#NeverTrump Democrats

A movement that has grown beyond recognition.

As Donald Trump became the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination, a group of longtime members of the party, particularly national security professionals, signed open letters vowing they would never vote for him. A hashtag was born.

While I never signed one of the letters—I wasn’t asked and would have declined it as pretentious since I’d never served in a previous Republican administration—I very much considered myself a #NeverTrumper. But, even on election eve, I had no illusions that it was a powerful movement:

The #NeverTrump movement, while it may well be enough to keep Trump out of the White House, is nonetheless a fringe. It consists mainly of opinion writers, Republican politicians who have retired from politics, and the national security establishment. And the very existence of the movement will be seen as evidence that the reason Trump failed to get elected was the RINOs, not a political movement that’s out of step with modern America.

The movement has grown to more influence but, alas, to become unrecognizable.

WaPo (“The once-mocked ‘Never Trump’ movement becomes a sudden campaign force“):

Groups such as the Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump — which is focused on first-person testimonials like Josh’s — emphasize guerrilla tactics and scathing ads as they troll the president. The movement seeks to build a national political operation to oust both the president and his supporters in Congress, with a particular emphasis on persuading white suburban voters who consider themselves true Republicans to break from the president, according to interviews with more than a dozen anti-Trump advisers and allies who are involved in the planning, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Advisers to the Lincoln Project, which they say has about 30 employees and raised $16.8 million this quarter, will soon expand to include ground operations. They are coordinating over 2,500 volunteers in Michigan and plan to next target Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who they see as vulnerable after his challenger, Jaime Harrison (D), pulled in a staggering $13.9 million since April.

While I vowed early on that I would never vote for Trump (and, indeed, made a similar vow in 2012 “if any of the non-Mormons” won the nomination), it took me to the eve of the election to endorse Hillary Clinton.

I would, however, have still voted for a traditional Republican for Congress if I had had that option. And I urged my then-fellow Republicans to do the same:

I would urge other disaffected Republicans who can’t countenance Trump to vote their conscience but to also be strategic. If you live in a swing state, voting Clinton is necessary this cycle; we simply can’t risk a Trump presidency. In Red or Blue states, where the outcome is not in doubt, I can see the value in a vote for [Evan] McMullin to signal that you’d prefer what until recently would have been a “mainstream” Republican; again, however, he’s not truly qualified for the job. Down ballot, at least in terms of U.S. House and Senate races, I would urge a vote against any but the staunchest and most consistent anti-Trump Republican. I haven’t paid sufficient attention to any of the state-level contests to have a strong opinion as to how you should vote there. Still, repudiation of Trump types even at that level is essential; they’re the breeding ground for tomorrow’s House and Senate candidates.

The near-complete takeover of the GOP by Trumpists and their repudiation of all the principles they previously claimed to stand for in support of him led me to leave the party. And, while I don’t think of myself as a Democrat—and have never lived in a state that had party registration—I am functionally a Democrat at this point, having voted in their presidential and House nominee in 2016, in their presidential primary in 2020, and exclusively for their candidates for federal and statewide office in between.

But a group seeking to not only defeat Trump but every vulnerable Republican in the Senate is in no way “Republican.” They are, like me, effectively Democrats.

The Lincoln Project has been effective at trolling Trump on Twitter and with television advertisements. But, while their team includes many modestly prominent former Republican operatives (I’d never heard of most of them), it also includes the likes of Molly Jong-Fast and Rachel Bitecofer. They’re hard-core progressives who wouldn’t be voting for, much less working for, the Republican Party no matter who they nominated.

Which is, of course, fine. It’s perfectly natural for Democrats to be working to defeat Trump. But we should stop pretending that these are Republicans disgusted by one particular individual who has co-opted their party banner.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that several of the founders, notably Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, and Reed Galen, are essentially professional grifters who are cashing in on the project:

The Lincoln Project reported spending nearly $1.4 million through March. Almost all of that money went to the group’s board members and firms run by them. The super PAC spent nearly $1 million with Summit Strategic Communications, a firm run by Lincoln Project treasurer Reed Galen. Another $215,000 went to Tusk Digital, a company run by Lincoln Project adviser Ron Steslow. Both companies received little business from other federal committees since Trump’s inauguration. 

