The Corner

Politics & Policy

Krauthammer’s Take: If Trump Loses, He’ll Still Be a ‘Power Broker’ and ‘De Facto Leader’ of the GOP

Bret Baier asked Charles Krauthammer point blank: “Is Donald Trump now the de facto leader of the Republican party no matter what happens?” Citing Trump’s ability to fashion a new movement, Krauthammer answered in the affirmative:

I think he is. This is not a Michael Dukakis. Let’s assume he loses — look, he can win, but let’s assume he loses — he’s not a Michael Dukakis, he’s not walking away. He’s not a Bob Dole who’s going to retire. This is a man who, as he says, created a movement out of nothing. He basically fashioned a populist faction in the Republican party, took over the party, at least in this cycle, and then the question will be: Is he going to walk away and go back and become a businessman? I doubt it. It’s very hard to do. And the fact is he will be the power broker.

I see the party sort of splitting in two. At least in theory, the populist element that he has now created and mobilized — winning more Republican votes in the primaries than any candidate in history, he would have won at least 40 percent, somewhere in the forties, of the national election electorate — yes, he’s a force. The other side, I think, will be led by Paul Ryan, representing the traditional party, the Reaganite party, the wonkish party, programmatic party, and conservative party, which is different from populism. And if Trump wants — which I think he will; he will have created something, why will he leave it behind? — he leads that faction and can become the de facto leader. I think the test is going to be: Can he bring down Paul Ryan? Who will be — if Trump loses — will be scapegoated to some extent in the loss, and will be the leader of the rival faction. If he is able to get behind a movement to deny Ryan the speakership, he becomes the de facto leader, and a force in the party for the next years while they are in the wilderness, if that’s the outcome.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Bill Barr Is Right about Trump’s Tweets

Attorney General Bill Barr rightly and understandably rebuked government by presidential tweet in a notable ABC News interview on Thursday. The attorney general said that President Trump was making his job “impossible” by constantly commenting on an ongoing criminal case, and one involving Trump’s ... Read More