Is now the time for moderate Republicans to try to retake control of the party?

The FBI raid on Mar-A-Lago seems to be driving a wedge in the Republican party. Some folks are screaming to defund and dismantle the FBI, while others are going “Whoa, easy there, not so fast!” Seems to me like this would be the perfect opportunity for the centrist GOP (if there are any left) to reclaim their party. Make a lot of noise on the talk shows about how what Trump did was clearly illegal, unethical, and a threat to national security. Paint Trump supporters as traitors and ask “Why do you hate this country?” Push the crazies as far to the margins as possible. Could it work?

Well, the leader of their party has all but been convicted of sedition and perhaps even treason. If they can’t do it now, then when?! They may as well become democrats and be done with it.

This, of course, is the issue.

There aren’t many “centrists” left in either of the two major parties at this point. But, there are, I have to believe, a fair number of semi-sane members of GOP leadership. For example, I think that Mitch McConnell is an amoral, hypocritical asshole, but he’s also intelligent and sane. That said, those semi-sane leaders have largely demonstrated, over the past 6 years, that they are much more interested in keeping their positions of power, than in taking any substantive actions against Trump and the wingnut far-right wing of the party.

They know that, if they did so, at best, they’d likely get primaried out of out office by Trumpists (see: Liz Cheney); at worst, they could get dragged out of their houses in the middle of the night and be shot.

All but convicted? He hasn’t even been charged.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

It seems to me that he has obviously broken the law with regard to mishandling classified information, a felony since 2017 or 2018 when he signed the bill into law. What’s your opinion on that? And, what’s your opinion on whether moderate Republicans should try and reassert themselves?

As for my opinion, there are like 3 or 4 elected “moderates” (meaning, crazy conservative, but not outright seditious) left. The unelected ones have been screaming for a while (for example, the Lincoln Project) and no one gives a crap.

Who would have thought that “moderate Republican” could mean “extremely conservative, but not actively trying to overthrow democracy”? What a time to be alive.

He will be, though the radical right will do everything under the sun to try to keep this traitor out of prison.


Let’s cease the hijack immediately. Thanks.

Who are these moderate Republicans? If they existed, they should have taken control of their party before the attempted coup, which leads me to believe that they are largely a myth.

Not mythical, but they may be extinct, and are certainly at least endangered.

The moderate Republicans have been largely disenfranchised and we’re now independents or Democrats. Moderate Republicans can’t even control the state party in liberal states like New Jersey. I don’t think they have enough power or organization to take back the party.

Instead they would have to form a new partial party within the Republican party like the Lincoln Republicans.

I really reject the notion of moderate Republicans, when has the party not been lead by radicals? Certainly not in my life time. W invaded Iraq to export our revolution at gunpoint, Gingrich and Reagan exploited dead/blue divides to dismantle the government and all of them in the last 60 years have pandered to white supremacists.

I think this where the common perception that the Republican Party is controlled by monied interests is shown to be untrue. Winner-take-all primaries give the largest plurality all the power. Money has a lot of influence, but you can’t actually buy votes. There’s nothing non-Trumpists can do to take control of the party.

Nixon may have been a crook, but he wasn’t a radical. Neither was Jerry Ford or Rockefeller.
But for the past 40 years or so they’ve been radicalizing their base and punishing anyone who steps out of line, so I’m not surprised you have the impression you have.

Not to derail the thread further, but I absolutely disagree. The seeds of fascism and white supremacy are baked in to the GOP (Nixon and Rockefeller drug wars, for example). The America we have now is not the output of Trump, it is the result of decades of work by the GOP to get to this point.

I think that the idea that the GOP is going to come to its senses is corrosive, we need to acknowledge the existential threat to democracy the movement represents. Trump was not an an aberration, he is the logical continuation of a radical movement.

As to the OP, we are well past the point for anyone more moderate than Trump to take control of the party. It is a violent white nationalist movement that is hostile to democracy.

There is a certain amount of conflating going on in this thread. “Moderate” Republican ideas are being equated with “opposed to Trump.” Admittedly a Venn diagram would show overlap, but not always. AIUI, Liz Cheney has impeccable credentials as a far-right conservative.

At the same time, there are no doubt Trump-supporting politicians in the party who have followed along with his increasingly radical right-wing rhetoric because they are afraid of the political consequences of crossing him - but left to their own devices, they’d probably just take run-of-the-mill fiscally conservative, sorta hawkish, states-right-leaning positions - in other words, just moderate Republicanism, not necessarily crazed nationalism.

I think the OP would be better phrased as “sane Republicans” rather than “moderate” ones. My personal feeling is that recent events do give them some cover - “his behavior transcends party lines, this isn’t about supporting his ideas, it’s about breaking the law” - but I doubt anyone will take it. They’d probably see it as too risky, and they’re in too deep already.

I wish Jeff Flake would come out of retirement. It would be nice to have politicians whose views largely oppose my own that I could still admire for their integrity.

I agree with you there, but it was a few conniving wackos like Newt Gingrich rather than the party at large that led them to the sorry state they’re in today.

I totally agree with you CairoCarol. While there is some overlap in the groups, they are not the same. I was certainly thinking of Liz Cheney and she is definitely not a centrist, but not insane either. Perhaps “non-fanatical” would have been a better description to use.

It’s always been the time for sane Republicans to try to take control of their party. The question is just, is this the time that they can succeed?

Agreed, but I wouldn’t define sanity as supporting or not supporting Trump. If Trump died tomorrow, you’d still have the core of a GOP that:

  • Denies climate science
  • Wants to make more deadly firearms more available
  • Wants to take away abortion rights (and maybe birth control, too)
  • Wants to take away gays’ right to marry, hold jobs, etc.
  • Hates everything about trans people and would gladly put them in camps
  • Refuses to accept losing any election
  • Ostracizes any of their number who disagrees with any of the above

I believe there are still sane GOP voters who don’t feel strongly about those points but still think voting red will keep their taxes lower, or their property values higher, or whatever. But they don’t have any incentive to “take back” the party as long as the insanity keeps winning.