We have two more entries in the big anti-Trump schism concerning the wisdom/morality/what have you of seeing Trump-supporting senators who acted dishonorably sent packing.
My friend Mona Charen is in the “they need to hit rock bottom” camp.
My friend Ramesh Ponnuru is in the “babies and bathwater” camp.
But I want to focus on a very deep point Ramesh makes:
Most of the people who vote for a post-Trump Republican candidate in 2024 are going to be people who voted for Trump. Any competitive center-right party after Trump will by necessity represent substantially the same voters who put him into power in November 2016 and have sustained him in it since then. Any strategy for changing the Republican Party that fails to reckon with that fact is doomed. This reality may point to another division among the never Trumpers. There are those who didn’t vote for Trump and favored his removal by Congress who are willing to concede that intelligent and well-meaning conservatives could disagree with them. And then there are those whose objections to Trump run so hot that they cannot countenance being part of a coalition with people who backed him (with exceptions for those who apologize for their past support).
That second group of never Trumpers is not going to be part of a new, reformed Republican Party that meets their standards. Its members should probably resign themselves to becoming Democrats, or politically homeless, for the foreseeable future. And they should consider whether what’s really behind their calls to burn down the Republican Party is a wish to escape the reality of America’s political disagreements.
Ramesh is certainly correct about a couple things here:
(1) The people who voted for Trump aren’t going anywhere. They are the Republican party.
(2) The people who think Republican senators ought to lose are not going to be part of any reformed Republican party.
But he leaves one question just kind of hanging out there, unasked and unanswered: What about that first group of never Trump Republicans he mentions? The people who oppose Trump, but who very dearly wish to keep Susan Collins—will they be part of any reformed future Republican party, either?