President Trump survived another sham impeachment and seems to be enjoying life outside of the White House. I doubt his legal problems are over, as the Democrats and the Establishment Uniparty will do everything in their power to suppress and harass him and his family, but he remains hugely popular among his supporters. According to a CBS News poll, seventy percent of Republicans would consider joining a third party if Trump led it (per The Epoch Times). Thirty-three percent of Republicans would join a Trump-led party, with another thirty-seven percent responding “maybe.”
In similar news, John Derbyshire broke down numbers for a related question on his most recent podcast. The poll he referenced asked (essentially) “what is the future of the Republican Party”? The three choices were (to paraphrase) “Trump runs again,” “Trumpism is presented by a more traditionally ‘presidential’ candidate,” and “return to the old-style GOP issues.” Respondents to that poll overwhelming selected the second option: Trumpism with a less flamboyant figure. Trump running again came in second, with the return to status quo ante option in a very distant third.
In other words, Trump himself might fade over time—and voters might want a less bombastic package—but the ideas and policies he championed remain hugely popular among conservative voters.
If the GOP Establishment is paying attention—and willing to respect its (increasingly former) voters—it will latch on Trumpism big time. If the Republican Party is going to continue to exist as a viable political organization, it must become a nationalist, populist, working-class party.
Already there are efforts afoot to bring about that change—to solidify the Trumpian, America First influence on the GOP. That influence is incredibly strong at the grassroots level. One strategy involves taking over the county and State GOPs by swamping meetings with new, young, America First conservatives. The idea is that by controlling county and State GOPs (and, by extension, congressional district ones and, ultimately, the Republican National Convention), Trumpian policy positions can be pushed at every level.
It is shockingly easy to gain influence in local GOPs with enough like-minded folks. I served for six years as the Third Vice Chair for the Florence County (SC) GOP—and then another couple of years as the secretary—pretty much by showing up. I elected myself as an FCGOP Executive Committeeman simply by showing up to precinct reorganization (at the invitation of a friend who later became the FCGOP Chairman) and being the only person from my old voting precinct to attend! At least one of my regular readers is quite familiar with that county party in particular, and would likely agree that bringing in fresh blood reinvigorates the county parties and makes moving the party in your preferred direction possible.
I’m still pessimistic that such maneuvering will work long-term, but I think it’s the best shot at altering the trajectory of the GOP—and, very likely, of saving it from itself. If the Republican Party returns to its old Bushism, it’s not a party worth supporting, and its members should leave.
I’ve traditionally scorned third parties as ineffective and useless—even harmful. The Libertarian Party is little more than a mechanism to spoil elections for Republicans in blue States on occasions when a Republican might have a shot. It’s also not a serious party, and most of its ideas have already been co-opted into the Republican Party.
That said, Trump’s policies on immigration, trade, blue-collar jobs, and the rest struck a populist chord with seventy-million-plus Americans. Even if they don’t all like the man, they love his policies. Building a new party around those ideas—and not wacky Libertarian ideas like being able to take hard drugs whenever you feel like it—is far more viable.
Really Establishment Republicans at this point need to become “moderate” Democrats, freeing up the GOP for the working-class. That won’t happen because there’s too much money and influence to be had being the “controlled opposition,” but it would certainly be the intellectually and politically honest move. Barring that unlikely event, it’s time to throw the bums out and rebuild the Republican Party—or burn it all down and start from scratch.
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