A conservative backlash against Trumpism is gaining steam in America’s suburbs. Specifically, two blatantly pro-Trump candidates lost races in historically Republican districts.
First, 15-term Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) lost his seat in historically red Orange County. Notably, Rohrabacher is a defender of Russian interests in Washington, and by inference President Donald J. Trump (R-New York).
Republican turned moderate Democrat Harley Rouda easily beat Rohrabacher in California’s 48th District. The 48th District represents affluent coastal areas of Orange County South of Los Angeles. Its’ upper-class residents rejected Rohrabacher and his Trumpism by a margin of 4% (52%-48%), the Associated Press calculates.
Rouda’s victory is historic because this is reportedly the first time California’s 48th District has elected a Democrat. Moreover, The New York Times blames Rohrabacher’s loss on his close ties to Russia and denial of global warming. In other words, Rohrabacher lost a safe Republican district because of his Trumpism.
Conservative Backlash against Trumpism down South
A more surprising conservative backlash against Trumpism is underway in South Carolina.
Democrat Joe Cunningham surprised pundits by winning in South Carolina’s 1st District. Cunnighma‘s win surprised pundits because the 1st is a conservative and affluent district that includes Charleston. Markedly, Charleston was where Confederate extremists started the Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter.
Cunningham won because local conservatives were angry at Republicans for dumping local hero U.S. Representative Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina). American Conservative writer Jack Hunter; a 1st District native, believes conservatives turned on the GOP for dumping Sanford.
Instead, Republicans chose State Representative Katie Arrington in a primary. Hunter notes that at least one of his relatives admits to voting for Cunningham to punish Republicans for dumping for Sanford.
South Carolina’s 1st District is affluent and coastal like the California 48th. The 1st is also historically Republican – it has not elected a Democrat in 40 years.
A Conservative Backlash against Trump or Republicans
There is a conservative backlash underway, but is it against Trump or the Republican establishment? Tellingly, many of the Republicans turning on people like Rohrabacher voted for Trump two years ago.
Hence, the voters are furious at the Republican establishment that caved into Trump and his shoddy personality cult. Notably, the Grand Old Party (GOP) is losing the votes of affluent and educated upper class Republicans.
These are the kind of people offended by Trump’s buffoonish and unethical behavior. For example, the racism, blatant lies, and denial of obvious realities like Global Warming. My guess is that a lot of them are tired of being embarrassed by the Republican Party.
Is A Conservative Backlash Destroying the GOP?
In addition, these people are sick and tired of being ashamed to identify as Republicans. Now that Republicans are the party of Trump and Duck Dynasty they are becoming persona non grata in educated circles.
Such upper-class voters are a small but potent percentage of Republicans. Moreover, those upper-class voters are the backbone of the GOP. They are the ones who that always write checks, and vote the straight ticket.
Notably, those upper-middle-class voters have created Republican strongholds in blue states like California and New York. However, those strongholds are now falling like dominoes. For instance, the only Republican Congressman from New York City; U.S. Representative Dan Donovan lost his seat in a Staten Island District that voted for Trump.
In addition, an African-American Democrat Antonio Delgado defeated Republican freshman Congressman John Faso in New York State’s Hudson Valley, The New Jersey Herald reports. The Hudson Valley is a large suburban area north of the Big Apple.
Thus we will get a Republican Party that is white and rural, and increasingly unelectable in large swathes of the United States. Obviously such a party is not good for a democracy that needs a healthy two-party system.
Conservative Backlash gives Republicans a tough Choice
The conservative backlash against Trumpism gives Republicans a tough choice. The choice is to stick with a President popular with the base, or compromise with alienated elements.
The choice will have to be made because Republicans need the educated upper class conservatives if they want to be competitive in blue and purple states. Moreover, such voters can cost the GOP seats even in deep red states. For example, a combination of African-Americans and dissatisfied traditionalists thwarted the disgusting Roy Moore’s (R) childish Senate bid in Alabama in 2017.
Such traditionalists often provide the small margins needed to win close elections. Upper class voters are difficult for Republicans to appeal to because they are the opposite of the GOP’s base.
To explain, the upper class voters are often secular and socially liberal but fiscally and economically conservative. For example, upper-class Republicans favor gay rights, gun control, fewer social programs, and lower taxes.
On the other hand, middle and working class Republicans are often socially conservative but economically liberal. Hence, they oppose gay rights but favor higher taxes and broader social programs.
The Conservative Backlash against Trumpism will tear the GOP Apart
Finding common ground among these groups will be tough, especially with a polarizing figure like Trump as the face of the Party. My prediction is that a showdown between Trump and conservatives is imminent.
In detail, the conservative backlash will coalesce around a popular Republican who emerges as the anti-Trump. The anti-Trump will force whether the GOP is Trumpist or conservative to the fore and tear it apart.
Historically, the situation in the Republican Party today is much like the Democratic Party in 1967. Back in 1967, rank-and-file Democrats dislked President Lyndon B. Johnson or LBJ (D-Texas), because of the Vietnam War.
Like Trump, LBJ was just popular enough for politicians to be afraid to challenge him. Yet Johnson was so unpopular nobody would defend him, like Trump today.
How the Republican Party will rip itself apart over Trump
Eventually, the issue came to a head and the Democrat Party blew itself apart when Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Wisconsin) challenged Johnson in the presidential primary.
McCarthy beat Johnson in the Wisconsin primary; which caused LBJ to withdraw. Additionally, McCarthy’s victory caused the popular opportunist U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-New York) to throw his hat into the ring.
Not surprisingly, Republican Richard M. Nixon (R-California) reaped the benefits and succeeded LBJ in the White House. LBJ’s Vice President; Hubert Humphrey (D-Minnesota), ended up the bag as party standard bearer. Humphrey found himself in the unenviable position of defending an unpopular war and advocating an even less popular peace.
Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana) should pay attention here because he is likely to become Hubert Humphrey. That is the presidential candidate of an unpopular and deeply divided party in a losing race. If Pence has a brain, he will put his presidential ambitions on hold until 2024 or 2028.
The Republican establishment is facing a conservative backlash because of its embrace of Trump. Hopefully, that backlash will destroy both Trump and the corrupt party establishment that enables him.