Last week was arguably the most tumultuous the Republican Party has seen in recent history. Not only did they fail to repeal Obamacare as they’ve promised for seven years, but they also suffered insult after insult from the leader of the free world.
No, I’m not just referring to the Tweets, though there were many. His actions spoke volumes. He fired Reince Priebus. Say what you will about Priebus’ leadership and politics (and I’ve said plenty in the past), but what cannot be denied is that fact that under his watch the GOP gained the House, Senate, and White House. Granted, they did so based upon the aforementioned Obamacare repeal promises, but Priebus was a steady hand guiding the ship and raising a ton of money as RNC Chair. As Chief of Staff, he tried to bring the same brand of Establishment Republican calm to the tempest of the White House and failed to impress his boss.
His replacement, Anthony Scaramucci, is about as liberal as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Then, there’s Jeff Sessions. Again, his conservative bonafides can be questioned, particularly when it comes to his love for civil asset forfeiture, but he has been universally respected by his colleagues as a proper party-line Republican for decades. Now, he’s being chucked under the bus repeatedly by his boss. What’s a little less appreciated in Trump’s various insults directed towards the GOP is that he chose to attack Sessions first in an interview with the NY Times and then potentially leaked damaging information about Sessions to the Washington Post, two publications that have failed to hide their scorn for the GOP.
With all of this sudden shift towards Democratic havens and bringing in liberal staff, some are speculating that Trump may be intending to leave the Republican Party altogether and form an independent White House.
Ryan-Priebus ally to me: next phase of Trump presidency will be warfare against GOP Congress
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 28, 2017
Two articles in particular point to the possibility. Both highlight the disaster it could be for the floundering party. Rod Dreher gives a quick pros-and-cons analysis of the possibility while Ed Willing goes more in-depth. The bottom line is this:
If Donald Trump breaks from the GOP, the party is essentially done for the foreseeable future.
It’s not that Republicans won’t turn on him. Many will. However, even if his loyalists account for 10% of the vote (and it’s likely a bit higher than that), the GOP will not be able to sustain. They’ll suffer massive losses in Congress and could start losing state control before the next Presidential election.
This new “party,” if that’s what he intends to form, will be left-leaning in many regards with a splash of alt-right ideology to keep his most loyal fans on board. Fair trade, heavy taxes on the wealthy, and social liberalism would get mixed with a wall and a travel ban to form the ugliest and most ineffective policy combination the nation has ever seen.
Keep in mind that I’m no fan of the GOP. I believe that the Federalist Party is the future for the nation, but I’m concerned that the damage Trump could do by empowering the Democrats would only make our job harder. I don’t cheer on the Republicans because the majority of the ones in Washington DC push for bigger government, but they tend to do slightly less damage than the Democrats. When the Federalist Party is ready to make an impact, I’d prefer to have fewer problems to address. If Trump makes this move, problems will escalate rapidly.
Whether he’s planning on breaking away or simply continuing the turmoil at its current semi-insane level, the nation is going to continue to hurt as a result. Between an ineffective GOP Congress and a haywire White House, very little is being accomplished. It’s prompting the Federalist Party to accelerate growth and be ready for races sooner rather than later.