Patterico's Pontifications

12/3/2020

Possible Scenarios for a Future GOP

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:29 pm



[guest post by Dana]

We’ve had discussions here before about what the future of the GOP (post-Trump) might look like. As his days in office are now officially numbered, the GOP is going to have to make some tough decisions about where they want to go post-Trump. Although he will soon be out of office, Trump has transformed the party so much that it is barely recognizable. And he will doubtlessly continue to have a loud voice of influence within the Republican Party, with substantial MAGA supporters behind him, and a significant amount of money to back him up as well. This, as he uses the next four years to position himself for 2024. But the question is, will the Republican Party continue to languish on “Trump’s Fantasy Island” or will the party opt to return to familiar normalcy (i.e. reality)?

Here are three possible scenarios of a future GOP:

1. The MAGA scenario. Trump is eventually forced out of the White House, but Trumpism still dominates the Republican Party. Huge numbers of Republican voters continue to claim, without proof, that Democrats stole the election. They refuse to recognize the Biden administration or the democratic system that brought it to power. Republicans in Congress implacably oppose every Democratic proposal without offering any realistic alternatives; those who negotiate or even meet with the Biden administration face excommunication. A McConnell-led Senate (assuming Democratic losses in both Georgia senatorial runoffs) refuses to confirm any of President Biden’s judicial nominations or Cabinet picks. Republicans obstruct Covid-relief legislation and vaccine distribution. Trump-loving, gun-toting paramilitaries become ever more organized and emboldened, while his supporters in the culture wars come to believe that those who criticize their leader are enemies to be destroyed. The 2024 Republican presidential nominee will be a member of The Family; a Trump-style populist entertainer like Tucker Carlson; or perhaps Trump himself.

2. The Republican Party professionals scenario. Here, political experts within the party realize that the size and frequency of Trump’s rallies are no guarantee of his victory, much as his “owning the libs” doesn’t make up for his failure to pass any significant legislation aside from the 2017 tax cut. They know that holding on to the fiction that Democrats stole the election makes them look ridiculous and unhinged to all but the MAGA faithful. Political realities compel them to move the GOP a few steps away from Trump. Eventually, the kinds of conservatives who appear on Fox News grudgingly concede that Biden won. They still proclaim allegiance to Trump, but hint that his America First antagonism toward trade and international alliances did more harm than good. Republicans in Congress become fiscal-austerity-plus-tax-cuts zealots who refuse to cooperate with Democrats on any significant legislation, but their fanaticism stops just short of shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt. They cheer as the Supreme Court guts Obamacare but stymie any Democratic fixes. The GOP machinery works relentlessly to tie Biden to socialism, and all Democratic legislators to “defund the police” and the worst excesses of woke-ism. Bow-tied commentators on Fox and Sinclair talk up the merits of Nikki Haley, Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis as presidential candidates to excite the masses with Trumpian bravado while also pleasing the party establishment.

3. The outreach scenario. What if a post-Trump Republican Party were to come up with policies to win over both the working class and the middle class? While this seems unlikely at the moment, the 2020 elections laid the groundwork for it by removing the greatest obstacle to policymaking—Trump—while thwarting a Democratic landslide that would have empowered the far-left to pass a radical program against the wishes of most of the population. Under those circumstances, the Republican Party would have curled into a tight ball of absolute opposition. As it is, the 2020 elections strengthened the hand of comparatively moderate Republicans, and there is some room for pragmatic negotiation.

For the sake of a richer discussion, please read the whole thing and then come back and give us your thoughts. Which scenario do you find most plausible, and why? For members and/or former members of the Republican party: what do you need to see happen to reassure you of your party’s sanity and/or what would have to happen for you to compel you to return to the party?

–Dana

56 Responses to “Possible Scenarios for a Future GOP”

  1. No matter where the party moves, I suspect the MAGA influence will be far greater and long-lasting than anything we imagined it could (or would) be.

    Dana (cc9481)

  2. I can only see a flavor of #1.

    #3 would be my choice, but that’s a third party, #2 is as well. It would be better for the country if we could build a 3rd party that has 20% support, maybe then the Dems would split too. I think we’ve seen over the last 20 years is that there really are about 4 political cohorts, while the moderate left/right parties might be able work together on lots of things, if you include the wacky wings of either, you get Trumpists vs AOCs, and a complete inability to do anything…which is fine when there isn’t a crisis, then you need to live in reality world.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  3. Short term it will be scenario 1. For 20-30 years the far right media has been saying crazy things in a serious way that are either ridiculous on the surface or enormously impractical and will never happen and people have bit by bit been believing them, especially as a professional politician occasionally and then more and more frequently has treated the crazy ideas seriously and given them more and more credence. The party has poisoned it’s own well on the far right end and they can’t win w/out the far right, right now. They might start to creep toward scenario 2, but only very gently. Scenario 3 last existed as a possibility more than 10 years ago, it might exist again in another 10 years, but the rhetoric hasn’t been in that space in a long time.

