If I were to brainstorm how to keep another Trump from happening, I’d come to the same conclusion.
The GOP’s gatekeepers are partially to blame for Trump’s rise.
Gatekeepers: they’re an easy fix to a complex and dangerous problem. You’ve got a prominent figure gaining traction in your party base. He’s kicked out several worthwhile candidates and pushed away an entire voter group. He’s a populist (or at least panders to it), a demagogue, and a world class persuader. How do you stop such a man from gaining power again?
A voter gatekeeper kicks out everyone who gives him fuel. A candidate gatekeeper establishes strict rules on who can and can’t run. Gatekeepers lock down, manage, and control the party dynamics.
However, the problem with gatekeepers is you ultimately turn the party into a club. You either get group think or elitism. Neither are productive for party survival. In fact, one could make an argument that the party is governed by gatekeepers (whether that’s purposely done or not is to be seen).
The GOP’s gatekeepers so far have been a white, middle-class majority, and all the trappings that come with it. Blacks have been pushed away thanks to the GOP’s disregard for criminal justice reform, and Hispanics won’t join a party with such aggressive immigration rhetoric (bordering on anti-immigration). Republicans don’t do outreach.
No, we don’t need gatekeepers. We’ve already got them to a degree. What we need to do is stop pandering to the base fears and preconceptions that the GOP base easily falls into. That’s how we ended up here. That’s what propelled Trump and it’s also why he won’t win.
Pandering to the fears of your base automatically excludes everyone who’s not your base. By pandering, you create barriers to entry. By pandering, you push away voters who become disgusted by your message.
Gatekeepers are a horrible idea for stopping the next Trump. Instead, stop taking the easy way. It’s easy pushing your base’s buttons. It’s easy to address their fears. But by addressing their fears, you either become a click bait candidate or a demagogue. And neither option ends up anywhere good.
The Republican Party needs to learn how to become more inclusive. It’s going to require avoiding their bigoted voters, but maybe it’s time the GOP dealt with its racial skeletons in the closet.
Forget gatekeepers, let’s get rid of the prejudices and narrow-mindedness that’s risen its ugly head thanks to Trump.