President Donald Trump has shaped the Republican Party into his own image in less than four years on the job, and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
Nearly half of the House Republicans on the job when Trump took office in 2017 have either retired, resigned, been defeated or are retiring in 2020, and many of the GOP newcomers are devoted Trump loyalists, reported Politico.
“Whether the president wins or loses, his policy views and style have firmly taken over the Republican Party — nationalism and white grievance, those kinds of things,” said Matt Moore, former chairman of South Carolina’s GOP. “I don’t think that Trumpy politics will be leaving the stage anytime soon.”
The GOP primary losses of Jeff Sessions and Jon Huntsman this week underscored how important Trump loyalty is to Republican voters, and some party operatives wonder what vision the Republican National Committee will sell at next month’s nominating convention.
“The thing that I think is interesting about [Trump] is that his brand and the defense of his brand goes beyond a party platform or a set of principles,” said Brett Doster, a Republican strategist who served as Florida’s executive director for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. “When we do get beyond Trump … the question is, ‘What is the Republican Party?’ I don’t know that anyone’s really looked at the platform beyond Trump’s Twitter account for the last four years.”
That will leave the party in an unfamiliar place once Trump finally leaves the stage at some point.
“For the last four years,” Doster said, “it’s been easy for people to say, ‘Are you for Trump or are you not for Trump,’ and that litmus test is not going to be there.”