    Nic (896fdf)

  4. I would like to see the GOP rally around these principles, some of which ought to appeal to the Trumpists, some of which are traditional Republican dogma:

    1. The government governs by the assent of the people, and government operates for the benefit of the public, not of the elected official or bureaucrat.

    2. Government solutions are best implemented at the most basic level of government (the principle of subsidiarity) and ought not to be one-size-fits all mandates issued from on high.

    3. Laws are far more effective for punishing transgressors than they are in preventing malfeasance. The answer to society’s problems is not necessarily new laws.

    4. Regulatory bodies should themselves be tightly regulated, and should ultimately be responsible to elected officials. (Sorry, Elizabeth Warren.)

    5. Government programs need to be paid for with existing revenue streams, and they should be held to standards set forth in their charter. Government programs which fail to meet their stated objectives should be terminated, or at least subject to required re-authorization.

    6. Government programs exist to serve the citizens, not to provide jobs for bureaucrats or other employees.

    7. Elected officials should be citizen-legislators, not a separate class of lifelong office-holders. Most elected offices should be subject to term-limits, unless the people themselves choose otherwise.

    8. Unions for public employees should be limited to those employees who face dangerous working conditions (e.g., law enforcement and fire fighting). All salaries and benefits need to be paid for from current revenue streams, and must be renegotiated when revenue falls short.

    There’s probably more that I would come up with. I am trying to choose items which seem sort of obvious to most of us, but which I think in practice (if perhaps not in principle) separates us from progressives.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  5. I know that it’s tempting to believe that GOPers who are tired of the Trump Era can work together with Democrats who are tired of the Sanders/Squad influence, but I’m not optimistic. I do believe that there is a huge chasm between the two parties — even between moderate Dems and Republicans — over how much government should be involved in our day-to-day lives, and I don’t see that being resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  6. The republican party is now the populist party. About 10 % were the wealthy libertarian conservatives. and their stooges I like the term their running dogs. They gave lip service to social conservative issues to get ignorant white trash democrats to vote against their best interests like free trade. Trump solved the problem of the wealthy buying republican primary elections. Bye bye libertarian conservatives. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    asset (0fbce6)

  7. Wait two years before making any predictions. At the close of the 2022 congressional elections, the power and influence of Trump can be recalibrated. At that point, we’ll find out if Republicans will choose scenario 1 or scenario 2. Scenario 3 is the stuff dreams are made of.

    John B Boddie (d795fd)

  8. @4-

    9. Political appointees to government agencies or departments should not come from the industries that are regulated or have contracts with the government agency or department. No defense executives leading DOD for example. Appointees should serve no longer than four years in government.

    10. A minimum of ten years’ private sector experience between government appointments.

    11. Repeal the legal basis for unions-the National Labor Relations Act and Taft-Hartley. (One can dream). Certainly no public employee unions-the worst kind.

    #7 is no different than the current situation-voters can impose term limits through elections, yet they choose not to. Term limits should be hard and fast, or not at all.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. I’m taking a hope for the best (#3) but expect the worst (#1) mentality. I don’t see the GOP going anywhere as long Trump, his spawn and Trumpism are part of the GOP, and I don’t believe I’m alone in that.
    For that reason, I foresee a political civil war and, however it comes out, will end in a weakened minority party for years to come. If a viable anti-Trump conservative movement comes along, I’m turning in my GOP card.
    P.S. I agree with pretty much all of JVW’s points.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  10. Sen. Cornyn: “I will not support any nominee who doesn’t provide full transparency into their work on behalf of a foreign government. I will not do it. The American people deserve to know if these or any future nominees are beholden to anything other than our national interest.”

    To which David Frum responded:

    During a talk today, I was asked how Republicans will process their memory of the Trump years. I answered by quoting Don Draper’s cynical remark from Mad Men Season 1: “It never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  11. I’m betting on scenario #1. Reasons:

    – Republicans already played implacable opposition once this century, and it mostly worked for them. McConnell didn’t make Obama a one-termer as he wanted, but otherwise they did pretty well in opposition. (Trump snatched the big prize, of course.)

    – When they had the presidency, the Senate and the House, policy was mostly limited to throwing money at favored constituents, burrowing into the judiciary, wholesale deregulation and specific PR goals. They literally threw out the GOP platform. In large, Republicans don’t actually seem to have a coherent positive agenda, or want one.

    – There was a famous pow-wow of Very Important Republicans after Romney lost. It seems like it was a lot like this discussion. We know what happened next.

    john (cd2753)

  12. Which scenario do you find most plausible, and why?

    #2 While the “iron” is quite hot with Trump losing the re-election, I think that’ll eventually fade. My hope is that the current GOP apparatus recognized what worked with Trumpism and determine to move away from the vices of Trumpism.

