The Post-Trump GOP Will Not Go Back To ‘Normal’

Contrary to the hopes of some, getting rid of Trump isn't going to purge the GOP of Trumpism.

Writing in The Week, David Farris pushes back against the idea that a defeat in 2020 would cause the Republican Party to pull back from Trumpism:

The most problematic assumption in this scenario is that the leaders of the post-Trump Republican Party will correctly assess the causes of the party’s defeat, conclude that norm-violation and procedural escalation soured the public on GOP rule, and make the appropriate behavioral changes at the state and national level to win back the voters they lost.

This seems, to be charitable, deeply unlikely. For starters, it is not always clear what caused a political defeat, especially before the dust has cleared. Results and exit polls can only tell decision-makers so much about why voters made their choices. What, for example, caused the Democratic defeat in 2016? Was it eroding margins with certain kinds of white voters? Was it former FBI Director James Comey’s unprecedented intervention the week before the election? Was it fatigue with eight years of a Democratic presidency? Was it Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy? Or was it maybe all of these things?

The same issue of messy multicausality will plague anyone trying to decipher the causes of a Republican defeat in 2020. It will be easy to blame President Trump himself, a man so totally lacking in self-control and basic decency that he has been unable to convince even half the public to express favorable views of his administration despite low unemployment, consistent job growth, and a bullish stock market. If an economic downturn arrives next year, as some economists expect, the morticians may simply blame bad luck and move on.

Worse, the most extreme partisans in the GOP’s ranks might argue that Trump lost because he wasn’t far enough to the right – had he only built the wall and closed the border and bombed Iran and thrown Hillary Clinton in jail, Republicans would have shown up in greater numbers to save him. In any case, since voters mostly don’t care about procedural hardball like eliminating the “blue-slip” rule that once gave senators the right to veto federal judicial nominees from their home states, it strains credibility to imagine Republican strategists thinking that playing nicer will get them back into power.

Second, even when party elites do come to accurate conclusions about the causes of defeat, they may be unable to change direction. In the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee sponsored a now-infamous “autopsy,” which concluded that the party needed to make inroads with voters of color or face extinction. Not only did leading Republicans not even try to do that, shortly thereafter they hitched their fortunes to an openly racist reality TV star and remade themselves in his grisly image. Indeed, the party is trapped in an unbreakable cycle of escalating extremism, driven by its own primary voters and by the rage-industrial complex of the conservative media.

(…)

Let’s say that Republicans get their overwhelming repudiation next year. President Trump is defeated by 8 percentage points, Democrats expand their House majority, and Republicans lose Senate races in Colorado, Maine, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Texas and North Carolina to give Democrats a 54-46 edge in the chamber. Even if a recession hits with the most exquisite political timing in history for Democrats, this seems like the outer limits of the kind of defeat that could be inflicted on Republicans next year.

Would it be enough to convince the party to change course? The loss of moderates like Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would shift the ideological center of gravity in the Senate even further to the right. And Republicans might be facing an aggressive policy onslaught from a committed progressive president like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. It is absurd to think this Republican Party would lose all three branches of government and, threatened with a nationalization of the health-care industry, a massive increase in taxes on the wealthy, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, conclude that they need to move to the center and be more cooperative.

Remember also that ex-President Trump will be out there on Fox News (or his own network) every night yelling incoherently about socialism and Mexicans and kneeling NFL players, flinging venom at every Democrat in sight. What little restraint the office exerts on him today will be gone. The right-wing media machine will see stopping Medicare-for-all and immigration reform as an existential crisis, and do everything in its power to whip viewers and readers — and primary voters — into a frothing mosh pit of crazed anger and fear. Republicans in Congress will face the same perverse incentives, both to undermine and obstruct the new Democratic administration so they can take power back in 2022 and to cater to their base of elderly, white fanatics who will decide the fate of individual members of Congress in the next round of primaries.