Again, to the extent they’re getting under Trump’s skin and diminishing his already-slim re-election chances, I’m happy. But the consistent media narrative that this is somehow principled opposition to Trump and what he has done to the party is grating.

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FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But a group seeking to not only defeat Trump but every vulnerable Republican in the Senate is in no way “Republican.” They are, like me, effectively Democrats.

    It is a marriage of convenience. I do not expect the likes of a Steve Schmidt or Rick Wilson to feel very welcome in the DEM party of 2021. Depending on how the GOP reacts to it’s coming utter demolition (hey, I’m allowed some wishful thinking here) they may eventually find their way back into the GOP fold, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it. Far more likely they will become pariahs, traitorous sumbitches not welcome anywhere.

    When it comes to their motives/values, I can’t speak to them. Outside of trump and his congressional enablers, I doubt we agree on anything and would never expect to. I’ll take it they are sincere about why they are doing what they are doing until I see otherwise.

    As far as them funneling money to their own firms, I am not in the least bit surprised and wonder why anyone would be. Besides, from the ads I’ve seen the contributors to the LP are getting their moneys worth.

    11
  2. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It is a marriage of convenience.

    I’ve repeatedly made an analogy to those movie series and TV shows where the villain from one installment/season becomes an ally to the good guys in the next one, to defeat an even bigger villain.

    On the other hand, the first example that always pops in my head is Superman II where Lex Luthor appears to team up with Superman to defeat Gen. Zod–and then Luthor tries to double-cross Superman anyway.

    8
  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Long term, most of the never trumpers are hoping to retake the repug party and bring it toward the Bush, McCain, Romney center. That’s probably wishful thinking, which will be their problem going forward. Of current GOP office holders, at least at the federal level, it is hard to see who the NT’rs can organize around. There are a number of governors, but would the nationalist/populist base accept them? I don’t think so.

    1
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: After the election I fully expect them to go back to attacking DEMs on everything from economic policy to defense appropriations. And that’s fine, in fact I would become very suspicious if they didn’t.

    @Sleeping Dog: It’s going to take 40 years of wandering in an electoral desert to bring them back to the “Bush, McCain, Romney center.” Sad to say I don’t see that happening, at least not for another decade or so.

    2
  5. SKI says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Hogan is already planning 2024 run.

  6. Barry says:

    @Kylopod: “…Lex Luthor appears to team up with Superman to defeat Gen. Zod–and then Luthor tries to double-cross Superman anyway.”

    The difference is that Lex Luthor was powerful in his own right; these guys are basically exiles after a revolution.

  7. Teve says:

    @SKI: Hulk Hogan?

  8. DrDaveT says:

    But a group seeking to not only defeat Trump but every vulnerable Republican in the Senate is in no way “Republican.” They are, like me, patriots.

    FTFY.

    A party that has publicly demonstrated that it not only defends but promotes corruption and insanity must be voted out, root and branch. Once we have reestablished governance, we can return to our regularly scheduled debates over which infrastructure investments pay for themselves and which have socialist cooties.

    18
  9. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    There’s a real historical analogy:

    1) The USSR aids Nazi Germany, as that helps Stalin further his own imperial ambitions (see invasion of Finland and Poland).

    2) Germany betrays the USSR and invades it.

    3) The Allies team up with the USSR against Germany.

    4) When Germany’s defeated, they all go back to being enemies.

    5
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    I had a very similar discussion with my politics kid. ‘Do you realize these are still right wing scum?’ she asks. “Yes.” “Then how can you RT and support these people?’

    My answer was two fold: ‘After November 2020, they will be politically irrelevant. And I would never interrupt a guy who’s killing my enemy.’ Accompanied by the inevitable historical analogy: We got along with the second worst man in human history in order to defeat the worst man in human history.

