'Rebrand The GOP'? How Many Times Have We Heard This Before?
Credit: Driftglass
October 29, 2020

Axios tells us that the GOP will need to change after the 2020 election -- no, this time for real.

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.

Why it matters: You can't win elections without diversity, bigger population centers and sufficient money.

Actually, you can if you have enough right-wing billionaire cash and a federal court system that will tilt the electoral playing field in your favor. But go on.

Flashback: Before President Trump, the GOP acknowledged all this. Then-RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in his "autopsy" after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012:

"We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities."

What's happening: Trump threw that out and realigned the GOP base away from suburbs and wealth, and toward working-class whites in small towns.

No -- what happened is that the GOP demonized Barack Obama in the run-up to the 2014 midterms (Ebola! the caravan!) and did very well without making any effort whatsoever to change the party's level of inclusion.

And before that, there was talk of reorienting the party after the 2008 election -- remember Jeb Bush and the "pizza summit"? But the Tea Party -- which was Trumpism without Trump -- led the GOP to big wins in the 2010 midterms. So much for reorientation.

But go on, Axios. Tell us why it will really happen this time.

New Gallup polling finds Trump remains above 50% with rural residents, white men and white adults without college degrees.

But he has dropped nine points just this year with suburbanites — falling with both men and women — to 35%, after winning them in 2016.

Republicans have hemorrhaged support among suburban women during the Trump years. Now, the GOP even struggles in exurbs.

But how much of this is about the GOP and how much of it is about Trump personally?

I've been staying that Trump will continue to be the leader of the GOP even if he loses this election -- he'll insist he won and was cheated out of victory, his supporters will believe it, and he'll probably announce a 2024 run shortly after the polls close, or possibly on Biden's inauguration day. In a way, I hope I'm right, because I don't know that the Democratic gains in the suburbs can survive the end of the Trump era (and the eventual end of the pandemic). We've been hearing for years that the Republican Party is doomed, but it keeps coming back. It wasn't supposed to come back in 2016. It shouldn't be competitive this year.

I'll believe there's a change if Democrats win this year and keep winning. But they've elected two presidents in the past thirty years, and each time the party was shellacked two years after the initial presidential win. Reports of the Republican Party's death always seem to be premature. Democrats can't get complacent even if they have a big win this year. They seem to be beating Trump. But after that, they have to start motivating voters to beat the GOP the way they motivated voters to vote against Trump. Otherwise, Republicans will rise again.

Posted with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog

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