About the time Trump won the 2016 election, I suggested that principled and patriotic Republicans leave the GOP to start a new conservative party. I saw a tweet that made me think of this topic again, and I wanted to write about the benefits and drawbacks for doing this, and what this new conservative party could look like. But first here’s the thread:
This is what is happening, and this is why the GOP is dead as a national party. It’s splitting up. The “Trump Party” is bigger, it consists of about 2/3rds of GOP base voters. Traditional conservatives/non Trumpers make up about 1/3rd. Neither side can win nationally. https://t.co/8sVj2ftdwa— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 12, 2020
Here’s my response to Walsh’s tweet. First, one of the top goals is for Trump wing to not win, and, equally important, to lose big. This will protect the country. As Steve Schmidt, the long-time Republican consultant recently said, the pro-democratic party always have to win, while an authoritarian party just has to win once. Preventing the latter should be the top goal for the conservatives rebelling against their party–rebel and split the votes up. They should also hope the Trumpists lose big, because this will force future conservatives to give up on the Trump approach.
Second, the conservatives who work to undermine the Trumpist GOP will earn their legitimacy as a new conservative party leaders. They will be heroes of conservatism and heroes to all Americans.
Third, by vigorously attacking Trumpism, they can jettison all the baggage that hampered the GOP–racism and nativism, to name two. This creates the opening to welcome Americans of color, of other religions and sexual orientation. In short, they can create a brand that will appeal to all Americans.
Fourth, this re-branding process, which is a really a terrific opportunity for conservatives, should include a re-thinking of conservative ideology. There are many possible directions, here, and I’ll try to go over them in another post. But for now, I’ll just say that conservatives, if they’re skillful, can position themselves to really beat Democrats in the future. The key word is the “future,” which is the big downside of this plan. Specifically, this is a long-term project, and conservatives are not likely to see a lot of political wins for a while. But if the option is to embrace Trumpism in order to win, that doesn’t give them much choice–not if they’re a principled and patriotic conservative.