The GOP lost as many as 40 House seats, key statehouses, and every demographic group that is growing or will be more important in 2020 and beyond than today. Trump’s endorsements often failed and many recoiled from him. The big unanswered question, therefore is why is there still such unwavering loyalty to Trump among GOP leaders?
One possibility is that they haven’t absorbed the message of last week’s massive defeat. Another is that they are in denial. But the most likely possibility is that the racist, isolationist, nationalist, doing-it-all-for-the-1%, anti-free press, anti-rule of law, pro-Russian, pro-autocrat worldwide, anti-environment, anti-science, tool-of-the-NRA, anti-health care, anti-education, extremist policies that are associated with Trump are actually their policies.
Those policies are actually who they are.
It is not that the GOP is the party of Trump. It is that Trump has become the spokes-president for the heart and soul of the modern GOP. This seems all the more likely given that Trump himself actually has no values, no deeply held beliefs other than his commitment to himself.
He was a Democrat when it suited him. He donated to both parties when it suited him. Most of the time though, he was just a rapacious, greedy, self-serving cipher. He surrounded himself with the Millers and the Bannons and the creeps in his cabinet and embraced the policies not because of some deeply held ideological conviction, he did it because he thought it would work, because it would win him support with the GOP or help maintain the support he already had.
Donald Trump didn’t bring the deplorables and the white supremacists and the misogynists and the hypocritical evangelicals to the GOP, they were there to begin with.
He gave them permission to step out from the shadows. He allowed the party to reveal itself for what it is. He, like McConnell, like Ryan, have made a deal with the Devil to do whatever it takes to advance their self-interests, their own agendas.
They have done so in a way that rejects what was once decent in the GOP and the ideological movements it represented. They have cast those aside not because they no longer believe in them. In fact, as we have learned, beliefs have nothing to do with this party. They rejected their heritage as the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Rockefeller and Reagan because they concluded they didn’t help them with the ignorant, angry base they have cultivated since the days of Gingrich or their profit-above-all-else corporate funders. (Gingrich was the malignancy that ultimately killed the soul of the modern GOP.)
So, in the wake of the election, as the party wages war against public faith in our electoral system, reveals the utter hypocrisy of the “caravan” scam, denies climate change as California is in flames, rejects our allies & embraces enemies of democracy from Russia to the KSA this is not a failure to recalibrate in the wake of a massive election defeat. It is further proof about the true identity of the 21st Century Republican Party and the profound threat it poses to the United States of America with or without Donald Trump at its helm.
(Although, as a final footnote, it must be noted that Trump’s own hatefulness and ignorance and corruption make them worse and more dangerous because he brings their worst to the fore without any mitigating sense of history or norms of decent behavior.)