What it would take to preserve the Republic if there’s a Trumpist/neo-Confederate take-over of the Republicans
I think the US is potentially going through a deep political re-alignment right now, especially if Trump and Trumpists don’t end up being prosecuted effectively. The issue here is just the reverse of what happened in the courts with Trump’s election fraud claims: one of the most salient things to point to, in terms of US public life, is that Trump’s efforts collapsed completely in court. (It also doesn’t hurt that people like his communications director are admitting they all knew it was all lies.)
The US needs good prosecutors who can hold Trump legally accountable once he is out of office. Plenty of Trumpists will scream bloody murder if this happens, but others will defect if and when Trump finally faces serious legal repercussions for at least some of his many apparent crimes.
Still, I want to sort of game out a world where the Trumpist faction continues to own the Republican party. Imagine a world where they are able to maintain a wrap-around media environment on at least some share of their audience, and continue to do this after Trump. I think this largely depends on them being able to constitute Trump’s election loss as a new Lost Cause, whether Trump is still around or not. Trumpism after Trump, in this scenario, is about constantly validating the conviction that they were in the right here, with all that this entails. It is significant because it means that the Republic is no longer legitimate, that only they are the true heirs of America, and that they will rise again. For all of these reasons, and because of the deep role of neo-Confederate politics in this coalition, I’m going to refer to this Trumpist faction (possibly after Trump) as neo-Confederates. Their strength in the Republican base will, fundamentally, depend on waving the new bloody shirt of Trump’s loss. Especially in a world where they can maintain their media bubble and Trump is never held legally accountable, I think the neo-Confederates have a pretty good chance of continuing to own the Republican party.
So what do we call the old-line Republicans, the ancien regime represented by Romney in public, and most Republican elected officials in private? I’m going to call them Publicans, after the Roman military contractor/tax farmer class. I also like the term because, in terms of constituencies, they represent what is left of the old-style Republican constituent farm. To neo-Confederates, the Publicans are called “RINOs”. (Publicans might be wise to start calling neo-Confederates RINOs if they hope to regain their party.)
In a world where the neo-Confederates continue to show the level of strength they have, the Publican RINOs increasingly become strangers in their own party, and increasingly become unable to win Republican primaries. Considering the Republican Party’s massive institutional advantages in the Senate, it isn’t too hard to imagine a world where the United States is routinely ruled by the neo-Confederates, waving the bloody shirt of Trump’s loss, and out for Q-style revenge against the many “traitors” of the Republic (in their rhetoric and view).
In this world, stopping the neo-Confederate resurgance will require coordination and collaboration among the 60% — 70% of the population that isn’t neo-Confederate. (The Democratic 50% + the Publican 10–20%) However, because of the way US politics is gerrymandered, it is important to understand that a neo-Confederate 30–40% will otherwise be in a position to establish a ruling “majority” in many places, and nationally at various times. If the Publicans really do want to preserve the Republic, this will mean that they will have to run in general elections in 3-way races, even when they are successfully primaried by the neo-Confederates.
If I were still working in US politics, one of the things I’d be focused on would be trying to get the Publicans to understand the situation they are in, and the sacrifice it will take on their part if they really do want to preserve the Republic.