    I believe Trump is keeping his options open from a re-run, he’ll probably stick to being a “kingmaker” for the next evolution of elected GOP members. He’s in that elite group as being a former President. Not sure if there’s any need for Trump to run for 2nd term.

    For members and/or former members of the Republican party: what do you need to see happen to reassure you of your party’s sanity and/or what would have to happen for you to compel you to return to the party?

    Keep the worst of the Democrat’s inane policies in check.

    whembly (c30c83)

  13. I agree with the author of the article in that #2 is the most likely scenario. For it to happen, however, there will have to be millions of conversations like the one I had with my sister and her husband over Thanksgiving. They live in Utah, and are die-hard Trumpers, but I believe they respect my political viewpoints.

    The subject of the “fraudulent” election came up. I didn’t laugh or call them crazy, but my brother-in-law gleaned that I didn’t believe the election was rigged.

    Both he and my sister expressed shock that half of the people in their ward (Mormonspeak for congregation) supported Biden. (I gathered that they had never seen this level of support for a Democratic presidential candidate in their very red Orem, UT neighborhood, where almost everybody is Mormon and part of their ward.)

    I asked them whether this was not an indicator that Biden won the election fair and square. They responded with, “But Trump won the state of Utah.” It didn’t appear to dawn on them that if Biden could get half of their neighborhood, it signified something for the rest of the country.

    It frustrates me that Trump snookered both my sister and my mother. (Full disclosure: He conned me in 2016.) Both of them were John Birchers at one time, and have always been Constitution this, Constitution that. After Goldwater, I don’t think my mom ever voted D or R until Romney in 2012. My sister was even more extreme. She always voted third party, even in 2016. This year, however, she was fully on board the Trump Train.

    I believe Trump appealed to both of them because he took what had previously been complicated issues, and addressed them in an emotional, comic-book fashion, blaming others for America’s problems rather than Americans themselves. He did not sound like a politician, and that thrilled people.

    norcal (a5428a)

  14. Allahpundit has a reality check:

    Trump To Hold 2024 Campaign Event — On Inauguration Day?

    [quoting a Politico story]
    “If he were to run in 2024, I think he would be the nominee. And I would support him doing that,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “He’d have a lot of support out in the country.”

    “It’d be great if he ran. He’s done a good job. I think he ought to run if he wants to run. Who knows what’s going to happen in ‘24?” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who said he is not focused on a presidential run at the moment. “He can sell the things he accomplished.”…

    “We’re so far away from that. I will tell you this. If he runs, I think he would clearly be the favorite. I think he would win,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who ran against Trump in 2016 and has mulled another run in the future. “I know it’s an interesting story, but I have no idea.”

    On the very day that story was published, the president posted a 46-minute video touting wild theories of how the election was rigged which his elite strike force of lawyers still has yet to prove in court. He’s spent nearly every waking hour over the past month trying to undermine the country’s faith in its election system. Some of his most rabid fans have turned so feral in their efforts to harass people who are attached to the “fraud” that those people have had to go into hiding. The security director for Dominion Voting Systems is at an undisclosed location, according to the AP, because his photo, address, and family details were published online. He’s still getting threats from harassers who claim they know which town he’s hiding out in. “It’s terrifying,” he told the AP. “I’ve worked in international elections in all sorts of post-conflict countries where election violence is real and people end up getting killed over it. And I feel that we’re on the verge of that.”

    Neither Trump nor anyone who works for him has said a forceful discouraging word about any of that. And even so, even so, the cretins in McConnell’s caucus are already scrambling to renominate him in 2024 by acclamation. I don’t say this lightly: Trump is one of the most respectable Republicans in government right now.

    There’s your future GOP.

    Dave (1bb933)

  15. #7 is no different than the current situation-voters can impose term limits through elections, yet they choose not to. Term limits should be hard and fast, or not at all.

    My idea is that you work backwards: impose term limits on Congress via Constitutional Amendment, but allow states to opt-out by a vote of their citizens. At the same time, place a hard limit on the number of years a member can serve as Speaker (8, same as President and Vice-President) or as a committee chair, but no limits on how long they can serve as a party leader. I’m guessing that enough states will continue with term limits such that any Nancy Pelosi type who wants to hold on to power for a long time will end up deposed by her own caucus.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  16. Republicans in Congress implacably oppose every Democratic proposal without offering any realistic alternatives; those who negotiate or even meet with the Biden administration face excommunication.

