In this election, the American people have witnessed a true turning point for the Republican Party. The unexpected and meteoric rise of Donald Trump has thrown a massive wrench in the cogs of the GOP establishment, resulting in what might require total reevaluation and realignment after the election.
If Hillary Clinton wins, and at this point, it is looking like she will, it will be an enormous blow to the Republicans. The party leadership will need to distance itself from the corrupt image of establishment politics, and put forth candidates that at least appear to be outsiders.
This was a large part of Trump’s appeal. As unpopular as he is now, they cannot deny the fact that he ran away with the votes in the primaries. Citizens of all stripes are sick of Washington insiders, and the Republicans will want to tap into this if they hope to score more victories, especially in general elections.
However, after Clinton’s likely victory, GOP leaders might find this an issue of embracing the new right-wing populist surge, rather than seeking and promoting it.
After the centrist Clinton is president for a while, and inevitably fails to address the populist needs of the American people who are, themselves, most in need, voters will retaliate, and hard. There will be a right-wing backlash that is going to make Donald Trump look like child’s play. The Republicans in power won’t even have to try to get members of their party elected at this point.
This happened in the last senatorial races. Democrats such as Kay Hagan who were considered sure to win ended up being displaced by Republicans due to voters being dissatisfied with moderate Democrat performances. With Clinton, this will happen on a massive scale.
Indeed, it seems that Trump’s loss could be a blessing in disguise for the Republican Party. Sure, they won’t have their nominee in office this time, but the surge that follows will be tremendous.
After four years of a Clinton presidency, the extreme nationalistic ideology championed by Trump and his followers will begin to gain further ground. Surely, this will lead to an increase in hate crimes and other forms of bigoted violence, something that has already been on the rise since Trump’s running for presidency.
The GOP has a few choices if this is the case. As stated earlier, they can embrace this, and ensure themselves a fast-track to some easy victories in key areas of the country, or they could distance themselves from the hate and violence, as many Republicans have already done.
What is more likely to happen is a synthesis of the two. Republicans will surely acknowledge the incredible appeal of Donald Trump early in the election, and many have surely come to the realization that they need to put forth similar candidates to ensure victories.
However, there will likely be many leaders in the party that will continue to refuse to support candidates who make lewd and derogatory statements toward women and other key voting blocs, as Trump has infamously done.
The likely scenario is that Republicans will support populist candidates that are a little bit safer than “The Donald”, candidates that will continue to feed into the insecurities and fears of many Americans that have felt disenfranchised for some time now.
Immediately after the election, though, the Republican Party will be in a state of brief chaos as they try to reorient themselves.
Trump supporters, and Trump himself, will be crying out in protest of a “rigged” election, and to be fair, Hillary Clinton has acted shady enough to justify some protest. This will not be an easy time, nor will it be a peaceful one.
Every American wants change, and after this election, Republicans are likely to give in to the demand, lest they suffer colossal losses in the future. Democrats would do well to follow suit, but in the wake of an election victory, their focus will be elsewhere. This will be a large setback that Republicans will be keen to take advantage of.
The post-election chaos will be real for the GOP, and for Americans as a whole. Things are at a tipping point, and every aspect of the American political system is poised for change. Whether they will take advantage of this opportunity awaits to be seen.