It’s Too Late Republicans, You Hitched Your Wagon to a Loser
*See my post-election reaction here: Well… That Didn’t Go as Planned.*
On October 15th, it was reported that Nebraska Republican Senator, Ben Sasse, was caught on tape disparaging President Donald Trump. Sasse’s comments ranged from Trump’s insistence on fraternizing with white supremacists to sucking up to dictators and adversaries.
It was one of the rare moments where a congressional Republican hasn’t been in lockstep with the President. Since winning the Republican primary in 2016, Republicans of all creeds have lined up neatly behind Donald Trump, with minimal rebellion within their ranks.
However, to have a situation like Sasse’s occur this close to the presidential election, you begin to wonder if Sasse won’t be the last. For many Republicans, the writing on the wall is coming into focus: Donald Trump is far behind in this election.
2016 was an anomaly, fueled by disgruntled blue-collar Americans and flawed polling methodologies. We learned a lot about both in the last four years, and our renewed focus on state-level polling is telling us exactly one story: Trump is going to lose.
Blue Wave Imminent
The wave is coming. I covered battleground projections in my piece, ‘Here’s How Joe Biden Wins an Electoral College Landslide.’ For the first time since 1968, we will see the voting-age population turnout above 60%. We will also see Joe Biden win between 375 and 422 Electoral votes, the largest margin of victory since the 1988 presidential election.
We are confident in this turnout because historically, polling is fairly accurate, even if the perception is that 2016 ‘got it all wrong.’ They didn’t. Hillary won the popular vote by a 2.1% margin, almost exactly what the polls predicted. But the polls, or should we say, the media focused entirely too much on national polling when we know that the states and Electoral College choose our President.
Based on the extensive amount of battleground polling being done, we will see a Democratic President, and we are likely going to see the Senate turn blue as well. In 2016, Donald Trump’s badness was theoretical; it was a guess. After four years, it is now a reality. Record early voting turnout proves how dire the situation is for Americans.
The first thing Democrats need to do when they take power is to pass comprehensive, national voter protections and election funding. We know the Republican Party is the suppressor of votes, and Democrats need to ensure that there is rock-solid legislation in place to protect voter rights and access across this entire country.
Wall of Support Cracking
Sasse’s blatant outburst is only the beginning of what will surely be dissent among the conservative ranks. As we creep toward a certain defeat for the Republican Party, safe seated Senators and Representatives in the leadership will begin to revise their support for Donald Trump.
Those most ardent supporters will begin to appear lukewarm to the President and his brand of politics. That psychological distancing will be an attempt to place a wedge between the public’s view of Trump and the rest of the Republican Party. They have 78 days after the election to redefine their relationship with the lame-duck President.
It won’t be successful. These pliable politicians have enabled the President for too long. They empowered him beyond their control. And in doing so, created a villain that even the Founding Fathers couldn’t have dreamed up. Voters won’t have short memories this time. Every Republican in purple states and districts are at risk when their re-election bill comes due.
Looking back, everything should have been written down, written into law. Too many things were left to formality, to the equivalent of a gentlemen’s handshake. It took 230 years to finally see a man devoid of character enter the office and trample every precedent set by generations of statesmen, simply because it wasn’t technically illegal.
One unexpected positive of this degradation of support for the President, as he continues to unravel, is the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. With Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski already committing to not voting for her confirmation, Democrats only need two other Republican Senators to choose Abraham Lincoln over Donald Trump. It is possible as we inch toward an election doomed to be an embarrassment.
Red Pen Revisions
In the week following November 3rd, after the dust settles and we know that Donald Trump has officially lost the presidency, we will see the biggest shift in Republican sentiment. Closeted opponents of Trump within the party will emerge as if they’ve always been there to join the chorus of criticism of his tenure.
Politicians throughout the party will also begin to redefine their legacy under Trump. Some will excuse their actions by contorting their loyalties to the party, regardless of leadership. Some will appear as involuntary hostages of their own affiliation, unable to speak out without harming their constituents.
A lot of them will revise history altogether. We know politicians in general, and Republicans in particular, lack the gumption and morals to admit they made a mistake, backing a President who will likely be remembered as one of the worst of all time.
The support and ascension of Donald Trump will become the next great Lost Cause of this generation. Politicians who aren’t voted out and live to see another day in Washington D.C. will do everything in their power to manipulate their role in the Trump era. Anything to convince you they weren’t complicit.
They were. They knew what they were doing, suckling at the teat of power, even if that teat was stained orange and smelled of bronzer. Don’t let these Republicans forget they once bowed to a conman. They bent the knee to a hush-money paying, thrice-divorced and adultering, tax-evading, military service dodging, reality television personality with no experience.
If Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower were alive today, they would hang their heads in mourning to see their great political party breathe its last breath. Even Nixon would furrow his brow in shame at such a disgraceful state of disarray the Republican Party finds itself in.
When Donald Trump is gone on January 20th, 2021, the Republican Party will be lost without a compass. A mob led by one person, with no platform and no principles, is by definition a cult. There is no other way to describe what the Republican Party has become. That is what happens when you make a single man the entire identity of your political organization.
Once the destruction of their party is complete, one can only hope that the select few conservatives who stood firm in their convictions can pick up the pieces and reform a new party. Hopefully, one that holds their future leaders to a much higher standard than they did Donald Trump.