Though it’s probably far from happening, I had a discussion with a friend yesterday about the collapse of the GOP in terms of national politics because of Trump.
We concluded that Trump is the logical conclusion of what happens when your party gets high-jacked by talk radio, tin-foiled hat conspiracy theorists, the religious right, and the fringe far-right.
I concluded he isn’t going to make things better for the GOP but worse, for maybe a generation. People already decry the GOP as the party for the rich, male, white, and protestant while Trump would add further the fringe element that supports him to the stereotype – paleo-conservative, economic protectionist, misogynistic, xenophobic, or worse.
While in the short-run Trump’s tactics have won him the Republican nomination, in the long run, they will assure the party’s political nose-dive.
It’s not like the party hasn’t tried to change at all – after it’s devastating loss in 2012, the GOP had tried an ambitious plan to change from within and appeal to the young, women, and minority groups. The Growth and Opportunity Project was the main strategy that would allow the GOP to at least keep competitive with the Democratic Party at least at the federal level and allow for some down ballot wins by GOP nationally.
Back to the conversation: I told my friend the problem with the GOP is we’re so tied to political ideology and policies, we haven’t had the chance to reach out to the people. The Democrats are able to reach people at a finer, more personable level.
For example, there’s a million ways people are thinking about Hillary Clinton and they envision her fighting for their point of view even when she’s clearly not because she’s fighting for the big tent Democratic Party.
In 2016, it’s startling how the presidential board begins – the Democrats will have an advantage of about 242 electoral college votes because of strongly urban and loyal democratic states. That’s 91 percent of what’s needed to clench the presidency. The GOP starts the board with about 179 electoral college votes. The winner needs to hold 270 votes to become President.
So, the odds are already stacked against the GOP and the GOP, if it wants to ever be viable again in national politics, must rely on swing states or turning “light blue” states red in this year’s contest.
About the Trump factor, I told my friend to look at the swing states in play. There’s lot of demographic indicators that show while he’s winning the white working class, he’s losing on minorities, women, and college educated whites.
I told my friend, if it wasn’t Trump, the Republican nominee would probably do better against Hillary Clinton – she’s has lots of things people haven’t forgiven or forgotten about her – she’s the ultimate flawed candidate. But she’ll probably beat Trump in a YUGE blowout, landslide.
At the end of this talk, I concluded it would probably be a good thing for the realignment or the end of the Republican Party – regardless of the off-chances of it happening.
A new, right of center party or a total reorganization of the party allowing for more inclusion of America’s growing demographics would be ideal. Instead of the culture war, which Trump and the Republican Party has taken for years, allow for conservative ideas such as federalism, free enterprise, and limited government to be the core of the conservative coalition.
A clean slate is what the party needs right now more than ever.