So, here we are, over seven months into the Trump administration, and almost everybody feels unsettled and concerned. What people are unsettled and concerned about, however, greatly varies. Many, maybe even a majority if public opinion polls can be believed, either from the beginning considered Trump unsuited to be President of the United States or have come to this conclusion based on his execution of the office since inauguration. Others, at least representing a third of the electorate, however, believe that what has been transpiring since Trump assumed office, only confirmed their pre-election analysis that the Washington bureaucracy is deeply corrupt and self-serving, whether Democrats or Republicans, and is committed to preventing Trump from fulfilling his promise of “cleaning out the swamp.”
This third of the electorate, by political pundits often described as Trump’s electoral base, represents interesting demographics. Except for mostly southern Evangelicals, they do not represent traditional Republican voters. As recently reported analyses of the November elections discovered, Trump’s election victory was not only the result of, as widely reported, blue-color Democrats voting for him but, likely even more importantly and in even bigger numbers, new voters coming out to vote who, often, never before had voted.
Without even ever gaining a straight majority of traditional Republican voters in the Republican primaries and without ever having full Republican support in the general election, Trump, nevertheless, succeeded in winning the presidential election by attracting significant numbers of voters who traditional Republican candidates (i.e., Bush, McCain and Romney) never attracted in the past (except for Ronald Reagan who, like Trump, did attract good numbers of blue-color Democrats).
For the future of both major political parties and the country as a whole, this analysis of Trump’s win has, however, major political repercussions: We in previous columns during the latter parts of the second Obama administration noted that we suspected we were entering “revolutionary” times. What we are experiencing in these early months of the Trump administration further enhances our conviction that this is, indeed, the case because revolutionary times historically demonstrated a typical pattern of increasing radicalization on the left as well as the right of the political spectrum.
This is, indeed, what we have been witnessing for a good number of years under the two Obama administrations, and this development has, obviously, greatly accelerated since Trump ascended to the presidency. As a consequence, both major parties are veering, respectively, to the left and the right, with the acknowledged socialist Bernie Sanders basically dictating the Democrat’s party line, and the Republican Party having an even bigger problem, called President Donald Trump.
That Donald Trump was not a traditional Republican or Conservative had become obvious during the Republican primaries, and was a major reason why some leading Republican figures never jumped on the Trump bandwagon. A majority of the party’s establishment, however, finally did reluctantly do exactly that, once, to everybody’s surprise (including his own), Trump won the presidential election.
In many ways Trump’s victory, however, became pyrrhic for the Republican party, which now controlled all three branches of government, and a Trojan horse for the party establishment, which now, suddenly, faced a radically new Republican party, devoid of important conservative and economic principles and committed to a populism the Republican establishment basically despised. Add to that, considering his often bizarre and highly narcissistic public behavior, often-understandable personal dislike of Donald Trump by many establishment politicians, the Republican party, basically, is facing a schism between its traditional establishment and its newly acquired Trumpian populistic political philosophy.
Hoping to control Trump through the legislative process, the political party establishment severely miscalculated because Trump is not controllable. The product of a very dominant father who sent the “black sheep” among his three children to military school to get the necessary discipline for life, he succeeded in establishing a remarkable work ethic in his son but at the same time deeply wounded his self-esteem. Donald Trump psychologically never overcame the childhood experience of not being appreciated by his father. Overcompensating for his deepest insecurities, he, therefore, acquired the, by now only too familiar unpredictable, crass and narcissistic behavior, which the country to these degrees has, likely, never seen in a president before. Nothing is as essential for President Trump as constant self-reaffirmation. And if such self-reaffirmation is not received from others, he will produce it himself.
Baring impeachment, Trump, however, holds the better cards. The Republican party without an unimpeached Trump would be unsustainable; Trump without the Republican party may, however, still maintain a following of ca. 30-40% of the electorate, a large enough slice of the pie for establishment of a viable third party with, for the first time in U.S. history, real chances of maintaining the presidency in a three- or four-party race (see what happened in France with the election of President Emmanuel Macrone).
A future four-party race is entirely possible because the leaderless Democratic party also faces the risk of splitting into two. If the party continuous its current course toward the left by basically appropriating Bernie Sander’s domestic and foreign policies, it will turn into a European-style Socialist party, likely unable to elect a president for decades. If the party establishment, however, decides to triangle and swerve to the middle, we may see a Marxist-Social party to split off from the Democratic party, likely also frustrating future attempts of Democrats to again become a majority party.
We, therefore, predict that, unless the Republican party by year’s end has united behind President Trump’s legislative agenda and successfully passed a number of major legislative efforts, Trump will form a third party, which, as soon as in the 2018 congressional elections can radically change the political scene in the country. Paradoxically, both major parties face unprecedented survival risks, though from different directions: In the Republican party, Donald Trump beat the establishment in the primaries and has, against the will of the party establishment, made himself irreplaceable if the party wants to remain in the majority.
On the Democratic side, the party establishment supported Hillary Clinton and, likely, partially fraudulently deprived Bernie Sanders of an unexpected win in the nomination process. The well-deserved resentment about the election outcome last November, therefore, favors the party’s in a general election, likely, unelectable left wing. All that said, if not successfully impeached beforehand, Donald Trump in 2020 may be running for reelection at the head of a populist new right-wing third party, and win. He, therefore, is a potentially mortal threat for both major parties, – a reason why efforts to impeach him will only grow, whether he deserves it or not.