Political insurrections are common occurrences. Lawrence Martin writes that, in Canada, we've had plenty:
John Diefenbaker's Tory leadership occasioned a venomous party revolt, as did Joe Clark's. Brian Mulroney's Tories won a smashing victory in 1984 and another majority in 1988, but that wasn't good enough: With his Reform Party, Preston Manning led a populist rebellion that effectively killed off the federal Progressive Conservative Party, reducing it to two seats.
There followed on the Liberal Party side the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin wars. Mr. Chrétien won two majorities, whereupon the insurrection of Martin rebels began. He won a third, only to see his antagonists gather in greater numbers and force him out. There's a book coming out on Mr. Chrétien next month by Bob Plamondon called The Shawinigan Fox. It has revelations, which I've read, about the feud. Warning to the Martin crowd: Duck!
But what is happening in the United States is different. The insurrection starts at the top and is moving down through the Republican Party:
Mr. Trump's fiscal deal with Democrats – a short-term fix – to increase the debt limit undercut his party. The Democratic plan had been turned down by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Mr. Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steven Munchin, wanted a different, longer-term pact but was cut off by Mr. Trump at a meeting in which the President sided with Democratic leaders in the room. "Shell-shocked" was the term making the rounds to describe the GOP reaction.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Trump put his party in a bind with his withdrawal of support for legislation protecting young immigrants. He gave his party a short time frame to find a compromise. Before that, he enraged many fellow Republicans with his commentary on Charlottesville. He attacked his party brethren for failing to rid the country of Obamacare, even though he deserved much of the blame. His hardline take on trade and protectionism is opposed. He's in a feud with the party over funding for the border wall with Mexico.
What is happening has a lot to do with the shambles that is Donald Trump. But its roots are to be found in a party which has consistently catered to the rich. Trump is a rich man who works for men like him. Rich men are accustomed to getting their way -- no matter the cost.
The cost is now painfully evident.