Is Trump's Vulnerability Empowering Sasse?
Prior to Trump becoming the candidate in 2016, many Republicans did not take him seriously. Since then, and especially since his electoral victory that year, the Republican Party has rallied around him to a considerable extent. There have been some prominent exceptions: Jeff Flake chose not to seek re-election in 2018 and was harshly critical of Trump and the establishment when he left. After being critical of Trump and the Republican establishment for many years, Justin Amash formally left the party to identify as a Libertarian in 2020.
Ben Sasse, who was originally a "Never Trumper" has been harshly criticized for seeking Trump's approval, including Trump's endorsement. No doubt because he was seeking Trump's support, has mostly avoided criticizing Trump years. But in the past week he has spoken out boldly against him, calling Trump's proposal to drop the payroll tax as "unconstitutional slop" and then responding to Trump's criticism of him on Twitter:
Should we expect other Republicans to come out more critically of Trump in the coming months? Or is Sasse a special case?