This is not to deny that Trump’s own failings helped sink him. There are a thousands pitfalls he could have avoided if he weren’t so thin-skinned, self-involved and undisciplined. No single one of them made the difference, but cumulatively they blighted his presidency and made him radioactive in the suburbs and among college-educated whites.
No one should want to repeat them, and the party should never again get behind such a flawed personal figure.
Nevertheless, Trump points to a viable GOP future even if he comes up short. He posted startling gains among Latino voters, particularly in Florida, although in other places, too. This shows it’s possible to imagine a working-class-oriented Republican Party that isn’t a demographic dead end, but genuinely crosses racial lines, even if this potential is still inchoate.
Given how Trump’s base showed up massively in the past two presidential elections, it’s also unlikely that these voters are going to be jettisoned anytime soon by some other Republican presidential candidate in favor of an entirely new coalition.