hat does this mean for the future direction of the GOP? The challenge for the small remnant of Republican candidates who resist Trump—or even those who want to support his general direction without personally bending the knee to him—is that these changes have shrunk the audience for any alternative path. As voters who are uneasy with Trumpism—largely college-educated suburbanites in metropolitan areas—have drifted away from the party, the core left behind is more receptive to Trump-style arguments. And the more that GOP primaries produce Trump-style candidates, the less likely center-right voters will be to vote in such elections at all.
That leaves little hope in the near-term for the dwindling band of conservatives and Republicans who want to see the party shift back away from Trumpism. “There was a time I thought you could remove him and save the party,” Sarah Longwell, founder of the anti-Trump Republican Accountability Project, tweeted on Monday. “But looking at these GOP primaries—not to mention the last 18 months—it’s clear Trump has metastasized across the party. And it can’t be saved.”
While the triumph of Trumpism seems assured for now inside the GOP, less clear is whether it is a reliable formula for winning general elections. With as many as three-fourths of adults expressing discontent over the country’s direction, Republicans are highly likely to make gains in the November midterm elections, and the party’s winners inevitably will include some candidates in the Trump mold. But Democrats are optimistic—and some Republicans are wary—that GOP nominees such as Mastriano and, if he prevails, Oz will prove too extreme or flawed to win even in this environment.