Looking back over the wreckage of the GOP from last month's midterm election, we should see a party reassessing itself and wondering what it can do to avoid an even greater pummeling in 2020. Not for nothing, midterms are where the Republican Party tends to shine and presidential elections are an ongoing weakness for them. Getting crushed in a midterm by almost 10 million votes does not bode well for what's coming down the road.
Yet, Republicans seem to be ignoring what just happened and sticking to their current strategy of sucking up to Trump and pissing off roughly 75% of the country:
President Trump has brushed aside questions about the loss of the chamber entirely, ridiculing losing incumbents by name, while continuing to demand Congress fund a border wall despite his party losing many of their most diverse districts. Unlike their Democratic counterparts, Republicans swiftly elevated their existing slate of leaders with little debate, signaling a continuation of their existing political strategy.
And neither Speaker Paul D. Ryan nor Representative Kevin McCarthy, the incoming minority leader, have stepped forward to confront why the party’s once-loyal base of suburban supporters abandoned it — and what can be done to win them back.
The problem is that there really isn't anything Republicans can do. Trump owns their base completely and therefore, he owns the party. Trump, naturally, isn't going to moderate his tone because while he controls the base, the truth is that they control him just as much. They demand blood, and rage, and hate and if Trump doesn't deliver a steady stream of it, they will turn on him. Pity the next Republican presidential candidate in 2024 regardless of who wins in 2020. They'll be inheriting a mob of howling madmen.
Then again, withhold your pity. It's not like Republicans deserve it. They spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars building an alternate reality with Fox News, AM Hate Radio, and right-wing hate sites in order to strip their base of the ability to discern the difference between reality and lies. Now that they've lost control of that base to a better liar, they're stuck following his incompetent lead to the bitter end. C'est la vie.
At the same time, one can almost imagine the relief of Republicans after 2020 sees them cast out of power again. Paul Ryan recently admitted that some of his best years in Congress were in the minority. And why wouldn't they be? Running the country is hard. You actually have to work. You have to deliver for your constituents, make budgets that make sense, follow the rules, be responsible.
On the other hand, breaking the government is easy. Obstruction is simplicity itself and you don't actually have to make any sense. You can lie nonstop with zero repercussions because you're not in charge. Everything is the other guy's problem. And since you're a Republican, the more broken the government is, the happier your billionaire owners are. Life's a breeze when you're out of power but can still throw sand in the gears.
If I were a Republican, I'd be looking to break as much of the country as I could in 4 years and then sit back and shoot spitballs at the Democrats scrambling to fix my mess. It's been working for them as a game plan for the last 40 years so why stop now?