Although I would argue that at this point most moral and decent Republicans have fled the party and now see themselves as Independents or, in some cases even democrats, there nonetheless remain many in the GOP who want to renounce Donald Trump, the Tea Party and the factions of racists, white supremacists, homophobes and misogynists who now make up a majority or at a minimum a large plurality of the party base. Thus, the question becomes whether these individuals remain and try to take back the GOP transform it away from the parade of horrors it has become or do they simply walk away and form a new party that supports what the GOP of yesteryear stood for. A piece in Vox.com, suggests that some GOP strategists see the party splitting. Here are article excerpts:
Is the Republican Party falling apart? Steve Schmidt — a GOP consultant who worked on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and ran John McCain’s campaign in 2008 — thinks it very well might be.
“There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party,” he told me on Thursday. “I think what you’re gonna see is [Trump campaign CEO and Breitbart News chief] Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business.”
Schmidt was ahead of the curve in analyzing Donald Trump’s rise, arguing to me in August 2015 that, contrary to the beliefs of many experts, the GOP establishment had “no ability to stop” Trump because actual Republican voters no longer paid any mind to what their party elites thought.
So I got in touch with him for his thoughts on what’s happened since, and he unloaded on Trump (“manifestly unfit in every conceivable way”), Republican Party leadership (“political cowardice on a massive level”), and evangelical leaders standing by the nominee despite everything (“literally the modern-day Pharisees”). This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
The Trump campaign is over — Hillary Clinton is going to be elected president. The question that remains here, the open question, is the degree of the collateral damage, right? The Republicans are going to lose the US Senate. The question is how many seats can they lose in the House.
Then there’s a long-term implication for the civic life of the country, the vandalism being done, which will culminate for the first time in American history with his refusal to make an ordinary concession where he grants to the winner legitimacy by recognizing the legitimacy of the election. I think it’s very clear he’s going to go out saying it’s a rigged system.
The last implication for it behaviorally is it exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective.
There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.
[T]he defense of Trump, the cowardice of so many Republican elected officials who won’t confront this — what it exposes is political cowardice on a massive level. It exposes a political class in the Republican Party that simply is unfit to lead the country.
As a conservative Republican, I find anathematic the regulatory and tax policies of liberal Democrats. But there’s no question that Republicans — as an institution and what we’re led by — are unfit to run the country, or to govern the country.
You have a massive reckoning coming due that will play out over years on the serially putting party above country. We’ve reached the moment in time that George Washington warned about in his farewell address with the danger of factions. You have basically warring tribes that subordinate the national interest to their tribal interest.
There’s no higher value obviously for most — though not all — Republican elected officials than maintaining fidelity to Donald Trump. What’s extraordinary about that is that in America, we don’t take an oath to a strongman leader; we take it to the Constitution of the United States. And Donald Trump is obviously manifestly unfit in every conceivable way to occupy the office of the American head of state.