Depending on who you ask, Donald Trump has either been a godsend for the Republican party or the person who left it hobbled and ready to be driven into illreavantcy. Like most things in life, neither of these extreme viewpoints are correct. If you look at the facts and the voting outcomes in the 2016 and 2020 elections you can see some serious shifts in voting blocks and contested states. The biggest changes are demographics and how certain groups have flipped states like Georgia and Arizona and beyond.
It is easy to see that Biden won the election and the holdouts who refuse to admit it are just wasting time, but that isn’t the question, the far more interesting questions for the GOP are (in no particular order) Did Trump help grow a hispanic voter base for the GOP? Did Trump turn the Republican party into a primarily populist party? What does it say that not a single GOP House congress member lost their reelection campaign? And of course the biggest question of all, Will Trump run for President in 2024 and if he doesn’t who will?
It might be surprising to some to view Trump as a net positive overall for the GOP, but it is clear that Trump brought or introduced millions of voters to vote for him and the GOP down ticket that never would have voted in the first place (let alone a republican). The other side of this argument is easy and worth noting, if you believe he was a net positive it means you think he brought in more current and future voters than he drove away, and i think that assessment is beyond fair given a few considerations. Most of this opinion is also based on the fact that many long time GOP voters who wouldn’t vote for him because they were (in many rightful ways) appalled by his lack of presidential behaviour and seemingly questionable moral character, are now going to turn back to a more acceptable or traditional GOP candidate.
2024 is where the rubber meets the road. If Trump doesn’t run and backs a new candidate and helps unify the new and the old we could see a surge in participation like never before for the GOP. So the real question is, based on all of the behaviour that we have seen from Trump over the last four years, is there really any doubt that he won’t run again? I believe it is highly likely and if he does it might very well ruin the GOP for good.