Image Credits: Daily Kos .

Former Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia tells CNN that the majority of Republicans in his district are effectively brain damaged after four years of Trump.

“I’m on the ground here in Virginia in the 5th District and I would still say a majority of Republicans believe Trump shouldn’t have been impeached, that there was a false flag operation at the Capitol and that stop the steal is real.”

This theory is supported by the spectacle of local and state Republican parties voting over and over and over and over again to censure lawmakers who dared to impeach or convict Trump.

Dave Ball,  the chairman of the Washington County, Pennsylvania, Republican Party, explained this very well while expressing his intention to censure Sen. Pat Toomey.

“We did not send him there to vote his conscience, we did not send him there to do the right thing, whatever he said he was doing. We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us.”

It’s therefore not a surprise that the latest Morning Consult poll finds that Trump would easily win the Republican Party nomination for president if those contests were held today. Yet, they also find that President Joe Biden has a healthy 62 percent-33 percent approval rating.

Clearly, the Party of Lincoln needs the base to come back to reality. Some of this may transpire slowly over time. Two years from now, it’s possible that Trump’s standing with the base will have eroded, perhaps substantially. In fact, if the movement is great enough, the folks who are defending Trump today may be defending themselves instead.

That’s a tricky problem for leaders like Mitch McConnell, because he clearly wants to convince the party base that Biden’s election was legitimate and that Trump deserves whatever legal problems he faces. But if he’s too convincing, most of the elected Republicans in Congress will be in a bind explaining why they allowed the ex-president to get away with his crimes.

On the other hand, if McConnell loses this argument, he’ll lose his leadership position and the party will continue to be on the wrong end of Biden’s massive approval numbers, running QAnon nuts and losing winnable elections all across the country.

For these reasons, McConnell should be supportive of Speaker Pelosi’s proposal for a 9/11 Commission-style independent investigation of the January 6 insurrection. Getting the truth out to the public in the least partisan way has the best chance for penetrating the Trumpian information bubble in which most Republican voters reside.

Getting some control over that bubble would help, too. The Republicans might want to use their disinformation Wurlitzer to fight back against Biden’s agenda, but they don’t want more bad information about the 2020 election.

What’s really tough is the calculus for Republicans who want to run for president in 2024. Aspirants like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton stuck with Trump because they didn’t want to anger his supporters. But if those supporters stick with Trump and he runs again, that’s the worst situation for them. Anything that prevents Trump from running is optimal. Anything that turns his supporters against him is second-best. What they can’t afford is for Trump to remain viable.

So, the GOP’s future depends on Trump being discredited with Republicans. But the party can’t accomplish that without discrediting itself.

In fact, it’s not clear they can accomplish this at all. It could be that the QAnon-wing of the party will win in a rout.

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