    The enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but he’s certainly useful.

    As for you, @James Joyner, time for you to make peace with the fact that you are a de-facto supporter of the political party which, since 1968, has been on the right side of civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights. It’s been a long, long time since the GOP was right about any major issue, because long before Trump brought you face to face with the ugly, racist, woman-hating reality of the GOP today, it was already all those things, just wearing various unconvincing disguises.

    The Democratic Party is as a rule disorganized, it is often incoherent, it is sometimes corrupt and very often rather stupid. But we don’t hate people for the color of their skin. We don’t hate women. We don’t hate gay people or trans people. You know who we hate? We only hate the people who hate.

    We are the party you should belong to because of that simple reality: Republican power rests on mobilizing race hatred, misogyny, xenophobia and anti-trans and gay bigotry. And you are not motivated by race hatred, misogyny, xenophobia or anti-gay bigotry. You’re just not a hater, James, I know it might be hard for you to accept, but you’re too decent a man to be a Republican.

    Welcome to Team Blue. We will disappoint you. But we won’t ask you to hate.

    26
  11. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Long term, most of the never trumpers are hoping to retake the repug party and bring it toward the Bush, McCain, Romney center.

    I’d like to see that too, because it would be a huge win for Democrats. The country club GOP is a dog that won’t hunt — there simply isn’t enough popular support for its hawkish pro-wealth agenda for it to compete successfully in an actual marketplace of ideas. The GOP knows this — it’s why they went all in on disinformation and race baiting in the first place.

    2
  12. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Cantra yos’Phelium’s criteria for choosing allies:
    1. Can they shoot?
    2. Will they aim at your enemies?

    5
  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    take 40 years of wandering in an electoral desert

    It only took Dems 12 years to return from the Carter presidency debacle and capture the WH and while [Trump] hundred’s of times worse the electorate has proven time and again that they tire of one political party in power. Plus it wouldn’t be a shock to see [Republicans] recapture the Senate in 2022, or 2024 if the presidential race is close.

    @SKI:

    Wish Hogan luck, but the Repugs won’t be ready for a center-right leader in 2024. Much like the post Carter Dems, Repugs are going to need to cycle through their Mondale and Dukakis before they realize that a right wing populist/nationalist can’t win. A repug will return to the WH in 2032

    2
  14. Kylopod says:

    @Barry:

    The difference is that Lex Luthor was powerful in his own right; these guys are basically exiles after a revolution.

    Luthor was powerless once the Kryptonian outlaws took over.

    2
  15. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: Sure. I can get behind the idea that the current incarnation of the Republican Party must be defeated and a new one built from the ashes. But most of the leadership are grifters who have worked for whoever would pay them. And some of them—and it’s a tiny group, which just a handful of members, have never been Republicans or even moderates.

    They’re masquerading as something they’re not.

    4
  16. Tony W says:

    I hate that James feels he has to be a de-facto Democrat simply to avoid the destruction of our country.

    I would much rather have an effective and responsible opposition to hold we-liberals in check.

    We need them to force us to explain how we are going to pay for our great ideas.

    We need them to help us understand how helping the needy is sometimes allowing them to fail so they can rise on their own.

    We need them to help us understand the value of tradition instead of just going with whatever is new.

    We need responsible opposing views in this country, and it is clear that the Republicans have abdicated their role in that.

    15
  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I was speaking metaphorically when I said 40 years in the desert, not literally.

    Plus it wouldn’t be a shock to see [Republicans] recapture the Senate in 2022, or 2024 if the presidential race is close.

    I would not be in the least bit surprised at that. Same for the House.

    What I was saying was that I don’t see them entering an electoral desert for at least another 10 years (tbh I doubt even then, but I’ll wait 10 years before I’ll say) because they are too strong on the state level in too many states. Say every state wide race in NC went DEM for the next 10 years, if the GOP was able to win enough seats to control half the state legislature and roadblock anything the DEMs might try to do, where is the incentive to change?

    Besides, the crazy is strong in the deep south and all too much of the west.

