The organization formerly known as The Republican Party does not exist anymore. Donald Trump has destroyed it.
With his appeal to racism, white supremacists and white nationalism he has transformed the Grand Old Party. It is no longer a conservative organization of affluent and educated voters. It is now a party of angry white people who have a chip on their shoulders and believe they are the victims of a global, multicultural world.
Trump plays the part well, as leader of the Party of Aggrieved White People. Even though he inherited several hundred million dollars from his father, when he holds rallies and fires up his unhinged supporters he maintains that he is a victim and is being treated very unfairly. He blames the mainstream media, immigrants, minorities and Democrats for all of his problems.
But this shtick of Trump’s is not playing well in suburbia.
According to The New York Times,Trump has caused
“a generational break with the Republican Party among educated, wealthier whites — especially women — who like the party’s pro-business policies but recoil from President Trump’s divisive language on race and gender.”
“Rather than seeking to coax voters like these back into the Republican coalition, Mr. Trump appears to have all but written them off, spending the final days of the campaign delivering a scorching message about preoccupations like birthright citizenship and a migrant “invasion” from Mexico that these voters see through as alarmist.”
“In Republican-leaning districts that include diverse populations or abut cities that do — from bulwarks of Sunbelt conservatism like Houston and Orange County, Calif., to the well-manicured bedroom communities outside Philadelphia and Minneapolis — the party is in danger of losing its House majority next week because Mr. Trump’s racially-tinged nationalism has alienated these voters who once made up a dependable constituency.”
Many affluent, well-educated Americans believe that this election is a referendum on the president. And they believe they must support Democrats for Congress because the current GOP Congress has abdicated its responsibilities to provide oversight of the executive branch.
“With Congress not really standing up to Trump, this election is becoming a referendum,” said Mark Metts, a partner in a Houston law firm. Even though he is a lifelong Republican, Metts said he would no longer support the re-election of GOP Representative John Culberson. The eight-term Republican from Texas’s 7th congressional district (which has not elected a Democrat since 1966) is currently running even with the Democratic candidate, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.
Traditional Republicans like Metts have tried to warn the party that Trump’s divisive words and behavior is narrowing its appeal. Trump and the national party seem now to be playing more to their rural base of supporters in states like Missouri, North Dakota and Montana. Of course it is states like these that will decide control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
But if Republicans do retain Senate control it will probably be at the expense of their House majority. They may also lose several important governorships.
“The divisiveness may play well in some parts of the country but it doesn’t play everywhere,” said the speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus, who has sought to keep his party from drifting too far right. “It’s hard to grow a party when your whole approach is to incite the base.”
To see incumbent Republicans like Mr. Culberson or Representative Pete Sessions from the Dallas area in difficult re-elections “would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” said Straus.
According to The Times, something more ominous is happening to the Republican Party.
“The desertion of educated whites following Mr. Trump’s 2016 win could establish a new Democratic coalition in future elections, one that would certainly return to the polls in 2020,” they said.
It appears that a Republican Party without affluent, college-educated whites is going to be the legacy of President Donald Trump. And this revised GOP will have its first chance on Tuesday to show the country how well it is received by the American electorate.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.