On Monday, Stand On Every Corner founder Bryce Tache posted an interesting tweet. “There are no more Republicans,” he said. “The GOP died when McCain died. It’s the Trump Nationalist Party. The TNP. And going forward, I will always refer to it as such.”
On a technical level, he is, of course, correct. The Republican Party—the one that seemed to have some kind of trade policy, and at least a fitful interest in deficits, and a moderate level of consistency on foreign policy, and a right-leaning economic position—is completely gone. In its place is a party whose only policy position is whatever Trump says. Until he says something else. It’s not even a matter of “but his tax cuts,” not anymore. It’s just a matter of “please don’t hurt me.” The Republicans who were most aware of the danger of Trump when he was running (see Graham, Lindsey) are the ones who are now most obsequious in their praise.
It’s almost as if Republicans realize that in an authoritarian shift, the first people who have to fall in line or be crushed are those who are politically dependent on the authoritarian. Huh.
But is Tache right in his approach? Is it better—tactically, realistically, politically—to drop the use of ‘Republican’ when talking about the yes-it-was-the-party-of-Lincoln-a-long-long-time-ago? It seems unlikely that the party itself will acknowledge its complete transformation by dropping either the party name or changing the symbol. After all, part of what Trump is selling is that this is what right-thinking Republicans always believed.
Still … does it make any sense for those describing Trump supporters to adopt some other term? After all, they’re still going to be popping up on TV as “Republican Congressman” this and “Republican Senator” that, and Very Serious People are not going to stop using the word in every interview and every article. Would a consistent effort to call Trump supporters by some term other than Republican deliver more than a certain visceral satisfaction? Is visceral satisfaction enough?
And if we were to use another term … what would it be?