  18. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @James Joyner:

    You’re just not a hater, James, I know it might be hard for you to accept, but you’re too decent a man to be a Republican.

    Hear, hear!

    4
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W: I largely agree Tony, but this?

    We need them to force us to explain how we are going to pay for our great ideas.

    Until they explain how they are going to pay for their shitty ideas, I’ve got only one thing to say to them: “—- —.”

    Fill in the blanks.

    9
  20. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Hogan is a good example of the Republican the NTs would promote. But he has no chance of getting the nomination. There are too many people that think that the Repubs can somehow gradually moderate their extremism but that assumes the Repubs have a party like the Dems, just attracting different people. But because of three decisions the most senior officials of the Republican Party consciously made*, they set off a two generational movement: people that want to accomplish positive things and want the national strife to lessen are repulsed by the Party, and people who view accomplishment as unimportant but rather see governance as the power to punish those they don’t like are attracted to it. Oil and water. I don’t see how you get a significant number of decent idealists to join the Republicans and affect positive change. What’s the point? It’s just a step away, and a short one, from deciding to join the KKK in order to turn them towards the light. Who’s going to do that?

    *1) The decision in 1964 to turn a blind eye to racism in exchange for racist votes
    2) The decision during the Gingrich era that accomplishing anything was risky, and that the Republican strategy would be to make all key initiatives as being “against”
    3) The series of decisions that effectively meant that when Republicans had control of either house, no bills would be passed that couldn’t be passed with Republicans alone. They feel if a bill has Democratic support Republicans haven’t gotten all they could get

    5
  21. Pylon says:

    @Kylopod: I’ve said to some people “FDR allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler”.

    1
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I agree, but some context: when James was young the Republican Party still had a remnant of decenct officials. Reagan was the one who put the final nail in that coffin, but he gave a very good impression of decency. It fooled a lot of people. And my guess is that Reagan’s “decency” was James’ first impression of Republicans, whereas mine was Nixon/Agnew/Kissinger.

    Even in the 2000’s some of the older Republican NY State Reps would show up at the local Planned Parenthood’s Annual Fundraiser. They would actually help with women’s health issues and would even vote against any overt moves against abortion rights. They would work with their Democratic colleagues to get the rivers cleaned up, or to reduce smokestack emissions. But they were old, and the younger contingent of like mind joined the Dems or just dropped out of politics altogether.

    6
  23. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner: I agree with your assessment of the #NeverTrumpers, so I’d be interested in your take on this question: If not these grifters, where will the builders of a new Republican Party come from? What would they need to stand for if they were to excise the haters that make up such a large part of the GOP’s current coalition?

    2
  24. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Much like the post Carter Dems, Repugs are going to need to cycle through their Mondale and Dukakis before they realize that a right wing populist/nationalist can’t win. A repug will return to the WH in 2032.

    I think you are drawing too close an analogy to something that is not analogous. Carter was a Southern moderate who nonetheless lost in a landslide when he ran for reelection. Then the Dems ran two liberals who lost, followed by another Southern moderate who won. But it’s a fallacy to think the candidates’ respective ideologies were the reason for the election outcomes. A Bill Clinton type would probably have lost in 1984 or 1988; a Mondale or Dukakis type may well have won in 1992.

    Furthermore, you have to consider the circumstances that made it hard for Dems to win in that period. There was a realignment going on, with the Southern states abandoning the Dems while the traditionally Republican Northeast plus states like Illinois and California would eventually become Democratic strongholds–but the latter didn’t happen until the 1990s, so for the previous two decades the Dems became trapped in a worst-of-both-worlds situation, enabling the massive Republican landslides of the ’70s and ’80s. Only in 1976 was Carter able to eke out a win by basically reconstructing the Solid South for one cycle. It was a last gasp of the old Democratic coalition. Clinton did win several Southern states that have since become strongly Republican, but he didn’t need them. If you look at the non-Southern states he won, it was basically the beginning of the modern Democratic map that has lasted to this day.