    Isn’t that what the Democrats did to Trump and Ryan?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. I would suggest that path #1 would result in a bloodbath for the GOP at the mid-terms. But then, this is pretty much what the Democrats attempted, with the able assistance of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” in the House and through filibuster and footdragging in the Senate, until the rules got changed. And clearly they didn’t suffer much, although that may be more Trump’s fault than anything.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. I suggest the following: The House votes to censure Trump. We get to see how many Republican members go along. If possible the Senate does so as well. THere are few GOP seantors who would have no problem with it.

    This would set off a civil war within the GOP. It would be not a moment too soon.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. Unfortunately, it seems that scenario #1 is what is likely to happen for at least the next few years. It’s anyone’s guess what happens afterwards. The pre-Trump GOP is just not going to return. There might be an uneasy alliance in the GOP between free market, limited government conservatives, and center-right, socially conservative populists taking place before the 2024 elections.

    HCI (92ea66)

  20. Path #3 is possible, but it would require another party.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  21. I suggest the following: The House votes to censure Trump.

    I hate to be all Johnny Constitution on you, but there is no provision in that document for the Congress to censure the executive. I was against it 22 years ago when Democrats wanted to censure President Clinton rather than impeach him, and I’m still against it today.

    If the Republican Party wanted to censure Donald Trump then that would be up to them, but we both know that would never happen.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  22. I hate to be all Johnny Constitution on you, but there is no provision in that document for the Congress to censure the executive.

    What part of “All legislative powers” is unclear?

    Bills are one form of legislation, but not the only form.

    Dave (1bb933)

  23. From the Biden/Harris interview:

    Biden told Tapper that his Justice Department will operate independently, and that he would not direct them on how or who to investigate: “I’m not going to be saying go prosecute A, B or C — I’m not going to be telling them,” Biden said. “That’s not the role, it’s not my Justice Department it’s the people’s Justice Department.”

    Harris, a former prosecutor who served as California’s attorney general, echoed that call for independence for the Justice Department, drawing a bright line between the Biden administration’s approach and Trump’s.

    “We will not tell the Justice Department how to do its job. And we are going to assume, and I say this as a former attorney general elected in California — and I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States — that any decision coming out of the Justice Department, in particular the United States Department of Justice, should be based on facts, it should be based on the law, it should not be influenced by politics, period,” Harris told Tapper.

    Taken at face value this is significant; they say they aren’t going to tell the Justice Department who to investigate or how to do their job. That implies they won’t tell them who *not* to investigate either.

    Dave (1bb933)

  24. get me a sammich, cupcake

    mg (8cbc69)

  25. I think it will probably be a combination of all of the above, but everything hinges on the outcome of the Georgia runoffs. As I noted on a earlier thread, there is a lot on anxiety among state Republicans about the Trump rally on Saturday. Will he actually campaign for Purdue and Loeffler? Or will he use his platform to proclaim wild conspiracy theories, make unfounded accusations of voter fraud and election theft, complain about the media and the courts, and hurl insults against the Republican governor and secretary of state for their crime in certifying election results?

    We shall see. If Purdue and Loeffler both lose, the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats and McConnel will be out of his majority leadership position. To me, that would be a good thing, because I despise McConnell. If Purdue and Loeffler both win, or one loses and the other wins, the Republicans may maintain their slim majority and McConnell will keep his position, in which case the Republican party will become obstructionist. To me, that would be a bad thing.

    I think (hope) Biden will try to govern as a moderate. That’s who he is, a center-left Democrat, willing to compromise with center-right Republicans in order to get effective legislation passed. That’s why I voted for him. First time in my life I ever voted for a Democrat, but this Trump madness has got to end.

    I think (hope) Trump will become increasingly irrelevant once he’s out of office. Yeah, he will always have his MAGA cult, but they’re actually a small percentage of the electorate. Most Republicans didn’t vote for Trump; they voted against Biden; just as most Republicans didn’t vote for Trump in 2016; they voted against Clinton. But in this election, Biden won overwhelmingly.

    That tells me that Trump’s cult base is actually very small. The Republicans who are afraid of losing their support are cowards. They should be out there campaigning on principles and issues, but they’ve all been cow-towed by Trump. That’s on them.

    These next few months and years will prove to be increasingly difficult. We have a pandemic to deal with–over 13 million infected, untold hundreds of thousands hospitalized, and over 285,000 dead.

    All of this happened under Trump’s watch. He is an incompetent and failed president. This much is obvious.

    He’s a bad actor that won’t leave the stage.

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing. (Macbeth, Shakespeare)

    The more Republicans follow the Trump clown train, the more they will lose. Credible Republicans should realize this and abandon ship. The state we are in is far worse than Mutiny on the Bounty.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  26. An interesting question and if you had asked pre-Trump for some political prognostication, I would gladly and surely give it. But in the last four years, we’ve seen a real estate developer turned reality celebrity elected president, Israel normalize relations with Arab countries, a two-time presidential loser become president-elect, and a global pandemic. None of which I would have ever guessed pre-Nov 2016.

