For all intents and purposes, it would seem that we’ve entered a three-party system. The Paul Ryan Republicans are as different from the Donald Trump Republicans as they are from the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama Democrats. There’s been no formal split, and likely won’t be, but the GOP is now effectively comprised of two parties differing on everything from policy to political theology to style. This dynamic will cripple the party like a broken leg in the coming years.
But don’t take my word for it. The Hill has an interesting piece out highlighting the exact policy differences between Speaker Ryan and presumptive nominee Trump, covering everything from trade and immigration and Muslim bans to foreign policy and abortion and the minimum wage and eminent domain. The Trumpistas are definite populists; the Ryanites are hard-line conservatives.
Trumpistas in Congress (they’re probably assimilating the Freedom Caucus as we speak) will defy Speaker Ryan as hard as they defy President Clinton, which may result in some interesting triangulatory maneuvers on the part of the President and the Speaker to cut deals on trade and immigration at the expense of the Trump voters. Bipartisanship against crazy populists? More interesting things have happened.
A three-way national party system. We’ll have to see how this turns out. In the meantime, the Progressive Republican League will be busy crafting an agenda for a fourth way that can supplant the decadent Ryanite Establishment and take the wind out from beneath the Trumpistas’ racist wings, and take on the Clinton Dynasty with a new Hamiltonian Republican Party. Stay tuned.