Yeah, I wrote the headline to not give the game away, but trust me, this article will deliver.
There seems to be a new, concerted effort in the media to attempt to shape the Republican party post-Trump, an era they hope starts in 2021. To be fair, there are legitimate questions to be asked. Who will be the new face of the party? What ideology will dominate? Will populism die out, ushering in the return of a neo-Bushism?
I think I know the answers to most of those questions, but the media have their own ideas. Enter Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is the recipient of what appears to be a coordinated effort to make him a thing the last few days.
The jockeying for what the post-Trump Republican Party will look like has already begun. And Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is one of the earliest movers in that early fight to be the new (or next) face of the GOP. | Analysis by @CillizzaCNN https://t.co/VvQ2l5Eozn
— CNN (@CNN) July 8, 2020
The Washington Post is also pushing this idea.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is weighing a bid for the presidency in 2024, embarking on a virtual book tour this month that will continue to elevate his national profile in Republican circles, @ErinatThePost reports https://t.co/odYUbncbW8
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 8, 2020
Hang on a second.
But seriously, the idea that Larry Hogan is the future of the GOP is so tone deaf and laughable as to border on parody.
Let’s say Trump loses. Does anyone actually believe Republicans are going to go running into the arms of a guy who is soft on the 2nd Amendment, doesn’t take a hard line on abortion, voted to raise taxes to “protect” Obamacare, carries all the establishment sensibilities in his interactions, and couldn’t even be counted on to support the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh?
Does Hogan fit his blue state? Sure, and Susan Collins fits Maine’s shade of blue, but she’s not going be President.
Whichever “Republican circles” are entertaining this should probably go ahead and disband, because they have no influence in the party anymore. While the next Republican candidate for President will likely have more discipline on Twitter, they will also almost certainly subscribe to many of the policy tenants of Trump’s presidency. That’s not because there’s going to be some lingering cult around the current president. Rather, it’s because Trumps views track with the mainstream of the party. Those views began to take shape and shift before Trump even entered the race in 2015.
Bushism died sometime in late 2012 when Mitt Romney bit the dust. The party is much more skeptical of foreign wars, much more hawkish on China, much less sympathetic to unregulated immigration, and much more tuned into the culture war. Yes, they’ll still support tax cuts as well, but that’s not the priority anymore for most Republicans.
I’ll also go ahead and say what makes a lot in the conservative commentariat uncomfortable. Republicans are also not going to accept someone who isn’t a fighter. That doesn’t mean they can’t be smarter in picking their battles, but the days of bowing before Democrats and repeating generic platitudes for the sake of decorum are over. Republicans do not care about making nice and most will actively oppose anyone who signals a return to such weakness.
In the end, Larry Hogan doesn’t represent almost any segment of the current Republican party outside of those who tolerate him in his blue state. That’s not going to change four years from now. The media can try to promote him, but the party has moved on from that type of milquetoast, establishment politician as their standard bearer. Other Republicans with political ambitions can recognize that and adjust or face their own demise.