    So I respectfully and humbly predict I have no effing clue what the GOP will look like in the future.

    Hoi Polloi (3bc019)

  27. The statement of “winning over the working class” in Option #3 jumps out at me. The conservative party is typically the one of tough love and hard truths….that preaches limiting what the federal government does, devolving much to states, and fundamentally leaving most to the individual. So this becomes a big marketing challenge. Democrats are promising the “working class” subsidized child care, subsidized college tuition, subsidized health care, better K-12 schools, a higher minimum wage, greater union power, and more make-work public sector jobs. The Republican argument is that much of this gets better if we get government out of the way….less government involvement, fewer regulations, greater choice. But let’s face it, the former is much easier to sell to the “working class” than the latter….especially when no one can meaningfully articulate why the “working class” should authentically care about deficits and government debt.

    In comes Trump’s nationalism that spins all of America’s problems are because of the Chinese, Mexicans, Muslims, and irresponsible NATO allies…and then claiming the greatest solutions without a lick of detail….but with enough bravado to con the “working class”. So the question becomes: does the GOP become the party of giving more subsidies….just slower and smaller….or a party that sells frugality and personal responsibility….in an era where the “working class” feels more and more squeezed? Trump’s Barnum solution is not the sustainable way forward. The GOP has to get back to the laboratory and design small government solutions to “working class” problems and get good and explaining why they’re the preferred solutions. “Everything Trump” just delays getting started on that hard work.

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  28. What I think is that there is no GOP. What there is is thousands of penny-ante grifters across the country who use the Republican Party organization as their vehicle to the public troughs, just as others use the Democratic Party organization as the vehicle to their public troughs. To the extent that it takes them to their troughs, they will support it and maintain it. To the extent that it does not, they will walk, hitchhike, or find another vehicle. And that is what is.

    nk (1d9030)

  29. I find myself agreeing with #26: the past five years have been filled with so many surprises that no one would have predicted that I think it’s simply impossible to say with any degree of certainty what will happen. Back when Romney ran, I doubt anyone could have predicted that the Republican party would end up in the thrall of an unhinged conman like Trump. While my preference (which has nothing to do with it) would be #3 where the memory of the Trump years just fades away, I can imagine any of the three scenarios coming about.

    Roger (782680)

  30. 23. Biden told Tapper that his Justice Department will operate independently,
    ….
    Harris [] echoed that call for independence []
    “We will not tell the Justice Department how to do its job.

    The Politburo does not interfere with the work of the security organs. The function of the Politburo is to manage the Union; it is the function of the security organs to identify enemies of the state and to take the appropriates steps to protect the Union from them.

    nk (1d9030)

  31. If the commissar entrusted with state security fails in his function, it then becomes incumbent on the Secretary General and patriotic members of the Politburo to denounce him on Twitter.

    nk (1d9030)

  32. Nk. Every accusation is a confession.

    Victor (4959fb)

  33. @23

    Taken at face value this is significant; they say they aren’t going to tell the Justice Department who to investigate or how to do their job. That implies they won’t tell them who *not* to investigate either.

    Dave (1bb933) — 12/3/2020 @ 11:47 pm

    Not really. It’s political-speak.

    How often do we catch politicians saying they won’t do “x”, but proceed to do “x”????

    whembly (c30c83)

  34. How often do we catch politicians saying they won’t do “x”, but proceed to do “x”????

    That’s why I added the disclaimer “taken at face value”.

    But after four years of an administration that loudly and proudly proclaims its intention, every day, to do the wrong thing (i.e. berating the Attorney General and FBI director to prosecute political opponents for imagined crimes and shield political allies from the consequences of real ones, and then firing them when they refuse to play ball), we are at the point where even the acknowledgment of the right thing to do as such is a major step forward.

    Dave (1bb933)

  35. Dana,
    I don’t think this scenario is at all likely.

    3. The outreach scenario. What if a post-Trump Republican Party were to come up with policies to win over both the working class and the middle class? While this seems unlikely at the moment, the 2020 elections laid the groundwork for it by removing the greatest obstacle to policymaking—Trump—while thwarting a Democratic landslide that would have empowered the far-left to pass a radical program against the wishes of most of the population. Under those circumstances, the Republican Party would have curled into a tight ball of absolute opposition. As it is, the 2020 elections strengthened the hand of comparatively moderate Republicans, and there is some room for pragmatic negotiation.

