While it is true that those who remain in the GOP continue to be highly supportive of Trump, the reality of his Presidency seems to be affecting the party in terms of people who want to be associated with it. As more and more leave the GOP, and the Democrats continue to add more to their side of the ledger, what could this mean for the midterms? What could it mean for the larger picture in regards to which party gains or holds power moving forward? Will the stain of Trump relegate the GOP to a regional party in the years ahead? Or will they survive him, and everything will be business as usual?
I try to avoid making predictions, especially about the future. I also don’t believe in the easy magic of demographics, however important they are long term. But Trumpism is backward-looking and revanchist; it relies heavily on aging white voters, such as my own elderly parents. It has no real future, such as it is.
What is interesting is that we are seeing it across multiple levels as well. From posters here denouncing the GOP to long time Republican strategists and operatives who have publicly walked away from the party and encouraged others to do the same. The result seems apparent in the numbers, that the GOP is shrinking quite rapidly right now. It seems to me to be a natural reaction for anyone with any sense of integrity and morality, given what we know of Trump and witnessing the capitulation of the party towards him.
I’ll be surprised if party loyalty doesn’t prevail.
Mitch McConnell is still a senator because of party loyalty. My dad, the biggest ditto-head and GOP party loyalist I know, will howl “ditch Mitch” leading up to every primary, but inevitably supported him because “a vote for his opponent is a vote for Obama” (or whichever D).
The only principle A LOT of Rs hold is “R after his name? Got my vote.” Even when the D is super moderate and has a record to prove it.
I think party loyalty and pride are the driving factors for people continuing to support hacks like McConnell, Bevin, Walker, Blackburn. They’re total hacks, but they have the magic letter after their names.
What do you expect to happen when two parties have a stranglehold on politics? If I vote for a conservative democrat, he’s going to vote the party line whenever remotely possible, that’s just the way it is. Consequently a vote for him is a vote for the parties agenda as a whole. He can claim he’s for strict immigration control to get elected as an example, but I know where his vote will be when it matters.
I’ll echo the skepticism of some others here regarding Republican defection. Donald is a disaster and an embarrassment to all sane GOPers, and there are plenty of people out there who would refuse to openly declare their support of him. As has been shown in other threads, however, that doesn’t amount to much in terms of meaningful action. They obviously won’t be compelled to vote for Democratic candidates; if anything what you’ll see is a decline in voter participation if they feel they have no good options. Those who do vote will likely continue to vote a straight party ticket in opposition to anything that might benefit the DNC.
TL:DR; “Sure, Donald sucks. But I ain’t gonna help the Democrats.”
I would hope people would practice what they preach, and not continue to vote for politicians on either side who are morally corrupt and unprincipled, but that would assume the voter is more principled than “vote for letter behind name.”
There is a concrete bottom to how far it goes. Trump has connected to the primal core of about 30% of Americans who demand that somebody pay for their self-perceived frustration or humiliation.
This point was driven home to me while listening to an interview on NPR the day of the events in Helsinki.
The interviewee was basically asked if Trump’s behavior rose to the level of treason or impeachment (I can’t remember which). The interviewee said that regardless of the evidence at hand, if Congress impeaches a removes Trump, it would be perceived by a third of his countrymen as a coup. This is the level at which Trump supporters are emotionally entangled in their support for a person and have divorced that support from their support for our institutions and Constitution.
What struck me was not that the interviewee seemed to make this point because impeachment was a bad political move, or that impeachment was the wrong move morally or constitutionally, or that it was not proportionate to the situation, but that he seemed to fear the reaction of Trumpists.
First there were the interviews of folks at the Carrier factory in Indianapolis where Trump visited. The layoffs changed a few minds there. Then there were the interviews of the folks at the nail factory in Missouri. After massive layoffs the company is at the brink of closing. Now there are the interviews with the farmers who are being affected by the tariffs. Trump has failed to restore a lot of jobs in the rust belt. And more and more Trump supporters are realizing that he has made a lot of promises that he may not be able to keep.
His mouth got him the job and it also might be his demise.