three republican parties: which will emerge post-Trump?

I think it is unlikely that Trump will be convicted in an impeachment trial. Until the GOP base signals to Republican senators that they’ve moved on, the GOP will not provide the 66 votes. But sooner or later, Trump will be gone. Maybe he’ll lose the general election, maybe he’ll fall to a criminal investigation. Maybe health will claim him or he’ll just serve until 2014. But it will happen.

Which party will emerge? It’s an interesting question because the establishment wing of the party never bought into Trump. They’re cowed by primary challenges, not true loyalty to his cause. So who will emerge post-Trump? I see three options.

  1. The New Establishment: I’ve argued before that the GOP in the 20th was dominated by Nixonite politics – hawkish foreign policy, anti-communism, co-opting social conservatives, and the network of people around Nixon. Jeb Bush, whose dad worked for Nixon, was the last of this breed. Even though the Nixon network is now in the dustbin of history, a new “2.0” version could pop up. It would essentially absorb what’s left of the neo-conservative movement of the 2000s, bundle in what people call “national security” conservatives, folks who like military spending, and peddle tax cuts and soft market liberalism.
  2. Trumpist nationalism: In contrast, you have a version of the GOP that is openly anti-immigrant, willing to engage in trade wars, and is isolationist in a really bad way. Think of a “grown up” version of birthers and Tea Party people. Without a destabilizing figure like Trump, bellicose nationalism could emerge as a permanent and dominant stream of the GOP. Already, a large constituency in the GOP, evangelicals, have moved in this direction.
  3. Libertarian republicanism: For a brief moment in 2008, you saw the candidacy of Ron Paul pop up and grab the spotlight. In this version of the GOP, you see pro-life arguments married to socially liberal programs, like drug legalization and migration reform, and economically liberal programs, like lower tax rates. Occasionally, you see GOP politicians push this, like Justin Amash. But as far as I can tell, there are few buyers.

Libertarian republicanism is pretty much a niche idea and will most certainly be of modest impact. The real conflict will be between New Establishment types and Trumpist nationalist. I think a lot will depend on Mike Pence. If he does become president, then he will have a very rare chance to bring a lot of incredibly socially conservative people into positions of influence and this create a new cohort of party leaders. If not, the New Establishment types may push for a restoration.



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Written by fabiorojas

October 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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