How Trumpism will endure — despite the toppling of Trump

How Trumpism will endure — despite the toppling of Trump
Guests attending the White House Easter Egg Roll gather to see President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House Monday, April 22, 2019, during the 141st White House Easter Egg Roll. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The Lincoln Project and other Never Trump conservatives were hoping that the 2020 election would bring a blue tsunami and a total repudiation of Trumpism, but it didn't work out that way. President-elect Joe Biden was victorious, winning 306 electoral votes and defeating President Donald Trump by more than 5 million in the popular vote count. But more than 73.1 million U.S. voters cast ballots for Trump. And journalist Sam Meredith, in an article published on CNBC's website, emphasizes that Trumpism will continue to affect the Republican Party long after Trump leaves office on January 20.

"The results of the November 3 election had been expected to coincide with a 'blue wave,' with Democrats tipped to win the White House, keep control of the House and gain a majority in the Senate. Instead, Republican Senate and House candidates outperformed and Trump's popularity among his core base proved surprisingly resilient," Meredith explains. "The 74-year-old Trump won more votes for president than any other candidate in history, except for Biden."

CNBC interviewed liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as well as Niall Ferguson, a historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. And neither of them believe that Trumpism will go away after Biden is sworn in as president.

Krugman told CNBC, "Trump will be looming over his party and the U.S. political scene…. Trumpism, the movement, is durable."

The economist/Times columnist, who teaches economics at City University of New York's Graduate Center, noted that Trump—despite his election defeat—still has an army of devotees who are willing to give him money.

"No president in the United States has ever been less transparent about his personal finances," Krugman told CNBC, "but it appears quite likely that Trump will be bankrupt.… Let's be blunt about this — he's been getting a revenue stream, in part because people have been funneling money to his businesses. So, does a Donald Trump who is forced into bankruptcy carry the same weight? Or can he do something? Can he create a media empire that keeps him afloat?"

Krugman's "media empire" reference is important. Recently, Trump has been railing angrily against Fox News for calling Arizona for Biden on Election Night; Trump feels betrayed. And Axios' Mike Allen recently reported that Trump is seriously considering launching a right-wing media company that would compete with Fox News — which, for Trump, could be both a way to make money and an act of revenge.

The Hoover Institution's Ferguson doesn't see Trump's MAGA base becoming any less devoted to him

"Donald Trump is on his way out with a pretty bad grace, but he's going," Ferguson told CNBC. "Trumpism, which is really his contribution to conservative politics, is not going anywhere. And that's because Donald Trump tapped into a range of issues about which Middle America, just to use a broad-brush term, felt pretty strongly and still feel strongly. That's to say: liberal immigration policies, free trade policies, the power of progressive ideas, and liberal elite institutions, from academia to the media. All of these issues are still very much with us — and you can tell that by the strength of support that President Trump and the Republican Party still were able to pull together in the midst of a pandemic and a pretty serious economic crisis."

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