Last night, Donald Trump wasted no time in going after Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie after the latter’s loss in the state’s gubernatorial race.
As Caleb Howe mentioned last night, it is a barometer of where Trump’s base is at.
It confirms a truth about the new GOP in general. That truth, which Brit Hume missed in some of his tweets tonight, is that Trumpists are supportive of or voting for the GOP per se. They are voting for other Trumpists. And as we have seen countless times in the past year, those who are not Trumpists are the enemy, no matter the letter behind the name.
If you’re insufficiently Trump, the President says, you won’t win. And we’ll find out if that means being insufficiently Trump means you won’t get any support either. Remember, Trump stumped for Gillespie, and pitched him today on Twitter. But now he lost. Trump doesn’t like people who lose.
We know that some in the GOP took notice of Trump’s tweet, and weren’t enthused by it. Former RNC chairman Michael Steele took to Twitter to gently remind Trump about his own electoral victory in Virginia a year ago today.
Did YOU win Virginia? https://t.co/ZH8STJ4pEj
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) November 8, 2017
That’s another really important point that ties in to where Caleb’s point goes: Trump is not expanding the Republican Party. He is shrinking it. Trump lost the state of Virginia by five points (49-44). Gillespie lost by nine points. In one year’s time, Demographics don’t change that much.
So, what did change?
Trump and his base have fundamentally restructured the Republican Party to the point where the barometer is “How Trump Are You?”. That’s not a good look for a Republican Party that has for years been struggling to grow.
What’s worse is that it leads (I think understandably so) to the conclusion that the GOP’s growth during and at the end of the Obama Era was more of anti-Democrat reaction and not a pro-Republican growth, and that the current GOP is doing nothing to sustain their gains.
That’s a long-term problem for the Republican Party, whether they know it or not. Steele recognizes it. Hopefully others in the party will, too.