The wish by media elites that the Republican Party isn’t what it is is kind of pathetic, largely because these are the people who are supposed to be able to analyze these kind of changes. Despite what the New York Times editorial board wants you to believe, Trump did not destroy the Republican Party. He gave Republican voters what they wanted. Republicans in 2016 had many choices on who to vote for. They chose Donald Trump, not in spite of his behavior but BECAUSE of his behavior. These voters were looking for someone like this for years–this is how clowns such as Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, and Ben Carson can have boomlets among these voters. John McCain and Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush–the dream Reupblicans of the Times editorial board–were very much not what these voters wanted. They accepted them as long as they needed to. And then Donald Trump provided what they could not get before. Moreover, Trump then proceeded to govern like a Republican in terms of policy and judges. The only things that Republican and media elites don’t like about Trump is the tweeting and, possibly, the COVID response and even there it depends. Everything else, they love.
The Republican Party of 2024 is not substantively different than Donald Trump. First, he could run for president again if he loses. Second, Don Jr. could run instead and should instantly be thought of as a contender. Third, if there are no Trumps, there will be Trump-esque figures. Ted Cruz certainly fits the bill. There’s been lots of speculation that Tucker Carlson is preparing to run. Tom Cotton wishes he could be that guy but he has the charisma of a rock. Josh Hawley is out there. There’s no evidence that the Republican base is going to want something different in four years because they wanted Trump or someone like this long before he was a serious possibility for them.
It would be useful if everyone would stop pretending the Republican Party is something different than what it shows us every single day.