The GOP is in Civil War, as Rod Dreher says. There are few possibilities of a Trump victory as pointed out by Noah Millman, he will lose against Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders he would probably perform even more poorly. So is there a hope. For those who read The American Conservative the permanent mantra of Pat Buchanan is that Trump would win against Hillary because he is populist. I think there are a lot of flaws in that declaration, Jesse Walker shows that the term populist had been used for a long time for very different political characters, just like some people seem Trump as a populist, liberals and some independents seem him as a demagogue. Even those on the left who could recognize him as a populist probably would prefer to throw their support behind Sanders who in a general election would accuse Trump of being a millionaire who wants to simply buy the election. While I consider myself a proud anti-imperialist, despite the efforts of Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, few people consider foreign policy their main priority. Even if Trump probably would be less hawkish than Hillary, his defeat is almost a ccertainty. So what could happen to the future of Republican Party?
Trumpkins. The establishment would face a difficult challenge if Donald Trump doesn’t get a majority of the delegates at the convention. But whether they support him or make a last attempt to stop him, they would alienate one of two groups. If they support Trump, independents might prefer the Democratic nominee whoever it is. If they support another candidate, trumpkins might feel betray and stay at home in November. What would happen after that, the establishment really hates Trump but knows that in order to win they need their supporters. However after 2016, like in the 90s with Buchanan or in 2010 with the Tea Party, the GOP would face an existential challenge. The big question is whether Trump would run in 2020.
The establishment. Trump’s rise had shown that many Republican primary voters have little interest in neoconservatism. It seems also that Israel is not a priority for conservatives, even evangelical Christians. Another Wall Street Journal editorial calling for tax cuts and open borders wouldn’t change that. There could be consequences for not heeding what were once the Buchanan supporters in the 90s or the Paul supporters in the 2000s. Being out of power so much time could have certain effects, Jon Huntsman was almost a parody of a RINO in the 2012 primary, however as one of few national figures with bipartisan appeal the GOP may trust him for a comeback.
Libertarians. On the one hand the popularity of Trump is a clear example that a majority of Republicans are not libertarians, however it also has shown that they could vote for an anti-establishment candidate. The major surprise of this election is that the one calling for getting out of NATO is Trump. The average GOP voter maybe not be a perfect anti-imperialist but don’t buy the neocon foreign policy either. So could they want the libertarian realism of Rand Paul, I doubt it. Probably Justin Amash and Thomas Massie are going to have a better chance.
Social Conservatives. They might find out the hard way that corporate America is not going to be friendly with them. Especially Hollywood and Silicon Valley differ too much from their agenda of religious freedom. I don’t think it’s surprising that corporate America could panic more from Trump than Sanders because Scandinavia had shown that corporations could survive higher taxes, when the state take care of the necessities of workers instead of them. Immigration is a subject that Trump raised but the establishment also know that corporate America wants open borders forcheap labor. It is very difficult to imagine how they would nominee in the future Cruz, Huckabee or Santorum but the real question is if they could choose Trump again.