Columns

When the GOP Reorganizes, It Needs to Look to Trump Policies, Not Republicans in Congress

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Many on the left and some on the right are accusing President Trump of burning down the Republican Party on his way out the door. That seems rather hyperbolic, given the fact that nearly half the country has serious concerns about the way the election went down.

While most of the mainstream right is not lining up behind Lin Wood and the merry band of Twitter accounts pretending to be staunch Republicans, we still know we saw some unprecedented things on election night. We also know that millions of dollars from Mark Zuckerberg’s wife flooded many of the precincts in question. The corporate media chose not to take any of these concerns seriously, so they will remain. A modicum of curious reporting might have put them to rest.

True to form, President Trump will go out of the White House much the way he entered it: controversial and brash, creating some kind of spectacle. For his most ardent supporters from day 1, this is essential. Even if we cringed at some of the theater, many of us grew to support his results.

However, the original die-hard supporters and those of us who came along later do have something in common, according to a recent Rasmussen poll:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 72% of Likely Republican Voters think their party should be more like Trump than like the average GOP member of Congress. Twenty-four percent (24%) see the average Republican in Congress as a better model.

While a majority prefers a new face to carry Trump’s policies forward, the base will not tolerate a gracious loser like Mitt Romney. A stiff spine and the ability to articulate the political case will be requirements. Part of Trump’s appeal was his love of America and a positive view of the nation and our role in the world. To succeed him, that needs to be an authentic position for the candidate.

A recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll showed a similar trend among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Among respondents, 62% said they would support President Trump over their own representative. A majority, 52%, said they would back President Trump over congressional Republicans generally. A plurality of people who voted for him in November, 42%, consider themselves supporters of the president more than the Republican Party. Add the 31% who said they are supporters of both, and that leaves just 21% putting the party without Trump as the primary recipient of their loyalty.

On another note, a survey in October 2019 found that Democrats almost make up the difference in the Republican sentiment from the Rasmussen survey:

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Democrats say the views of the average Democrat in Congress are more like theirs. But 17% of voters in the opposition party say they think more like Trump, up from 12% at the start of the year.

Rather than Trump burning down the Republican Party, it would seem is reforming it in significant ways. A 17% share of the opposition party aligning with his views is not a small number. This could have been even more obvious if the corporate media had a shred of honesty. It could be glaring if polls took Trump out of the equation altogether when measuring American sentiment on major foreign and domestic policy issues.

Both Republicans and Democrats have increasingly negative views about China. This is a signal that a foreign policy clearly delineating friends and enemies over the last four years has had some impact. While most on the right believe in free trade, it is not the blind religion it once was. Continuing to enrich a country with atrocious human rights abuses that unleashed a virus on the world would not seem to be in the interests of America or its natural allies.

Policies that degrade most Americans’ prosperity and security in favor of enriching a distinct minority and a few global corporations will not be popular. Continuing to treat China as a developing nation at the expense of American jobs in agreements like the Paris climate accords will be not be tolerated by large swaths of the electorate.

Voters have also noted the violence in our streets despite the corporate media trying to tell us everything was “mostly peaceful.” Even Portland’s terrible mayor, Ted Wheeler, finally had to admit it was the left-wing agitators in antifa who are destroying his city. What Americans saw this summer convinced 63% of them to be more concerned about domestic terrorism than foreign actors. Perhaps that is because President Trump decimated ISIS’s caliphate and boxed in Iran. If swampy foreign policy unleashes those threats again under Joe Biden, it won’t go well.

Trump’s closing argument was on foreign aid and other pork. Blocking the COVID relief package shone a brighter light on the waste in government that Senator Rand Paul has been highlighting in his annual Festivus Report for years.  While some helpful globalists have tried to explain why we are giving millions to Pakistan for gender programs, it is still not a good look when Americans are out of work, losing their small businesses, and worried about their financial future.

As recent financial disclosures showed, the Biden administration already has significant ties to Wall Street and the tech monopolies. It is as if the transformation of the Democrat Party from the party of the working class to the party of the elite that began under Bill Clinton is now complete. As a Chinese economist noted, ties to wall Street are implicit ties to China. At best, Democrats are now the party of the very rich and the very poor. That is not a durable coalition.

Republicans who go back to business as usual do so at their electoral peril. The base has seen the hollowing out of our industrial base and understands on some level that foreign policy drives domestic policy. The working-class and middle-class ethos that animated it in 2020 is here to stay. Any 2020 autopsy needs to take that into account. The prosperity and security of Americans need to be the priority for Republicans if they want to succeed.

The Elites in Congress Will Blame Trump for Stalling the COVID-19 Relief Bill—But He’s Not the Problem