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What is the Patriot Party? Donald Trump could launch new political party in existential threat to GOP

The outgoing president is reportedly in talks with his close aides over the possibility to form "Patriot Party" which could feature his loyalists from the GOP
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Wednesday, January 20, will see the formal exit of Donald Trump from the office of the American president,  but will that really mean the end of one of the most controversial occupants of the White House? If reports are to be believed, the 74-year-old business tycoon-politician has discussed with his aides the possibility of forming a fresh political party to continue his influence political circles post presidency.

Trump has not conceded defeat in the 2020 presidential election against Joe Biden claiming it was marred by voter fraud, but none of his efforts to challenge the outcome met a successful end. While his legal aides could not get relief in the courts, the president himself was impeached by the House and banned by major social media platforms for allegedly instigating his supporters to storm the Capitol Hill when Congress met to confirm Biden as the winner of the November presidential battle.

The Wall Street Journal cited informed sources to report that Trump spoke with many of his aides last week and would want to call his new party the “Patriot Party”.

While the White House declined to comment on the issue, one cannot deny the fact that the Republican Party has found itself deeply divided over Trump. Two of the party’s top leaders in the Senate -- Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham -- have failed to find themselves on the same page over Trump’s impeachment. On Tuesday, January 19, McConnell, the majority leader in the chamber, said it was Trump who deserved to be blamed for provoking the January 6 riot at the Capitol Hill. Graham, on the other hand, has differed with the idea of impeaching the outgoing president and even called Trump as the GOP’s “most important figure”.

Trump still enjoys strong support among the many GOP members. The split in the Republican Party over supporting the departing president is particularly telling in Texas, a deep red state. According to a report in Reuters, Pat Cowan, a GOP official in West Texas, would like to rather blow up her party than see “weak” Republicans not in favor of Trump controlling it. “You can’t tell those Republicans from the Democrats!” she told the outlet in an interview.

While Cowan agrees with Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was compromised even though there was no evidence to back it, she is angry over some Texas GOP members in the House certifying Biden’s win in the presidential battle following the Capitol violence. She is also upset that 10 GOP members of the House joined the Democrats to impeach Trump for allegedly inciting the violence in which five lost their lives.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump wears a "Stop the Steal" hat outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on December 11, 2020. (Getty Images)

Cowan has subsequently started believing about the possibility of a new party. “That has led a lot of us to think that we’re just going to have to come up with a new party,” she said, adding: “and I think that Trump is going to lead it!” The report said Cowan’s views about the GOP’s future found support among two dozen voters in Texas apart from party officials that Reuters spoke with and it underscored “how Trump, after four years of dividing the nation, now has done the same to his own party”.

In other GOP bases, too, such indications have been witnessed. In Georgia, a red state where Biden narrowly won this time and the Democrats bagged both the Senate seats, inner party turmoil was rampant. Last week, a billboard in a rural Trump base was seen calling state Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- both of whom Trump slammed recently for not helping him overturn the pro-Biden results in the Peach State -- “treasonist RINOs” who should be jailed, Reuters added. In Arizona, another red state that went to the Democrats this year, the state party was set to vote on whether to censure Republicans like Cindy McCain, wife of late senator John McCain, who endorsed Biden in the 2020 election.

The other group in the party, however, warned that surrendering to Trump’s loyalists could deliver a deadly blow to the GOP which has lost both the presidency and the two chambers of the Congress.

It is still not clear how serious Trump is to form a new party, the WSJ report added, since the venture would require a significant investment in terms of time and resources. Moreover, in the US which is largely a two-party system, third parties have not made any major impact in elections. While the Democrats would feel elated if the GOP found itself getting split into two parties, the loyal members of the Republican Party are expected to put up a strong fight to prevent that from happening.