Farris is responding, of course, to many “Never Trump” conservatives who have expressed the hope that Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, or his removal from office, would result in a purging of the Trumpidian element from the party itself. This isn’t dissimilar, of course, from the hope that many mainstream Republicans had in 2012 and 2014 that the defeats that Tea Party conservatives suffered in primary and general elections would lead to a renaissance in the party that would set it down a more inclusive future. This, in part, is what the post-2012 autopsy that was championed by the likes of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Among other things, that autopsy argued that the GOP’s long-term future was in danger unless it reached out and became more responsive to growing blocs of voters such as Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, and, especially, younger voters, which are fast becoming the largest bloc of voting-age Americans and even six years ago were increasingly leaning to the Democratic Party.

Instead of listening to that autopsy, of course, the GOP leaned even further into the anti-immigrant, populist nationalism that had manifested itself in the Tea Party movement, the popularity of politicians such as Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Allen West, Michele Bachmann, and others. On Capitol Hill, this manifested itself in the manner in which the Republican majority in the House interacted with President Obama and the Democrats and in decisions such as the decision on the part of House GOP leadership to not even bothering to pursue immigration reform and other measures that appealed to the base of the party which, to the increasing horror of many conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans, was never really “conservative” in the Burkean/Buckley sense after all. When Republicans gained seats in the House and Senate in the 2014 midterms, including regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, the autopsy was basically ignored and the GOP went further down the road of nationalism, populism, and xenophobia.

The forces that turned the Republican Party into what it is today were at work long before Donald Trump came along and entered the race for President in June 2015, Contrary to what those who are hoping for a Republican renaissance would like to think, then, Trump is not an aberration of the direction in which the party was moving, he is a reflection of that movement and Trumpism is really nothing more than a manifestation of what the Republican Party has been evolving into since the 1990s. It was at that point when the anti-communism and focus on foreign policy that had been holding the various wings of the GOP together became largely irrelevant thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union. That event also happened to coincide with a new era in which talk radio, Newt Gingrich, Matt Drudge, Clinton Derangement Syndrome, and Fox News Channel combined to push conservatism generally and the Republican Party specifically away from its intellectual moorings and toward the nationalist populism that it has turned into today.

To that end, getting rid of Trump is not going to end that process and, regardless of how Trump’s time in office, whether he leaves in 2021 or 2025 or is forced out via impeachment, his departure is likely to embed Trumpist ideology even further and make the GOP base even more radical. If Trump loses in 2020, for example, there will no doubt be allegations of “voter fraud” and claims that he was a victim of the so-called “Deep State” that, according to the Trumpidian view of things, has been targeting him from Day One. If he’s impeached and removed from office, unlikely though that may be, then they’ll allege that he was removed by a “coup” even if it does result in Mike Pence becoming President. Finally, if Trump is re-elected then Trumpism will be cemented into the Republican Party for decades to come in much the same way that Ronald Reagan’s two terms helped to influence the direction of his party, although that was short-lived due to the aforementioned collapse of the anti-communist coalition that kept the peace between the various wings of conservatism. Without that to unify the movement, conservatism slowly began to mutate into a rough reflection

What will it take for the Trumpidians, and their allies the Evangelical Christians, to lose influence? The only answer to that is that Republicans must lose elections. Not just in 2020 but beyond, and not just in blue or purple states but in so-called red states as well. Only a widespread repudiation of the ideology of Trump and his allies is likely to bring about the realignment within the GOP that must come if they are to survive as anything more than a minority party in the future. Simply defeating Trump, or getting him out of the Oval Office, isn’t going to be enough. Now more than ever, the GOP is Trump’s party now and that’s going to continue whether he’s in office or not.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Part of it is there is a big contingent of formerly center-right people who will probably never vote for a Republican again in their lives.

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  2. Kari Q says:

    I agree, Doug. I don’t know what will happen in 2020, but win or lose the Republicans aren’t going to magically snap to their senses.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Do you think so? It always seems to me that they are looking for any excuse to go back to the GOP. Maybe they can convince themselves to vote for the Democratic nominee over Trump in 2020, but if Pres. Warren or Biden or whoever do much as sneezes the wrong way, they will sadly decide that the Democrats are too extreme and they must go back to the Republican Party.

    I hope you are right and I am wrong.

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  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    Worse, the most extreme partisans in the GOP’s ranks might argue that Trump lost because he wasn’t far enough to the right – had he only built the wall and closed the border and bombed Iran and thrown Hillary Clinton in jail, Republicans would have shown up in greater numbers to save him.