    Democrats have been predicting for a long time that demographic shifts plus the dying out of old racist voters would spell doom for the GOP. They were saying this back in 2008. And it feels almost like they’re jinxing it, because every time they say it, it seems that Republicans come roaring back, and finding ways to keep their power entrenched.

    Part of it is that Republicans are just so much better at the game of politics than Dems are. The fact that the most memorable, creative, and brutal anti-Trump ads this cycle have been by a Republican group is a perfect illustration of that. Dems are always underestimating Repubs by getting too caught up in how they think the world ought to be, how voters ought to behave, and it makes them play Charlie Brown to the GOP’s football, again and again.

    12
  25. Kylopod says:

    Please rescue my comment from moderation.

  26. J-Dub says:

    @Teve: Intention or unintentional nod to Idiocracy? We’re halfway there already, why not elect a wrestler ?

  27. JohnMcC says:

    The article the NYTimes wrote on the same subject was an opinion piece by Frank Bruni has some remarks that George Conway made regarding the future of the R-party: “I personally think the Republican brand is destroyed…by it’s having become a personality cult.” Bruni asked “So you’ll be a man without a party for the rest of your days?” “Probably,” he said, “it makes me tremendously sad.”

    That would be so great. The Republicans become the Whigs.

    2
  28. grumpy realist says:

    If I have to identify myself, it’s more as a Rockefeller Republican than anything…albeit have been voting Democratic ticket ever since day one because the other side has presented nothing decent in what I want.

    3
  29. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Besides, the crazy is strong in the deep south and all too much of the west.

    Using Census Bureau region definitions, I think what you mean to say is “all too much of the midwest.” The 13-state western region has been turning blue at a rather remarkable pace. For example, those states produced 98 of Clinton’s EC votes in 2016, the most of any of the four CB regions.

  30. CSK says:

    I think that if Trump loses this November, there’s at least a decent possibility that his devotees will split from the Republican party and found their own party, calling it the America First Party (or something grandiose and jingoistic like that), and Trump will be its titular and spiritual head. Its platform, to the extent there’s an articulated one, will be populist-nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-higher education, and likely dominionist. These people hate traditional Republicans such as Ryan, Romney, McConnell, McCain, and the Bushes worse than they hate Democrats. And they’re not going to stop adoring Trump.

    So there will be two parties opposing a single unified Democratic Party.

    3
  31. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Yeah, but subtracting Cali’s 54 EVs, that leaves 44 among 12 states. Colo. and Nev. are still swingy. Arizona may flip this year, but either way will likely be in the same category for some time. Leaving aside the three Pacific states, N.M. and Hawaii, the rest of that region is Redder than Alex Keaton.

    The exception of the remainders is Iowa.
    Their voting: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Reagan, Dukakis, Clinton, Clinton, Gore (48.5-48.2%), Bush (49.9-49.3%), Obama, Obama, Trump.
    They were well over 50% in ’08, ’12, and ’16.

    If Iowa consistently voted for the winner, we could consider it a bellwether. Instead, it just seems schizophrenic.

  32. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    A Bill Clinton type would probably have lost in 1984 or 1988

    Probably, but not all losses are equivalent. In 84 Reagan won over 550 EV and in 88 Bush over 425. A Clinton type would have done better. As far as 92, Dems had the chance to nominate a Mondale or Dukakis and chose not to, they were tired of the beatings.

    What is the center of the GOP today is far, far right from what it was in the 80’s and the next few Repug nominations will likely be a Cruz, Cotton or Hawley type, who will get crushed. Then they’ll return to the center.

    …Republicans are just so much better at the game of politics than Dems are

    Agreed. To Dems a soliloquy is an elevator pitch and a Dem idea of a bumper sticker statement is War and Peace. It still hurts thinking about Al Gore prattling on about targeted tax cuts and social security lock boxes. Not to forget staying high when they go low, the top reason why Michele should never be considered presidential material.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Some may try, but it won’t be elected party members. As has been pointed out the R’s are still strong at the state level, except California and Massachusetts. No pol with national ambitions is going to abandon that infrastructure. The battle for the parties future will be conducted from within.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I was wondering the same thing. Hulk would have to run as Terry Bollea because he’s never changed his name, IIRC.

