President Donald Trump is a masterful political strategist.
He has remade the GOP in his own image and likeness. The GOP base supports him with unswerving and unprecedented loyalty. In Republican primaries, Trump’s loyalists torpedo his critics and thereby silence would-be GOP opposition. As long as Trump retains the support of his base — the sole aim of his numerous rallies — he can hold our legislative representatives hostage and remain head of the Republican Party.
Has any politician ever so thoroughly transformed a major political party within so brief a time? Should this party now be rebranded as the “Trumpublican Party”?
Recently, Trump’s faithful followers primary-torpedoed the “disloyal” South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford’s bid for re-election. Sanford warns: “The question of allegiance” to the president could cost Republican candidates dearly; “allegiance to the flag and the Constitution” will not protect critics from the wrath of Trump and his loyalists. He asks: “What has happened to our party?”
John Boehner succinctly states what has happened: “There is no Republican Party.”
If authentic conservatism, for a period of four to eight years, is superseded by a radically right-wing populist personality cult, what will become of our nation’s two-party system?
Will this dark night of the GOP’s soul ever again be followed by a bright new “morning in America”?
Andrew G. Bjelland, Salt Lake City