Writer and conservative fellow Peter Wehner appeared on “Morning Joe” Tuesday to talk about his column in the National Review that outlined instructions for how the Republican Party can survive after Donald Trump.
Host Joe Scarborough cited Trump’s Muslim ban and the toxic language coming from Republican candidates during the primaries, saying “That’s our party.” Wehner agreed, saying that those things are what helped Trump in the primaries.
While Wehner expects Trump will lose, he’s most concerned about the impending fight the GOP will have about their future. “One of the questions, is this an anomaly or a trajectory. As you were asking earlier, Willie [Geist], how much of this is Trump and how much is the phenomenon we call Trumpism? I think, there’s no question that if and when Trump leaves the scene, that’s going to make things better. But will he leave the scene or become a political irritant and will Trumpism continue and how does the Republican Party rid itself of it?”
He goes on to say that the plague of the right-wing and religious right is like a “fever” that the GOP has and was further exacerbated by people like Sarah Palin.
“This is the party of anti-reason,” Wehner continued. “You remember this, Joe, back when Ronald Reagan won in 1981, Pat Moynahan said I’m sad the Republican Party has become the party of ideas. It’s now the party of anti-reason. It started with Sarah Palin in 2008 and it’s continued. Unless he gets that straightened out, it’s not going to win national elections and it shouldn’t win national elections. The question is post-Trump, post-election, which Republican Party is going to prevail.”
The right-wing and tea party wing of the GOP are more concerned about ideological purity than they are about winning elections and Wehner says that will be their downfall.
“You have to persuade voters and try to convince them that winning matters,” he said of the GOP’s base. “This may be a fever. We go back to medical analogies, that has to pass, but Republican Primary voters are determined to election people who are monstrous figures, who have in the case of Donald Trump, I think, clinically disordered personalities, there’s a limited amount of things you can do. There’s a lot of complaints about the Republican establishment. The Republican establishment never would have nominated Donald Trump and they probably would have won the election. So, Republican primary voters, because of certain mental habits that have developed in the last decade or more, this is a kind of primal scream and this is what happens.”
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