    This has been Bithead’s excuse for every Republican loss since I started reading this blog back in ’08, and I think he speaks well for the most extreme faction of the GOP. And, since NeverTrumpers have effectively left the party, the Bitheads are the ones driving the bus. I really don’t see any part of the GOP’s base responding well to the idea of a softer, gentler conservatism. It’s going to take a Bill Clinton-like phenomenon–a charismatic moderate who has breakout success in a blue or purple state–to create any sort of pathway back from lunacy.

    Remember also that ex-President Trump will be out there on Fox News (or his own network) every night yelling incoherently about socialism and Mexicans and kneeling NFL players, flinging venom at every Democrat in sight.

    Well, that will depend on how this current imbroglio resolves. I imagine access to twitter is severely curtailed in prison.

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  4. Scott says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That would be me. The Republican Party that I was part of is gone. The current party possessing that name is best thought of as the political heir of George Wallace’s American Independent Party. There is not much difference between Wallace and Trump. And it has been souped up by a large dose of toxic Christianity.

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  5. KM says:

    Of course not! Do people really expect Trumpkins to vanish back into the ether when Trump is gone? These folks have *always* been around (see Palinistas) but have finally been granted legitimacy by their Lord and Master. They are going to expect the next guy and the guy after that to treat them as serious and important remembers of the party instead of the fringe to be ignored. The dogwhistles have been broken and tossed out for open hostilities so no, they’ll be pissed if they can’t be MAGA and in your face about it.

    They’ve got a tiger by the tail and think they can just let go? No, sir – there will be face-maulings a-plenty if they don’t stay the course. The only way to safely let go is for the tiger to be incapacitated or to die. So the GOP is either going to have to wait till the current crop of crazies are gone before trying to head back to sanity or it’s going to have to start trying to neuter parts of it’s own party.

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  6. Barry says:

    The big problem is that the GOP will never lose enough elections in a row (three, IMHO) to change.

    The mid-terms will help them, so that they can see 2020 as a temporary set-back.

    Add control/voter suppression/gerrymandering in more and more Red states, and the GOP’s nasty core is safe for decades.

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  7. It is worth noting as well that a lot of the more mainstream (or what used to be mainstream) GOP members of Congress have been retiring in droves since Trump was elected.

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  8. Gustopher says:

    I disagree with the headline.

    But only because I think Republican “Normal” was redefined in the Obama years to be relentless opposition, embracing crazy conspiracy theories, and stoking of racial resentments. The Normal is simply horrible.

    And this is why I will likely be a lifelong Democratic voter for every office, top to bottom. It’s possible the Democrats might do something so awful in the next thirty years to make me reassess, but not likely.

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  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think it started with direct-mail campaigns a la Richard Viguerie. It transferred to talk radio, with the demolition of the fairness doctrine. Email campaigns were prominent in the days of Karl Rove, but today it’s clickbait websites spread via Facebook.

    They’ve gained in sophistication, too. It used to be they played on simple fears with lots of words in CAPITAL LETTERS. Now there are complex conspiracy theories – castles of fantasy built on the clouds of belief – that multiple sites buy into, advance and elaborate.

    Unless that all falls down somehow, I don’t see much changing.

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    I hate to say it, but it looks like our trust will have to be placed in the large number of grifters who have latched on to the Republican Party and are loudly banging the drum for Trump in order to raise money—of which 99% goes into their own bank accounts and 1% goes to politicians.

    May the parasites be so numerous as to kill the host…..

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  11. Andy says:

    It’s certainly possible, but I think that’s overstating the case.

    The thing about Trump is that at his core, he only cares about Trump. He’s not building a legacy or movement than can exist without him. There’s no natural successor and little in the way of an organized movement that can carry his style of politics and his policies forward. And, he’s alienated so many people along the way that there are a non-trivial number of influential people that will work to avoid another Trump.

    Secondly, those who make up Trump’s current base may very well be able to maintain control of the party via primaries – but it’s not a sure thing. Democrats who believe they will have a lock on #nevertrumpers as the inevitable “lesser evil” choice going forward are probably kidding themselves, especially if the Democratic party continues to move to the left.

