Where do the Republicans go if Trump loses?

One thing about the Republican Party is they are very good at distancing themselves from their ‘losers’. You can go right back to Herbert Hoover who was dissuaded from seeking to regain the presidency by party insiders as they tried to move on after his epic landslide loss in 1932. The response to the 1929 Wall Street crash and aftershock of the Great Depression would not escape him.

In contemporary history, after the conservative deity Ronald Reagan (and with the exception of Bob Dole who was effectively a sacrificial lamb) every subsequent Republican nominee who the party chose to be their president has gone on to be trashed afterwards. The 2016 Republican primary was an attempt to stick a finger to the establishment which meant a repudiation of the Bush family. Who they previously voted and supported for so many years. Bush Sr won a landslide in 1988. Bush Jr got two terms and had his approval ratings in his first was higher than Trump has ever mustered. But in the second everything fell apart leading him to leave office with barely 30% approval and Republicans spending the entirety of the Obama years acting like none of that ever happened. John McCain was the nominee in 2008, was generally well supported, got one of the most rapturous ovations at a convention I’ve ever seen, yet he’s now described even in death by his own party as a “traitor”. Four years later Mitt Romney came along and actually got a higher percentage of the popular vote than Trump, and actually got a higher amount of votes than Trump in a couple of states that he lost in 2012 but Trump won in 2016. Romney is now the posterboy for being a “RINO”.

What you see here is a trend of the Republican Party acting like they never really liked their losing candidates. So what happens if Trump loses? He’s in the position Bush Sr was in except, a) he never received the overwhelming mandate Bush Sr did and b) there was not a cult of personality around Bush Sr. Hardline conservatives broke with him over taxes in 92’. Today’s hardline conservatives are all in for Trump but his problem is they’re not enough. He barely got in four years ago and has done little to expand the tent. And this has been complicit with the party apparatus going all in on appeasing Trump which is a gamble they could feasibly regret.

If he loses I think a woman will have a very good shot at running in 2024. Nikki Haley probably at the top of the list. She was a governor and also has foreign policy experience working at the UN. Cruz, Rubio, Christie , etc will probably run again in 2024. Maybe even the ghoul Giuliani

David Frum, the conservative commentator, has a tweet pinned to the top of his account from the summer of 2019 stating: “When this is all over, nobody will admit to ever having supported it.” That’s pretty much the tack that Republicans take when a candidate loses.

As for 2024, I agree that Nikki Haley may very well try to run. Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota gets a lot of publicity too. That seems to mainly stem from the fact that she effectively didn’t shut down her state for COVID, but presumably she holds positions Republicans like as well.

Tom Cotton of Arkansas seems to be openly angling for it as well; that “Send in the Troops” op-ed from this summer seems to have been geared for that.

It depends on whether DJT is a more a cause, or more a symptom. Consider:


So we might expect someone more inclined to authoritarianism than Nikki Haley. Say, Trump Jr.

Dan Crenshaw/Nikki Haley or Nikki Haley/Dan Crenshaw. I would be fine with either one.

Hopefully, if Biden wins, he will open up the WH records to show ALL the wrongdoing of Trump and co. I think there’s a decent likelihood that the awful things that will show will irreparably damage the reputations of those who actively enabled Trump like Haley (and Pence, and many others). But we’ll see. Awfully hard to predict, even assuming Trump loses.

Trump will still be a presence in the GOP even if he loses (which he will naturally blame on voter fraud, the PRC, the Deep State, reptiloids, etc.). He will still be tweeting and fuming. Assuming he doesn’t get taken down by a stroke, Republican candidates for the foreseeable future will still seek his blessing and try to prove that they intend to continue his “work.”

Between the people the previously supported Trump really not caring any more and the people that will write all that off as a liberal hoax, I’m not sure it’s going to make a difference to the Right and the Left really doesn’t need any convincing.

Maybe not in the short term, but in the long term it will matter (hopefully, anyway). Maybe even in the medium term. There doesn’t have to be much of a shift for the hopes of the likes of Haley to disappear.

The GOP will still be around, but the question will be whether they stick to a Trumpist-style populist type platform or not.

