The Republican Party’s post-2012 “autopsy” and the rebranding supposed to emerge from that autopsy, which argued that Republicans needed to broaden their appeal and basically try not to alienate everyone but old white men, has been a joke since sometime about 10 minutes after the autopsy was released. Sure, Paul Ryan and a few other Republicans paid lip service to doing something about poverty, but they used that lip service to promote the same old policies favoring the rich and hurting everyone else. And look at the campaigns Republicans ran in 2014. Hate and fear every which way you looked—but it worked for them with a midterm electorate.
Luckily for Republicans, now that they face a presidential year electorate, they’ve found a scapegoat for the longstanding failure of their autopsy and rebranding: Donald Trump.
The report — the product of 2,600 interviews with voters, experts, party officials and business leaders, as well
a poll of Hispanic Republicans and an online survey of 36,000 stakeholders — was remarkable for its blunt criticism of Republican politics. The party, the report’s five authors argued, had become the realm of “stuffy old men” and spent too much time “talking to itself” rather than engaging new voters. Backing immigration reform, the authors concluded, would be necessary to shed that image. “If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only,” the authors wrote.
Trump trashed that advice on Day One and never looked back.
C’mon. Stuffy Trump is not. And obviously he is not talking to the exact same Republican establishment Mitt Romney was talking to in 2012, or we probably wouldn’t see that Republican establishment up in arms about his candidacy.