They're probably never going to get that Trump and his enthusiasts aren't interested in preserving the GOPe.

Donald Trump is on a mission. Some Republicans devoutly hope that mission includes helping the party win back a majority in the House and Senate.
Other Republicans aren’t so sure. They believe Trump’s agenda leans much more toward seeking revenge against GOP incumbents who voted against him during the recent impeachment.
Other Republicans believe he can do both and that the two missions are not at odds at all.


Grim said...

The country needs a party to represent the folks who work for a living, rather than just having two parties that both represent the Chamber of Commerce.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

There are some underlying realities. Despite the fever-dreams of Trump's never-say-die supporters, if he goes third party he gets 15-20% of the vote, with no coattails, because few are going to risk attaching themselves to the candidacy of a 78 y/o fire-eater. Somehow people continue to believe, both left and right, that if they really, really support someone intensely and they know a bunch of other guys who do as well, that this somehow means their votes count double and the votes of those other wusses don't count at all.

I've listened to this as far back as John Anderson. Discussions of who is the Real Party and who is Taking Over the Party are usually only clear ten years later, no matter how many people assert confidently "This is George Bush's party now." Obama controlled the party as long as he could punish people. Now that he has to rely on actual persuasion and (narcissistic and ungrateful) people who remember that they owe him stuff, he's becoming a symbol now.

Right now the debate is whether Trump still "controls" the GOP and who can punish whom. The election is over, and of the 74M who voted for Trump, 60M are not paying attention to the answer for another 18 months. Glenn Reynolds used to point out - accurately, I thought - that Trump is not the cause, he is the result. Deep movements and changes in parties don't occur at CPAC or in Hannity interviews. Trump is data, not explanation.

Texan99 said...

I'm not thrilled about the idea of a third party, but I sure don't have any problem with former President Trump's endorsing a primary challenger to someone who voted to support the impeachment.

Christopher B said...

News of the death of the Republican Party has been as widely and accurately reported as Mark Twain's.

To take a somewhat contrary view, Obama and Hillary left the national Democrat Party in shambles after 2016 and it has not yet recovered. The Republicans under Trump did no worse in the 2018 mid-terms than the average first term President, and in some respects better as the Senate didn't flip. Biden had no coat tails in 2020, not withstanding the Senate upset(s) in Georgia, with the Democrats losing close House races in places like New York, not exactly hotbeds of GOP support. No state legislatures or governorships flipped Democrat in 2020 and now two of the most prominent Democrat Governors are facing serious opposition from inside their own party.

ymarsakar said...

Mark Twain didn't have a Ymar class at the time.

Grim said...

I've listened to this as far back as John Anderson....

I remember Pat Buchanan's campaign, which damaged George H. W. Bush and left him susceptible to a third party challenge in 1992. On the other hand, 'unite behind the centrist' candidacies like John McCain's or Mitt Romney's or Bob Dole's haven't worked either.

Purification of the party probably can't work, but I do think there's an opportunity for a re-alignment. For a long time, the Republicans were the party of Big Business backed by ordinary Middle Class Americans with all that entails. Bill Clinton began the shift towards getting Big Business on the Democrat's side, somehow without losing organized labor even as he eviscerated their jobs with Chamber of Commerce pleasing plans like NAFTA. Obama brought the tech guys on board, and the suburban middle class began to believe in Niceness instead of the traditional Middle Class values of piety and temperance and good order.

The Republicans lost ground everywhere, and didn't figure out how to make any of it up until Trump came along with his full-throated patriotism and naked embrace of pursuing American interests. Trump probably can't win in 2024 for a lot of reasons, but someone who figures out how to do that emphatically and loyally without being Trump just might.

You could bring across the remnant of the union guys; blacks and Hispanics who work for a living and want American workers to prosper instead of forced labor in Tibet; military veterans and families who dislike the purges and want to be able to breathe free and celebrate the country they're fighting for; truckers who don't want to be replaced by Googlebots (most numerous job in America, for now); and anyone who believes in the traditional liberties, such as religious liberty and free speech and gun rights, that are rapidly being undermined.

It isn't a party that would look much like Reagan's, although he managed to swing the Reagan Democrats (including Jim Webb). It would definitely not look Bush-y or Romneyish. I don't know if it can overcome the Chamber of Commerce, Big Labor's leadership interests, Big Tech, and the urban political machines in swing states; maybe not. But I don't know that I see another road forward for peaceful ordinary politics.

J Melcher said...

Let us not forget Ross Perot. The anti-NAFTA campaign was not unlike the "Build a Wall" campaign. There was and is genuine concern about our proletarian classes forced to compete with, essentially, scab labor from cultures to our south. Most voters then and now wildly over-estimate what portion of the federal budget is "fraud, waste, and abuse" or "foreign aid" but that share is NOT zero. Any candidate targeting the national debt has a popular target on the expense side of the ledger with those. It seems to me the Perot-inspired "Reform Party" was responsible for the Republican / Gingrich "Contract With America". Four of eight "Reform" in Gingrich's Contract dealt with the deficit. It was a *Republican* promise of 1994 to pass a Job Creation and Wage Enhancement package. And given control of the House, that's what Republican's delivered. The pressure on the White House brought out Bill Clinton's previously undisclosed talents for "triangulation" leading to the end of welfare "as we know it", more cops on the street "plus midnight basketball", and other, fairly minor, sops to the Democrats while giving Republicans reforms popular with the GOP and Perot-istas.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think Grim is right in his observation that uniting behind the centrist does not usually work, at least for the Republicans. The better strategy is to start from a more conservative position and then pivot to the center to show you can be "reasonable," quieting fears.

However, I have to admit that both Bushes were seen as more moderate right out of the gate, and they won.

We think in terms of ideology and reputation, because that's how we decide our votes. But when you look at how much more money Biden raised, including six times as much dark money, that may actually be the bigger factor. A lot of voters on both sides mostly vote their feelings and impressions and couldn't tell you what their candidate believes. "I just think he'll be good on foreign policy," with no friggin' clue what that means. Every election there are man-on-the-street interview films that show people agreeing with Candidate A's positions if they think Candidate B said it.

I don't know what the modern equivalent is, but an 80s Republican campaign worker up here told me "Don't argue with people, it doesn't gett votes. Come in and make calls and lick envelopes."