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Where Does the Republican Party Go From Here; Fantasy v. Reality

Ross Douthat, the very conservative, but mostly grounded in reality, columnist for the New York Times wrote this week about the future of the Republican Party after Donald Trump and the attack on the Capital. His point is that the GOP could "break" because the fault line dividing the wacky Trump/QAnon wing and traditional Romney/Hogan/Sasse conservatives has become too wide to bridge.

Douthat envisages the Republican Party collapsing as the conventional wing attempts to break with Trump and return to its traditional roots while the President and his supporters back increasingly deranged candidates like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to challenge incumbent Republicans in conservative states and districts across the country. Then, as the Party moves even further toward the QAnon wing, highly educated and white suburban voters finally give up and flee en masse to the relative calm and sanity of the Democratic Party.

Douthat, Times: "In this scenario, what remains of the center-right suburban vote and the G.O.P. establishment becomes at least as NeverTrump as Romney, if not the Lincoln Project; meanwhile, the core of Trump’s support becomes as paranoid as Q devotees. Maybe this leads to more empty acts of violence, further radicalizing the center right against the right, or maybe it just leads to Republican primaries producing a lot more candidates like Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, to the point where a big chunk of the House G.O.P. occupies not just a different tactical reality from the party’s elite but a completely different universe."
"Either way, under these conditions that party could really collapse or really break. The collapse would happen if Trumpists with a dolchstoss narrative and a strong Q vibe start winning nominations for Senate seats and governorships in states that right now only lean Republican. A party made insane and radioactive by conspiracy theories could keep on winning deep-red districts, but if its corporate support bailed, its remaining technocrats jumped ship and suburban professionals regarded it as the party of insurrection, it could easily become a consistent loser in 30 states or more."

Of course, there is another scenario. With the President sidelined and his focus shifted to rebuilding his business empire and battling the IRS, Trumpism may simply fade as a force within the GOP. His white, rural, evangelical base would remain, but their numbers are dwindling as a percentage of the electorate, and after the attack on the Capital last week, some might even be second-guessing their support for the President. Republican candidates would give lip-service to Trumpism in 2022, but drop the QAnon nonsense to work within the GOP's traditional party structure.

The end result will likely entail a bit of both scenarios, but self interest may hold the GOP together as it has for decades. There has always been a deep divide between the Wall Street, free trade, libertarian wing and the rural evangelical wing of the party, but both sides understood that they had to find common ground to win elections. I suspect they still do even if they really can't stand one another. Winning tends to heal all wounds.

#politics #Trump

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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