A second Trump White House term could face fewer restraints with more loyalists in the upper chamber of Congress.
WASHINGTON ― A second Donald Trump presidency could be more unbound thanks to the changing face of the Republican Party, where traditional GOP stalwarts are gradually being replaced with hard-charging MAGA loyalists eager to defend and amplify his tactics.
During his first term in office, Trump squared off with the likes of John McCain, Bob Corker, and Mitt Romney, establishment Republican senators who were often a thorn in his side. Now, many of the lawmakers most likely to push back against his worst instincts are either gone or heading for the exits, and a favorable electoral landscape for the GOP next year could install even more dutiful Trump allies in the upper chamber, who will be more eager to help his promised campaign of revenge than hinder it.
It’s an open question as to how long 81-year-old Mitch McConnell ― the Senate GOP leader who Trump loathes ― will stick around after battling ailments this year. There is growing evidence that his once-dominant influence within the conference is waning amid numerous challenges from a wing of conservative and MAGA-allied senators who are eager to flex their muscles and forge closer ties to the de facto leader of their party.
Trump’s campaign already has the backing of over 100 Republicans in Congress ― including 17 of 49 sitting GOP senators ― despite him facing historic criminal charges in four separate cases and his being impeached twice, including for trying to overturn his loss in the 2020 election.
That number is only expected to grow as Trump continues his march toward the GOP presidential nomination. With just a few weeks until voters begin to cast their ballots, he dominates in polls of the 2024 race by a wide margin. The field has yet to consolidate behind an alternative; it may be too late by the time it even does. A resounding win in the Iowa caucuses could help seal the deal early for Trump, making the following primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina less relevant and setting him up for a glide path to victory.