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The Future of the Republican Party

George Washington, in his Farewell Address pointed to the dangers of building a government around political parties.  The bottom line in his thinking was that parties would over time morph into tribes, with the ethnocentrism that accompanies the cultural isolation that is bred by such associations. Except for a few blips, since Washington’s time, there have been two parties here in the United States: Democratic and Republican.  Whether you agree with this state of affairs or not, we must acknowledge that this is the way it will be years to come. Contrary to this tradition, we find ourselves in a different political environment as we approach the presidential election of 2020. 

In the United States at this time we have three parties; two are very strong and one on life support.  The two strong parties are the Democratic Party and the Trump Party.  The remaining party is what I would characterize as the burned-out shell of what was once the party of Lincoln and Reagan; the Republican Party.  The Republican Party of the past was a party with a structure and an ideology that was based upon reason, a set of beliefs that even the Democratic Party could understand, even though there was little agreement.  This position also worked in the reverse; i.e, Republicans could understand and disagree with the Democratic Party position.  This is not the case at the present time.  Few Democrats and I believe most true Republicans can explain the position of the Trump Party in any political issue.  If the Republican Party expects to have any significant voice in politics in the United States in the next few election cycles in the United States then it needs to get organized, and quick!

One of two scenarios that will be playing out on November 4, 2020, the day after the 2020 Presidental Election.  Either Donald J. Trump wins or he loses.  I would like to walk through what we can expect on that day after the election, and how it will affect the Republican Party and the Trump Party in the case that Trump gets reelected.

Scenario I: Trump Wins 2020 Presidental Election

On Tuesday, November 3 Trump wins either by popular vote or by the count in the Electoral College.  You can expect much celebration by both Trump loyalists and those who are not particularly fond of Trump but are traditional Republicans.  We Won!  This will also be the beginning of unimaginable policy changes and the continued destruction of the American Experiment.

Trump acknowledges that winning this second term has confirmed once again that “everyone” loves him.  He also is not blind to the fact that he cannot be elected again, so he is under no obligation to acknowledge or respect any past obligations.  He is also free to remove any of his present toadies that show the slightest sign of disrespect, lack of allegiance, or have served their purpose in Trump’s eyes.  There will be many of these sycophants that will be shocked to learn that they are no longer needed in order to satisfy Trump’s insatiable ego, and will be dismissed without fanfare.  If you don’t believe this just ask yourself what happened to Chris Cristie, Newt Gingrich, and many others after the 2016 election.  Used and tossed out with the other trash.  Finally, you can expect your Republican flag to also be taken down because Trump is not now nor was he ever a Republican!  At this point, none of us will have any idea as to where the United States will be headed but you can be assured that it will not be directed by any sort of Republican Platform; it will be the Trump Platform.  The point is that you, as a Republican may continue to be represented in the Senate (for what that is worth) but you will not be represented in the White House.

The Senate will continue to be dominated by Republicans if Trump wins the election.  They will continue to be as irrelevant as they are today, meaning that they will continue to march in juvenal jackboot fashion, imagining themselves as the loyal solders of a benevolent ruler.  But this is only make-believe.  Trump doesn’t need the Senate either and will mock and ridicule it’s members as he chooses.  He will make his own “laws” through Executive Orders.

Scenario II: Trump Loses 2020 Presidental Election

If Trump loses the election we can expect the 78 days between November 4, 2020, and Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021, in the White House to be surreal at best; a complete calamity at worst.  Trump will immediately declare the election fixed.  He will form various communities with the charge to prove election fraud.  His Twitter presence will be 24/7, with content that is more erratic by the day.  It is not out-of-character for Trump to rally his base to organize an armed insurrection against the incoming administration.  This would physically endanger any Democrat that was elected; even at a local level.  The media will also be targeted in like fashion.

No person or entity that is perceived by Trump as being “against him,” will be safe from his wrath.  Executive Orders will fly from the White House like flocks of doves, only to be met by court actions meant to block their implementation.  Trump’s loss will also destroy a majority of what is called the “down-ballot” Republicans.  The result is a Senate with a Democratic majority, but until January 4, 2021, the present Senate continues to be dominated by Republicans.  This introduces an interesting situation.

From November 4, 2020, to January 4, 2021, the Senate would continue to be dominated by Republicans, including the present leadership.  There are many different scenarios that could play out here, and it will be dependent on whether the present Senate leaders are reelected or not.  Both Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader in the Senate, and Lindsey Graham, one of the most outspoken Trump supporters in the Senate, are up for reelection this year.  Even if they are both reelected their influence in a 2021 Democratic-led Senate will be marginalized.  In order to preserve any semblance of dignity, they will turn on Trump in the most extreme manner.  After November 3 you can assume that neither McConnell or Graham will know how to spell “Trump!”  If Graham loses, he is history, but if McConnell loses, he could become dangerous since we will assume that he is still in control of the Senate until January 2021.  The eminent destruction of the Republican majority in the Senate could lead to the support of many of the proposed laws coming out of the White House as it self-destructs.  If this is the case then there will be a barrage of lawsuits that will be created in order to block any or all of these orders.  We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

The Republican Autopsy

Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 Presidental Election, the Republican Party loses.  From the outside, if there is a Democratic victory, or from the inside if there is a Trump victory.  The previous years of the Trump presidency have eviscerated the core beliefs of the Republican party.  A Trump win will continue to destroy any remaining dignity in the party unless, by coincidence only, a Trump whim just happens to coincide with a Republican principle.  In the case of a Trump loss, the Republican Party will be left to dust off any of the old party platform points and present them to the Democrats as talking points for debate.  But there isn’t a Republican Platform to present.  It was destroyed when the Republican Party chose to march blindly in lockstep with Trump, choosing the “Win,” instead of the principles of the party.

Bottom line is that if the Republican Party has any hope of continuing to be relevant going forward it needs to divorce itself from Trump immediately, admit that it was a mistake in following this narcissist, and begin redefining itself.  Sadly this needs to be done in a clandestine fashion in order to protect yourselves from the wrath of Trump.  “But will I get reelected?”  If Trump loses the odds are that you won’t get reelected.  If Trump wins, you probably will get reelected, but ask yourself, “What did I get reelected to?”  In the worst case, you will be participating in, aiding and abetting in the destruction of the American Experiment!  Hyperbole?  I don’t think so.