The Republican Party has put aside the things it traditionally stood for in place of appearing to care only about whatever topic Donald Trump happens to be tweeting about, a former GOP operative claims in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.
In a column entitled “Wake up, Republicans. Your party stands for all the wrong things now.,” Stuart Stevens, a GOP political consultant working for Bill Weld’s presidential campaign, says that Donald Trump has so thoroughly reshaped the party that there is little in it that he still recognizes.
Start starts his column by asking readers to post a simple question to Republicans.
“What’s the Republican Party all about these days? What does it, well, stand for?”
He posits that most Republicans these days aren’t going to be able to give a succinct answer, beyond something vague that basically amounts to, “I’m a Republican because I’m not a Democrat.”
Stevens then points out the things that he believes Republicans used to stand for but don’t anymore: fiscal responsibility, containing Russia (an enemy), free trade, and the importance of good moral character.
Nowadays, he says, the party cares only about whatever Trump’s latest tweet is about.
“Yes, it’s President Trump’s party now, but it stands only for what he has just tweeted,” he says.
How Donald Trump got the Republican Party to where it is is itself sinister, Stevens suggests.
“He looked at the party, saw its fault lines and then offered himself as a pure distillation of accumulated white grievance and anger,” Stevens says.
He went on to say that Trump has appealed to an element within the party’s base that, historically, has been drawn to people like Barry Goldwater and Joe McCarthy — namely, those who believe that outside forces are threatening the American way of life. This appeal relies on the belief that only “true” Americans — which is to say, white, Christian, conservative Americans — could fight back against those forces.
Stevens’ boss, Bill Weld, is equally concerned about the effect Trump is having on the Republican Party. The former Massachusetts governor, who is one of a handful of Republicans challenging Trump for his party’s nomination in 2020 (an outcome that, by all analyses, is extremely unlikely), wrote in a November Boston Herald op-ed that Trump may well destroy the party if its members continue to support him at all costs.
“Republicans will lose control of the Senate in a landslide similar to that which followed the removal of Richard Nixon from office, and the Republican Party as we have known it will cease to exist,” he wrote.