Trumpism Will Outlast Trump
Democrats, anti-Trump Republicans, and large segments of the media are celebrating the decline in Trump’s electoral prospects by speculating how association with his candidacy will damage other Republicans.
Advice abounds about how Republicans can repudiate Trump and turn back into a responsible right-of-center party pursuing small government conservatism.
The problem is, that’s not who their voters are. The forces that got us here aren’t just going to disappear.
Millions of Trump Voters
Trump will win about 40% of the vote, something in the range of 60 million Americans.
More than a third of them will vote for Trump enthusiastically. Maybe even two thirds. That’s at least 20 million people.
Subsets of that 20 million make up a majority in many Congressional districts. At the very least, they’re a significant voting bloc in most Republican House and Senate primaries.
They really like Trump. He’s exactly what they think American politics needs. And Republicans can’t win without them.
The Republican Party Post-Trump
Republicans will almost certainly keep the House. Paul Ryan, or anyone else who wants to become Speaker, will need support from pro-Trump Representatives.
Eric Cantor will remain a cautionary tale for Congressional Republicans. The former majority leader lost his 2014 primary to an underfunded, inexperienced challenger who attacked him for insufficient hawkishness on immigration. Cantor’s loss presaged Trump’s rise.
It’s safe to say House Republicans, egged on by conservative media, will pride themselves on blocking Hillary’s agenda.
Meanwhile, aspiring governors and Senators in states Trump wins will see potential in emulating his strategy.
Some Republican presidential aspirants will note how close the polls were in mid-September, and think “if I follow in Trump’s footsteps, but do a better job in the debates, and don’t get caught bragging about sexual assault on video, I could be president.”
After the election, Trump might start a right-wing media empire, return to real estate, or mire himself in dumb lawsuits. But Trumpism isn’t going anywhere.