With Campaign 2016 proceeding with all the dignity of a parade of Chihuahua’s on meth, I’d like to chime in with a theory of what may happen to Trump and his supporters in 2016. It’s one that, the more I examine it, the more possible it seems, though that could be me deluding myself.
I think the Republican elites want to eject Trump and his followers from the party, and is willing to take the hit for the long-term gain. In short, the Republicans leadership is ready to jettison at least some of the angry white male base they’ve cultivated. These people (and Trump) will doubtlessly form a third party or pseudo-third party – think of it as a Dumping ground (or Trumping ground) for people too troublesome to keep in the party anymore.
I think that the Republican elites can see the value.
The Typical Trump Voter
OK we know the drill. Trump scores unusually well with the older, white, less-educated set that skews male. We’ve heard about it for awhile, and it’s clear that this demographic also tends to be pretty damn racist, which isn’t a recipe for long-term success in our diverse country. These are oft the people targeted by the Southern Strategy.
I’d also add that, to judge by what I see of Trump’s support, it’s also seriously into conspiracy theories. This isn’t surprising giving Trump’s birther past, but also not surprising as the Republicans and Fox News (but I repeat myself) have been pushing conspiracy theories for ages. However in time it seems that the truly riled up Republican Base has gone pretty far off the plan – and they’re more and more likely to get information from Alex Jones and his like, and will hate Megan Kelly on command.
This isn’t a demographic you can predict or control, and I imagine there’s a little buyer’s remorse among the Republican elite. I don’t think they actually like these people
What got me thinking that the Republicans may jettison them is the National Review article by Kevin Williamson (link to commentary as I’m not fond of the National Review plus it has limited access) that pretty much says that the uneducated white voters really need to get their crap together or their communities can die off. If someone in the National Review is saying this, then you know others are thinking it, the National Review just has a little less internal monologue. I suppose I have to give Williamson points for consistency.
And when there’s open talk of derailing Trump, its pretty obvious members of the party don’t want to deal with these folks anyway.
So Let’s Game This Out
So if Republicans stick with the Trump contingent (probably a good 1/4 to 1/3 their numbers) and let them drive the election, the Republican party ends up enabling a voting bloc they don’t like and is easily manipulated (by people not them). They get a president who, let’s be honest here, would be a disaster (as the Economist notes). They drive more people to theDemocrats (if only out of fear) and finally brand themselves as being everything that . . . a lot of people thought they were anyway.
Racist, promoting ignorance, conspiracy-theory crazed, potentially violent, bigoted. If Trump gets the nomination, Republicans will suffer a branding problem that may be the most epic failure in American political history. All for people that the elites and some of the general public doesn’t like.
Now roll this effect not just into the presidency (where a Clinton triumph would be a refutation of some 20 years of hating her), but the downstream races. The senate is within grasp of the Democrats, and the House might be conceivable (if only by next election). Trump would also cement a hideous image of the Republicans for many people, including young ones who may be imprinted for life.
The elite are left with a humiliated rump party. Sure they have many states and governorships, but that may be next (and as I’ll note they have their own problem).
So why not jettison these voters now – if not directly, by doing everything to get Trump to leave and having them follow.
What The Gain Is
What’s in it for the Republicans?
A Republican party seemingly jettisoning the above baggage would be a different animal entirely. Less beholden to the various – well, let’s be honest – bigots – they enabled, they’d have room to move. A pro-business, pseudo-libertarian approach, nearly neoliberal, would go over well in many quarters. A direct rejection of Trump and a few reformations of policy would probably draw in voters.
Secondly, the Republicans get to run against the Trumping Ground rejects. They can do the whole “we refute these people, oh how did they get there routine.” Though we may all remember Willie Horton and the Southern Strategy and the like, this approach will gain ground as they will be saying the right things. They will be rejecting the Trump contingent directly, that will get at least some to trust them.
It’s hard to argue that someone is a bigot when they’r reject bigots. Hell after all this the elites may mean it.
It may head off problems on some downstream races, and though they’d almost see two Clinton administrations, the Republicans could re-position themselves for 2024. This is the party that got ahold of a lot of state governorships so they are pretty good at organizing (though with Louisiana and Kansas falling apart, that may be a problem that also bites them Trump-like).
Considering the choices, and the complete lack of affection, the Trumping Ground strategy may be the best bet for the Republicans. And I figure the party has enough smart people to see that.
What Of The Democrats?
Here’s the funny thing, the Democrats would love seeing the Republicans dump Trump and company as well.
First, it’d shatter the Republican party, handing them a victory for 2016, probably 2018, and maybe 2020.
Secondly, as this would confirm all the things people have said about the Republican party, there’d be the satisfaction of seeing it.
Third, they’d also be able to run against the Trumping Ground. It’d be a contest to see which party can run more against the cast-offs.
Of course that means the Democrats may have to split their efforts – even more if a Republican split emboldens the further left. But I imagine the gains are too much to even worry.
Everyone wins. Except . . .
But What About Them?
But what happens to the people dumped into the Trumping Ground?
I’m not sure.
Look, the Republican leadership doesn’t like them. The democrats don’t like them and it’s personal considering the racial and bigotry issues.
Some of the folks that’d be dumped. They live in shattered communities, they’re behind, it’s hard not to feel empathy . .. but sympathy is a bit hard to come by when they supported Trump.
I imagine they’d end up having a kind of angry, chaotic far-right party. Some would clearly end up violent, but the party that’d form would be the kind constantly turning people off – along with members probably getting arrested. It’s likely some would go for outright violent, racist groups and get involved inc criminal activity, lashing out.
I don’t see a good end unless someone prone to social help – namely the Democrats – helps them deliberately or as part of a larger process of social reform. I don’t know what may come or if it will.
They really won’t have any place.
So That’s The Game
So that’s something I see more probably – originally I’d have given this 30% chance of happening. Now I’m to 50%. We’re going to see the Republican party reject Trump, and hope to push him and his constituents out, with them likely to form a third party. If Trump gets the nomination, they’ll blame him for the inevitable failure and do the same.
If Trump quits then they’re gone, shattered to the winds. If he stays around or has an inheritor, then there would be a third party. Certainly various media interests, writers, far-right politicians and so forth, would find them fertile ground,t his new party. It might not be successful, but it’d be profitable for the grifters it’d attract.
But t’s not a party that could govern. T’d be a part of anger. It’d almost certainly be a party attracting and cultivating violent elements. They’d be more easily exploited.
In the end, it doesn’t end well. Maybe they’d break, fall apart, enough members would be involved in violent activities to get law enforcement involved, don’t know. But it doesn’t end well. end well.
Especially for the people left in the Trumping Ground.