You would think the obvious lesson from last night would be that when certain people train their fire on their own party instead of the opposition…

…Democrats, not MAGA, tend to benefit. But that makes me think of Boss Jim Gettys’s famous line in “Citizen Kane”: “If it was anybody else, I’d say what’s going to happen to you would be a lesson to you. Only you’re going to need more than one lesson. And you’re going to get more than one lesson.”

I wonder how many lessons the GOP will get in 2022, when “disloyal” Republican incumbents are successfully primaried by Trump-supported QAnon cranks who then blow otherwise winnable races to the left.

I’m happy to donate to the effort, by the way, in case there’s already some “punish the traitors” MAGA Super PAC up and running. Trump’s congressional enablers richly deserve losing their seats for having kept their mouths shut about him until January 6, 2021. If he turns out to be the agent of their ruin in their next primary because they couldn’t pass one final loyalty test, fine by me. That feels like poetic justice, frankly.

GOP civil war fever — catch it!

“The greatest political movement in American history” couldn’t win the popular vote in two tries, one of them against one of the most widely despised Democrats in modern American history. It lost the the White House, House, and Senate in the span of two years. It’s led by the only man since the Founding to lose the popular vote, be impeached, and lose reelection.

The myth of MAGA invincibility will never die — that’s how we ended up with today’s fiasco in Congress — but it’s fascinating to see how many Republican officials went running to the media to blame Trump last night as the Georgia returns came in. Most of these guys still fear Trump sufficiently to have given their quotes anonymously, but not all of them. And some of them have unusual bite, including one from a Trump advisor:

Buck is a former top aide to Paul Ryan. More from Politico:

“Trump is the cause of this, lock, stock and barrel,” said one Republican strategist. “But when you’re relying on someone to win you a Senate race that also lost statewide eight weeks prior, you’re not in a position of strength.”…

When asked why Republicans didn’t prevail on Tuesday, a senior Senate Republican aide simply said: “Donald J. Trump.”…

“He is the Dems’ best base animator,” said one GOP strategist involved in the Georgia races. “Look at how high turnout was on their side compared to historical trends. Look at how much their candidates raised. He steps back after Election Day and denies them that oxygen. He didn’t.”…

“Turns out if the leader of a party spends two months actively delegitimizing elections and saying voting doesn’t matter, voters listen,” said a Republican who worked on the runoff races. “There was one decisive factor in Georgia and anyone who says otherwise is probably sharing substances with Lin Wood.”

I’m 80 percent sold on the idea that Trump ranting for two months about cheating in Georgia was decisive last night by suppressing Republican turnout and/or motivating Democratic turnout, but not completely. The guy has been openly grasping for ways to stage a soft coup since early November, after all, and yet the results yesterday were scarcely any different than they were in the Biden/Trump election. Warnock and Ossoff won by a whisker in a state that’s been trending bluer with significant help from Stacey Abrams’s formidable turnout machine. This was no repudiation of the GOP. To the extent Trump influenced the outcome, it probably had less to do with him alleging election-rigging and more to do with his insistence on making this race yet another referendum on him personally. If he had lied low since November 3, Loeffler’s and Perdue’s message about radical Democrats might have been enough to lure some suburbanites back.

Whatever the truth, establishment Republicans clearly saw last night as an ideal opportunity to cut the cord with Trump. The Senate GOP is about to torpedo his last chance at overturning the election on the same day that the Senate is slipping through the party’s fingers after another Trump-intensive election. They won’t get anywhere with MAGA voters by trying to convince them that Trump is bad but they might get somewhere by trying to convince them that Trump is electoral dead weight. That’s the one way in which the intense negative partisanship felt by Republicans nowadays potentially works against the president. He’s been a master at leveraging the right’s loathing of the left to build loyalty to him personally, but the more it appears that Trump himself is an unwitting asset to the left, the more that loyalty is tested. If your ultimate goal as a Republican is keeping Democrats out of power and the Trump era has now produced total Democratic control of government, what’s the obvious move?

To hardcore Trump loyalists, the obvious move is to pretend that all of those elections were rigged and that Trumpism remains undefeated. But what about less hardcore loyalists? That’s who the establishment GOP, and softer populists like Tom Cotton, are thinking about today.

Here’s the president himself at this morning’s rally once again threatening Republicans who don’t do his bidding. Many people are saying this party civil war will be the best civil war, believe me.