The Republicans were having trouble unifying and rallying behind GOP nominee Donald Trump during the primaries, and many are jumping ship just weeks before the Election. At this point, it’s unclear what the future of the party will look like after November 8.
Can the Republican party as we know it survive after the Election? Experts suggest the GOP is seeing an “unprecedented level of disunity and chaos,” according to ABC News.
No, conservatism and conservative values will never die. The party will never give up its free-market, anti-abortion, evangelical, American exceptionalist ideals. But with Trump, some supporters are moving beyond the party.
There has been a growing divide between the traditional Republican establishment and those who align with the aforementioned principles, and those who openly identify with Trump’s violent anti-establishment, white nationalist, misogynistic alt-right movement.
The followers of Trump extremism — which perpetuates and legitimizes a narrative of white genocide and white supremacy through its anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim, and pro-policing rhetoric — extend beyond the Republican party’s Reagan era.
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
While those who still align with traditional conservatism will carry on, Trump’s movement has cast a divide within the party. His followers have carved a different kind of radical conservative movement that will thrive even after the election — a party maintained by fascist and racist ideas.
William Johnson, the chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party in Los Angeles told the Guardian, “If Trump wins, all the establishment Republicans, they’re gone.”
Many top Republicans have denounced and distanced themselves from the Trump campaign since he announced his candidacy. Those include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Jeb Bush, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, to name a few. Some have even said they would vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
During Trump’s Republican National Convention in July, a Never Trump protest erupted on the convention floor as some delegates tried to unbind themselves from the nominee so they could “vote their conscience.” With such a divide within the party prior to the election, is it possible for American conservatives to reunify under a single party?
Republican strategist and former Romney aide Ryan Williams spoke with ABC News about the future of the GOP. He noted that while it is hard to predict what might happen after November 8, Trump will “still have sway over a certain amount of people who will believe anything he says.”
Williams added, “The fissures in the party will extend long beyond Election Day and it’s going to be extremely difficult to unite the Republican coalition going forward.” He suggests that there is an “unprecedented level of disunity and chaos that’s been brought on by Donald Trump’s behavior.”
Following the recent release of a 2005 tape where Trump is heard bragging about groping and kissing women without consent, some have jumped off the sinking Trump ship for good, as RNC lawyers were reportedly looking into how to replace their nominee last Friday.
However, even as many top Republicans — who may have supported the real estate mogul until now only for the sake of their party — may be jumping off the Trump train, his supporters are sticking around.
And they’re sticking around because he has gone after black Americans, Muslims, and undocumented immigrants, not despite that.