Can Trumpism Be Stopped?

Donald Trump may no longer be president, but “Trumpism” – his brand of populist, nationalist conservatism – remains a potent force in American politics. Trump transformed the Republican Party’s ideology and positioning on issues like immigration, trade, and isolationism.

This raises questions about whether the political movement Trump fueled can be contained or is here to stay. Evaluating the durability and future of Trumpism requires analyzing its lasting areas of influence as well as emerging signs of resistance.

What Defines the Trumpism Movement

Trumpism represents a shift in Republican ideology and strategy catalyzed by Donald Trump’s rise [1]:

  • Anti-immigration policy focused on border walls and limiting refugees
  • Economic nationalism characterized by tariffs and ripping up trade deals
  • Foreign policy marked by skepticism of allies and global institutions
  • Hardline “law and order” rhetoric and support for police over racial justice protests
  • Promotion of Christian nationalism in the public sphere
  • Rejection of political correctness and embrace of controversial rhetoric

This departure from mainstream conservatism radically reshaped the GOP base and platform.

Trumpism’s Successes

Trumpism has succeeded in transforming the Republican Party for now [2]:

  • Trump’s approval remains sky-high among GOP voters at around 85%, despite poor ratings overall [3].
  • High-profile Republicans who criticized Trump have been largely driven from the party or recanted [4].
  • Conservatives who backed impeachment face primary challenges from Trump allies [5].
  • Ambitious Republicans increasingly mimic Trumpian rhetoric and style [6].
  • Trump’s fake claims of a “stolen” 2020 election are widely accepted by Republican voters [7].

These effects showcase Trumpism’s strength within the right and hints at lasting power.

Factors That Favor Trumpism’s Staying Power

Several key realities indicate waning enthusiasm for Trumpism may be wishful thinking [8]:

  • Trump tapped into ideological undercurrents on the right that predated him like isolationism and racial resentment. These cannot be reliably extinguished [9].
  • Trump’s bond with the largely white working class is deeply cultural rather than merely political [10]. Their underlying grievances and distrust remain unaddressed.
  • Conservative media has been remade completely in Trump’s image and will help sustain his narratives [11].
  • Trumpism is highly adaptive to evolving wedge issues like transgender sports, critical race theory, and COVID restrictions that incite the base [12].
  • The party apparatus and big Republican donors are still heavily aligned with or tolerant of Trumpism [13].

This entrenchment strongly suggests Trumpism remains the GOP’s dominant ideology for years barring unforeseen shifts.

Emerging Signs of Resistance

However, some recent developments indicate potential softening of Trumpism’s power [14]:

  • Failure of some Trump endorsed candidates in 2022 primaries [15]
  • Declining viewership ratings for Trump rallies and speeches [16]
  • Trump’s worry about possible Ron DeSantis primary challenge in 2024 [17]
  • Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney openly rebuking Trumpism even at high personal cost [18]
  • Trump’s endorsements less decisive in winning general elections [19]
  • Some Republican governors moving away from Trump’s combative style and hardline immigration policies [20]

These countervailing factors suggest Trumpism faces policy limitations and fatigue going forward.

Scenarios for Trumpism’s Decline

There are several hypothetical factors that could seriously undermine Trumpism over time [21]:

  • Decisive presidential win by a national-unity ticket Republican against Trump or a protege
  • Devastating legal troubles or scandal personally discrediting Trump
  • Creation of a rival conservative media sphere challenging Fox News
  • A sustained economic downturn or failed foreign policy crisis eroding faith in Trumpian solutions

However, these scenarios face significant barriers to becoming reality in the current polarized climate.


Donald Trump’s political movement has proven highly resilient even as Trump himself faces controversies and legal liabilities. Trumpism remains deeply interwoven with the current conservative political, media and fundraising ecosystem. It will likely take years and coordinated effort across Republican elites, policy institutions, and cultural leaders to unwind this new orthodoxy.

However, the early stirrings of opposition within the right show the seeds exist for a gradual de-Trumpification of the GOP. America’s political norms and institutions face a long reckoning in the wake of Trumpism’s hostile takeover, but history suggests political movements eventually evolve or dissolve when confronted with the burdens of actual governance.

Though the hour is late, those favoring pluralism and facts maintain opportunities to temper Trumpism’s worst impulses over time by presenting a compelling contrasting vision rather than mere protest.























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