Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project and a respected conservative political strategist with over 30 years of experience.
…It isn’t what’s going to happen to the Party; it’s what has happened to the Party, and what is the Party now. It’s revealed a question of who sets the agenda for the Republican Party. Because the agenda as set by the political class and the consultants is completely and wildly out of step with the agenda that voters want set. And that clash, and that question of who gets to set the agenda is a remarkably interesting one.
You have somebody who has gotten 13 million votes — Donald Trump — in a presidential contest, who has an agenda that is in a lot of ways diametrically opposed to the agenda that the donor class of the Party and, indeed, the leadership of the House and Senate would put out as their agenda. Now, you can decide that you’re going to pull that agenda back and declare the Republican Party defined by the House and Senate agenda, but the voters have just told you that they reject that.
On the other hand, there is no clear indication that, beyond indicating what the problems are in the agenda for the electorate, Trump has posed a series of solutions that constitute the ability to create a majority. So, this is a long answer, but I think it’s a central question for the Party: What is it, and who is it, that gets to decide what the Party is going forward?