Donald Trump’s ‘monopoly on power’ within the Republican party is broken after Washington riots

Prior to the riots in Washington, US President Donald Trump was considered a commanding figure within the Republican Party, who still had a chance of becoming president again or at least anointing a successor. A week later, Mr Trump’s voice on his favourite social media platform Twitter was stripped away permanently, Facebook and Instagram blocked him from posting while he remained leader and a growing number of Republicans are holding him responsible for the violent Washington DC siege where his angry supporters stormed the US Capitol.
During the unbelievable scenes that shocked the world, five people died including a police officer who was hit on the head with a fire extinguisher.
Bruce Wolpe, nonresident senior fellow of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, believes Mr Trump has been damaged by last week’s events.
“ (Mr Trump) was the commanding figure in the party and everyone considered until last week that if he declared he wanted to run again, he would be the frontrunner,” Mr Wolpe told
“He dominated the ecosystem in the Republican Party and was good at raising money, and until a week ago he had a commanding social media presence.”
However, the riot has changed things and Mr Wolpe doesn’t believe the controversy around the breach of the Capitol will blow over.
“The longer people reflect on what happened at the Capitol, the worse it looks, the uglier it looks and this crime will not be forgotten and will not be forgiven,” he said.
“This doesn’t mean the Republican Party won’t nominate him again but it’s infinitely harder – he’s damaged goods.”
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Politico is reporting that some Republicans don’t believe Mr Trump will be the standard bearer for the party anymore and there will now be a “fight for the soul of the Republican Party”.
“The four years of substantial policy accomplishments, whether it be the economy, judges, the Supreme Court, all of that is wiped away by six weeks of extraordinary undisciplined bad behaviour that culminated in a day of disgrace at the United States Capitol,” a national Republican strategist who worked to elect the President told the newspaper.
Scott Jennings, who worked for president George W. Bush and is close to the Trump White House said: “He is not the leader of any Republican Party I recognise.”
Another former Trump aide has said the President now “needs to be ostracised and excommunicated from the Republican Party”.
However, many don’t blame Mr Trump for what happened at the Capitol and many more recognise that he still has a strong voter base, many of whom continue to support him.
At the last election he received more than 74 million votes, the second highest number in history and was only beaten by president-elect Joe Biden’s 81 million votes.
“The problem for the GOP (Republican Party) is that every Republican on Capitol Hill needs the support of these protesters – and people like them – for survival,” a senior Trump adviser told Politico. “Unless and until the party can find a message that is more popular with the white working class than Donald Trump, there is no bright future for Republicans.”
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Mr Wolpe said it remained to be seen whether Mr Trump would remain popular.
“Now is not the time to measure Mr Trump’s popularity versus Joe Biden,” he said.
“Doing it now won’t tell us anything, the point to look at it would be when Joe Biden has been president for a while.
“ (Mr Trump) believes that his base is intact and continues to love him, that will be tested too, we’ll see.”
Mr Wolpe, who worked as a Democrat staffer in the US House of Representatives, including during president Barack Obama’s first term, believes things will continue to get worse for Mr Trump.
“He will undoubtedly issue more pardons and there will be a stench, there will be a reckoning on the attack on Congress and that will hurt him.”
Mr Trump also faces a potentially embarrassing investigation in New York into whether he improperly inflated assets, evaded taxes, and paid off women alleging affairs in violation of campaign finance laws.
“In six months, his stocks will be even lower than today,” Mr Wolpe said.
Even before last week’s events, Mr Wolpe believes Mr Trump had already been in a downward slide.
He had lost the presidency to Joe Biden and two years earlier the Republicans also lost control of the House of Representatives under his leadership. Last Wednesday, the Republicans also lost control of the Senate after two Georgia run-offs were won by Democrat candidates.
“He was in a position of declining power and authority even before the atrocity of the attack on Congress,” Mr Wolpe said.
Mr Wolpe also pointed out that Mr Trump had broken with his loyal vice president Mike Pence and the other most powerful Republican, Mitch McConnell.
“And he lost his commanding social media presence and we saw immediately a change in Washington because his voice is not there,” Mr Wolpe said.
Mr Wolpe believes the loss of Mr Trump’s social media presence means his direct voice no longer dominates news as it did until the weekend.
“This creates immense room for others,” he said. “His absence contributes to the reality of his decline.”
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When leaders are in a weaker political position, Mr Wolpe said two things could happen.
“Other contenders are stronger and a lot of others want to be president so it gives them a better chance,” he said.
“His voice as to what the Republican party should stand for is also weaker. Others will be in a better position to offer their ideas and their legislation.
“It will return to a more normal situation, with a variety of voices on where they should stand on legislation, the economy and foreign policy.”
Mr Wolpe believes a lot more people will put their hand up to guide the party.
“He had a monopoly on power and that’s been broken,” he said.
“If you were all in with Trump in 2020, you are all out of power in 2021. That goes to back to the House, Senate and presidency.”
Politico is reporting that half a dozen Republican who supported or worked for Mr Trump believe he isn’t likely to run for president again, even though he may hint at it. This is partly because he would be required to disclose more financial information, according to two Republicans close to Mr Trump.
Mr Wolpe believe Democrats will do their duty and try to impeach the President or force him to resign. Even if they are not successful in getting the Senate to support the impeachment, Mr Wolpe believes it will be important.
“When (Mr Trump) dies he will know that the first line in his obituary will be that he was the first president to be impeached twice and was therefore the most disgraced American president in history,” he said.
“He will go down as the worst president in American history – that will be his legacy. If there is a considered judgment of history, that is what the judgment will be.”