Loyal to the tips of their nails. While a handful of elected Republicans, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have acknowledged Donald Trump’s presidential defeat, most are standing in tight lines behind their bosses. Many remain silent while others shamelessly relay the accusations of massive electoral fraud, made – still without proof so far – by the outgoing president.
In Washington, many observers would not be surprised if the current president found a way to leave the White House on January 20 – the day of the inauguration of the new Democratic president – without ever congratulating Joe Biden. On Tuesday evening, he sacked Chris Krebs, the head of the federal agency in charge of election security, by a concise message on Twitter. The latter had committed the irreparable by denying the existence of “massive” frauds and by declaring that the presidential election had been “the safest in the history of the United States“.
This is a sign that the billionaire is not letting go. The fact that it is encouraged by the leaders of the Republican Party, however, raises more and more concerns.
The political calculation of senators
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was accused this week of calling on Georgia’s secretary of state, local in charge of the elections in that contested state to the end, to get rid of a number of postal ballots. The latter, also a Republican but unwilling to get involved in this kind of trick, denounced him. The audit of the votes in this state in the southeast of the United States should confirm the victory of the Democratic candidate.
How did the Republicans get there? Donald Trump may have lost the election, he gathered more votes than four years ago, proof that he remains the undisputed leader of his camp. The elected Republican therefore made a political calculation. Because one ballot chases another. The next midterm elections will take place in two years. Some senators and governors will put their seats on the line, but they need the sponsorship of the hugely popular Trump – and the electoral base that comes with it – to win.
In the billionaire’s sights
The billionaire has also sought to make an example. He attacked Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, one of the few who recognized Joe Biden as president-elect. “Who will run for governor of the great state of Ohio?” Big battle in sight! “He tweeted on Monday about the 2022 poll. It’s not easy to campaign when you’re in the sights of Trump’s grudge, whether he bites from the White House or from the top of the New York tower who carries his name.
If the Republicans are so cautious, it is also because they have the second round of two key senatorial races in Georgia in mind in early January. These votes will decide the majority in the Upper House, which the Tories – Republican Senate boss Mitch McConnell in the lead – hope to keep (Editor’s note: they currently have a majority of one vote!) in order to be able to block Joe Biden’s agenda. For that, once again, they are counting on an inflated pro-Trump base. Hence their reluctance to contradict the head of state.
What if he runs again in 2024?
It remains to be seen how long they can hold out. Most foreign leaders have already congratulated the president-elect. The court actions of the Trump camp are rejected one after the other and the states take the path of the certification of their results. On December 14, the voters will vote and the name of the future president will be official. Some therefore believe that on that date, the Republicans could begin to ease the pressure.
As for Donald Trump, he will have managed to set up an alternative narrative according to which the victory was stolen from him anyway. This fable of which he is the hero will be able to serve him whatever his future projects. Some sources believe he is considering a presidential candidacy in 2024. He would then be 78 years old… nothing prohibitive since it is the age that Biden will be in a few days. Others predict the creation of a new conservative media outlet, competing with Fox News – a channel he says has become “Fake News” since announcing Joe Biden’s victory. The base which remains more loyal to him than ever will then be able to serve as future voters… or viewers.