Op-Ed: After a bad showing in the midterms, what story are Republicans telling themselves now? David Freddoso explains how Republicans may be about to finally admit that the party is hopelessly lost, and they need to do something about it fast.
The 2018 midterms were a disaster for Republicans. They lost at least four Senate seats, and they failed to take back the House. It was arguably the most devastating defeat in party history. It’s not hard to see why Republicans feel trapped. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their current circumstances, including their party and government, as well as their country. It was never going to be a good year for the GOP.
President Donald Trump is the best-loved elected official of his party, which is increasingly disillusioned with its leader. His approval rating sank to a new low of 25 percent in December 2017. Meanwhile, even in traditionally Republican states like Indiana, Arkansas, and Texas, Democrats made gains at the ballot box.
Many Republicans are blaming Trump for this and that he isn’t up to the task of governing. But they’re overlooking the possibility that his party may be the victim of more than a simple failure of leadership.
In the face of an existential threat to their system, Republicans are in the process of self-destructing. The party is about to throw its entire identity, its ideological soul, out the window and build an alternate existence based on the idea that government can work and the people can succeed.
The story of the 2017 midterms is not unique to Republicans, nor is it unique to the United States. In the past, the collapse of government under a Democrat president has led to widespread chaos. And in the past, the demise of political parties has led to political chaos.
No one knows when the end will come, but it clearly is under way.
I grew up in Oklahoma in a rural town with only a few thousand people, just the kind of place that tends to favor the Republican Party. I vividly remember the primary election of 1988, when the establishment ran a candidate from the House and Senate as an establishment candidate. He didn’t have a prayer of winning, but he lost anyway.
I remember seeing the primary results announced, and thinking to myself: There’s no way that I’m voting for this guy. What is he, some