In a post-Trump era, the biggest challenge for the Republican Party is figuring out a way to move past the whims of its erratic and vengeful leader without splitting itself in half. Republican leaders want to incorporate the Trump administration’s populism into a forward-looking agenda that can hold onto Trump’s working-class voters while making inroads with the moderate suburbanites who grew estranged from the GOP by the president’s crude behavior.
But so many of Trump’s core supporters are acting like political nihilists. The political movement he’s created is a cult of personality, not a governing movement. They don’t care about policy. They’ll vote against any Republican who dares cross him or questions his conspiracy theories.
In the coming two years, there will be numerous tests for a party that seeks to reconstitute itself without the catalyst of Trump at its apex. From a closely watched governor’s race across the Potomac River from the White House to a hotly contested Senate race involving one of his closest allies, these are the races to watch that will signal the GOP’s future.