But consider the advantages to the GOP of a narrow loss:
· The economy won’t keep growing forever. Losing the White House in 2020 makes it more likely Democrats will get the blame for a turndown or a recession — as they largely did after Barack Obama was elected in 2008.
· If Trump is reelected, the 2022 midterms could be a bloodbath for his party, as second-term midterms often are. Twenty-two of the 34 Senate seats up in 2022 are currently held by Republicans. They could use a wind behind them to maintain control.
· A Trump loss, even if it’s narrow, would likely break the grip of Trumpism on the party, keeping its options open for a future in which demographic change makes his brand of white identity politics increasingly perilous. If Trump wins a second term, Mike Pence becomes the presumptive successor, unless the president decides Ivanka is ready to run. But a post-Trump party could arguably bring back some of the cherished orthodoxes — like free trade and neoconservatism — that Trump has forced it to abandon.
· Republicans are temperamentally better suited to being the “out party” rather than the governing party, as its paltry legislative accomplishments in 2017–2018 showed, despite total control of the federal government.