If Trump Isn’t a Change Agent

Mitch McConnell is trying to reassure concerned conservatives that their presidential nominee won’t be an apostate.

And even as the presidential nominee, Trump won’t redefine the Republican Party, McConnell says. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Trump predicted he would transform the GOP into a “worker’s party” over the next five to 10 years.

“My view is that Trump will not change the Republican Party,” McConnell says, describing it as “America’s right-of-center party.” “If he brings in new followers, that’s great, and well worth the effort, but he will not change the Republican Party.”

The question that people should ask next is, “then why should we vote for him?”

The Republican Party’s unfavorable numbers are trending sharply up and are near historic highs. In some recent polls, as many as two-thirds of Americans express their disapproval of the GOP. The Democratic Party’s favorable numbers are trending up. Recent surveys show that the Republican-controlled Congress is staggeringly unpopular, with an aggregate 13%-78% approve/disapprove number. And the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in every presidential election since 1988, save one.

Fully 82% of the people think abortion should be legal, at least under some circumstances. Sixty-four percent of Americans say that they’re concerned about climate change, and about 80% are worried about pollution in our drinking water, lakes, and streams. More people consistently support allowing undocumented workers to stay in the country than favor deporting them, and majorities believe that immigration in general strengthens our country. The people are rather emphatic that gun laws should be stricter. While it’s true that Obamacare is still narrowly unpopular, that’s largely because an equal number of people think it should be expanded to those who think it should be repealed, and the respondents generally agree that the federal government has a responsibility to see that all people have health coverage. There’s even a plurality of people in the country who think the Republicans are wrong to oppose letting transgender people use the public restroom of their choice.

On some of these issues, Trump is even worse than the Republican Party he will soon lead, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Republican Party clearly needs to change in some basic and some extensive ways if it wants to be competitive on the national stage. Trump either offers that possibility or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, then there’s really no hope at all for the Republicans in November.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.