Yesterday, Allahpundit discussed the results of yet another poll indicating that at least a plurality of registered Republicans would be open to abandoning the GOP for some new party based on keeping Donald Trump as the leader of the conservative movement. Historically, political organizations based on a single person rather than a core set of principles and policy positions haven’t tended to have legs. (Look no further than the Bull Moose Party for an example.) But since there is still clearly enough interest in the possibility, it’s worth looking at how that might play out in an election.
Democrats and their media enablers are obviously excited about the idea. It makes for some great headlines about how the Republican Party is “divided” and destined to slide toward extinction, leaving the liberals in charge of everything for at least the next generation. Allahpundit showcased that working theory, describing the current GOP as a “50/30/20 party,” with ominous tidings for 2024 and beyond.
As a rule of thumb, we should probably assume going forward that 50 percent of Republicans are Trumpist RINOs, loyal to the former president but not to the party; another 30 percent like Trump but aren’t quite as willing to shed the Republican label, and another 20 percent think it’s time for a new direction.
Can a 50/30/20 party be competitive in elections? It can if the “20” group is motivated mainly by negative partisanship, wanting to keep Democrats out of power at all costs. If and when that changes, the party collapses. Meanwhile, the “50” group that has no use for the party per se obviously can only be kept onside by giving Trump a major role going forward. Once he ceases to identify with the GOP, it collapses even more catastrophically.