    If Trump loses next year (assuming he’s not removed from office first), it’s hard to see the GoP doubling-down on that failure – no one likes a loser and rarely do parties come to the conclusion that they should double-down on the policies that resulted in a defeated one-term President.

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  12. Jen says:

    @Kari Q: I used to consider myself center-right, and in fact worked in Republican campaigns/politics in the early ’90s. I saw where the party was headed on a grassroots level back in the mid-90s, I left working in politics then, and left the party shortly thereafter. I went from splitting my ticket, to mostly Democrats, and now vote solidly Democratic.

    It does happen, but much will depend on who the next nominee is. What I am most curious about is watching how political affiliation changes for young people over the next 10-20 years. I read this piece on FiveThirtyEight when it first ran, and the idea that partisan loyalty becomes set for most at age 18 was interesting.

    17 and 18 year olds watching the current conflagration may well trend Democratic for a very long time to come.

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  13. Modulo Myself says:

    The GOP might want to change, but how are they going to do it? The people who are intelligent–someone like David French–are devoted to things that have no importance to anybody about outside of the evangelical bubble. Watching that French-Ahmari debate was like watching two guys talk about Marvel vs DC. And I don’t see any kind of policy being talked about. Like if you think nuclear power or carbon capture are important against climate change, you have to figure out how to make them affordable or, you know, real. You can’t just talk about progressives and wave around ‘deregulation’. It doesn’t work like that.

    Basically McConnell has systematically emptied the party of any kind of intelligence. His sole goal has been establishing power of conservatives outside of the reach of a popular majority. But you can’t a) be unpopular and b) be dumb and expect for your politics to work on any level except that of the current GOP.

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  14. Teve says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Basically McConnell has systematically emptied the party of any kind of intelligence. His sole goal has been establishing power of conservatives outside of the reach of a popular majority. But you can’t a) be unpopular and b) be dumb and expect for your politics to work on any level except that of the current GOP.

    It started long before McConnell.

    But all there is to the GOP is a collection of scams to impoverish their voters and enrich their donors.

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    At the end of WW2 I’m sure some Nazis thought it had all been nothing more than previous wars, WW1 or the Franco-Prussian. They were fools. It had long since gone past geopolitics. The fight had become one against evil.

    The Republican Party is evil. Carthago delenda est. Republicans, their defenders, their mouthpieces, and all the contemptible ‘Good Germans’ out there will not be forgiven.

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  16. Modulo Myself says:

    @Teve:

    McConnell took over the GOP at a point when it could have changed gracefully–after Iraq, after the banks exploded, and after an honorable and interesting man–McCain–had lost. Instead, he was happy to obstruct and have Tea Party morons fighting to keep government out of Medicare. I have to admit–he won. But he won using the media as a trigger for people who otherwise would not have cared. Some white guy in Alabama in 1966 did not need politicians and propaganda to tell him his world was changing. It was. Aside from the absolute manipulation that made him into the man who must be resisted, who was Obama? These people were made to be terrified of just change–not in their lives, but somewhere, somehow, there was something that was terrifying.

    And McConnell let them happen. He used the acquiescence of the right to Fox and the conservative propaganda machine and its lies and turned the dial as high as it would go so we could be ruled by weirdo crypto-closeted conservative judges for another 20 years.

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  17. Kathy says:

    I think the two most important lessons of history are:

    1) Nothing lasts forever, no matter how good, powerful, or secure it is(*).

    2) When a majority of the population is excluded from political power, and they can’t even have a decent standard of living, you will inevitably get an armed revolt. Of these two requirements, the second one is the most important.

    The point is that the current incarnation of the GOP will end someday, and one way it might end is through armed revolution. It doesn’t have to be that way, but the combination of lack of power and lack of decent living is a powerful one.

    “Decent standard of living” is not easy or objectively defined. For some people it might mean lack of food, for others it may mean lack of physical security, or lack of access to medical care, or constant worry over debt, etc, etc. So that even well-off people, or even wealthy people, might not have a decent standard of living. the latter can finance armed revolutions, too.

    (*) This means that someday very few people, if any, will practice Christianity; just as today few people, if any, sacrifice animals to the Olympian gods.

