Which Republican Leaders Will Decide the Party’s Future After Trump?
Policy + Politics

Which Republican Leaders Will Decide the Party’s Future After Trump?

REUTERS/Mike Segar

When the time comes for the GOP to sift through the ashes and rebuild in a post-Trump era, things could get very ugly. There will be a reckoning, and unless something is done to prevent it, recrimination and internecine political bloodshed could spiral out of control.

But in the interest of having the Grand Old Party up and functioning again as part of the US democratic system, maybe Republicans of good will could come together and devise a peaceful solution.

Related: 18 Campaign Controversies that Didn’t Trip Up Trump

Perhaps, when the remnants of the GOP sit down together to try to hammer out a way forward, deference should be shown to the party leaders who demonstrated good judgment about Donald J. Trump from the beginning.

And maybe a little less deference is due to the elected officials who abandoned the former reality television star only when his string of outrages grew so long that there was no longer any real honor in doing so.

Presented for consideration, here is a post-Trump taxonomy of the Republican Party that could be used to divide up authority over the GOP’s future direction in a post-Trump world. To determine eligibility, members of the party must provide documentary proof of the date at which they publicly repudiated the billionaire.


You wrote Donald Trump off as unfit for the presidency long before he descended the golden escalator to announce his candidacy. You retain the label “Republican” with no qualifying addition. 1 Full vote on the future direction of the GOP

Related: What Would Trump Have to Say that Would Finally End His Run for President?

Rio Grande Republicans

You didn’t denounce Trump before his run. Heck, maybe it never occurred to you that you might have to. But it didn’t take long -- the minute the billionaire businessman started accusing Mexicans coming across the US border of being rapists, you said to yourself, “This guy can’t possibly be president.” 1 Full vote

John McCain Republicans

You denounced Trump early, but not immediately. You get docked a few percentage points for waiting until Trump insulted Sen. John McCain’s heroic struggles in a Vietnam prison to decide that you just couldn’t associate yourself with this person. (Inexplicably, John McCain doesn’t qualify for this label.) 0.85 vote

Megyn Kelly Republicans

Insulting Mexicans and war heroes was bad, but it took Donald Trump making a joke about a female debate moderator’s menstrual cycle for you to jump off the Trump Train. At least it was still more than a year before the election. 0.75 vote

9/11 Republicans

What finally did it for you was Trump’s repeated insistence, in the face of ridicule and eye-rolling from people in a position to know the truth, that he saw on TV “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City, NJ cheering the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. 0.65 vote

Related: As Trump Drops in the Polls, the List of GOP Defectors Grows

ADA Republicans

For whatever reason -- maybe just the sheer volume of collected outrages --Trump’s public mocking of a New York Times reporter’s physical disability was where you drew the line. 0.50 vote

Geneva Convention Republicans

Everything else was bad, but it wasn’t until Trump took the stage at a presidential debate and promised to compel US troops to commit war crimes in the battle against ISIS that you finally came out and said, “You know what, maybe giving this guy the power to launch nuclear weapons is a bad idea.” 0.40 vote

First Amendment Republicans

You waited and you waited. Maybe you really believed Trump would change. That he would morph into a statesman -- or at least a normal politician. Then he proposed banning people from the United States based on their religion. Finally, you’d had enough. 0.30 vote

“Hands” Republicans

Donald Trump bragged about the size of his junk on national television. During a presidential debate. Did you have to explain it to your kids? Is that what finally pushed you over the edge? Fine, keep your 0.25 vote

Related: Would Trump Really Be the Most Reckless US President?

NATO Republicans

You woke up one morning and read that not only does Donald Trump want to turn the US military into a protection racket, he also doesn’t much care about maintaining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- the most successful anti-war alliance of the modern era. Basic self-preservation instincts allow you to keep 0.20 vote

Oswald Republicans

Donald Trump read in a supermarket tabloid that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was buddies with Lee Harvey Oswald, and might have been involved in the Kennedy assassination. Then he repeated it. Out loud. “Wow,” you said. “That’s legitimately crazy.”  0.15 vote

Curiel Republicans

At this point, you had probably figured the jig was up and were just looking for an excuse. Trump’s claim that a federal judge born in INDIANA was biased against him because of his Mexican heritage probably wasn’t worse than any number of things he’d said in the past. But hey, any port in a storm. This is when you bailed. Take your 0.10 vote and consider yourself lucky to have it.

Putin Republicans

You earned your name by tolerating Trump’s egregious flirtation with the Russian strongman throughout his campaign, up to the point at which he invited Kremlin-backed computer hackers to get involved in searching for HIllary Clinton’s email. For whatever reason, that was your bridge too far. 0.075 vote

Related: Trump -- ‘Second Amendment People’ Could Do Something About Clinton’s SCOTUS Picks

Khan Republicans

Seriously? Seriously!?! It took Trump attacking the family of a dead US soldier -- for nearly a week! -- for you to turn on him? 0.05 vote and hang your head when you cast it.

“2nd Amendment people” Republicans

You waited for Trump to make a veiled reference to political assassination and/or armed rebellion before you finally backed out. Too late. You get no credit and you get 0.0 vote.

Vichy Republicans

You’re a dead-ender. You were out there on the talk shows defending the assassination comment. You get a full vote, but the catch is, it’s negative. Because even though you’ll deny it, you’re basically the reason Hillary Clinton -- the least popular person to ever get a major party presidential nomination EXCEPT Trump -- is going to win. You’re a de facto Democrat. From now on, anything you suggest, the Party does the opposite.  -1.0 vote.