The New York Times did a story Monday on those characters who make up the Never Trump movement, a collection of former political strategists (most of whom worked for either Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Barrett hearings take center stage | Trump returns to campaign trail Biden: Faith shouldn’t be a subject in Barrett confirmation fight Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November MORE or John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJohn McCain’s mother dies at 108 Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes The president’s actions are as dangerous as his words MORE), who are campaigning not only against the president but also now against any Republican who supports him.
These Never Trumpers not only want to beat the president, they want to extinguish Trumpism.
I am of the exceedingly unpopular opinion inside the beltway that Donald Trump will win reelection. But even if the president loses, elements of Trumpism will survive and inspire the Republican faithful for years to come. Trump is to the GOP what Andrew Jackson was to the Democrats and his influence will reshape the party for a generation.
Here are the five ways that Trumpism will triumph within the GOP, no matter what happens this election:
1) Nationalism instead globalism: It was George H.W. Bush who promised a New World Order, led by the United States. Trumpism promises a return to the Old World Order, where America looks out first for its own interests. Multi-lateral organizations like the United Nations, founded in the aftermath of the Second World War, have outlived their usefulness for the United States and key allies, like Israel.
2) Fair Trade vs. Free Trade: For as long as I have been involved in Republican politics, the GOP has been a free trade party. But a funny thing happened on the way to the next GATT agreement. We lost our manufacturing base and vast swaths of middle America has been hollowed out as a result. Those voters have increasingly turned to the GOP in the era of Trump and it is unlikely that they will return to the Democrats any time soon.
3) Agency vs. Victimhood: Republicans can’t survive as a party of just old white men. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwo ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Trump relishes return to large rallies following COVID-19 diagnosis McGrath: McConnell ‘can’t get it done’ on COVID-19 relief MORE gets that and has been trying, clumsily, to expand the base among African-Americans and Hispanics. His pitch to black voters has been to stress the economic benefits of his policies, while signing into law criminal justice reform. At the same time, he rejects liberal philosophical constructs like systemic racism, white privilege and critical race theory. For Trump, minority voters are agents who create their own destiny, not victims of an overwhelmingly racist society that is fundamentally stacked against them.
4) The people vs. the elites: Not all country club members are opposed to Donald Trump, but the mythical Country Club Republican, as a class, has turned on the president and the GOP. If you went to Andover or some other elite boarding school, Trump’s rhetoric offends you. The reason Democrats have such an overwhelming financial advantage in this election is because they are now the party of well-heeled. But in politics, it is always smart to remember Henry Ford’s advice to sell to the masses if you want to eat with the classes. Mr. Trump is an expert of packaging his messages to the people, not the elites. That will continue after Trump.
5) Free speech vs. political correctness: “Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect. However, it is politically correct.” So went a familiar refrain in Stalin’s Soviet Union. We live in a cancel culture world and the left continues to impose a rigorous speech code of conduct on its followers while trying to silence the voices of those they disagree with. Increasingly, this political correctness is imposed by the new gatekeepers of our public discourse, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Donald Trump smashes political correctness every day, and his willingness to take on the mandarins of wokeness is a lesson to the GOP: Never stop fighting for the right of the American people to express themselves however they want.
Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).