The crisis in the Republican Party and the fracturing of the American two-party system
26 October 2017
The eruption of open warfare between the Republican Party establishment and the Trump administration marks a new stage in the political crisis within the United States.
The conflict within the Republican Party came to a head on Tuesday with the speech from the floor of the Senate by Jeff Flake, who announced that he would not seek reelection and denounced Trump’s actions as “dangerous to a democracy” and a threat to “the efficacy of American leadership around the globe.” Flake’s speech followed a series of statements attacking Trump by leading Republicans, including senators John McCain (chairman of the Armed Services Committee) and Bob Corker (chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee) and former President George W. Bush.
Leading Democrats lined up to praise Flake, a right-wing fiscal hawk and advocate of austerity. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called Flake “one of the finest human beings I’ve met in politics,” adding that he “will be missed.”
The outbreak of political warfare within the Republican Party is the latest episode in a conflict within the American state that raged throughout the Trump election campaign and has intensified over the ten months of his administration. Central to this struggle are differences over foreign policy, with Trump’s Republican opponents denouncing his brand of “America First” ultra-nationalism as destructive of US global dominance, particularly in regard to relations with Washington’s traditional allies and the political/military offensive against Russia and China.
From the beginning of his election campaign, Trump’s strategy was to exploit social and economic discontent and widespread disgust…