Where Will This MAGA Mutiny Lead?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Republican lawmakers are currently engaged in a mini-mutiny against former President Donald Trump, who has been the leader of the GOP since he became president in 2017. The development can be summed up in comments made by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on the House floor while debating who they should elect as Speaker of the House.

The video clip featuring her comments went viral, but I’m not sure folks are grasping the significance of the words Boebert spoke. In fact, I’m thinking this could signify the beginning of a sea change in the party if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly.

Over the past few days, the fight over who will grasp the gavel in the lower chamber of Congress has plastered the airwaves and interwebs with members of the chattering class offering a plethora of speculations regarding who will occupy the Speaker position. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was previously seen as a shoo-in for the position, having been the House Minority Leader over the past two years. The fact that he enjoyed Trump’s endorsement was viewed as yet another sign in his favor.

But apparently, this is not the case.

Republicans are locked in a bitter brawl to determine who should lead the party going forward. While McCarthy still holds most of the support,

Early on Wednesday, Trump wrote a post on Truth Social in which he addressed the dustup. He expressed his full-throated support of McCarthy for Speaker.

Rep. Boebert made waves on Wednesday when she took to the House floor and said Trump had spoken with Republican lawmakers opposing McCarthy and told them to “knock this off.” The defiant lawmaker responded by calling on Trump to tell McCarthy that “it’s time to withdraw” because he does not have the votes.

Later on Wednesday evening, Boebert went toe to toe with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has been advocating for McCarthy’s leadership. Hannity chided the congresswoman for not falling in line and going along with the establishment. Nevertheless, she stood her ground.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who essentially built his brand on Trump and the MAGA movement, is also bucking his idol. In an appearance on Fox News Digital, he affirmed that the former president’s endorsement of McCarthy has not changed his mind and said it was “sad” that Trump is still supporting the beleaguered GOP leader.

If these developments had taken place even a year ago, we would be seeing a different story. For members of the MAGA wing of the Republican Party to brazenly defy its leader was nearly unheard of before 2022. Indeed, such a move would have brought on a cascade of criticism and invective and could tank one’s political career.

But now, in 2023, it appears times truly have changed, and Trump has lost a great deal of influence despite still being well-loved by the base. Now, GOP leaders and officials can openly go against the former president without fear of reprisal. Indeed, even if the Freedom Caucus members lose this battle and McCarthy is installed as Speaker, they will still remain in positions of prominence. In fact, this could even raise their popularity.

What this could signify is that the America First/MAGA movement is finally growing wings of its own and coming out from under Trump’s shadow. While he still wields tremendous influence over the movement, he no longer controls it. MAGA appears to have grown up and is striking out on its own, with new leaders stretching their legs and finding their footing.

While the non-establishment wing of the party is still yet to have taken over the party, it is far from being destroyed. Its leaders and base seem poised to expand further if it manages to gain more power at the grassroots level. But this does raise a question: What does this mean for Trump’s political future?


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