Let’s say that the current polling for the presidential race holds true on November 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton wins the Electoral College by large numbers and Donald Trump and his supporters are faced with a difficult decision; what happens next? It is a serious question every American who rejects Donald Trump must ask themselves and prepare for. Who steps into this gaping power vacuum Trump has left in the Republican Party? How does Trump, a man who prides himself on success, handle defeat for the highest office in the land? Does Trump step away from his new found political career? If he does, who replaced him as the leader of the Trumpeters? While I have no crystal ball, I do have some opinions and some potential answers to these questions.
The divide Donald Trump has left in the Republican Party is not hard to find. All one has to do is open up a news search to see Republican leaders coming out by the day denouncing their party’s candidate. While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan continues to back the candidate (with the occasional scolding after a racist or controversial remark), the Speaker still seems to be positioning himself for a future bid for the White House. More interestingly, however, is that in only a year Mr. Trump has changed the paradigm of the GOP as the ‘military and defense party’ as defense officials are overwhelmingly supporting the Democratic nominee. All one has to do is re-watch four-star General George Allen’s speech at the DNC to see how the Democratic Party looks to have taken control of the patriotism theme in this election. That being said, wouldn’t it make sense for one of these military men coming out against Trump to try to take back control of the party? There are many former Generals who could hear the call of duty in the political realm, but prominent figures already within the party like Senator Mark Kirk (Illinois), a veteran of the U.S. Navy, could also have ample opportunity to rise the ranks of the GOP. Having an experienced politician and veteran like Kirk could repair the damage Trump has committed to the GOP’s credibility with military and defense.
Assuming today’s polls are correct and Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, what would Trump supporters do the day after the election? The business mogul seems to already be preparing his supporters for an uprising, claiming the election may be rigged before a single vote has even been cast. We have seen unrest and protesting from Bernie Sanders supporters after his primary loss, and the same could be seen from Trump supporters. There is a key caveat though that changes the dynamic of Trump supporters rioting over accusations of fixed elections; guns. Could violet riots filled with legally gun owning Americans really happen if Trump loses? If Trump is willing to imply that gun owners attack Hillary Clinton for her stance on gun control (which Trump lies about constantly), is it unreasonable to assume that he may call for his supporters to take to the streets and exercise their Second Amendment rights? Considering his history I would not put it against Trump to invoke the “well regulated Militia” to ensure “the security of a free State” if he were to lose in November.
Finally, what would happen to Donald J. Trump and his public career if he were to lose the election? He joked during the primary that he would move to Maine and that he would likely leave politics. If that were to happen, where do Trump supporters turn for salvation? Some of the biggest names in politics surrounding the GOP nominee would likely not make great fits. Chris Christie was once loathed by Trump and his supporters during the primary election, and VP Candidate Mike Pence and his brand of conservatism would not play ideally with Trump’s populist loving crowd. Perhaps a young and ambitious Trump supporter like former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown can swoop in and win their support. In reality, nobody could step in and replace Donald Trump and his movement. Trump is the face and brains of the operation, and without him running the show, his voters will once again feel disenfranchised and without true representation in American politics. Would this type of power and attention be an attractive enough prospect to keep Trump in the political world for another four years? Only time will tell.