Axios’ morning email thingie backs the theory that the GOP=Trump; Mike Allen just don’t realize it yet, or realizes that he still has a buck to make off of them. Anyway, let’s look:
Rarely has a president changed his party as fast and profoundly as Donald J. Trump.
- Love him or hate him, you can no longer argue his ability to bend an entire party to his will.
- In the two and a half years since he announced his candidacy, he has moved the party away from decades of orthodoxy on trade, Russia, deficits and more — and has helped make the law-and-order party skeptical of FBI leadership.
- A source close to GOP leadership said: “We are all MAGAs now” — devotees of Make America Great Again.
Axios, to their credit are calling it out now, but that is likely to change. To their discredit, they headlined this bit, The Cult of Trump. As we’ll see in a moment, Axios undermines their own premise that Trump changed the Party (emphasis mine). They continue:
Axios’ Jonathan Swan points out that perhaps the most profound thing Trump has done is show how many movement leaders and Republicans in Congress are out of touch with Republican voters:
- There’s a massive cohort of Republican voters who are socially conservative and culturally reactionary but fiscally liberal, even if they don’t know it.
- The base is very skeptical of trade deals — convinced that ordinary Americans have lost at globalization.
- Huge swaths of Trump Country are dependent on Social Security, Medicaid and other government programs.
In other words, Possum Hollar is the Republican Party. There is no intellectual conservative movement or ideals, it is just an id running free across the prairie. The economic message in the points above are reflected in the points below:
While much of the GOP donor class is passionate about issues like criminal justice reform and expanded high-skilled immigration, many GOP voters want the exact opposite:
- The ratio between the number of Republicans who think that way, versus number of conservatives who talk that way on cable TV or at the Capitol, is way out of whack. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum were their lonely on-air champions.
- If Trump has tapped into a silent majority, it’s those voters — the opposite of Paul Ryan voters, the opposite of Rubio, the opposite of Jeb.
- The source close to GOP leadership said: “All evidence in the last two years points to the fact that the R base was never as ‘conservative’ on economic policy as we portrayed them during the Obama years.”
Criminal Justice Reform from the Republicans means private prisons to you and me, but I digress. So maybe the tax cuts might backfire? Or if more stories like Paul Ryan’s hilarious praise of the weekly $1.50 salary increase come out, they WILL back fire? And of course, there’s the razor blade in the apple, both sides:
There’s also tons of big money for liberalism, establishment conservatism and libertarianism. But you don’t have fancy think tanks representing these Trump Country voters:
- One example of the money discrepancy is the amount of funding for pro-immigration groups versus immigration restrictionists.
- Trump instinctively understands these Huckabee-Santorum voters, and he instinctively understands they are vastly underrepresented in Washington.
- The vast majority of lawmakers in Washington don’t understand them, feel deeply uncomfortable with their social conservatism and don’t understand their concerns about trade or immigration.
And yet, Possum Hollar continues to support them. Weird. Here is Axios’ take away, but I think they fundamentally get the equation wrong:
Be smart: Trump’s remodeling of the Republican Party is as much a culture change as a policy change.
- That means he has the ability to create realities that Republicans in Washington will either silently tolerate, or willingly believe and embrace.
Trump did not remodel the GOP. That’s always been the GOP. Their base finally found their spokesperson. Don’t let the media reframe this that this is a cult movement or a fever that will break. This is who the Republican Party is. It is who they always have been. All that’s changed is that they are not hiding these people in the attic any longer. They have them in the parlor.
BURN THE LIFEBOATS.