Way back when, Donald Trump described himself as a Lone Ranger. Perhaps it’s time for The Donald to don his mask, hoist himself onto Silver’s back, and ride again. Where to, you may ask? Why to another political party, of course!
Exhibit “A” of Trump’s willingness to jump parties was his deal with the Democrats just this week that raises the debt ceiling and keeps the U.S. government afloat until December. Trump took the Democratic deal just hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) rejected it. Ho, Ho, Ho and Merry Christmas– take that Republicans.
No doubt this independent streak by the president is a demonstration that proves he will need to be closely watched by the GOP. It is also a clear signal to them that he is most assuredly not in their back pocket, owes them not a damn thing, thank you, and is more than willing to jump the Republican ship if it serves his own ends. And conservatives far and wide are taking notice.
Following his move to team up with the Democrats, publisher of The Federalist, Ben Domenech chimed in with, “The truth is that he [Trump] is a political independent, and he obviously won the nomination and the presidency by disrupting a lot of norms that Republicans had assumed about their own party and their voters.” That’s conservative-speak for “Caveat GOP.” Indeed, playing both parties may not be a bad idea at all for the president. And it just might be the spank that Republicans need to shape up.
For Trump, it puts him in the enviable position of having to be negotiated with for fear that he just might walk across the aisle. And for the Congressional Republicans it means they should start taking the president seriously and (heaven forbid) start singing a little Aretha — as in R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
The truth of the matter is that Republicans, by and large, do not respect the president. Some even think him the buffoon the media has made him out to be. They believe with every fiber of their being that America will remain a two-party system from now through eternity. While it is true that no new party has emerged successful since Abe Lincoln’s win in 1860, that does not mean it can’t and won’t happen.
Independents Outpacing Party Growth
Independents continue to outpace the other two parties in terms of growth. In 2015, Gallup found 43% of Americans identified as independent. In 2016, Pew Research found that from 1992 to 2014, 39% of the American public called themselves independent, “which was larger than the shares calling themselves Democrats (32%) or Republicans (23%).” Independents are generally less ideological than Republicans or Democrats. That means they are more likely to swing with the president on individual policy calls.
And this puts President Trump in the driver’s seat, which as POTUS is precisely where he should be. Any political animal in America knows the Republican establishment has resisted Trump at every turn and, by and large, detests the man. Perhaps it’s because he’s made fools out of them. Perhaps it’s jealousy because he’s done what they said he couldn’t possibly do. Whatever their motivation — it’s high time to get over it.
Underestimating a man like Donald Trump is clearly something the GOP has done at their own peril. And they had best learn their lesson right quick, or Trump may mount his white steed, pull out his ivory stocked Colt and, figuratively at least, put them out of their misery.