But what happens if Trump wins? Is that then a vindication of his populism and a mandate for his rhetoric? If so, how then should conservative Republicans govern and campaign?
After all, Trump does not appear to be a small-government advocate. Bigger is beautiful; more is greater. You won’t find Trump preaching smaller footprints, sustainability or opening a production line for Trump Tiny Houses. He wants to make government work but won’t be afraid to measure action – such as improving veterans’ healthcare – through increased spending. The idea that government can do more, better, is not a traditional Republican position. His populism rightly identifies the failures of government, but rather than restricting the role of government I expect he will take on a domestic neo-con vision that government can’t be made smaller, but can be made to work better. I could be wrong; Trump isn’t shy when it comes to terminating employees and downsizing operations and he isn’t afraid to scrap unprofitable ventures, but whether that translates into governing policy remains to be seen.
One scenario could be that a Republican Congress and Senate could pass traditional Republican policies that Trump signs so that the issues that elect GOP candidates in primaries and the general remain unchanged. In essence: Trump changes nothing about the GOP.
Or, Trump could veto such policies and principled Republicans could join with Democrats who would be happy to embarrass Trump by overriding those vetoes and do what typically isn’t done when the same party controls the presidency and the legislature: restrain and diminish the imperial executive and claw back power to the legislative branch. This would actually empower traditional GOP principles.
Madison County Journal