Which Party Is More United? Israel Complicates the Narrative
Author: Greg Valliere
May 12, 2021
THE MEDIA SEEMS DETERMINED to advance a narrative that Republicans are close to a civil war over Liz Cheney’s ouster, but we’ll offer a contrarian view that the Democrats may have more internal friction — thanks in part to Israel.
IRONICALLY, CHENEY HAS UNIFIED THE REPUBLICAN BASE against her; most Republicans want Cheney out as head of the House Republican Conference. She will get booted, overwhelmingly, by House Republicans this morning. A few GOP Senators will meekly protest.
IS A THIRD PARTY INEVITABLE? The New York Times and others are reporting that dozens of disgruntled Republicans are close to forming an anti-Trump third party. One of the questions we get asked most frequently is whether there’s any chance of a major third party.
THE ANSWER IS NO: First of all, successful U.S. third parties are very rare; no independent has won even one state in a presidential election since George Wallace in 1968. (Ross Perot won 18.9% of the vote in 1992, but did not capture a single state.)
SECOND, REPUBLICANS ARE UNIFIED in their desire to defeat the Biden agenda, starting with next year’s mid-term elections. Once the Cheney furor subsides, the GOP will hammer away on key issues: inflation, immigration, crime, and now Israel.
THE DEMOCRATS ARE BADLY DIVIDED ON ISRAEL: President Biden has a political problem — progressives in his party are harshly critical of Benjamin Netanyahu’s treatment of Palestinians, while the Democrats’ veterans have a long history of supporting Israel. These divisions are now on full display.
NETANAYHU’S CLOSE TIES TO DONALD TRUMP are a major complication, as the U.S. resumes negotiations with Israel’s mortal enemy, Iran. Until the past week, Biden was content to embrace a “stand back” stance toward Israel; he didn’t want to get involved with age-old issues like Jerusalem, Palestinian grievances and the ultra-Orthodox expansion eastward.
TRUMP RIPPED INTO BIDEN yesterday over Israel, and Republicans will attempt to make Rep. Ilhan Omar, the pro-Palestinian radical, the face of the Democrats on Israel. This has political consequences, especially in states like Florida.
OTHER FISSURES AMONG DEMOCRATS will be on display this week, as top congressional leaders meet with Biden on infrastructure spending. Republicans are unified on a price tag of $1 trillion or less, while Democrats have noisy defectors who are demanding reinstatement of the state and local tax break. And moderate Democrat Joe Manchin is not on board with steep tax hikes.
SO WE CONCLUDE that the Democrats, with razor-thin majorities in both houses, are not united on several key issues, while the Republicans — post-Cheney — will show remarkable unity as the next election cycle begins, with leftists increasingly leery of Biden compromises.
THE KEY, AS ALWAYS, will be public opinion — and the Democrats have reason for optimism: Biden’s approval rating is close to 60% positive in new polls. But that number will hold up only if gasoline prices and supplies return to normal by
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