    This is some guy named Larry Hogan who apparently chairs the RGC or some similar alphabet soup GOP group.

    ETA: Frankly, I’m not sure I wouldn’t prefer Hulk to Larry. And Hulk is on record as having been fired for making public racial slurs, so he passes the race test for the base.

    And he “prays and takes his vitamins.”

  35. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I take your point, but what I’m talking about is Cult45 abandoning the Republican Party, elected officials and all, and forming their own party under Trump’s aegis. At this point, I don’t think the Trumpkins are willing to compromise with anyone, let alone someone like Charlie Baker or Larry Hogan or even Chris Sununu, who, while he hasn’t made his utter contempt for Trump as obvious as has Baker, clearly isn’t an ardent fan.

    2
  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That one didn’t bother me as much. The one I objected to was

    We need them to help us understand how helping the needy is sometimes allowing them to fail so they can rise on their own.

    as more of the old “bootstraps” bus hillt. Yes, it’s true sometimes, but not nearly as often as anybody ought to believe.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I live in MD and can attest that Hogan is a reasonably good governor. He’s a Republican in the older style you can still find at the regional level. But the National Republican Party is essentially Mississippi, driven by the same resentments and incompetence so prevalent in the Southern Strategy states. Hogan will get a lot of attention from the media, but won’t have a chance against a DeSantis clone. (DeSantis himself may be damaged goods due to his handling of C19. If the virus starts ripping through The Villages, he’s done locally and nationally.)

    1
  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    This is some guy named Larry Hogan who apparently chairs the RGC or some similar alphabet soup GOP group.

    That would be the Republican moderate Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, who managed to increase his previous margin of victory for his second term by about 5 points in a dark blue state during a Democratic wave year (2018) against a far lefty. If he runs in 2024, there’s a decent chance he’d win. He’d have my vote, as his performance has been exceptional IMO.

    3
  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    …Cult45 abandoning the Republican Party, elected officials and all, and forming their own party under Trump’s aegis

    Think about that for a second, do you think any of them could organize a free lunch much less a political party? Who ever stepped into a leadership roll, say Bannon, would immediately be attacked by whichever personality felt usurped from leadership. The whole thing would deteriorate into a food fight before Biden was sworn in.

    1
  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    Cult45 is at heart the rump of the tea party movement, the portion that could barely organize a rally. What became the tea party movement in congress were the astro turf tea partiers, other wise mainstream repug back benchers and former leadership minions who were on the outs with the party elite. The astro turfers will say good riddance to Cult45 and fight for control of what’s left of the party. Come election day, who is C45 going to vote for, if not the astro turfers?

    2
  41. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    It’s possible they may vote for no one, given that choice.
    I probably do give Cult45 somewhat more credit for organizational ability then they deserve.

  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    Post Trump the important action will be inside the Democratic Party. Team Blue is not great at compromise or collaboration. Come election time, though, the traumatic memory of Trump will be a political Vietnam Syndrome. I think Dems will long remember and that will provide cohesion.

    I don’t see how the Right coalesces. They will also be formed by the trauma of Trump, but it will not work to unite them. They’ll have a decade at least of blaming each other, hating each other, and all in a world where Republican ideology is in absolute ruins. What is a post-Trump party platform going to be like? Any attempt at broadening the base will enrage the die-hards. The GOP brand is destroyed, it means nothing but racist rallies. Racist rallies plus…?

    The future is more socialism, more environmentalism, less militarism. It has to be, there is no practical alternative. The AOC contingent is the future. When you’re looking to 2024 or 2026 expect her name to be in the running for POTUS. If I have my math right she’ll be 35 just weeks before the 2024 election.

  43. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    I take your point, but what I’m talking about is Cult45 abandoning the Republican Party, elected officials and all, and forming their own party under Trump’s aegis.

