The Future Of The Republican Party

It seems to me….

“It is the duty of the Chief-Magistrate, in order to enable himself to do all the good which his station requires, to endeavor, by all means, to unite in himself the confidence of the whole people.” ~ Thomas Jefferson[1].

The challenge for Republicans was never the ultimate disposition of the impeachment trial against Trump, that always was a foregone conclusion given the partisan makeup of the Senate. Instead it now is the question of how Republicans will address and digest evidence of the President’s actions with regard to Ukraine that has come out over the past four months. Trump now will erroneously assert acquittal, exoneration, and vindication in support of his election campaign claims of resentment, grievance, and persecution. It is not only the President’s legacy that will be affected by the conduct of the proceedings, it also will be the legacy of the Republican senators, the Republican party, and, in some ways, the very future of our nation.

The impeachment was to determine whether the power of the Presidency itself would expand or shrink based on the senators’ verdict as a result of the maximalist, zero-sum view of the case presented by both sides. Removal of Trump, his defense argued, and the Presidency will be weakened for a coming generation as impeachment becomes a partisan tool. Acquittal, claimed the Democrats, would give carte blanche to future Presidents to abuse their power at the expense of the American people. The Senate’s verdict on the articles of impeachment would either rein in or unleash a President’s ability to use the federal government’s vast powers for their own political ends. It is obvious what they chose.

The power of the Presidency as presented by his defense, is broad, and in some cases barely checked; one in which chief executives have extremely wide latitude under Article II of the Constitution to act according to their own purposes. That is clearly not what the framers of our Constitution intended; their objective was to preclude an imperialist autocrat which the Senate has now sanctioned.

Trump fails to comprehend he is a minority President having lost the popular vote by the widest margin of any previous President being elected only as a result of the Electoral College. He also won with substantial support from a foreign power. Many, especially Democrats, consider him an illegitimate President. Seemingly, some humility should be in order.

Trump has clearly abused the power of the Presidency, betrayed his oath of office, and corrupted the integrity of our democracy and our free and fair elections by entangling himself with foreign powers solely for personal benefit. In such circumstances, impeachment and conviction is the only method of protecting our nation against a President acting like a despot. Republicans, however, realize their only opportunity to prevail in the upcoming Presidential election is to ride the only horse they currently have in the race. It therefor was immaterial if the impeachment trial became merely a sham to be concluded as quickly as possible.

Being a Republican during the Trump Presidency demands much. His anger is quickly directed at any Republican who strays from absolute loyalty and he frequently has sought to punish those who have. Few have had the wherewithal to question him and they have generally paid a price. Their examples have shaped the behavior of others in the party.

The 2016 Presidential election was one of the most bitter and divisive Presidential election campaigns in U.S. history; it is difficult to foresee what, if any, the long-term effects will be to the Republican Party. Much of this has been apparent since the conclusion of Trump’s election. Political parties are mortal just as are individuals, corporations, or institutions. Trump fragmented his party possibly to where it might not survive in its prior form. He successfully brought many new voters into the party, some previously registered as Democrats, but has also essentially remade the Republican Party stripping it of basic principles and alienating much of the traditional Republican party base in the process. Though it appears many Republicans have accepted Trump’s eccentricity, some pundits have predicted the Party’s demise[2] unless it repudiates Trump though this is fairly unlikely.

It is possible, however, that the combined 2018/2020 elections could lead to a restructuring and realignment of the major U.S. political parties. This would not be the first time in the U.S. this has happened: the Republican Party was created by divisions in the Whig Party. Political parties also morph into entirely different personalities – Democrats originally were pro-slavery conservatives.

The U.S. electorate since 1988 has experienced a dramatic demographic shift that is now reaching critical mass: the white electorate has shrunk from 88 percent of overall voter turnout to an anticipated 66 percent[3]. Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians comprised about 31 percent of the 2016 electorate. Voters under 30 have single digit support for the Republican ticket and single women are repudiating not only Trump but traditional Republican ideology by dramatic margins.

These rapidly shifting demographics are dramatically changing party identification and the current Republican Party does not look or think like the new America. Trump has smashed the Republican political brand and accelerated the party’s fatal weaknesses with those expanding constituencies. The coincidence of the 2020 decennial census and Presidential election could expand Democratic turnout for down-ballot elections of governors and state legislatures subsequently redistricting the House of Representatives for the next decade.

Given Trump’s narcistic egomania, it is doubtful he will quietly return to running his corporation following his term in office. He stated his opposition to both the Republican Party platform and Party’s leaders from the start of his campaign instead attempting to remake it into a populist, nationalist party his then Breitbart-oriented advisors preferred rather than the conservative free market, limited government, entitlement reform, and assertive foreign policy of traditional Republican Party leaders.

Following his taking office, many of Trump’s supporters tended to defend Trump’s numerous mistakes based on his political inexperience initially asserting he just needed more time to “learn the political ropes”. His supporters shouted give Trump a chance. Give him a break. They totally ignored that if he was unfit, unqualified, or in any other way unprepared to assume Presidential responsibilities from the very first day he took office, he NEVER should have been elected. No one gave GWBush time following 9/11. After over three years in office, everyone would be extremely happy to applaud Trump’s performance if he ever did anything they felt to be worth even the slightest of accolades.

While now past history, Republicans never provided Obama with any such neophyte consideration when the economy was collapsing as clearly exemplified by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell always placing political ideology ahead of national interests as he demonstrated with his statement “… [making Obama a one-term President is] my single most important political goal along with every active Republican in the country.” immediately following President Obama’s election as President – and the Republicans then consistently opposed every proposal put forth by either the Democrats or President Obama regardless of merit or benefit to the nation.

Mistakes have been made in the past – many mistakes – and we need to move on from where we are now rather than attempting to cast blame; to work together for a better future rejecting anger, hatred, and vitriolic rhetoric and to avoid falsely placing blame on decisions made by Trump on either Clinton or Obama.

Trump is an egotist, a chameleon willing to change his beliefs to whatever he believes is most beneficial to him at the time. Words matter. As leader of the most powerful nation on the planet, his voice carries the most weight. He has the choice of using that voice for good – or for poor.

Trump supporters extol all of the good he supposedly is doing – most of us have not seen it. The most critical threat the world faces is the exponentially increasing effects of anthropomorphic induced climate change and he has withdrawn from the Paris Accord, cancelled clean air initiatives, and encouraged dependence on carbon fuels. And then in spite of overwhelming evidence, denies global warming is real.

As for “giving him a chance and help make the COUNTRY better”, this is what I most want and would more than happily support him if he ever did something with which I could agree.

This is our country. Everyone wants to be proud of it and feel what it is doing is right. As of now, many feel it is on a very wrong track which is not leading where we want to go.

That’s what I think, what about you?


[1] Thomas Jefferson was a U.S. statesman, diplomat, architect, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and Founding Father who served as 3rd U.S. President 1801 to 1809.

[2] Zakaria, Fareed. The GOP Is History. What About The Country, The Washington Post, https://fareedzakaria.com/2016/10/13/the-gop-is-history-what-about-the-country/, 13 October 2016.

[3] Cilluffo, Anthony, and Richard Fry. An Early Look At The 2020 Electorate, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/an-early-look-at-the-2020-electorate/, 30 January 2019.

About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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1 Response to The Future Of The Republican Party

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with all you said. As with your words and any I read about the current state of political affairs in our country, I find myself thinking “what about the people?” I’ve never thought us to be a true democracy, but now I doubt that we’re a true republic either.

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