Updated Nov 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Post-Trump GOP doctrine

Elephant holding a monocular
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans — reshaped, controlled and defined by Donald Trump since 2015 — are slowly but surely charting a post-Trump ideology and platform.

Why it matters: Other than conservative courts, toughness on immigration and hostility toward modern liberalism, it's been impossible to specify the core and connective ideology of Republicans under Trump.  

Now, Republicans are rallying around a plan to break up with corporate America and oppose Big Business, Big Tech, Big Media, Big Education — and big government:

  1. Quit corporate America: A new breed of Republicans — led by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who last week called on the party to divorce Big Business — is championing the working class against the party's traditional boardroom allies. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a plan to "Bust Up Anti-Competitive Big Businesses."
  2. Pound parental rights: Terry McAuliffe's debate remark dissing parents allowed Virginia Republicans to mainstream an issue that was already burning up Fox News. The day after Glenn Youngkin's victory, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said the party will soon unveil a "parent’s bill of rights." Democrats are now playing defense on education — an issue they used to own.
  3. Terrorize tech: If Republicans win back the House and/or Senate majorities, curbs on Big Tech — including new taxes — will be a Day 1 priority. Cries of censorship — real or manufactured — are one of the surest GOP applause lines, milking the party's cultural gulf with Silicon Valley. J.D. Vance, the "Hillbilly Elegy" author running for Senate in Ohio, is pushing to dismantle the "Big Tech Oligarchy."
  4. Malign mandates: President Biden's plan to require COVID vaccination or testing for employers of 100+ people beginning Jan. 4 has been a huge gift in the eyes of Republican governors. Florida's Ron DeSantis was among the first of several GOP governors to sue Biden over the mandate: "[T]he federal government cannot unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation."
  5. Fan fear: House Republicans are building their regain-the-majority strategy around the trifecta of rising inflation, illegal immigration and crime. The GOP blames all those troubling trends on Democrats, since they're in charge. The fear factor has a receptive audience with the big prize in next year's midterms — suburban swing voters.

The big picture: Trump will probably run in 2024 and make the GOP about his various grievances. In that case, Republican candidates will try to smuggle these ideas to voters without offending the party leader.

Editor's note: This story was first published on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

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