    The GOP showed that obstructionism was an effective political strategy during the Obama administration. It’s unclear that there’s a large constituency for moving away from that. If there is, I don’t see it. I do see a large group of GOP voters that will punish anyone who is insufficiently combative. I also see a news a media culture that has little time for a long explanation about how a compromise yielded the best overall deal. That nuanced message will be drowned out by short, pithy accusations of being a sell out or weak, or a rino. I’ll add that a large part of the GOP coalitions primary desire is for their politician’s to flip the bird at people who look down on them. Given all of this I don’t think an outcome where we get compromise and deal making is likely. Which GOP leader do you think can effectively sell less social spending in exchange for stricter limits on immigration? Or a deal that fixes some of the problems with Obama care, expands it’s coverage, but puts firm barriers to spending money on abortion. I think the most likely outcome is that whoever leads the compromise is attacked from the right, especially since it’s clear that a large part of Trump’s base isn’t just resistant to persuasion, they’re immune to fact based decision making.

    I think the likely outcome is number 1. We’ll see if there’s anyone else that can pull it off.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  36. @23
    Taken at face value this is significant; they say they aren’t going to tell the Justice Department who to investigate or how to do their job. That implies they won’t tell them who *not* to investigate either.
    Dave (1bb933) — 12/3/2020 @ 11:47 pm

    Not really. It’s political-speak.

    How often do we catch politicians saying they won’t do “x”, but proceed to do “x”????

    whembly (c30c83) — 12/4/2020 @ 6:33 am

    I think it’s unlikely that Biden will criticize his AG for not launching politically motivated prosecutions.
    I think it’s unlikely that Biden will fire the head of the FBI to stop a properly predicated investigation.
    I think it’s unlikely that Biden will pardon his allies who have been convicted of lying and witness intimidation when his administration is the target of investigation.

    Time123 (ea2b98)

  37. On Jan 20, Biden should announce that he has full faith in Durham and looks forward to the report. He should add that as Durham is clearly seen as a reliable actor by Trump and Barr he’s tasking him to evaluate accusations of obstruction and campaign finance violations that Trump may have committed.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  38. It strikes me that outcomes 1-3 are a linear progression that the GOP could go through. They continue with path 1 until Trump, as a result of legal problems or illness or boredom, withdraws from the stage. Then the professionals take over and pretend to be just like Trump. If that doesn’t work, the sort of soul searching advertised in #3 might happen. Some of that went on in 2009 before the Tea Party really took off. (This was the period when Tucker Carlson said interesting stuff, Laura Ingraham made peace with her gay brother, and David Frum had respect from the movement.)

    The next year or two is going to be approach #1 without doubt. The election really did not repudiate it and I think Congressional leaders appreciate that Trump unified the party in a way that has made their caucus much easier to manage.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  39. That Trump will continue to be an influential voice in the GOP is likely. If he can sustain his support and presence, he will be well-positioned for 2024. I’m curious to see, if after four years of Biden, whether a Trump challenge will pull more Republicans back into the fold, or drive more out of the party? Either way, as I have consistently maintained, Trump’s post-election behavior is a bizarre combination of a desperate man trying to save face right here and now because he hates losers, as well as cleverly taking advantage of his self-generated turmoil as a means to keep the gravy train flowing while postures himself as having been a victim of the swamp. It appears to be working, to some degree:

    According to new campaign filings reported by The Washington Post, Trump has raised $495 million since mid-October, with $207.5 million of that being raked in after Election Day as he bombarded supporters with scare stories about voter fraud despite a complete lack of evidence. According to the Post, a lot of that cash will flow toward Save America, a political action committee that the president can use as he pleases after he leaves office. Some of the money will go toward Trump’s courtroom fights over the election results, which have, so far, all collapsed under the lightest of legal scrutiny.

    Dana (cc9481)

  40. @36 I think it’s unlikely that Biden will criticize his AG for not launching politically motivated prosecutions.
    I think it’s unlikely that Biden will fire the head of the FBI to stop a properly predicated investigation.
    I think it’s unlikely that Biden will pardon his allies who have been convicted of lying and witness intimidation when his administration is the target of investigation.

    Time123 (ea2b98) — 12/4/2020 @ 7:28 am

    Oh…you mean a guy who was the VP during the Obama administration won’t learn how Obama’s AG didn’t investigate/prosecute for things like the IRS scandal, or the Fast & Furious ordeal?

    You mean, there were zero communications from the top about that?

    Or, you know how James Clapper and John Brennan literally lied to Congress (#1 was when intelligence apparatus “spied” on Senator’s and the other was the PRISM program), without facing any sort of accountability? Did the FBI/DOJ even *try* to investigate them? I don’t know how you can even be more clear cut than what they did… it wasn’t a “smoking gun lying on the ground next to them” scenario…this was witness in realtime law breakings.

    You mean to tell me that previous administrations *DIDN’T* have any hand, whatsoever, in steering the DOJ apparatus away from the connected? How would you explain the differences between a sailor stupidly taking a photo in a submarine and then was rightly convicted, but Hillary Clinton’s (and her staff)homebrew email server breaking oodles of classfied information handling laws skates?

