The GOP is certainly justifying cynicism.
I had a conversation with some colleagues earlier today. I expressed surprise that the GOP ‘elites’ had stuck with Trump thus far. I noted that it displayed a lack of moral and political consistency, and that I had hoped for more. I however, expressed hope that the GOP would break with him when push came to shove. I also posited that eventually those who voted for him, at least enough to make him lose an election, would break with him if his policies failed to bring change. There are in fact, already some compelling if not simplistic points to be made against the man.
The GOP has stuck with Trump because it suits them in the short run, or so they think. In the long run if Trump collapses it could be nigh cataclysmic for the GOP, although I don’t believe the democrats are in a particularly great position to capitalize. The fact that they have stuck with Trump, including many throughout the ‘hacked election’ allegations shows to me that the Republicans, though I had hoped when push came to shove this was not the case, are only interested in lower p politics. The politics of power, of patronage, and of personality. Men like John McCain and Mitt Romney are hopefully displaying some sense of moral consistency. Evan McMullin is, but he’s a largely irrelevant figure at this time. But my colleagues laughed at me when I posted that McCain and Romney might yet stop Trump. No, they say, it’s all for power. All for convenience.
And if we really have descended to a point where it is all about power and the citizens do not care, there is little incentive besides pure civic goodwill to stick to what one believes in. If there is no value to the electorate, a popular election gives it little value to politicians. But no matter how depressing it may be that Trump has maintained support, I do hope that Republicans of integrity stand up to him on the matters that issue most, especially those Senators not up for re-election. I would hope that those up for re-election, only in danger from the left, also say what they feel is right for the country, but given the recent events that may be a bit much to ask.
I do still believe, no matter how much I was derided for it, that if Trump gets adequately unpopular Republicans will jump off the Trump train with extreme prejudice, throwing away their ill conceived alliance as some sort of rubbish, only fit to be discarded and derided. Trump has provided the GOP power, and the ability to govern. But should he lose his popularity he loses much of that power. And should he refuse to govern in a way the Republicans wish, he will lose them the ability to govern.
I would hope that this would be enough for them to abandon him. In a nihilist system in which all they desire is power, if he fails to provide it they have no reason to stick with him. There is no greater allegiance to the man than what he yields.
Yet some would tell me that his electorate does not care. Things could go to hell and they will still blame the Democrats. They are just in it for the power, and the Trump electorate is ill informed and will go along. I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, and hope to address this in another posting.
All in all, in a system in which the GOP holds power and does not seem to be wielding it in a capital P Political sense, and the Democrats mistrust that the GOP has the interests of the nation at stake (as I unfortunately have come to believe in the last few months), it will be difficult for any sort of compromise of political progress to be made. Ideally, politics is give and take. A battle of competing ideas that at the end of the day politicans craft into a vision of the country that is the best for those who have voted them into office.
At present there are very few ideas of note at play. The electorate in general cared little about policy or philosophical basis. There was no serious debate of direction. And now the GOP claims to have a mandate to govern according to some sort of pseudo-small-government “third way” which those who elected their president in large part rallied against. And perhaps it is elitist to think, but the broad ideas that helped form our democratic processes, that led to the abolition of slavery, the establishment of political discourse and of the limited powers of the presidency has given way to a power politics that cares very little for ideas, but rather for itself.