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Republican Party fractures result in a brawl at a local farm show

Raw Story 1/24/2023 Sarah K. Burris

In a rural Pennsylvania town, in Republican country, factions of the Republican Party broke out into a war that went beyond words.

The New York Times explained Republicans "tussled over the committee’s booth at the Butler Farm Show, prompting the event’s head of security to intervene — an episode that, mortifyingly for the Republican activists, took place in view of the county Democrats’ own booth."

In one corner was a 20-year-old car salesman who sought a seat on the County Commission in a 2023 race. Like any Republican politician he reached out to the Republican Party, the problem, however, is that there is more than one.

In Butler County last spring, the GOP county committee was split between the far-right insurgency groups and establishment Republicans. The fringe then split a second time when the activists couldn't agree on a booth at the local farm show.

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“There is, in effect, no committee,” the Times cited 40-year veteran GOP committee member Al Lindsay. He became the chair last year.

In normal times the story would be just another example of party activists battling the longtime party leadership. It happens on both sides of the aisle and in groups and causes around the world. But in 2023, the same thing is happening at the national level as MAGA Republicans take over the GOP and face off in the U.S. House of Representatives.

After many non-Trump Republicans were defeated or retired in 2022, a new fringe came to Washington. The battle for the Speaker of the House should have, theoretically brought together the right leaders. Instead, the far-right stood in opposition and blocked Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for a few days and over a dozen votes.

"But it is being fought just as intensely at state and county levels, as Trump loyalists and right-wing activists who took control of party organizations in recent years face resistance from rivals who blame them for the party’s losses in November," said the Times. It's "likely to shape state parties’ abilities to raise money, recruit candidates, settle on a 2024 presidential nominee and generally chart a path out of the party’s post-Trump presidency malaise."

The debate goes back to Donald Trump's 2020 election loss and his non-stop claims that he won the election. Trump's endorsements of state and federal candidates that were less than appealing to voters resulted in what was expected to be a "red wave" to trickle into a pink puddle. Those nominations and primary match-ups with other Republicans began those debates that are still continuing throughout the party.

So, the 20-year-old car dealer, Zach Scherer formed his own GOP, the Butler PA Patriots, to go up against the traditional Republican Party. He saw former Trump adviser Steve Bannon advocate for the "precinct strategy," a throwback to the 2010 tea party strategy that sought to take over local elements of the GOP. Scherer then scouted possible candidates using "super voters" in the registration database and canvassing social media.

Now it seems that the two groups are operating independently.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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