Will widespread perceptions of the 2020 election ultimately cause the demise of the GOP? I discuss this on today’s episode of The Gayle Trotter Show: RIGHT IN DC.
BY GAYLE TROTTER, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR TO THE HILL
What if President Donald Trump throws out the political playbook yet again and starts his own political party?
Many conservatives believe the left stole the 2020 presidential election and hope to save the country from the socialist squad of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Would those conservatives join a new national political party?
They just might.
Don’t believe me? A recent Rasmussen poll found that 61 percent of Republicans agree that President Biden did not win the election fairly. This is an astonishing share for a viewpoint that our social institutions do not tolerate. It is a thought crime according to many in the mainstream media, social media, Hollywood and academia.
The campaign to alter these Americans’ view has failed, but not for lack of trying.
Where should these Republicans turn? They are not about to give up on civic engagement merely because they are supposedly unwelcome in polite society. They know better than to wallow aimlessly in despair of ever winning another election. Would they join a new party that better represents them?
Almost half of Republican voters said in a recent poll that they would join a new Trump-led political party, and less than one-third would stay with the Republican Party.
Howls of “you will lose every future election if you divide the Republican party in half” will not resonate with those who felt certain that President Trump would win reelection based on his record of achievements.
Many of these Republicans have tired of extending loyalty to a party that demands, but does not give, loyalty either to its voters or to its most successful proponent of conservative policies in 30 years. Party establishment types, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, continue to have it both ways, insulting Trump while hoping to retain his voters.
Republicans have tired of extending loyalty to a party that demands, but does not give, loyalty either to its voters or to its most successful proponent of conservative policies in 30 years.
These voters understand that the most powerful forces in America are aligned against them in an open and notorious conspiracy involving many elite institutions and detailed in a Time magazine report.
In past travails, GOP leaders would perennially ask, “Do we want to be policy purists and lose, or do we want to move toward the center and win?” In this context, “move toward the center” always meant “lurch to the left.”
This question has a long history in the Republican Party. Decades ago, William F. Buckley suggested voting for the most conservative, viable candidate in the presidential primaries. Rush Limbaugh amended the Buckley rule and urged Republicans to choose the most conservative candidate period.
When Republicans believe that elections are not fair, they have even more incentive to nominate the most conservative candidates. Why compromise if the conclusion is foregone?
Republican voters are now receiving fundraising requests from political groups with carefully focus-grouped messages along the lines of “we will have better luck next time if we work harder.” These types of messages fall flat.
Conservative women reacting to this outreach have expressed their dismay to me.
“I don’t think the groups understand how disgusted conservatives beyond D.C. are,” said one. “Business as usual is not what we need now.”
“The GOP establishment wing has no future and no constituency,” said another.
“There will be a huge market — 74 million — for an honest airing of the 2020 election,” said one more.
They see an imperative to investigate the 2020 presidential election, but they see no movement toward that goal. They believe our most powerful institutions and most influential voices have abandoned it.
And if elections cannot be trusted, what point is there in opposing ill-founded liberal policies that will eventually become law? Say hello to Democratic totems such as the deceptively named Equality Act, open borders, and admission to statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Trump was never the issue. To the left, anyone who clearly articulates and implements conservative principles must be canceled.
Talk of unity is now seen for what it is: a pablum byword offered to conceal the demand of submission to liberal orthodoxy.
Conservative voters may well abandon a GOP increasingly disloyal to its voters and its own putative principles. Whether those voters have another party home could depend on one man. Will widespread perceptions of the 2020 election ultimately cause the demise of the GOP?
Traditionalists in the vein of Buckley would advise against a GOP breakup, but Buckley himself was known to reject his own rule. In his unsuccessful bid for New York City mayor, Buckley siphoned away votes from a liberal Republican candidate.
First published in The Hill on February 28, 2021