The Democrats have a tricky coalition to hold together in 2022 and 2024. We have factions ranging from the far left to the center-right. But at least we know where our winning votes are, we just have to keep our factions engaged and intact. The Republicans don’t even have a winning coalition. Consider this:
– Trump lost by 3 million votes the first time, even with Russia and the Comey letter
– Trump lost by 6 million votes the second time, even after shutting down the Post Office
– Trump’s base never did turn out for other Republican candidates in midterms and special elections
I don’t want to hear about how many people voted for Trump. He lost in a blowout. Playing to Trump’s base is clearly not a viable strategy for winning, or even competing. Now imagine trying to play to Trump’s base when the candidate isn’t even Trump. Good luck with that.
The real problem for the GOP is that in order to grow Trump’s too-small base and win anything, it has to reject Trumpism. But because Trump’s base is so wired for Trumpism, the GOP risks losing them if it tries to appeal to anyone outside his base.
Then there’s the fact that a large chunk of Trump’s base never cared about politics before Trump, and will go back to not caring about politics after Trump’s downfall. So the GOP is stuck pandering to a lot of people who won’t turn out in 2022 and 2024 anyway.
Thanks to Donald Trump, the Republicans no longer have a viable base. They have a too-small cult, and now their cult leader is headed to prison. If the GOP abandons Trumpism, it’ll get punished for an election cycle or two. If the GOP clings to Trumpism after Trump is gone, it’ll get wiped out for a generation. Either one is fine by me.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report