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  18. KM says:

    Doug, right now #eatthebabies is trending because some lunatic laroucheian con “trolled” AOC by screaming about climate change and needing to eat babies….. and the conservative response has been to go “OMG she didn’t start scream at the woman and didn’t actually say she didn’t eat babies. OMG AOC supports baby eating and /or radical ideas like it1!!!”

    They’re not coming back to sanity. This insane wannabe-gotcha is gaining steam in their circles because it’s somehow proof that liberals support horrible things in the name of the dark god climate change. Candance Owens:

    If you’re trying to determine whether the #EatTheBabies woman was a troll, you’re missing the point:

    @AOC allowing a woman to discuss bombing Russia & eating infants, without ONCE condemning those ideas, proves that Democrats are okay with violence—as long as it votes blue.

    AOC’s face during the whole thing is pretty much the country’s mood right now. There’s clearly insane people ranting and raving right in front of us but we’re concerned that if we do something about it, the nut might lash out and hurt somebody. So the best option is to slowly back away and call for someone to come get the crazy person. But hey, since you didn’t condemn the nut, you must agree with the nut even though it was the most obviously fake setup since Wohl tried to claim Warren can #*$^#%*$ a Marine escort into bloody whips marks and tears (sooo… this morning, then).

    No, Republicans aren’t coming back from Trumpism for a LONG, long time. That kinda detox requires you to stop taking the drug in the first place.

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  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    The Republican Party has exposed itself as a corrupt, racist, white supremacist party. They made their choices, they dug their own grave. Trump is a symptom of a deeper disease.

    “To see those monkeys from those African countries, damn them,” Reagan said, to laughter from Nixon. “They are still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”

    In other recordings, Nixon went on to recount his conversation with Reagan to others, describing the African delegates as “cannibals” as he sought to blame them for the United Nations vote.

    That wasn’t Trump, that was Saint Ronnie O’Reagan. The GOP is a depraved organization, a treasonous organization. They don’t deserve to survive and young people know it. They can quietly disband and move to Argentina, or they can keep dragging a dwindling number of sickos and clowns down with them. But the Republican Party as an institution worthy of respect is over. Five years from now there won’t be a corporate CEO able to support the GOP without taking his company right down the crapper.

    That leaves Klansmen, neo-Nazis, woman-haters and assorted creeps as their membership base. Aging Klansmen, neo-Nazis and woman-haters. Remember NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association? That’s the Republican brand five years from now.

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  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    It took 20 years for Dems to regain their footing after the McGovern debacle and that was with the benefit of Watergate and they kept their majorities in Congress. I know Jimmy Carter, today he’d be considered a Dino. Repugs are likely to achieve majorities in the Senate, but the House and WH are likely out of sight for a long time, perhaps the rest of my life. (that’s actually a pleasant thought!)

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  21. Carol says:

    @Gustopher: Gop normal ended with the 1992 election when they started the unending investigation of Bill Clinton. And shortly thereafter, Newt Gingrich and his contract on America. One might even say that it ended with Reagan. Many of the actors during reagan’s 2 terms are still around and active today…Wm Barr, e.g.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Well, that will depend on how this current imbroglio resolves. I imagine access to twitter is severely curtailed in prison.

    I wish someone could do a cost/benefit analysis of throwing Trump in prison, after a scrupulously fair trial on real charges (preferably Federal ones), once he’s out of office (however that happens).

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  23. Steve V says:

    They came within a vote of replacing Obamacare with something some guy had written on a napkin the night before. Anyone who would support them after that charade is die-hard. In reality, it’s almost worse; a huge number of their supporters are pissed off that it didn’t pass.

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  24. PJ says:

    @michael reynolds:

    At the end of WW2 I’m sure some Nazis thought it had all been nothing more than previous wars, WW1 or the Franco-Prussian. They were fools. It had long since gone past geopolitics. The fight had become one against evil.

    The Republican Party is evil. Carthago delenda est. Republicans, their defenders, their mouthpieces, and all the contemptible ‘Good Germans’ out there will not be forgiven.

    Lots of Nazis were forgiven, or only served laughable sentences. And some even ended up running NASA.

