It strikes me that this is a very interesting time to be a Republican.
It’s clear that Trump wants to be a figurehead, holding big rallies for kicks (mmmm), but uninterested in the hard yards:
Donald Trump Prepares for White House Move, but His Tower May Still Beckon
Now, as he prepares to assume the presidency, an open question remains about the capital he repeatedly spurned: Just how much is he willing to become a part of it?
The questions reflect what Mr. Trump’s advisers described as the president-elect’s coming to grips with the fact that his life is about to change radically. They say that Mr. Trump, who was shocked when he won the election, might spend most of the week in Washington, much like members of Congress, and return to Trump Tower or his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on weekends.
Returning home to Trump Tower from the White House may not be Mr. Trump’s only embrace of the familiar. His aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand. …
A “hands off” style would be consistent with the position stated by his son, that VP Pence would be in charge of “domestic and foreign policy” and Trump in charge of “Making America great again”. (It also gives credence to the theory that Trump never wanted to be president / didn’t expect to win.)
Already Trump is backing off most of the promises that got him elected. That’s great news of course (except that perhaps we haven’t seen the last of the TPP after all.)
Assuming that Trump is a mere figurehead, the Republican establishment is going to have an unfettered field day. The anti-establishment populist as the ultimate establishment enabler. Already his transition team is chock full of lobbyist cronies. The far-right is going to go large, from financial deregulation to Roe v. Wade. The stuff of nightmares.
The only fly in the Republican ointment is the nature of the chalice that Trump is handing them. His platform was based on draining the Washington swamp and making life better for workers. When the opposite happens, as it will – what will his base do? Will they accept the baubles of victory without the substance they were promised? Or will they rise up and annihilate the Republican party forever?
I doubt that Republicans are thinking about this, as they fight and rush to get their snouts in the trough. They’re going to have a great 4 years. After that, maybe not.