    That would be such a good outcome for Democrats that I refuse to even entertain its possibility at this time. It’s not good for you to think that you actually have a chance to win the lottery.

    3
  44. ptfe says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Probably, but not all losses are equivalent. In 84 Reagan won over 550 EV and in 88 Bush over 425. A Clinton type would have done better. As far as 92, Dems had the chance to nominate a Mondale or Dukakis and chose not to, they were tired of the beatings.

    In 1988, David Duke tried to run as a Democrat. Just, you know, roll that around in your mouth a bit. It was the tail end of realignment, but it was realignment that largely dictated those huge victories. Cities were just cracking as progressive Republican strongholds; Southern Democrats were being deplatformed by the national party. It was absolute chaos on the D side in 1984, and it hadn’t really settled by 1988, when GHWB famously trotted out his Willie Horton campaign. Money had married racism in a sad, misanthropic coalition.

    Come ’92, all those old-time Republican districts had shifted with the Dems to the left column, while the Republicans – who had needed some of Duke’s language to win races 4 years earlier – couldn’t deplatform him even running against their incumbent. I don’t think a Clinton-style campaign would have had much success converting the Southern whites who were already on the move in ’88, but Dukakis would have done a lot better in ’92 than he did four years earlier.

    What we’re seeing now is vastly different, for a couple major reasons: (1) Big pushes to expand the electorate and make voting more equitable, which will dilute the white vote in the South; and (2) no viable alternative receptacle for the KKK/neo-Nazi crowd. The GOP robbed the bank to win big in the Reagan era, but now they’re realizing all the bills are marked. This moldy version of the Tea Party is going to continue to be a hyper-vocal presence that the GOP just won’t be able to shake, and I think it’s going to turn Republicans into a much smaller national presence as a result.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: Tomatoes, tomahtoes… I don’t know who is in the “13 state western region”. To me the Pacific Coast states aren’t among them. When I say western states, I mean NV, ID, UT, AZ, MT, WY, CO, NM, TX, OK, KS, NE, SD and ND. I know a lot of folks think of those last 4 as mid western states but I’ve spent too much time in their western reaches and folks out there would disagree rather strongly. Kind of a toss up where they belong.

    At any rate, I think only NV, NM, and CO went for Clinton. AZ appears to be moving DEMward and MT is a bit of a flip a coin state but as far as I know the rest are solid red states.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I hate to admit it but somehow or other I missed that one entirely. You’re right, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  47. An Interested Party says:

    Plus it wouldn’t be a shock to see [Republicans] recapture the Senate in 2022, or 2024 if the presidential race is close.

    That may be tough for them to do in 2022, as Rs have 22 seats to defend while the Ds only have 12 to worry about…

    If he runs in 2024, there’s a decent chance he’d win.

    In this GOP? That’s highly doubtful…even if Trump loses this year, the southern conservative core will still dominate the party…and if another relative moderate like Christie couldn’t get any traction in a Republican presidential primary, Hogan surely won’t…

  48. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    When I say western states, I mean NV, ID, UT, AZ, MT, WY, CO, NM, TX, OK, KS, NE, SD and ND.

    An anthropologist friend and I assert that there are significant cultural difference on the east and west side of the Great Plains (flat, cartogram, and prism map representations of Great Plains county populations here). Any analysis that lumps all of those states together will get analyses wrong, for various reasons.

  49. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Cain:

    (flat, cartogram, and prism map representations of Great Plains county populations here)

    That middle image looks like Trump wearing Birdman’s costume. Then again, maybe it’s a TDS-driven hallucination.

  50. de stijl says:

    It still pisses me off that Mondale lost.

  51. James Joyner says:

    @de stijl:

    It still pisses me off that Mondale lost.

    Ha. That was the last true landslide. Reagan won by a whopping 18.2 percent margin, carrying 49 of 50 states! And, indeed, “the last time that a Republican won the states of Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Hawaii in a presidential election.” Since Biden will surely carry all of them again in 2020, it’ll be a four-decade streak in 2024.