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  25. Teve says:

    Rubio says Trump asking China to investigate Biden was just “Joking”.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    The thing about Trump is that at his core, he only cares about Trump. He’s not building a legacy or movement than can exist without him. There’s no natural successor and little in the way of an organized movement that can carry his style of politics and his policies forward. And, he’s alienated so many people along the way that there are a non-trivial number of influential people that will work to avoid another Trump.

    Post-Trump, a lot of people will conclude that the problem with Trump wasn’t the racism, treason, or policies, but that he was an uncouth moron. And someone a bit less cartoony awful will try to take up that mantle.

    Given that so many Republicans are currently willing to excuse anything from Trump, I have no clue who it will be, because there are so many options, and most of them are more competent than Trump. Someone who can fake plain-talking, while still looking “respectable and serious.”

    Let’s say… Tucker Carlson. Or a Tucker Carlson type. A bit of an outsider, good speaker, a bit of a racist, a bit morally flexible, looks good in a suit, and maybe smart enough to appoint terrible people and stay out of their way…

    That’s the future of the GOP. It’s unfortunate, and I’d love to be wrong, but I really don’t think I am.

    At the very least, this Racist LaRouche Lite branch of the party is going to be a major force going into the 2024 primaries. And even the less insane branch is still ok destroying institutions and taking any position to cling to power, so if they win out, they aren’t much better.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: At least he didn’t say that it was fine…

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  28. Scott F. says:

    What will it take for the Trumpidians, and their allies the Evangelical Christians, to lose influence? The only answer to that is that Republicans must lose elections.

    And it’s clear Republicans understand this truth, Doug, since all the GOP’s strategic thinking and energy is now being devoted to gerrymandering plus voter suppression and decidedly not on building out their base.

    They are going to wring as much as they can out of their dwindling base of rabid voters until they can wring no more, then, as @Modulo Myself notes, McConnell and his political allies will further push the entrenchment of conservatism through judges so that popular voting is less relevant to their power.

    The GOP is going to ride this tiger until it eats them or the tiger dies. It’s all they’ve got after 30 some years of nihilistic politics.

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  29. Scott F. says:

    @Gustopher:

    Post-Trump, a lot of people will conclude that the problem with Trump wasn’t the racism, treason, or policies, but that he was an uncouth moron. And someone a bit less cartoony awful will try to take up that mantle.

    My money is on Rep. Liz Cheney. She’s got the pedigree with her Darth Dick bloodline.

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  30. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I agree with you. I think this feels like 1850s when the Southern minority government kept pushing Fugitive Slave laws, kept pushing expanding slave states, and with a Supreme Court under Roger Taney justifying denying citizenship to blacks regardless whether they were free or not. On top of exercising majority power as political minority, the South was economically inferior to the North, just as the rural poorer areas exercising power over wealthier urban areas. It is inherently unstable,and unless rectified, will not end well.

    Bonus question: will John Roberts go down in history as this century’s Roger Taney? Or will he see history’s trap?

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  31. Slugger says:

    It’s hard for me to see much in my crystal ball. Until 1960, the Dixiecrats and the “ Solid South” were firmly Democrats. The war in Vietnam and the civil rights movement gave the GOP the opportunity to develop the “Southern Strategy” that has been very successful. Somehow Medicare and other social programs have become seen as burdens for the midAmerican and a boon to undeserving minorities. In 1988 I heard that a conservative senator from Indiana was picked as VP; I said that Richard Lugar was too conservative for me, but I could certainly respect him…knock me over with a feather, they picked the vapid frat-boy. Then they picked a weathergirl in 2008. They followed this with the apotheosis of television personality who I was sure would lose. What next? No idea.

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    This means that someday very few people, if any, will practice Christianity;

    Personally, I would already say that the above is the case and that the source of conflict in Evangelicalism is that Evangelicals are so far removed from understanding what Christianity is supposed to be that they don’t realize that being a vanishing minority isn’t an issue.

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  33. Teve says:

    @Slugger:

    What next? No idea.

    James Woods/Scott Baio 2024

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  34. Jax says:

    @Teve: You’re giving me nightmares, shuuuuushhh!!!! 😉

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  35. Kathy says:

    @Slugger:

    I think this feels like 1850s[..]

