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Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Much of the party's base — including conservative talk radio, TV and social media — are spoiling to fight for Trump in exile.

  • On top of that, Trump himself is threatening to literally split the party in two with the creation of a new MAGA Party or Patriot Party, The Washington Post reported.

When I asked Trump adviser Jason Miller about those plans, he issued a warning to Republican senators who are weighing whether to convict Trump in next month's impeachment trial:

  • "The president has made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022," Miller said. "There’s nothing that's actively being planned regarding an effort outside of that, but it’s completely up to Republican senators if this is something that becomes more serious."

Step into almost every Republican state or district, and most voters are livid that Republican leaders didn't fight more to overturn the election, resist impeachment, back Trump, punish House Conference Chair Liz Cheney and protest big business for blacklisting its members.

Look what's happening:

  • The Arizona Republican Party voted yesterday to censure three faces of the Republican establishment — Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake — and reelected state party chair Kelli Ward, a fierce Trumper.
  • The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are being hit with swift punishment, including brewing primary challenges, censure votes and public scoldings, the N.Y. Times reports (subscription).
  • Some House Republicans, egged on by right-wing media, are pushing an uphill fight to oust Cheney from her third-ranking leadership post. In Wyoming, she faces a long-shot primary challenge.

The bottom line: This will be the new reality for Republicans until 2024, or Trump fully exits the scene.

  • The counterforce to Trump — mainly some establishment media figures and smattering of elected members — is too weak, timid and divided to prevail right now. 
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Go deeper

Senate Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In a closely divided Congress, the Senate’s Mischief Makers could thwart their leaders' best-laid plans with their own agendas.

Why it matters: On Wednesday night, we shared a list of House members who our leadership sources on the Hill consider some of the top troublemakers. But their Senate counterparts may be even more impactful in a 50-50 chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tiebreaking vote.

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Scoop: GOP ignored its early fears about Marjorie Taylor Greene

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During previously unreported meetings last summer, House Republican leaders discussed — but then largely set aside — fears that QAnon-supporting conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene would end up a flaming trainwreck for their party.

Why it matters: Greene has emerged not just as an embarrassment but a challenge for the GOP, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now forced to weigh whether to maintain his policy of sanctioning members who make dangerous statements.