Republicans first must acknowledge there are legitimate concerns that fueled Mr. Trump’s rise. Both parties are more interested in listening to check writers than voters. Many Americans see their neighborhoods being overrun by addiction and poverty, but see neither help nor recognition of the problem from Washington. It is not hard to conclude that Republicans and Democrats alike value cheap, imported labor and could not care less about the heartland.But the policy proposals Erickson offers are ... the same old same old. Not only are they pre-Trump proposals, they're Trump proposals, because Trump agrees with the mainstream GOP on all of this:
... Republicans should empower individuals by making school choice a priority. Education must be treated as a civil right, and parents should be allowed to pick where their children go to school. Education dollars should then be allowed to follow those students to those schools.Donald Trump also favors school choice.
The Republican Party must be the party of religious liberty. When beliefs clash, people and government need to accommodate those differences. To force people of faith to adhere to secular standards is as much an imposition of a religious viewpoint as forcing secular people to adhere to the standards of a religion.This isn't about Muslims or Sikhs or atheists. It's about conservative Christians not baking cakes for same-sex marriages or rejecting insurance for employees that includes birth control. Trump is completely on board with the notion that Christians are being persecuted in America.
The party must also get government out of the marketplace, except to ensure a level playing field and protect against fraud. It must support innovation and creative disruption, lower taxes and reduce regulation....Trump wants to deregulate Wall Street and eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Lastly, Republicans should establish themselves as the party of heterogeneity, opposed to one-size-fits-all morality. Different communities should have the freedom to be different in the public square.That means states should be allowed to ban same-sex marriage and place restrictions on the use of public bathrooms by trans people. Trump pledges to appoint Supreme Court justices who'll overturn the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.
If Erickson really is pointing to the GOP's future, that future looks almost exactly like the party's past -- and present. It's just Trumpier than the pre-Trump past. It'll be more hard-line about immigration (though the congressional GOP was rather hard-line already, apart from the leadership). Otherwise, nothing new here.
But will the rank-and-file go along with that? Erickson is basically describing the party of the GOP establishment -- of leaders like Paul Ryan. Harry Enten notes that the rank-and-file prefers Trump:
Trump is more popular among Republicans right now than Ryan is. In the most recent YouGov poll, for example, Trump’s net favorability rating (the percentage of respondents who rate him favorably minus the share who have an unfavorable opinion) among Republican primary voters was +36 percentage points. Ryan’s was just +16 points. Perhaps more telling is that Trump’s “very favorable” rating among this group is 34 percent, while Ryan’s is only 13 percent.But Ryan is still in positive territory, even after all the hits he's taken from Trumpers. And I remain convinced that Trump is going to leave the political stage not long after his defeat. He'll move on to something else. He won't even want to try to do the slow, long-game work of systematically driving the old guard out of the GOP. That effort isn't about him. He'll want something more immediately ego-gratifying.
Ed Kilgore notes that Trumpism is more popular than Ryanism in the GOP right now, but he notes one advantage Ryan (and the rest of the anti-Trumpers) might have after the election:
If, for example, Republicans lose the presidency and the Senate but hang on to the House, Paul Ryan will be the natural focal point for party-wide resistance to the Clinton administration, and 2018 midterm gains (statistically very probable if Democrats continue to control the White House) will make him look successful (that’s assuming, of course, that Ryan could again cobble together the votes to retain the gavel, and would want to). Other would-be successors to Trump as party leaders -- notably former rivals Cruz, Rubio, and perhaps Kasich -- will be around to help with the anti-Trump heavy lifting.The rank-and-file will focus on how much they hate the new president. That gives Ryan et al. a natural advantage that Trump, who'll be wandering in the wilderness, won't have.
So I think Erickson's shiny new vision of essentially the same old GOP will prevail. I think the press will, idiotically, treat it as a breath of fresh air after Trump. A year from now, we really might be right back where we were two years ago.