    That’s apt. Like then, the minority keeps having its way, and getting more and more angry not just at a few minor setbacks, but at the fact that others disagree with their goals, ideals, and methods.

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  36. Teve says:

    John Kasich
    @JohnKasich
    ·
    6h
    .
    @realdonaldtrump
    ’s contact with China leaves me deeply disturbed especially on top of all the Ukranian developments. All of this demands a full and complete investigation, then let the chips fall where they may.

    Commie libtart.

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  37. Teve says:

    Jeb Bush is on Twitter complaining that Trump’s swearing sets a bad example for our children.

    Somebody please do us all a favor and kick Jeb Bush square in the nuts.

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  38. An Interested Party says:

    Democrats who believe they will have a lock on #nevertrumpers as the inevitable “lesser evil” choice going forward are probably kidding themselves, especially if the Democratic party continues to move to the left.

    Which Democrats believe that? Regarding the Democratic Party, the #nevertrumpers only seem to care that the Dems should nominate some Republican-lite candidate…the Dems don’t need that nor do they need the #nevertrumpers…

    If Trump loses next year (assuming he’s not removed from office first), it’s hard to see the GoP doubling-down on that failure – no one likes a loser and rarely do parties come to the conclusion that they should double-down on the policies that resulted in a defeated one-term President.

    If Republicans lose the White House next year, they will amp up the right-wing crazy as the author of the linked piece suggests, so in a way, they will indeed double-down…

    Rubio says Trump asking China to investigate Biden was just “Joking”.

    People like Rubio and Lindsey Graham deserve no respect, as they have amply shown through their disgusting toadying that they have no self-repect…

    Given that so many Republicans are currently willing to excuse anything from Trump, I have no clue who it will be, because there are so many options, and most of them are more competent than Trump. Someone who can fake plain-talking, while still looking “respectable and serious.”

    Perhaps Tom Cotton or Josh Hawley…totally odious, but much more competent than the current clown in the White House…

    …McConnell and his political allies will further push the entrenchment of conservatism through judges so that popular voting is less relevant to their power.

    Hence the need for Democrats to pack the Supreme Court, and perhaps lower courts as well…

    @Teve: But wait a minute! His son is the great brown hope for the GOP…

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the popularity of politicians such as Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Allen West, Michele Bachmann, and others.

    I can’t help noticing one quality each of these “politicians” share: Losing.

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  40. Tyrell says:

    @An Interested Party: Very concerning is the way in which so-called “news” networks seemed to have getting in with, connected to, and identified with the political parties: Fox with the Republicans, MSNBC with the Democrats. I don’t count CNN anymore. They lost all credibility with their partisan coverage of elections. When your founder, Ted Turner, even criticizes you, it’s over. MSNBC can’t go ten minutes without mentioning Trump. There is other news out there. That’s what gets you.
    While I am against government interference in the networks, they should adopt a code of ethics: they should regularly post a disclaimer that what they are broadcasting is not news, but their opinions.
    A lot of Democrats feel that their party has left them too. Not the party of the 1950’s and ‘60’s that I grew up with: Truman, Johnson, Humphrey, Carter, Connally, Hollings, Ervin, Fulbright.
    I can’t think of one Democrat today that is anywhere close to their stature.
    “It’s all Trump news” Ted Koppel

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  41. Hal_10000 says:

    Political parties can rebuild themselves much faster than most people think. I remember when Labour was dead. I remember when the Tories were dead. I remember the Permanent Republican Majority. And the Permanent Democratic Majority after that. The Democratic Party spend decades in minority because of the Civil War. And the GOP decades in minority because of the Great Depression. Fundamentally, there are good people in the GOP and even more wandering in the wilderness right now looking for a party. There’s potential.

    That having been said, it won’t happen overnight. There will have to be a reckoning: a massive purge of the GOP and a shift of power to younger people. Alternatively, we may see all the populists, including the Lefty ones, gather under one banner while the Dem party moves more to the centrist position. Prediction is difficult, especially about the future. I would not have predicted the GOP would go down the crazed populist route four years ago and I decline to say where they’ll be four years from now.

