As for the judiciary, Eric Posner writes in The Times that Mr. Trump would probably seek to appoint an even farther-right Supreme Court justice if a vacancy opened up. And on foreign policy, he might finally follow through on withdrawing from NATO.
At the same time, Mr. Posner writes, it seems likely that Mr. Trump would continue to come up against opposition from the lower courts and Congress. In Washington Monthly, Paul Gastris raises the possibility of Democrats’ taking back the Senate, which would further hamstring Republican lawmakers. While much of Mr. Trump’s base may continue to back him, Mr. Gastris predicts that his numbers would eventually start to slip.
This, he says, is what happened to George W. Bush after his re-election: In the wake of his failed attempt to privatize Social Security and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, his approval rating among Republicans plummeted 22 points. “Fox News drew more viewers during the 2004 Republican National Convention than any other TV network,” he writes. “In the end, it could not save Bush from the real-world consequences of his own actions.”
If Trump loses re-election
In the event of a Biden victory in November, the Times columnist Bret Stephens argues that the future of the Republican Party would depend on Mr. Trump’s margin of defeat. If he loses narrowly, the Trump family will do what it can to retain control of the party. As Adam Harris writes in The Atlantic, it is Donald Trump Jr., not Nikki Haley or Tim Scott, who currently seems the president’s most natural political heir.
But if Mr. Trump loses overwhelmingly, Mr. Stephens predicts a more profound schism will emerge within the Republican Party — “a cage match between Marco Rubio and Tucker Carlson for the soul of the G.O.P.” In Mr. Stephens’s view, one wing will seek a fresh, more sophisticated champion for the politics of Trumpism, while a more moderate wing will try to revert to a version of what the party was when Paul Ryan was leading it.
But others think that such a reversion is doubtful, at least for now. “The basic Trump worldview — on immigration, trade, foreign policy, etc. — will shape the G.O.P. for decades, the way the basic Reagan worldview did for decades,” the Times columnist David Brooks writes. “A thousand smarter conservatives will be building a new party after 2020, but one that builds from the framework Trump established.”