The anti-burn-it-downers’ plan appears to be this: Hope it gets better. Ideally, Trump loses — but without these conservative anti-Trumpers sullying themselves by voting Biden — and the GOP keeps control of the Senate. Average Republicans wake up, as if freed from a magic spell. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocks Democratic policies and liberal judges, various factions put aside their differences to oppose a Democratic president, and the party returns to its pre-Trump principles.
Maybe that happens. But here’s another scenario:
Trump loses, but retains significant influence and frequently comments on politics. Average Republicans remain populist and the party delves further into white identity politics. Aspiring party leaders — former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; Senators Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Ted Cruz; Fox pundit Tucker Carlson; whoever — try to claim Trump’s mantle rather than repudiate it. Most Americans who call themselves conservative blame the loss on the media, the elites, universities, Hollywood, anyone other than Donald Trump and the Republicans who backed him. David French, Mitt Romney, etc. continue to find themselves on the outs because they didn’t have Trump’s back when it mattered, and their calm, principled style remains a poor fit for voters who prioritize owning the libs.
If reality turns out more like the second scenario than the first, what then?