According to a report from Axios, the steady trickle of high profile conservative pundits abandoning the GOP could be the precursor to a flood of mainstream Republican voters following them believing that the party has become synonymous with Donald Trump, much to their dismay.
The report notes that Trump has hit a low in his approval ratings — 38 percent in a recent Gallup poll — yet continues to suck up all the oxygen in the room when people talk about Republicans Party.
“The GOP, long synonymous with conservatism, is now effectively the Trump Party — in policy, branding, and support,” Axios founders Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen write, adding, “That leaves some swaths of traditional conservatives without a major-party home, and endangers Republican electoral fortunes.”
Noting the loss of two GOP megadonors — “Seth Klarman, once Republicans’ biggest donor in New England, and Les Wexner, the wealthiest GOP donor in Ohio” — who recently threw up their hands over Trump’s antics, the DC insiders say that conservative influencers may follow the money to a new home.
‘This is a crisis of the intellectual and power elite,” they write, pointing out that, “Joe Scarborough; his frequent guest Steve Schmidt; N.Y. Times columnist Bret Stephens; WashPost columnists George Will, Michael Gerson, and Max Boot,” have all either renounced their membership in the party or have become some of its harshest critics.
“The danger for Republicans is that they get clobbered in November, and a trickle becomes a steady stream,” the report continues.
“Shifting demographics have been a problem for Republicans for a long time,” a White House insider confided to Axios. “Paradoxically, while Trump likely exacerbated that problem in the long term, he also postponed its consequences because he carved out a new path to 270, in large part thanks to his trade rhetoric.”
The insider added, that “The problem post-Trump is that what he did is not replicable,” meaning Trump could very well leave behind a scorched and hollowed-out party.
“The danger is Trump’s alienation of quiet conservatives: They won’t make big announcements. They just won’t show up,” the report continued, adding that those formerly dependable GOP voters may look for a new conservative home led by a new generation of conservative leaders such as Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse who has admitted he thinks “regularly” about leaving the party and striking out on his own.