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  42. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run (I gave it to him), and when he begged me to be Secretary of State (I didn’t give it to him). He is so bad for R’s!
    10:17 AM · Oct 5, 2019

    🙂 😀 😛

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  43. @Tyrell: First, I am going to agree with you, in a general sense, that cable news is less news and more entertainment. I will also agree that much clearly panders to a partisan audience.

    But, I would note, the following:

    1. I think you are forgetting the Clinton administration if you think that the coverage of Trump is somehow new.
    2. Fox News Channel started the whole overt partisan ID business and have done nothing but deepen it over its lifetime (born, I would note, in the middle of the aforementioned Clinton era).
    3. It should be noted that CNN and MSNBC (especially “Morning Joe”) did as much, if not more, to keep Trump in the spotlight, and to normalize him, than anyone else. (Which underscores that the main bias, the one that, if you will forgive term, trumps all others is eyeballs. And cheap stories that draw eyeballs, like Trumps rallies in 2016, were all over the “liberal” cable channels).

    But, of course, there is a reason I stopped watching cable news, save for live, breaking news, well over a decade ago.

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  44. @Tyrell:

    Not the party of the 1950’s and ‘60’s that I grew up with: Truman, Johnson, Humphrey, Carter, Connally, Hollings, Ervin, Fulbright.
    I can’t think of one Democrat today that is anywhere close to their stature.

    1. Things change over a half-century+, oddly enough.
    2. All of those figured were highly criticized in their eras by their partisan foes. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

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  45. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.”

    -Harry S. Truman, who wanted a national health care plan

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  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    I think what you’re describing sounds like an ‘in name only’ situation – a Republican Party that bears no real resemblance to the current iteration and will have at best a tangential policy continuity.

    The reason the racists and creeps were able to easily re-define the GOP is that its core ideas were long-since moribund. Balanced budgets? Low taxes? Federalism? A respect for (try not to laugh) precedent and established mores? What exactly is a Republican idea that is both relevant and not a racist dog whistle or expression of some other thinly-veiled form of bigotry? There hasn’t been anything genuinely conservative about the Republican Party since Eisenhower.

    The Whigs disappeared, as did the Know Nothings, the People’s Party, some others. Granted aside from the Whigs none were as long-lived as the GOP. Then there are all the parties that exist in name only and have little to no influence – Greens, LP etc…

    The better analogy is probably the Dixiecrats, who were subsumed into the GOP. The GOP may itself be swallowed whole by a replacement with distinctly different ideas.

    The one issue championed by Republicans that I expect will endure and indeed become more pressing is immigration. As climate change really starts to bite, Mexico and Central America will likely send vastly increased flows heading north. I don’t expect t will get as bad as the situation in Europe is likely to get, but as a rule when things go bad it’s the poor who suffer first. Famine and plague and their little buddy war will follow climate change. I don’t think the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico will be in a good place. And God help Africa and the ME. The big domestic issue in 20 years may be whether to try and save Florida or write it off.

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  47. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The one issue championed by Republicans that I expect will endure and indeed become more pressing is immigration.

    Yep. This is one of the reasons I’ve said we need a permanent solution for the border. More judges. More lawyers. Permanent humane facilities. And a reserve corps of people who can be called up to deal with unexpected influxes. We’re not going to have an open border. So we’d best be prepared to deal with the future waves of migration.

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  48. An Interested Party says:

    So we’d best be prepared to deal with the future waves of migration.

    In addition, perhaps we could do something about the disastrous War on Drugs which, combined with our population’s insatiable desire for drugs, has turned many Latin American countries into warzones…also helping stabilize democratic institutions and helping the economies of these countries might also deter immigration…of course, none of this is as simple as building a moat full of dangerous creatures, so who knows how well these ideas will interest people…

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  49. Tyrell says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I appreciate your comments. The news media should be strictly disconnected from political parties, political activities, and partiality. It should be a part of their work environment and ethics. They should be clearly designated as opinion commentary and separated completely from the word “news”.
    “Cheap stories that draw eyeballs”: sleeze. Not appropriate for family viewing.
    CNN has good tech and science coverage.
    What we have is a communications/government complex, including control and monitoring of our internet. It will get worse with the increasing “smart” technology.

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