For some time now, many political analysts have predicted a split in the US Democratic Party. Led by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist Democratic wing would be formed while the centrist-liberals would continue with the existing Democratic party. But over the last few weeks, the notion has changed. Now, the Republicans are looking set for a split with the outgoing President, Donald Trump, discussing his own political party that could be named Patriot Party.
While there had been talks of splits before, such an idea never materialized in the GOP. In the pre-Trump era, it had never gained momentum and most conservatives wanted to reform the party to suit a more right-wing policy. But as Trump entered the scene in 2015 with the Tea Party beginning to take shape within the Republican party, the idea once again spread its wings.
Trump attacked seasoned Republicans, known for their conservative values including current loyalists Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz among many others. Backed by a populist faction of the party, Trump won the 2016 election, something that hardly anyone saw coming. But over the next four years, he has made the party his own with the backing from GOP lawmakers.
Losing Support from GOP
However, it was the Capitol riots that changed everything for some Trump supporters within the GOP. Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney (R-UT) and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have publicly criticized Trump and have accused him of inciting the riots that resulted in five deaths. Now, one fraction of the party's unwavering support has dwindled to the point that McConnell is thinking of supporting Trump's second Senate impeachment trial.
Impeachment or not, it seems unlikely that GOP leadership would support Trump's nomination in the 2024 Presidential election. With Trump cornered, despite a support base of millions of conservatives, the outgoing President wants to carve out his own base to have a shot at a second term that he was denied by 81 million Americans.
Trump takes big credit for turning the tide in the 2016 election and with many GOP leaders abandoning him now, he feels betrayed. However, with the backing of over 70 million Republican voters, Trump has reportedly discussed forming his own political party according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Patriot Party and Antifa Origins
While it is unclear how serious Trump is about the prospect of a third party, he would have support and funding. A new political party needs a serious investment of time and resources to reach a meaningful position. And Trump will have both. He is not retiring from politics anytime soon, like other former presidents. He is not even expected to start writing his memoir now either. Instead, he will have ample time to begin the groundwork for his own party and even his own social media platform.
As for funding, Trump is backed by wealthy evangelical Christians and some businessmen that could be enough to seed fund Patriot Party. Trump campaign's top donors include Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, John Paulson, hedge fund owner, former Franklin Templeton chief Charles B Johnson, billionaire Richard LeFrak, Timothy Mellon of Pan AM System and Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfers amongst others.
But Trump's plans to form his own party could be aimed at blackmailing the Republican Party into submission. GOP leadership cannot deny Trump's support base and with many young leaders like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley backing the outgoing President, they could be forced to listen to the populist faction. But historically, third parties haven't had meaningful traction in US politics.
However, the name of the party is also something that Trump should despise considering his stand on Antifa. In the late 1960s, a socialist American political organization of the same name was formed that actively collaborated with the African-American Black Panther Party, which right-wings call present-day Antifa. It's ironic, isn't it?