Regular readers of this space know of my admiration for the weekly New York Times column of Thomas Edsall, whose methodology often relies on emailing his way-smarter-than-average questions to scholars and other experts and quoting them at length.
His latest column is headlined “Why Trump is still their guy,” with the subhead: “You don’t hear his name as much. But as far as the G.O.P. is concerned, the former president rules.” It was based on two premises, both of which ring true to me, namely that:
- as long as Trump is in the picture, no anti-Trumper has any chance of being nominated by the Republican Party for president, and
- neither Trump nor a Trump impersonator has much chance of winning the presidency.
Edsall’s takeaway includes this passage:
Stuart Stevens, a Republican media consultant who is a harsh critic of Trump, emailed me to say that “Trump is the Republican Party” and as a result:
“We are in uncharted waters. For the first time since 1860, a major American political party doesn’t believe America is a democracy. No Republican will win a contested primary in 2022 or 2024 who will assert that Biden is a legal president. The effect of this is profound and difficult to predict. But millions of Americans believe the American experiment is ending.”
What is driving the Republican Party? Stevens’ answer is that it is the threat of a nonwhite majority: “The coordinated effort to reduce voter access for those who are nonwhite is because Republicans know they are racing the demographic clock. The degree to which they are successful will determine if a Republican has a shot to win. It’s all about white grievance.”