If President Trump were a disciplined political actor who thought strategically about his party’s electoral future instead of a reactive and impulsive vulgarian whose insecurities and prejudices just so happen to coincide and resonate with the insecurities and prejudices of a large swath of Republican voters, he could do far more than merely use Democratic gains in the House as an opportunity to keep his base whipped into a froth of partisan fury over the next two years.

Instead, he could do something far bolder — namely, make moves to turn our interminable ideological stalemate into a genuine partisan realignment by dividing and conquering the new Democratic majority. He could do this by going back to some of the more unorthodox ideas that animated his presidential campaign and that helped him to turn Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania (briefly) red.

Those ideas animated Trump’s inaugural address, which sought to align the GOP with American workers. They’ve come out over the past year in the Republican administration’s protectionist trade policies and in moves to restrict immigration. But for the entirety of Trump’s first year in office and through much of the second as well, the administration deferred to the priorities of House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most orthodox of Republican politicians. The result was a mixed and muddled message, with a plutocratic agenda (a huge corporate tax cut and an extended and failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act an replace it with … nothing in particular) blended with selective nationalist gestures on policy and a barrage of racist rhetoric and demagoguery.

If that pattern continues, Republicans will go into the 2020 election with their base on board but the party’s electorally decisive 2016 gains in the upper Midwest most likely lost (as they already appeared to be in Tuesday’s vote).

There …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics

      

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