Do it.

I dare you to do it.

It’d be good for everyone. A bad marriage requires a proper divorce, damn it.

It’s not going to happen, though. Trump and his acolytes would need to be total idiots to forfeit the institutional advantages of a major party they’ve already taken over in order to go off and start their own outfit. Especially when the GOP base clearly wants daddy to have custody of it in this divorce. Let the three remaining anti-Trumpers in the GOP move out and launch their own party instead.

Although, really, that’s not going to happen either.

The survey, taken January 21 and 24, 2021, among 1,000 likely U.S. voters told respondents, “Former President Trump has suggested he may start a third party. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?”

While a plurality of likely voters, or 45 percent, believe it is a bad idea, a majority of GOP voters, or 53 percent, consider it a good idea, as do 41 percent of those surveyed overall. The survey coincides with rumors of the former president considering forging a new political party outside of the current Republican Party — a rumor which Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel has vehemently denied…

The survey also asked respondents, “If former President Trump started a third party, would you consider the Trump party better or worse than the Republican Party, or about the same?” A plurality said they would consider it to be “worse,” followed by 34 percent who said “better,” 17 percent who said “about the same,” and six percent who said they were not sure. Among GOP voters, 49 percent believe the new party would be “better,” 33 percent said “worse,” 21 percent said “about the same,” and eight percent said, “not sure.”

I don’t see Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and the other pro-impeachment Republicans in Congress starting a Whig Party or whatever. Once they’re purged from the GOP, the 20 percent or so of Republican voters who want Trump out of politics will just sort of … float around. Some of them will become what Tim Miller calls “Red Dog Democrats,” people who voted for McCain and Romney but are sufficiently alienated from the Trump-era Republican Party that they’ll vote Democratic for the foreseeable future. Others will become true independents, disgusted enough by the Trumpy GOP that they no longer wish to formally identify as members but not so disgusted that they won’t vote for un-Trumpy Republican candidates on the ballot.

And others will just sigh and say, “My party, right or wrong,” and stick with the GOP no matter what. There’ll always be some Democratic scandal or bit of sensational woke nonsense percolating in righty media to keep them on the path. The electoral question for the party will be a matter of whether they can offset the number of righties they’ve alienated by adding votes in other parts of the electorate. Maybe a fully Trumpified GOP will continue to build on his gains with black and Latino voters. Maybe it’ll ratchet up turnout among white working-class voters to previously unseen levels, offsetting heavy losses among suburbanites. It’s not a sure thing that a pure MAGA GOP is a national loser.

But given that the guy at the center of this personality cult lost the popular vote twice, it’s a distinct possibility.

In any case, rest assured that Trump has given up on his inchoate dream of launching a third party in order to punish the Republicans who’ve been disloyal to him:

A top political aide to former President Donald Trump spent the weekend quietly reassuring Republican senators that the former president has no plans to start a third party — and instead will keep his imprint on the GOP.

The message from Brian Jack, Trump’s former political director at the White House, is the latest sign that Republicans considering an impeachment conviction will do so knowing that Trump may come after them in upcoming primaries if they vote to convict him for “incitement of insurrection.”…

“The president wanted me to know, as well as a handful of others, that the president is a Republican, he is not starting a third party and that anything he would do politically in the future would be as a Republican,” recounted Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “The Republican Party is still overwhelmingly supportive of this president.”

Sounds like someone on Team Trump figured out that he’d have more leverage over members of Congress as a factor in their primaries in 2022 than he would organizing a third-party challenge for the general election in which most righties would end up voting strategically for the GOP. That also explains why Kevin McCarthy made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago yesterday. To the extent there was anything more to the trip than servile groveling aimed at seeking Trump’s forgiveness for criticizing his “stop the steal” campaign, McCarthy was after a promise of unity. “Today, President Trump committed to helping elect Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022,” he said afterward in a statement. “A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on.” I doubt that’ll stop Trump from backing primary challenges against his foremost critics, like Cheney, but it may spare some of his minor critics who have generally kept a low profile.

I like to imagine McCarthy walking in to see him and saying, “Sir, I’m here to make sure you’re still on the team.” And Trump answering, “It’s my team, Kevin. The question is whether you’re still on it.”

If you want to know whether Trump or McCarthy is running the team, keep an eye on whether Matt Gaetz suffers any consequences for defying McCarthy by holding a rally against Liz Cheney in Wyoming yesterday. After the rally, he doubled down by going on Tucker Carlson’s show and openly taunting the leader of his caucus, warning that the House GOP will be a “total joke” if McCarthy doesn’t call a vote on whether to remove Cheney as House Republican Conference leader. Rarely do you see a young backbencher flout his leadership as openly as Gaetz is doing right now, which makes me think a certain very powerful patron is protecting him and making it impossible for McCarthy to punish him. It’s already Trump’s party, you see, and Gaetz knows it. If McCarthy and Cheney haven’t figured it out yet, they will soon. The hard way.