That’ll depend on how the elections in November and the 2022 midterms go, and whether a Trump defeat is merely a repudiation of Trump the man, or if it’s a repudiation of him and his whole populist, fear and loathing type of politics.

If it’s the former, then they’ll find someone else who is less personally repugnant than Trump was, but similarly personally charismatic and who says the same stuff, and run them in 2024. If it’s the latter, then they will likely pull back and come back with more sane politicians cut in the older GOP style, a-la Romney, McCain, Bush I and II, etc…

That’s assuming they are aware of what’s going on, and react rationally. There’s also a chance that they’ll just dig in deeper and do something like re-run Trump in 2024 on a platform of FUD and how much “better” things were in 2016-2020.

What I hope: the GOP returns to its roots and nominates people in the mold of Ford, Dole, and McCain. Donald and his family are convicted of various state and federal crimes and live out the remainder of their days in infamy. McConnell gives a tearful speech, telling the nation “I have sinned against you” and resigns in disgrace. The party serves the next generation as the loyal and principled opposition in the new era of Democratic domination.

What I fear: Don the Con continues as the power behind the party, and those who do no pledge fealty to him are expunged. The GOP nominates someone like Bill Barr who continues the assault on democracy and the US becomes a one party theocratic state.

I really wish that this would happen but if it was possible, why aren’t the active enablers despised already?

Because they’ve been able to maintain plausible deniability (plausible to enough Americans, anyway). If all the truth comes out, and it’s as bad as I expect, I don’t think this will be possible any more.

If Trump loses, he will be a Republican candidate for the 2024 election, so we will have to deal once again with “Candidate Trump”. He will almost certainly declare his candidacy as soon as his loss is certified. He pretty much has to keep running, otherwise he will have to close down his campaign organization and open the books. No way he will risk that.

I remember after the McCain and Romney losses the people in the GOP were all “…we need to go harder to the right!”, and so Trump emerged and they won in 2016. Even if Trump loses in 2020, the party will probably repeat the “…harder to the right…” playbook since they were handsomely rewarded at least once with that strategy. There’s probably some out there who would like to see a candidate more to the right than Trump, and think that can be a winning proposition.

I agree that there’s a good chance of this. It will take multiple losses in national elections – along with the steady reinforcements of 17 million newly eligible young voters every four years – for the Trump reactionaries to be recognized as only a stalwart minority that will have no where else to go but to vote for more mainstream GOP candidates.

The surprising support for Trump from Gen X shows us that those voters will be with us for decades. They’ll just be outnumbered. Gen X hasn’t even begun to watch Fox fervently yet; that bunch may turn out to be the craziest one of all.

There isn’t a shot in hell that the Republican party is ever going back to normal boring dry candidates after the Trump movement. Trump made being a Republican fun again, for lack of a better word.

As to the bold part, I don’t see this happening. Trump ain’t Nixon, the original comeback kid before Bill Clinton. He kind of came out of nowhere, and to lead a party after you have lost takes actual political acumen. And in addition to the fact that I would guess Trump will be glad to be rid of the political life, I think that at least the party leaders are smart enough to realize that Trump was a disaster, and yearn for the days of people like those you mention getting back into power. I know that plenty of these leaders have supported Trump, but in general that’s how it works. You give lip-service to the guy in charge. Look how quickly Lindsay Graham flipped after Trump came to power. He will find a way to distance himself from Trump, because no one wants to be associated with a loser. This does not mean that I think the MAGA-hat crowd wouldn’t still want him around, btw.

But Nixon didn’t have Fox, OANN, Britebart, etc. These media outlets will continue to give Donnie Two Scoops a platform because he will continue to give them good ratings even after a blowout loss. Nixon didn’t have the MAGA personality cult. Donnie is not going quietly into the night, providing his heart keeps beating.

Well, as I said, that crowd will stay with him. But I predict that the non-MAGA people will abandon him.

EDIT: By the way, I said “I think that at least the party leaders are smart enough to realize that Trump was a disaster”. This is the key to both of my posts. If people don’t recognize this, all bets are off.