    It’s real life Animal Farm… everyone’s equal, but some are more equal than others.

    With Trump, he’s a brute force politician publicaly stomping is feet in very public manner. But, that doesn’t mean that other politicians would try to achieve the same goals, but in a more tactful manner.

    whembly (c30c83)

  41. @36: Sounds like Biden/Harris plan to do things “by the book.” Good news for the Logan Act.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  42. Whembly, I’m going to move on from this line of discussion. Dana posed a good question and asked people to read it and reply to what she wrote. I shouldn’t have helped take it off topic.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  43. @39, this is part of the problem. It’s easier to grift money from suckers with short, simple lies that make them angry then it is to get donations for more complicated compromises. The media has an easier time keeping viewers with outrage then detailed analysis so they have every incentive to play along. All of this adds up to obstruction and more MAGA.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  44. @39, this is part of the problem. It’s easier to grift money from suckers with short, simple lies

    They would have given it to a Nigerian prince, anyway, and as they won’t have it to buy meth, it also reduces the drug problem and its associated ills. Wear that Dior in good health, Miss Melania.

    nk (1d9030)

  45. All three scenarios are wrong. Scenario #1 is too extreme. Scenario #2 is also too extreme. Scenario #3 is too moderate.

    The first thing that is going to happen is that “conservative” talk radio and other outlets are going to have to decide what to do about these stolen election claims. They can’t endorse it if the want to be taken seriously by 60% to 80% of their audience (it will become apparent to anyone that either they are not true or many Republicans are corrupt) – but they can’t go against it without losing a certain fraction of their audience.

    Sammy Finkelman (20d02d)

  46. It might be that the only way to restore sanity at least somewhere in politics would be to start organizing a third party, with many defections, which might be pre-empted or reversed by the majority of the Republican Party stopping taking Donald Trump seriously. (And then Donald Trump might try to pre-empt that by dropping his extremely untrue election claims)

    It;s not that dead people, including the son of Brad Raffenperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, didn;t get sent voter registration applications by unofficial groups,

    https://www.wabe.org/we-have-proof-in-our-own-home-raffensperger-renews-warning-to-voter-registration-groups

    or that certain deceased individuals weren’t mailed absentee ballots and that a certain fraction, maybe 10%, of the people who received them cast ballots.

    It’s not that all signatures were authentic – it’s that there was no massive organized campaign of fraud and there are systems in place to prevent that sort of thing from being pulled off.

    Sammy Finkelman (20d02d)

  47. 25. Gawain’s Ghost (b25cd1) — 12/4/2020 @ 3:36 am

    As I noted on a earlier thread, there is a lot on anxiety among state Republicans about the Trump rally on Saturday. Will he actually campaign for Purdue and Loeffler? Or will he use his platform to proclaim wild conspiracy theories, make unfounded accusations of voter fraud and election theft, complain about the media and the courts, and hurl insults against the Republican governor and secretary of state for their crime in certifying election results?

    Both. Bit so long as he keeps it up about the election theft, or at least about reversing that alleged theft, his campaigning will be counter-productive.

    The best argument there is for turning out and electing those Senators, is that he won’t be president, as well as that the election in Georgia was honestly tabulated.

    If Purdue and Loeffler both win, or one loses and the other wins, the Republicans may maintain their slim majority and McConnell will keep his position, in which case the Republican party will become obstructionist. To me, that would be a bad thing.

    It might not be all so obstructionist. Biden will attempt to give McConnell things he wants, and then McConnell has to worry about losing his majority.

    Right now, Biden managed to get nancy Pelosi to back down on her extreme demands to put everything into the coronovirus relied bill. We shall see if McConnell will move, too. (Trump will probably sign anything that passes the Senate, right now divided 51-49 in favor of the Republicans, with Mike Pence as the tie breaking vote, now that Mark Kelly has replaced Martha McSally for the remainder of John McCain;s term.)

    I think (hope) Trump will become increasingly irrelevant once he’s out of office.

    It may require some initiative in rejecting him. They might like to support him but they can’t so long so long as he stays as crazy as he is now. He’s disputing the surge in Covid cases, too.

    Yeah, he will always have his MAGA cult, but they’re actually a small percentage of the electorate.

    They are, they are. That’s right.

    Even the people who like the results. They may be more loyal to all the media people who are supporting the crazy claims than to Trump and these media people will decide the way it goes.

    Somebody has to look into all these affidavits, all the claims, and explain the election system.

    One thing I say, though: We need some more innovation in proposed policies, and lobbyists will support all kinds of bad ideas.

    Sammy Finkelman (20d02d)

  48. GG:

    He’s a bad actor that won’t leave the stage.

    He’s got to be booed off the stage, so to speak.

