Trump-like populism has the potential to transform the GOP.
It is not the GOP of yesteryear but the GOP that has long been its antithesis.
For Trump, it is a rejection of the mainstream.
It will be hard for the GOP to win back the White House without a Trumpian populism that will appeal to both moderate and hard-right voters.
It won’t be easy.
But there are signs that Trump’s populist campaign, despite its obvious failures, is beginning to be a step toward a real-world populist agenda.
It has become a real threat.
“The populist insurgency is real, and it is growing,” writes John J. McKinnon, a professor of political science at the University of Virginia.
“The Republicans are being hit by a serious attack.”
Trump’s rise has accelerated a long-simmering feud within the GOP, one that began in the mid-1980s with the ascendance of Ronald Reagan.
Republicans, led by the late Bob Dole, had spent decades working to defeat Reagan and his vision of the federal government.
But in 1986, Dole’s party was caught in a fatal crisis: a bitter split over whether to embrace Reagan’s economic conservatism, which favored cutting taxes and reducing government spending.
In 1988, Doles coalition collapsed, and Reagan’s conservative movement swept the country.
Reagan’s administration became an outlier in American politics, a far cry from what had been the party of Lincoln and the Founding Fathers.
In recent decades, Democrats have struggled to recapture the Reagan legacy.
And Republicans are still fighting to win over conservative voters.
But as Trump has begun to make a show of his populism, the party is taking notice.
The Republican National Committee has been preparing to launch a “Trump for President” committee, aimed at helping to recruit conservative voters for Trump’s presidential campaign.
“There is a real possibility that there will be a lot of crossover between Trump and the base of the Republican Party, and the GOP will get a real opportunity to do that,” McKinnon says.
But that does not mean that the party will embrace the populist message that Trump has launched.
That’s a risk, but McKinnon argues that Republicans are likely to be more cautious in embracing Trump than some of their more centrist colleagues.
The party has a long history of embracing social and cultural conservatives, but Trump’s message has brought them into the fold.
That will be difficult to reverse.
In some ways, the Trump campaign has been more conservative than the Republican establishment.
The Trump-era rhetoric of economic populism and social conservatism is in many ways a response to a much more traditional conservatism that had been in place for more than a century.
“It’s going to be hard to take Trump at his word and say that the Republicans have the same values that they did in the ’70s and ’80s,” McKinninsays.
Trump, like Reagan, is a populist.
His populist message appeals to the most extreme elements of the party.
And he has built his political base by appealing to people who are far from the mainstream and are frustrated by the status quo.
But while Trump has attracted a large number of Republicans to his candidacy, the populist tone has also drawn people away from the Republican party.
The most important Republican factor that could be helping to shape the Trump-type populist message is a shift in how the party looks at itself.
“As the years go on, the Republican brand will become more and more a part of the identity of the GOP,” McKinysses research fellow and former Republican strategist Andrew McCarthy says.
“If you have an identity as a conservative Republican, then you are going to take a very, very hard line on certain issues.”
The party’s identity as an American institution has long defined the party, with many Republican presidents and congressional leaders being viewed as a beacon of American values.
But Trump’s election has changed that.
Many Republicans feel that Trump is a threat to their party, and they are increasingly willing to attack his ideas on their own terms.
That may make it harder for them to appeal to those voters as they try to recruit others to join them in supporting Trump.
But the party may also have to acknowledge that its own political identity is at risk if it does not embrace the new populist voice.
The Party of Lincoln “The problem for Republicans is that there’s this new populism,” McKunninsays says.
It’s a new brand of conservatism that has been born from a more traditional perspective, but which has the capacity to challenge the Republican identity.
And it has the power to be the most influential voice within the party in coming years.
It was in that spirit that Trump ran for president in 2016.
He took on the Republican elites in the party for their perceived failures in the 1980s, arguing that they were all in cahoots with the Clintons and were in the pocket of the globalists.
But, as Trump showed, he was not a Republican and he was an outsider.
And as he became the presumptive nominee