A majority of Republican voters would follow Donald Trump if he broke and set up his own party. A poll by USA Today and Suffolk University, Massachusetts found that 46% of Republicans would stick with Trump no matter what, only 27% would remain loyal to the GOP.
Half of those polled said the Republican Party should become “more loyal to Trump”. 54% pledged stronger loyalty to Trump than the party he led as president, only 34% took the opposite view.
The survey, which will have senior Republicans panicking, comes as Trump is set to make his first public appearance since the January 6 storming of the Capitol.
America’s 45th president will speak at the Conservative Public Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, which has become a pivotal event on the Republican calendar. His speech will focus on “the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement”.
Trump appears to be on an upward curve after the capital setback was massively compensated for by the Democrats railroading a second impeachment and tried to convict him after he had left the White House.
“President Trump had an unsure future subsequent to the attack on Congress January 6th. But that all changed with the disgraceful sham repeat impeachment trial that collapsed last weekend,” said conservative figurehead and former White House staffer, Sebastian Gorka.
“The fact that he will be addressing CPAC, the biggest conservative convocation of the year is proof of that. This confirms that he remains the most powerful and significant figure in right-wing politics.”
The polling and comments from individuals surveyed prove it.
“We feel like Republicans don’t fight enough for us, and we all see Donald Trump fighting for us as hard as he can, every single day,” said Brandon Keidl, 27, one of the people polled by USA Today. “But then you have establishment Republicans who just agree with establishment Democrats and everything, and they don’t ever push back.”
The polling data together with Trump’s return to the scene sets him on a collision course with those “establishment Republicans”, particularly figures who fell in behind the Democrats’ loud condemnation of Trump in supposedly inciting an insurrection, his charge, of which he was acquitted by the Senate earlier this month.
At the Senate trial, Republican leader, Mitch McConnell struck out at Trump, describing his actions on January 6th as a “disgraceful dereliction of duty”, but went on to advocate acquittal, arguing a private citizen could not be convicted by a political body.
McConnell is the Republicans’ most powerful elected official, but with Trump threatening to take away most voters if he forms a new party, his position is far from strong.
On even shakier ground are Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives, and Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia, who refused to respond to calls to defy Joe Biden’s electoral college victory in the southern state.
Trump allies have already started actively campaigning against Cheney. Kemp faces re-election next year and can expect attacks from both sides.
But some Trump allies are worried about the consequences for the Republicans. “I’m more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been. I don’t want to eat our own,” said Lindsey Graham, who strongly backed Trump at the impeachment trial and has been spotted visiting him at his Mar a Lago resort in Florida where the billionaire businessman is plotting his future moves while raising money towards a possible run in 2024, which the Democrats hoped to rule out with their impeachment.
Trump has already raised $31m.