. 

“Looking ahead to 2024, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the structural advantages that benefit the Republican Party—in House districts, in the GOP tilt of the Senate and Electoral College—are only tilting further in its direction, buttressed by new laws and regulations passed to make Trump and his followers happy,” Greenfield explained. “If Trump really runs, and the 2024 election results have roughly the same profile as 2020’s, it is far more likely that Trump would emerge the victor, given new barriers to voting and the purging of nonpartisan voting officials.”

The columnist acknowledged that members of the party like Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will “resist” and because of their anti-Trump defiance will “win a significant share of coverage in the New York Times, and on CNN and MSNBC.”

“But the idea that they represent one side of a major split within the Republican Party is a fantasy,” Greenfield continued. “As a body, that party has embraced notions about the political process that would have seemed the stuff of parody a decade ago. Donald Trump Jr. was right, in his speech to the crowd just before the Capitol insurrection: this is Trump’s Republican Party, and it’s perfectly united in that conviction. To pretend otherwise—and to pretend that there’s an argument about what it stands for, or some kind of damaging fracture still ahead—is an act of delusion.”

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