    The more Republicans follow the Trump clown train, the more they will lose. Credible Republicans should realize this and abandon ship. The state we are in is far worse than Mutiny on the Bounty

    But the problem is they can’t be credible (to most people) without taking a strong stand against Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (20d02d)

  49. GG:

    We have a pandemic to deal with–over 13 million infected, untold hundreds of thousands hospitalized, and over 285,000 dead.

    All of this happened under Trump’s watch. He is an incompetent and failed president. This much is obvious.

    He was actually more competent on this matter than most other presidents would have been. But not enough.

    FOR INSTANCE, RIGHT NOW WHY ALL THIS FOCUS ABOUT VACCINES?

    We need artificial neutralizing antibodies. Simon Jester followed research on this.

    Vaccines are for an epidemic is NOT raging. Which is not now.

    This needs more publicity: https://www.covidplasmasavealife.com

    And now they’ve got something else. The therapeuric that cured Donald Trump and Chris Christie:

    Outpatient COVID-19 Antibody Treatment Now Available

    (New York, NY, December 1, 2020) Covid Plasma Initiative’s lifesaving efforts have expanded to include the facilitation of a newly available, potentially life-saving treatment. Referred to as monoclonal antibodies, it is an infusion of lab manufactured, concentrated antibodies, similar to those in convalescent plasma. This is the same treatment given to President Trump; and now, as of last week, it is available to the public. ..

    …Monoclonal antibody treatment can be accessed by anyone who tests positive (via PCR test, NOT rapid) and is considered ‘at risk’. A person is defined as ‘at risk’ if they have one of the following factors: diabetes, obesity, immunosuppressed, over 65, and over 55 with hypertension. Other factors may qualify as well.

    The FDA advises that monoclonal antibody treatment start as soon as possible after a positive test, preferably within 24 hours and no later than 10 days after symptom onset. It is therefore imperative to take a COVID-19 test right away if you have symptoms or were exposed. Contact your doctor immediately to discuss whether this treatment is appropriate for you and if so, to arrange access.

    Hospitals providing monoclonal antibodies include Mt. Sinai (NYC), Maimonides (Brooklyn), Northwell (LI and SI), Good Samaritan (Rockland), Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (NJ). (Please note that not all hospitals on this list are similarly recommended for COVID-19 inpatient care).

    Where is Trump on this? Distracted by vaccines.

    And Joe Biden is waiting for someone else to tell him this should be used.

    And you can go a bit beyond the evidence that;s nailed down, and administer small doses of these antibodies to people who might become exposed, something like a temporary vaccine that works immediately and lasts for a few months.

    You could spread out the supply that way, too.

    Sammy Finkelman (20d02d)

  50. ” that will punish anyone who is insufficiently combative”

    Yeah, the GOP is the party of Sean Hannity right now…loud and belligerent….that’s why otherwise sane people are suggesting someone like Tucker Carlson has a shot at the nomination….versus….you know….someone who has actually governed and demonstrated leadership skills. It still looks like anyone who wants to run in 2024 will need to be filtered through the “talkers”…will they repeat 2020?

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  51. there is no provision in that document for the Congress to censure the executive.

    There is no provision for National Kumquat Week, either, except that Congress gets to pass things. Still, it had enough meaning that Andy Jackson’s people went rather out of their way to expunge a previous censure of their guy.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  52. Yeah, the GOP is the party of Sean Hannity right now…loud and belligerent

    Rather than accede to the crazies, it would be better to ridicule them mercilessly. I’d rather say that the Nazis don’t control the GOP than say they do.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  53. I expect something close to scenario #1 — the Republican party remains Trumpist and McConnell views his job as doing everything he can to obstruct the Biden administration, including making it difficult to get cabinet officials and judges approved, and standing in the way of anything that comes out of the House. The Trumpists then run in 2024 on a “the Democrats have done nothing for four years” platform and win both houses and the Presidency in 2024.

    I’m cynical enough at this point to then believe the Trumpists rig things to stay in power for the rest of my life, and I don’t think either the anti-Trump Republicans or the Democrats can prevent it.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  54. > I would suggest that path #1 would result in a bloodbath for the GOP at the mid-terms.

    I believed that until the Trumpists *increased* their representation in Congress in this election. I now belive that Republican control of the House after 2023 is all but certain, and that the short-term most successful path for Republicans will be to obstruct everything and blame the Democrats for extremism.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  55. The Washington Post surveyed all 249 Republican members of Congress.

    Only 25 acknowledged that Biden won the election.

    Of the 14 Republicans in the House who acknowledge the election outcome, six are retiring in January.

    Dave (1bb933)

  56. aphrael (4c4719) — 12/4/2020 @ 10:02 pm

    your comments have persuaded me to your point of view. The will to power is almost a requirment in politics. If one does not posses it, they will acquire it eventually, if not adopt it enthusiastically.

    felipe (630e0b)


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