After Trump, The GOP Will Not Snap Back to Conservatism–It’s Time for Something Else

Donald, if you are the GOP’s Messiah, tell us plainly! Quoth Donald: I and the GOP are one. Lord, forgive me for butchering John 10:31. The GOP is Donald Trump and Donald Trump is now the GOP.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and political nature is no different. Where the party has left one, it will be filled with something else.

The party had been warned for years. A party that defines itself by being everything “not the other party” is indeed nothing at all. Erick expounded on the sadness of the blues versus the greens, with no real difference other than partisan allegiances. Of course, there are differences, enormous differences.

You won’t find any unlimited abortion-on-demand, I-hate-America-loving, flag-burning socialists in the Republican Party. And you won’t find small government, capitalist-promoting, Second Amendment proponents among the Democrats. But those are just the polls of a large social spectrum.

In the 1990’s the Democrats began their move to the far left, leaving anyone with love of God, Israel, capitalism and vestiges of American exceptionalism (read: patriotism) without a home in the big blue tent. Many “blue dog Democrats” switched parties or retired. Republicans took over the center, because the Democrats abandoned it.

Now, the GOP has moved firmly into the center-left, trailing in its wake all the backlash of nationalists, white racists, and America-firsters whose version of America is somewhere between Appalachian hillbillies, 1970’s NASCAR, and a sixpack for the game after church on Sunday. It’s a version of America that is sadly out of date, if it ever existed at all (in the sense of being successful). But that’s Trump’s Disneyland-esque Main Street vision of Make America Great Again™.

Next, Trump will bring back tail fins on Tesla cars (which are made in the USA, after all).

An enormous caste of abandoned conservatives has been left in the wake of this tidal shift. Trump never got above 40 percent of Republican support, and those who back him now do it out of fear, not principle. They don’t want to subject their careers (if they do politics as a career), or their personal wealth to a future with Hillary, or to the wrath of core Trumpkins. Core Trumpkins have nothing to lose, just like core Obama voters.

They want something for nothing. They want to win, and have someone else pay the dinner tab. Trump’s core supporters are no better than Obama’s in many ways. Obama was supposed to be the autocrat, the savior, for his acolytes. But now they are deeply disappointed, just like Trumpkins will be (either in November or four years hence).


The majority of “Buckley conservatives,” social conservatives (not just in name as “Evangelicals” but the label is for consistency), and many Republicans, even if they vote for Trump or support him as “not Hillary” will be looking for a new home.

Noah Rothman wrote:

The convention has so far made one thing clear: Even after Donald Trump secured the presidential nomination of his adopted party, its members have not yet been able to shake the conservatism to which they have spent decades adhering. Many have wondered whether Trump’s style and policy prescriptions are such a departure from mainstream Republicanism that he may be simply renting the party rather than transforming it. Given the groundwork for 2020 being laid by Republicans even now, the GOP seems to be betting on the former and presuming that Donald Trump will get an eviction notice on November 8.

The GOP leadership wants to have its cake and eat it too. They want to go all-in for Trump in 2016, then go back to conservatism for 2020. But like a rubber band that’s been pulled too far and ruptured, it just can’t snap back like that. The Trumpists can’t hold the center.

Rothman believes that the party will save itself, starting with the core who did not bow their knee before the Orange Throne.

For now, the smart money is going to be on those Republicans who sacrificed their reputations and their influence within the party in the ill-fated effort to save their fellow Republicans from themselves.

I don’t believe that. I think the GOP has stretched itself too far, transmogrified itself beyond recognition, and by 2020, will begin to go the way of the Whigs. I would rather align with a new movement, one founded on Constitutional liberty, proper functioning of the American branches of government, and ending the tyranny of the courts, than the embedded self-interests of the GOP.

The Tea Party never really got off the ground because (a) it was populated by some of the very people (Libertarian-oriented, non-values voters) who now form Trump’s core, and (b) it was overrun with self-interested promoters and charlatans. However, the Tea Party did justify its existence by producing candidates like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio–the very candidates the Trumpkins (and to some degree, the GOPe) despise.

If there’s ever a dead canary in the coal mine, the confluence of the center-left Trumpkins and the GOPe against former Tea Party conservatives is it. The Republican Party will not snap back to pre-2016 conservatism.

And since politics abhors a vacuum, we will simply have to find the next thing…whatever that is.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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