Erick Erickson over at Townhall gives a poignant reminder to the establishment class:
More and more polling shows the biggest group of voters who hate the Republican Party are the Republicans’ own conservative voters. In growing numbers, they have driven down the popularity ratings of Congress. Instead of trying to recover popularity with their base, the Republicans have convinced the Chamber of Commerce to spend millions of dollars defeating conservative Republican “troublemakers” in the 2016 primary cycle. Why join the base when the GOP thinks it can beat its base?
This then is why the Republican Party as we know it is coming to an end, with only one way to avoid the splits that doomed the Whigs. When — not if — Trump fades away, the party leaders will conclude they beat him and the crazy base. They will, like the Bourbons of France, learn nothing and forget nothing. Instead of realizing that their broken promises and failures of leadership led to the rise of men like Trump, they will conclude that his decline means they need keep no promises.
Read it all. Two things to consider in reading this though.
Erickson has been an absolute stalwart in taking on the populist and nativist sentiment that seems to be overwhelming the Republican Potemkin as of late. For this, the populists have gone after RedState as “JebState” and pilloried Erickson as a “cuckservative” — as they have done here. What is important for the establishment class to learn in all of this is that there is a clear dividing line between the sense of stupid out there versus the very real sense that most Americans and most conservatives are fed up with the status quo.
The second point? Despite the ongoing wincing over the rise of Trumpulism, this isn’t a race to the center. All that having been said, should the populist walk off the cliff, a more Whiggish and classically liberal Republican Party would not be a bad thing. The catharsis ultimately could prove to be every bit the sort of conservatism that won Reagan the White House.
The rise of the Whigs? Now wouldn’t that be something… and it certainly would be a complete repudiation of the populist fever that seems to be gripping certain quarters of the electorate.
Trump is providing the backdrop. The conservative contenders can either blend in, or they can stand apart and provide a bold, credible alternative to those fed up with business as usual.