When you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. That pretty much sums up what happened to the Republican Party in this week’s elections.
Republicans in blue states like New York and New Jersey got creamed by a higher-than-expected turnout among Democrats, and by independents who have turned sharply against a Donald Trump-led GOP. It was like dropping guppies into a bowlful of piranhas.
Things aren’t looking any better for Northeast Republicans in 2018. Here are their current options:
- Renounce Trump and lose (the GOP base will turn on them);
- Embrace Trump and lose (everyone else will turn on them);
- Ignore Trump and lose (they’ll be tagged with him anyway);
- Or take a trip to Disney World and forget the whole thing.
That’s just a tad hyperbolic. Fairly or not, Republican candidates have the stink of President Donald Trump all over them. It’s on their clothes; it’s in their hair — even the ones who never kissed him have his lipstick on their collars. Nothing will get it out. Not Wisk. Not Tide. Not OxiClean. For Republicans running in all but the most culturally conservative districts, there’s a world of hurt coming down.
It’s a particular shame for Republicans that this is happening now. For all the attention given to the fracturing GOP, it’s the Democratic Party that might truly be moving toward extinction. The party has abandoned its working-class roots.
What was once a party of substance is now a collective of protean grievances, symbolism and identity politics. Today’s Democratic Party is really nothing more than an anti-Republican Party, just as surely as Trump’s GOP is the angry counterbalance to virulent progressivism on the political left.
Both movements are fueled by rage. It would be nice to see this all come to a head, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. A very large storm may be needed to clear the air in America again and one shudders to think what that might look like.
My advice to anyone running for office next year? Call it as you see it. You’ll respect yourself all the way to Orlando.
William F. B. O’Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.