President Trump operates in one gear. He doesn’t moderate or hesitate. He’s not interested in growing his base, only in motivating the base he already has. Thus far, that style has won him the GOP nomination and the White House. Neither were ‘supposed’ to happen. If Republicans are successful this fall, it will only help to reinforce the belief that the “Let Trump be Trump” strategy is the only way to go. Meanwhile, Democrats will be forced into their own reckoning that will exacerbate many of the tensions within the party that reared up post-2016, but have been put to rest during their 2018 campaigns.
If the strategy flops, however, Republicans will have to figure out where they go next. While the president himself isn’t going to alter his strategy (he will blame a bad election night outcome on everyone and everything but himself), what will GOPers in Congress do? If Republicans lose the House, it will be because the very people most vulnerable to the “Trump be Trump” style were defeated. Left in Congress will be the very Republicans who are most committed to the Trump message and style. It’s hard to see why they would be willing to re-direct or reign in a president who remains deeply popular in their districts.