Seeds of 3rd party grow in Capitol siege’s wake: The Note

Trump’s movement remains strong. What’s not clear is that it stays in the GOP.

January 15, 2021, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It's often been said that President Donald Trump broke the Republican Party. But he actually made the party his own -- and it's still his as this week closes, despite signs that it's slipping from his grips.

More precisely, Trump's movement remains strong. What's not clear is that it stays inside the Republican Party -- or at least the GOP as it has previously existed.

While Trump's second impeachment was bipartisan in the House, 10 Republicans does not mark a broad repudiation. And it's those who broke with him who are now fearing for their jobs and even their physical safety in the final days of the Trump presidency.

The new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Friday morning shows broad public support for holding Trump accountable for last week's siege at the Capitol. But 60% of Republicans say they still want their party to follow Trump's direction, with only one in three favoring a new direction.

Barbed wire is installed on security fencing surrounding the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 14, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Among those who approve of Trump's job performance, a startling one in five -- 19% -- support those who stormed the Capitol. Two-thirds of Republicans believe the president has behaved responsibly since the election.

It points to a Trump-backing base that is feeding off different news sources and operating under different norms entirely than even their fellow Republicans, to say nothing of independents or Democrats.

Corporate leaders are signaling a break from elected leaders who have acted on Trump's lies. One Republican House member who supported impeachment told ABC News this week he hopes the MAGA movement becomes a third party.

That might actually be a best-case scenario for some Republicans. Trumpism will clearly outlast Trump -- and it isn't looking like a force that wants to be controlled.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Once again President-elect Joe Biden Tuesday sounded like a man eager to turn a page away from the Trump administration and also away from divisions in his own party.

During his pitch for a massive economic relief and COVID "rescue" bill, Biden did not mention impeachment, but did use language that on occasion sounded very progressive. Not coincidentally, Sen. Bernie Sanders, incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was ready with a statement supporting the plan right after Biden's address.

"My fellow Americans, the decisions we make in the next few weeks and months are going to determine whether we thrive in a way that benefits all Americans, or that we stay stuck in a place where those at the top do great while economic growth for most everyone else is just a spectator sport, and where American prospects dim, not brighten," Biden said during his address.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks as he lays out his plan for combating the coronavirus and jump-starting the national economy at the Queen theater Jan. 14, 2021 in Wilmington, Del.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

His new, expensive $1.9 trillion proposal calls for over $1 trillion to be paid out in the form of direct $1,400 checks to Americans, as well as $160 billion for a national vaccination and expanded testing program, $170 billion to go towards hopefully reopening schools, $30 billion in rental and critical energy and water assistance, and more.

Knowing full well this is more of an opening bid, Biden made an aggressive first offer and referred to several Democratic policy priorities too during his speech like a $15 minimum wage and guaranteed paid sick leave for workers.

Nothing in his speech suggested he was deliberately trying to pivot away from the national conversation on impeachment, but instead it sounded like a call for Congress to fight on all fronts and continue to prioritize people hurting in this pandemic.

The TIP with John Verhovek

The day after Biden assumes the presidency, a new leadership team also takes the reins at the Democratic National Committee, an entity that despite significant financial woes at the beginning of the cycle managed to win united control of Washington, D.C.

In choosing Jaime Harrison as the next DNC chair -- the fundraising starlet who fell short in his bid to unseat GOP Sen. and Trump acolyte Lindsey Graham -- Biden is looking both back at how he won the presidency and forward to what the party needs to do to solidify its control on government.

Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison speaks to supporters at a drive-in rally at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds, Nov. 2, 2020, in Orangeburg, S.C.
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Harrison shattered fundraising records in his race against Graham, proving himself as someone who can put the DNC on firmer financial ground, but more importantly for Biden, he hails from the same state as the man perhaps most instrumental in his path to the Democratic nomination and eventually the presidency: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

The night of his win in the South Carolina primary, Biden described Clyburn as "my friend who lifted me and this campaign on his shoulders." Now, nearly a year later, it's Biden's turn to lift up the man who had Clyburn's blessing to lead the Democratic Party into the future.


Nine in 10 Americans oppose the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, seven in 10 say Donald Trump bears at least some responsibility for it and a majority in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll – 56% – favors efforts in Congress to bar him from holding elected office again.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Chief National correspondent Matt Gutman, who explains how President-elect Joe Biden plans to combat the COVID crisis as deaths continue to soar. ABC News' Katherine Faulders tells us about President Donald Trump's struggle to assemble a legal team ahead of a Senate impeachment trial. And environmental activist LeeAnne Walters has more on the significance of the charges brought against Michigan's ex-governor and others in the Flint water case.


  • Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and former FBI Director James Comey will appear on ABC's "The View."
  • President-elect Joe Biden will deliver remarks on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday. He will also attend a finance event for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will meet with transition advisers. She will also attend Biden’s remarks on his vaccine plan.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks on the Trump administration's foreign policy at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California Saturday. On Sunday, he will deliver remarks to 10th Mountain Division soldiers at Fort Drum, New York.
  • Sunday on ABC's "This Week": The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, Republican Strategist and ABC News Contributor Sara Fagen, and Democratic Strategist and CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney.

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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