Mitch McConnell Stepping Down, Likely Successors Amid Trump Charged Party


McConnell surprised the world with his announcement that he is stepping down as GOP Senate leader come November. The man who did more to undermine our democracy, stack our Supreme Court and strip fundamental rights away from millions of Americans will not be missed—except for the disturbing fact that he is still likely better than his successor, who no doubt will be a shill for Trump. The former president’s hold on his party is now nearly complete.

Likely successors:

The 62-year old South Dakotan has been the No. 2 Republican in the Senate since 2019. He is a mild-mannered politician with a moderate streak. And he has been critical of former President Donald Trump, although he endorsed Trump's 2024 bid for the White House on Sunday.

Per Yahoo News, Thune has been in the Senate since 2005. He considered running for president in the past, most notably in 2012, but since then he stayed focused on Senate work. He led the Senate Republican Conference for many years and the Senate Republican Policy Committee, both of them consensus-building roles that gave him experience navigating the factions of — and tensions within — the GOP.

Senator John Cornyn, 71, from Texas, has been in the Senate since 2003. He is a former associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court who went on to serve as attorney general of that state as well.

Per Yahoo News, Cornyn was the No. 2 Senate Republican — a position known as the whip — for six years before Thune took over the role. Unlike Thune, Cornyn has also led the campaign arm of the Senate GOP, focusing on helping his party win elections.

Senator John Barrasso, 71, hails from Wyoming, and is most likely to move into the second Republican spot behind McConnell's successor.

Per Yahoo News,  if neither Thune nor Cornyn can gain the votes from their fellow Senate Republicans to win the top job, Barrasso would be in the running.

Barrasso was appointed to the Senate in 2007 to replace Sen. Craig Thomas after his death. Since then, he has moved up the ranks of Republican Senate leadership, chairing the Republican Policy Committee after Thune and then taking over the leadership of the Senate Republican Conference after Thune became whip in 2019.

McConnell made it clear what his reasons for relinquishing power are. Specifically, his views on national security, including importantly his strong support for Ukraine, are now wholly out of step with where his party stands under Donald Trump.

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular time,” said the 82-year old McConnell. “I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them.”

Per Status Kao, the party that once stood for a strong national defense and opposition to dangerous autocrats like Vladimir Putin is now weak and isolationist, led by a man who literally invited Russia to attack NATO allies if they didn’t pay their share of defense costs. It is a stunning reversal that carries huge implications for the standing of the U.S. with its allies and worldwide. It also signals to our enemies that the best way to destroy American resolve and undermine its strength is to find useful idiots and allies from within the ranks of the Republican Party.

Each of the likely successors to McConnell has now endorsed Donald Trump for president.

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