Republican civil war

Republican civil war

"There's no question, none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking" the January 6 Capitol building riot. That attack was the "foreseeable consequence of the crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on the Earth."

So said Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, US Senate Republican leader since 2006, just after voting last Saturday to acquit the president of high crimes and misdemeanors following Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, Trump punched back. "Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again." On Thursday, the pro-Trump chairman of Kentucky's Republican Party called on McConnell to resign as Republican leader.

The battle is joined.

Trump remains a powerful political force. Even in defeat, he won 74 million votes for president last year, the second highest total of any candidate in US history. Even after two impeachments, some 75 percent of Republican voters said in a recent poll that they want him to continue to "play a prominent role in the Republican Party," and 87 percent say he should be allowed to "hold elected office in the future." Trump may not have Twitter, but he has many other available megaphones in social media and cable TV. He will not be silenced.

What does this mean for the party? The GOP has descended into an all-out civil war that will rage in plain sight for years to come. McConnell and his allies have weapons too. They can help direct large amounts of campaign cash toward the establishment-friendly Republican candidates they believe stand the best chance of beating Democrats in the 2022 midterms, and if the party regains its Senate majority, McConnell will again control the legislative agenda. Trump, in turn, will barnstorm across the country in support of insurgent candidates who distinguish themselves mainly by their fealty to him and their commitment to continuous culture war combat.

The first GOP civil war battle will be waged later this year in Virginia's gubernatorial election, where leading Republican candidates include a long-time state legislator, a business executive, and a pro-Trump firebrand who spoke at the January 6 rally that triggered the Capitol insurrection and has publicly hailed the rioters as "patriots."

Then we move to the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans need a net gain of five seats to win back a majority in the House of Representatives and of just one to reclaim the Senate. In state after state, Trump insurgents will face off with establishment Republicans.

No major American political party has faced an internal fight of this magnitude and consequence in more than a century.

Trump's legal troubles will up the stakes. He'll likely face a series of legal challenges in coming months over his business affairs, charges that he tried to overturn the election result in particular states, and possibly criminal responsibility for the Capitol rampage. That story will remain in the news all year as more than 140 of the rioters now face federal charges and more will likely follow. Trump will use Republican responses to these courtroom dramas as litmus tests of loyalty to his vision of the party's future.

He may also threaten to sink the GOP by forming a third party. In a poll conducted last month, 64 percent of registered Republican voters said they would "likely" follow Trump if he does, and 32 percent said they'd be "very likely."

Will there be a winner in this civil war? The first clue will come in the 2022 midterms, when the GOP candidates who survive primary battles face Republican, Democratic, and independent voters. The results of those races will tell us what kind of candidate will carry the Republican banner forward into the 2024 presidential election and what kind of party the GOP will become.

The impact of Covid-19 is being felt in every household, changing the way we live our lives. The pandemic continues to reinforce the drive for cooperation between communities, governments and businesses in order to combat the threat.

Microsoft responded to the pandemic in its home state through efforts like donating protective equipment, making boxed lunches for families and using technology to better understand the spread of the virus over the last year. Now, we're sharing six ways Microsoft is pulling together with the community to lend a hand to fellow Washingtonians in 2021 including helping with vaccination efforts. To read more, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

Europe has been hit by a green wave in recent years. Green parties in countries as varied as Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden have made sizable electoral gains, with some now sitting in national governments.

The Green phenomenon seems to be gaining yet more momentum in the lead up to some crucial European elections (Germany, France) in the months ahead. What explains the green shift, and where might this trend be headed?

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Guilty: Eleven months after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died under the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, on a Minneapolis street corner, we finally have a verdict in the murder trial. On Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges: second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. The verdict was celebrated by advocates for racial justice and police reform. Last summer, video footage of Floyd suffocating to death as he cried out "I can't breathe" galvanized anti-racism protests across America (some of which turned violent) that went global. We're watching to see if the jury's verdict gives fresh impetus to the nationwide movement for police accountability and broader criminal justice reform, both of which have been met with fierce resistance from law-and-order conservatives and police unions. And we'll also be keeping an eye on the sentence, as Chauvin faces up to 75 years in prison for his crimes.

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120,000: Ukraine warns that Russia will soon have as many as 120,000 troops on its eastern border, a larger presence than when Moscow seized Crimea in 2014. Kyiv wants to join NATO to deter the Russian forces from invading the Donbas region, where about half the population are ethnic Russians.

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During a pandemic, the work of reporters around the world is particularly important to ensure transparency about the scope of outbreaks and the measures that governments are taking to contain them. But in many countries, press freedom has been declining since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Press freedom took a bit hit over the past year, as governments across the world doubled down on censoring media that criticized their handling of the pandemic, and locking up reporters for reporting the facts. Reporters Without Borders today published its annual World Press Freedom Index, which takes a microscope to every country, ranking the ability of its media to report freely and independently. Here's a look at how countries' scores have changed over the past year.

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on World In 60 Seconds (aka Around the World in 180 Seconds) and discusses Xi Jinping's message to the US, Russia's buildup at the Ukraine border, and Cuba's new leader.

What did you make of Xi Jinping's message to the US at China's annual Boao Forum?

Well, he didn't mention the United States directly, but he basically said that we don't accept hegemonic powers, we don't accept people that are setting the rules for other countries. Basically, consistently Xi Jinping saying that the Chinese want to be treated as equals with the United States. They're going to be rule makers for themselves. The Chinese political and economic system, every bit as legitimate as that of the United States. This is going to be a real fight. The American perspective is that the relationship between the two is going to be very competitive, whether it's a happy competition or an unhealthy competition depends on the Chinese. Xi Jinping's perspective is the Americans are not treating the Chinese with due respect. And that's going to play out on security, it's going to play out in climate, on the economy. I mean, you name it.

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One of the world's most famous political dissidents may die in a Russian prison this week.

Alexei Navalny has been on a hunger strike since March 31 over the authorities' refusal to let his own medical team examine him after he developed signs of tuberculosis. Now, one of his aides says Navalny is "close to death."

The fate of Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic — who was poisoned last summer, allegedly by state officials, treated in Germany, and then jailed upon his return to Russia — is being closely watched both inside and outside the country.

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The Biden administration's much ballyhooed Earth Day Summit this week promises to be revealing. We're going to learn a little about what additional action a few dozen of the world's largest emitters are willing to take on climate change, and a lot more about which countries are willing to take such action at the behest of the United States.

Call it a situational assessment of the status of American power just shy of Biden's 100th day in office.

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