Hawley, Cruz, and the other insurrectionists are gambling that Trump and those most devoted to him will remain kingmakers in the party after the president leaves office on Jan. 20.
But here’s the problem with that gamble: If its underlying assumption is correct, then people like Hawley and Cruz are unlikely to benefit from it, no matter how obsequiously they stoop before the mad king in the final days of his reign. That’s because if Trump’s personal version of populism remains triumphant in the GOP, the person who will benefit politically from it will be first and foremost Trump himself. And if not him — if he’s too lazy or infirm to run for president again in 2024, when he will be 78 years old — the second in line will probably be his own children: Don, Jr., or his sister Ivanka.
A Republican Party still in thrall to Trump the man four years from now will be more likely to opt for Trump or his progeny than a couple of geeks playacting the role of Trumpy populist rabblerousers.