Why do I say this? For the answer, let us return to the good old days of 2016, when the possibility of a senile, ignorant, lying con man becoming President was only a madman’s nightmare.
In the Presidential primaries that year, Republican voters were presented with an wide array of choices:
(1) more or less standard Republican politicians who could be counted on to maintain the status quo of low taxes for the rich and large corporations and opposition to any and every kind of Federal aid for anybody else ranging from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz;
(2) complete political outsiders with no experience in government who claimed that their complete lack of visible qualifications made them ideal for the most important governmental post in the world (Ben Carson, Carly Fiorino); and
(3) the host of a TV “reality” show who lacked the ability to speak in full sentences, but was able to mobilize the formerly comparatively mute masses of racists, white supremacists, quasi-Nazis and totalitarian-oriented thugs of all stripes and fuse this human material with religious bigots and loons of many denominations to take over a party whose rank and file lacked any sort of common program.
They coalesced around a charismatic leader on the common ground of hatred of minorities, foreigners, science, the Federal government, etc., etc. You name it, they hated it.
But what if Trump had not been in the field? Was there anybody else who could have mobilized the political flotsam that now constitutes the Republican base? If so, I have not heard of him/her. Trump is a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. There is no one in sight who could attract the same devoted throng or any significant portion of it, even if they spew the same foul nonsense as he. Think of a Nazi Party without Hitler: not very impressive.
Once Trump is gone, his base will soon follow, splitting up into tiny, ineffectual political parties, or going back underground. The professional Republican pols who kowtowed to Trump will be (in my estimation,) irretrievably stained by their slavish adherence to the phony con man, and most of them will go down with the sinking ship, and that will be that until a new party representing the rich and powerful is organized, which could take some time, as most of the potential leaders will have been ruined by their ass-kissing of Trump.
These things do happen from time to time in American politics, if not often. Anybody remember the Whigs ?