I have seen this pattern many times during my lifetime, but it's been going on much longer than that. The current Democratic Party was founded in 1828, the Republican Party in 1854. So, Democrats and Republicans have been squaring off against each other for 166 years. There have been a lot of up
Because I am a student of history, I am quick to dismiss claims that a political party is dying because of a bad election. No longer. I think it quite possible that the Republican Party that exists in 2020 may not last much longer.
You are starting to see skirmishes break out among Republicans over the future of the party, post-Trump. Should Trump go down in 2020, taking the Republican Senate with him, you're likely to see those skirmishes break out into a full blown civil war over the future of the GOP.
Younger people and women are loudly rejecting the Republican Party. Suburban voters are fleeing in droves. The white majority the Republican Party has increasingly relied on to win elections is declining as the share of minorities voters has increased. The GOP has no electoral future if it continues on its current path.
But the Republican Party could just adjust to the changing landscape as it has done for a century and a half, right? Well, maybe not. While some observers claim Trumpism, which was never about issues, will die with a defeated Donald Trump, I don't agree. Even if Trump loses in a landslide, there is a good chance he sticks around to exert his cultish influence over the GOP electorate and its nominees. But those Republican candidates, tarnished with the stain of Trumpism, won't be able to win general elections, except in the most red states and districts. The Republican Party will become a regional party, with no coherent ideology or principles, that can win national elections. That's how political parties end up dying.
As I said on the night of November 8, 2016, the election of Donald Trump will prove to be the best thing that every happened to the Democratic Party. I expected that Trumpism would lead to a period of Democratic ascendancy which is exactly what has been happening since that night. But what I did not anticipate was how much damage Trump would do to the Republican Party. Trumpism may well destroy the GOP completely, leaving it to take its place along other parties that have died out, i.e. the Federalist, Democratic-Republican and Whig Parties.
OOP's Short Takes:
- This morning the Cook Political Report announced it was adjusting its ratings on 20 house races toward the Democrats. What is most significant for Hoosiers is that Congressional District 5, formerly held by Republican Susan Brooks, was moved from "likely Republican" to "toss up." I am more and more bullish on the notion that Democrat Christina Hale is going to win that seat. Republic Victoria Spartz played the Trump card to get the nomination, but Trump is very unpopular in the more urban/suburban areas of CD 5. The likely 2020 blue wave is starting to look more like a tsunami that may well be enough to carry Democratic candidates like Hale into office.
- Speaking of tsunamis, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball is seeing a more competitive electoral map, downgrading seven "Safe Republican" states to "Lean Republican" status. Those states are Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Utah. I've seen surprisingly close presidential polls in all the aforementioned states except for Indiana. But Missouri closely mirrors Indiana in that it is a Republican state in which Trump tends to be more popular than the GOP baseline. (In 2016, Trump actually ran behind almost all GOP statewide candidates, but Indiana and Missouri were an exception). Beginning in late May, polls in Missouri had Trump's lead at: +4, +8, -2, +7. Indiana, meanwhile, has had two polls since late April which showed Trump's lead at +13, +10. That makes me suspect Sabato has some non-public polling information showing the race in Indiana tightening.
- The other day conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh argued that the American public needs just to learn to live with the Covid-19 virus. He pointed to Donner Party's journals which showed they only once complained about the cold weather when they got stuck in the Rocky Mountains during the winter while trying to take a new shortcut. What Limbaugh left out was that members of the Donner Party split into factions due to infighting over strategy and eventually turned to cannibalism to survive.
- The other day I happened to tune into WIBC's late afternoon radio program hosted by Hammer and Nigel. H&N had invited the "Chicks on the Right" They were discussing Covid-19. It was unanimous that the pandemic was just a Democratic political stunt and would be over once the election was over. You have to admire Joe Biden though. He managed to get 140,000 plus Americans to sacrifice their lives as part of his political strategy. Seriously, can we please get those four idiots off the air? They make real conservatives look bad.