_I regret to inform you of the passing of the Grand Old Party…_
With Donald Trump’s victory in the Indiana primary, his securing of the GOP nomination is all but guaranteed. And as such, the death of the modern Republican Party is upon us.
Some pundits will try to argue that the GOP can survive a Trump nomination and his enormous eventual defeat in November. They make arguments of the long history of the Republicans in persevering and eventually recovering from momentous political disasters.
I believe this time is somewhat different.
I could be wrong, but to me, this appears far more like a massive restructuring of the political underpinnings we have come to accept since Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1980.
Since Reagan’s Presidency, the GOP was defined as the party of strong defense, smaller federal government and lower taxes and spending. All successors to the Reagan legacy accepted this as the basic three-legged stool of modern conservatism.
Donald Trump decisively brings an end to that.
Trump is in many ways more of a progressive than Hillary Clinton is. He has spent decades advocating for more government power and spending. He has at various times supported more taxation, more spending, more federal power in welfare, health care, and education; he has been pro-choice for most of his life, and I sincerely believe he has even recently donated to causes like Planned Parenthood. In short, he is the very definition of a statist, a man who craves centralizing power in Washington, D.C. under the hand of a powerful executive, all the while supporting largely liberal causes that drives the Democrat Party, not the GOP.
Furthermore, those stating that after Trump loses in November the GOP will get back to ‘business as usual’? Who are they fooling, other than themselves?
Trump has shown that there is 40% of the GOP, at a minimum, that could care less if the GOP ever wins any elections. These people are largely driven by anger, not policy. And how then does the GOP move past this, when a Trump loss is like to increase, not decrease, their anger level?
Furthermore, this Trump coalition clearly no longer believes in Reaganism; we are now, affirmatively, in a post-Reagan era; is this new era to be defined by ‘Trumpism’, whatever that may be?
No, Trump losing in November is the end of the beginning of the great modern Republican Party Civil War; it is not the beginning of the end of it.
In short, we could have to suffer through years of fighting over what is the likely dead corpse of the modern Republican Party. Various fights, at the state and national level, are likely to break out, with moderates, conservatives, and Trumpists (who are neither moderates or conservatives, in fact) fighting each other in election after election, likely leading to more and more Democrat victories. No outcome from this November’s elections leads to a unification of the broken remnants of this Republican coalition.
The current Republican party lacks all the components that create a cohesive, political movement. It lacks leaders with moral fortitude and strength of will. It lacks an infrastructure that allows for diversity, but still holds true to a few basic principles. And it lacks a coherent party organization that fosters growth of conservative principles into real world policy.
In short, is there any practical reason for the existence of this modern Republican party? I guess it is a vehicle for Donald Trump to espouse whatever crazy, tinfoil hat wearing wackadoodle conspiracy he thinks of every morning, but other than that, it is a party that no longer has any viable national voice. It is not a conservative party; it is not a party of strong military and foreign policy; it is certainly not a party based on federalism, the limited power of the Federal government, and the constitution restriction of the powers of the Executive.
In short, it is a party without any central tenets and beliefs.
And a political movement without any core beliefs is no movement at all.