At least from the 2012 autopsy, and realistically far earlier, Republicans have been on notice that they should work to broaden support, and yet they have only done the opposite, including by supporting Donald John Trump. While demographic shifts may not be swift, they are brutal if Republicans do not change their methods and policies to be applicable to more people. Here are a few scenarios.
Marginal States Change, Solid States Stick
In this scenario, some states, those that have faster demographic and cultural shifts, see their state parties reject the national party’s policies. This is what happened prior to the Civil War, where Northern Democrats could not afford to be full-on abolitionists, but also could not afford to fully embrace expansion of slavery. There were several flavors of Democrats who were sufficiently distanced to be quasi-third-parties.
The main question here is whether those Republicans in such states hang on to national standing at all. The House being smaller than it should, thus each member representing more constituents than they should, makes it harder to not slip into obscurity as a party in such states. On the other hand, state politics and gerrymandering can help keep people relevant when and where they shouldn’t be.
There will probably be some states where there are new RINO-style politicians who diverge from the national party.
Meanwhile, states that have entrenched Republican majorities will continue to embrace the same draconian flavors of insanity. They won’t change. They will have diminished power, but only go harder on their whining and conspiratorial nonsense as a result.
There were several in the lead-up to the Civil War, with the war largely a result of the reaction to Abraham Lincoln’s election. If some kind of left-wing figure akin to the insanity that is Donald John Trump were elected, perhaps a full-on Marxist with a nose ring, then the deep-red states might again attempt to detach themselves from the nation. If the Democratic party were not the core of the country, Donald John Trump’s election just might have triggered secession attempts.
There are other sorts of crises imaginable, including particularly bad rulings by an out-of-step Supreme Court, which could lead to a fast failure of the Republican party. In the SCOTUS case, a ruling bad enough that it drives key departures of legislative members in order to enact changes to the law, which would be calamitous for the Republicans. That break-away group would typically be the same subset from purple states who would otherwise shift in the first scenario.
The Right Thing
This scenario has Republicans simply choosing, by and with consent of the AM dial, to shift their policies toward workable solutions where they’re currently not and creating new policies where none exist (things like environment and healthcare). They simply choose to be a moderate, right-leaning party again. They stop their voter suppression efforts and other racist modes. They choose to assimilate to American culture and norms.
(Haha, only serious:) Because, let’s face it, the Republicans in this country have a problem adjusting to the culture. They speak their own language (crying about things they don’t like as fake news rather than simply saying the truth scares them, for example). They wear their own garb (socks with sandals, open-carry of guns as fashion accessories). They are immigrants to our country far more than most immigrants are anymore.
The Current State
This gets overlooked, but underneath all the Donald John Trump bullshit going on, a lot of Republicans are mulling. Some are opposed to the president, others are still floating along in that stream but are looking for a branch sticking out into the flow, or looking for a calm to swim to shore, and more than will admit are watching ahead for rapids. All of that is doubly true for the business-class Republicans that are primarily involved because it builds and maintains a client base, it sustains their business.
What’s doubly true is that many Republicans already have deep problems with at least some of the orthodoxy of the party, whether it’s on the environment or abortion or the hypocrisy on federal spending or doing absolutely nothing about firearm safety. This is a very vulnerable party, and the worst part of it is that they are largely cornered by their own isolated media apparatus that makes it very difficult for any real movement to occur on policy without hardcore reaction from the bedrock of the party.
I continue to believe that over the next decade or two, the Republican party will either make a dramatic shift toward mainstream policy or they will cease to be a functioning party altogether. No number of judges on any courts in any land will do anything to change that, except perhaps to act as a catalyst to speed it up.
A periodic restatement: I am not a Democrat. I am generally opposed to parties, but tend to vote for Democrats because they, as a party seeking a broad coalition, represent a median position that attempts to move forward on a variety of important policy issues. The Republican parties of the past might have been able to earn my vote in some cases, but the modern Republican party has repeatedly and intentionally shown themselves to be supporters of scoundrelry.
That said, and my opposition to parties notwithstanding, if parties there will be, there needs to be a minimum of two viable parties. And if the Republicans pulled their heads from their rears, sobered up, they could again be one of those. But they have shown no symptoms of recovery. And for that, I oppose them utterly.