NY Mag: GOP Leaders Should Eject Trump, Reform GOP With ‘Purifying Fire’

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The GOP establishment should split from Donald Trump to preserve its own future, says an article by Jonathan Chait, a liberal at New York magazine.

… Leverage only belongs to Trump if [establishment] Republicans decide to let the possibility of an independent Trump candidacy terrorize them. If, instead, they decide to accept or even welcome such an outcome, then Trump’s leverage over the Republicans would disappear. And such an outcome might be exactly in the party’s best interest.

1.It is true that an independent Trump run would split the vote and make it almost impossible to defeat Hillary Clinton. But the Republicans don’t stand much of a chance of beating Clinton anyway. This is a premise rejected by nearly all Republicans, and a great many non-Republicans, but the evidence supports it….

2.A Trump independent candidacy would have down-ballot benefits for the party. Trump would split apart the Republican vote at the presidential level, but the socially conservative white working-class voters who turn out to vote for him would overwhelmingly pull the lever for Republicans in Congress (and in state elections). The deepest risk Republicans face is the prospect of an electoral wipeout that puts its control of Congress at risk. An independent Trump candidacy would close off such a prospect….

3.A Trump defection would give Republicans an opportunity to escape the ideological and demographic tar pit into which they have sunk. The GOP has found itself dominated by white identity politics, a kind of geriatric trap. Even the most sophisticated version of its policy agenda, the Ryan budget, ultimately reduces to a scheme of maintaining social benefits for the elderly and middle class while attacking them for the putatively undeserving young. A handful of moderate intellectuals has sought to move the party back toward the center, but their record so far is one of unbroken failure…

…. The contemporary Republican Party has undergone a long, evolutionary ideological transformation over four decades into an intellectually hidebound party whose major splits are no longer based on policy but on affect, willingness to work within existing boundaries of political power, and xenophobia. (It is not a coincidence that the strongest outposts of pro-Trump sentiment within the GOP are organs of white racial paranoia like Matt Drudge, Breitbart, and Rush Limbaugh.) The insurgent radicals have an advantage over the pragmatists in that they are willing to lose elections for the sake of winning the long-term struggle to redefine their party’s identity. The pragmatists are always playing to win the next election, which is why they have consistently lost the long game. Perhaps Trump’s departure would give them their own version of a purifying fire.

Read the whole thing here.