FARGO — It's cute how political pundits, and even a powerful U.S. congresswoman, are wringing their hands raw over the future of the Republican Party and whether the GOP can survive the "split" that's occurred over Donald Trump.

And by cute, we mean comical in a way as dark as midnight.

Because, see, there is no doubt about the future of the Republican Party and there's no serious split over the former president. There's but a handful of Republicans who will publicly say Trump is a danger to democracy and the future of the nation, and they are quickly banished to the Island of Misfit Toys by the rest of the GOP.

It was once thought by reasonable Republicans that Trump and his supporters were radical in their beliefs. The radicals in the party now are the ones who will speak out against Trump.

Do you believe there is a split in the Republican Party over Donald Trump, or that Trump and his beliefs clearly define the party?

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  • There is a split in the GOP.

    48%

  • No split, Trump and his beliefs are the GOP.

    52%

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Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, radicals. OK, then.

We've said it before and we'll say it again in case those in the back couldn't hear: Donald Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party is Donald Trump. There are no "wings" of the party, there is no battle for the soul of the party, there is no question about what the party is.

If you're an American waiting for the Republican Party to return to "normal" by historical standards, waiting for "traditional" Republicans to be guided by the better angels of their nature, you might want to stock up on canned goods. The wait is going to be lengthy.

Cheney is the conservative U.S. representative from Wyoming who will likely soon be a former conservative U.S. representative from Wyoming. She will not be defeated by a Democrat in that ruby-red state, but instead by another Republican who will beat her in a primary.

Her sin? Publicly rebuking Trump and his Big Lie, that President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election. She also puts the blame for the violent insurrection Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 squarely on Trump.

Cheney is telling the truth. She recognizes reality. For that, Republicans will take away her leadership positions and she will be primaried in 2022. Only a few Republicans in Congress have defended her.

Telling the truth makes Cheney an outlier, a radical.

In a commentary piece in The Washington Post defending her position, Cheney wrote, "The Republican Party is at a turning point."

Even she is missing the bigger picture. The Republican Party already turned the corner. From elected officials to rank-and-file voters, it is the party of Trump. Whatever he says, whatever he believes, whatever he does. That is the Republican Party. There is no separation.

Delegitimizing elections, authoritarianism, cult of personality, white supremacy, destroying trusted institutions, ignoring the Constitution, flouting the rule of law. That is Trumpism. That is the Republican Party.

The question has long since stopped being about the future of the Republican Party. That's been decided. The question now is the future of the republic and our democracy should the GOP gain full control of the federal government again.

Readers can reach columnist Mike McFeely at (701) 451-5655