CNN Opinion: How the specter of Trump haunts the House

Jim Kolbe is a former Republican member of Congress from Arizona and an adviser to the Renew America Movement (RAM), a nonprofit focused on countering political extremism. Miles Taylor is RAM’s co-founder and a Republican who served in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations. The views expressed in this commentary belong to the authors. View more opinions at CNN.

(CNN) – Former President Donald Trump may have left the White House, but make no mistake: his specter hangs over the next election. With about a year left until the 2022 midterms, a number of pro-Trump incumbents are up for reelection in key races around the country.

Among them are Representatives Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose term ends in 2023 (it’s still unclear whether he will run for reelection), tried last week to dub all three the “pro-America squad.” To their critics, however, they might as well be called the “anti-democracy crew” for fervently defending the former president’s claims of a stolen election.

The rhetoric of these extremists may be shocking, but they no longer represent a small fringe of the party. Their views have crept into the mainstream and their faces will define the next election cycle.

Right now, Republicans are favored to win back the House. If they prevail, the lower Congressional chamber will become a haunted House that could be overrun by the former president’s allies and possessed by his whims.


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