Will 2016 be a landmark or just another brick in the wall in American politics? In ten years, where will we be? Non-politically, we will probably see the rise of self-driving cars, the rise in automation across many economic sectors, the rise in higher education prices (though only after prices plummet as alternatives like online education force many colleges and universities to downsize and shutter; what remains will be a much small academia), and so on.
But politically we have the looming question of whether a Trump nomination pushes the GOP too far. What will the fallout look like? But the greater question is whether it matters at all. None of the candidates who ran for the nomination appeared to be particularly plausible for meaningful party change. There remains no sign the Republicans have searched even one soul for what party change might look like.
Absence party change, it appears that the GOP is going to remain stuck in the mud for years to come. But there are a lot of well-heeled people, both real and fictional, who stand to lose if they can’t be competitive. They will donate to Democrats more and more.
If the Republicans can’t win the White House, the courts will slowly but surely shift left. All the more reason for large corporations, dependent upon friendly courts to aid them in their business, to back Democrats if that happens. There is a certain snowball effect.
But all of that would look likely even if Trump were not the nominee. If the GOP does not change and the demographics stay the same, they may have already passed their chance to win the White House for the foreseeable future. Worse, with dominance in at least some states, they may have a very hard time dragging their constituents along with them into the future. Trump and Cruz are evidence that, at least for now, their rank and file do not want to be modernized.
How and when that dam breaks, if this scenario proves true, remains to be seen. It probably looks like the House and Senate increasingly shifting left, as more states want to cooperate to get their share of the booty. The remaining states, dominated by the GOP at the state level, will not have an easy path to friendly House and Senate membership, so they may eventually see a few independent runs take some races.
Come ten years, maybe 20, the Democratic party, swelling, will split and the few remaining Republicans will join one of their factions.
Or something. Maybe a obituary for the Republican party is premature. Give it ten years, and we’ll know more.