By Joel Mathis, The Week
Sen. Susan Collins is nothing if not an optimist. A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the Maine Republican apparently still believes better times are ahead for her party — a moment when Trump’s rabble-rousing, anti-democratic influence will recede, and the GOP will again become something like a “normal” party.
It’s a nice idea, but it’s probably wrong. The New York Times reports this week that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is considering retirement, though he stands to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the chamber’s top Republican. Why? There are several reasons, but one of them is that Trump is out there, ready to be a thorn in his side: Thune rejected Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which puts him on the outs in today’s GOP.
Even if that weren’t a potential obstacle, the prospect of leading an increasingly Trumpified party apparently isn’t very palatable. Trump himself still tries direct the party’s legislative strategy from exile. Who could blame Thune for bowing out?