With or without the former President, it remains a winning formula
Is the embrace of the Trump agenda the only option for a comeback for the Republican Party? According to a leaked GOP memo, ‘Cementing the GOP as the Working Class Party’, it looks as though this is the path Republicans will be pursuing come 2022 and beyond. The memo states that ‘both parties are undergoing coalitional transformations’ and Republican leaders should not fear losing the support of its corporate donors.
This memo runs contrary to an earlier story from The Guardian, which reports that a “growing number of Republican donors aim to prise the party from Trump influence” with an emblazoned photo of former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley. This could have been written in 2015, or 2017, or 2019, but seems especially pointed in 2021 with a new Democratic president and the man himself on his Elba at Mar-A-Lago, apparently too broke to fix his plane and leave Florida anytime soon, and too hilariously vain to fly commercial. No wonder the man’s enemies are licking their chops, set to rid themselves of not only Trump but his ideology.
The fate of Donald Trump is one thing. He’s done himself few favours in recent months, but a return to frontline politics remains a possibility. This is still an unhappy country, to the discredit of both the establishment and the defrocked president.
The new president is popular for now, thanks to a mixture of his status as a mannequin from the centrist past, the reality of a fading pandemic and the extreme measures it inspired. Biden wins as long as the blimp, namely the economy, rises — with him in the captain’s chair. But what happens if things start to fall apart? What would that mean for the Republicans?
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader from Bakersfield, California, is like the city he represents, a perennially overlooked figure. But with his ambitious lieutenant, the driven Indiana representative Jim Banks, the duo unveiled something close to an “autopsy 2.0”. That is, the successor to the ridiculous document published by the Republican National Committee after Mitt Romney forfeited a winnable presidential election in 2012.
But as President George W. Bush once said, “fool me once… you can’t get fooled again.”
The brass seems to have learned something — namely, that America’s opposition party is first a Southern party, anchored in mega-states Texas and Florida, but it is also one with an electoral lynchpin in the Midwest, as well as one gaining ground — fast – in such unlikely climes as Southern California (the Golden State’s leadership being an example of how to ruin paradise), and among minority groups disenchanted with “wokeism,” urban instability and all-pervading identity politics.
What exiled neoconservatives, represented in such outlets as The Bulwark and The Dispatch want, other than revenge, has never been clear. But Trump’s extremely narrow loss in 2020 will be as good as it gets, as Biden’s outfit (and corporate America) moves Left, and the Republicans respond to gravity, becoming the much-mocked multi-ethnic working class party. The sneering — but attention, beyond a shadow of a doubt — directed to figures such as J.D. Vance speaks to the quietly acknowledged, and feared, reality that Trump will have ideological successors, quite likely savvier and more popular ones.
If the economy contracts, or an 81-year-old Biden declines to seek re-election, or both, who wants the other side of the bet on the embodiment of woke corporate politics, Vice President Kamala Harris, in a general election? Here’s forecasting a lot of people, including Trump himself, and this time he won’t be alone.