I disagree with him on a lot, but this does raise some interesting questions, even if mainly on how a particular group of liberals are mistaken.
Seth Abramson doesn’t seem like the ideal person to convey what Republicans really believe. He has had issues with inaccuracies in the past, often pandering to “The Resistance” with out there theories that just don’t end up happening.
There is also the problem that a guy who is quite busy on left-wing twitter, in addition to being a journalism professor and writing two books on Trump’s international ties probably doesn’t have the time to understand the views of a group he doesn’t belong to.
So all of this leads to some leaps about how other people understand the world.
Republicans don’t have to believe that there will be a permanent fissure if they fight Trump in order to conclude it’s still a bad outcome for Democrats to win a wave election. A temporary split for the GOP could still be pretty bad for our policy objectives.
It’s worth noting that the top search results for Republicans and “schism theory” are Seth Abramson’s own comments on the matter.
He seems to exaggerate the significance of 30 Republican Senators being willing to vote against Trump if it were anonymous. Much of that comment (which is from Mike Murphy relaying what he claims a Senator said rather than “several behind the scenes” reports) is due to a preference for partisan advantage. Abramson recognizes that many Republican officeholders would be happier working with Pence; they wouldn’t care about whether Trump truly deserves to be removed from office, so it’s not really a proxy on that.
Likewise, there would have been legitimate difficulties with getting rid of Trump after he won the primary. It goes against voters’ sense of fair play. Trump’s willingness to wreck things does get to why Republicans don’t want to piss off. He will not be an Al Franken who can be persuaded to resign for the good of the party, but that’s not the only downside to dumping a man who won 14,015,993 primary votes.
The arguments about the failings of the party are a bit exaggerated. We do live in a country with an electoral college so the wins of George W Bush and Trump are legitimate. Both narrow victories also came after major last-minute scandals involving flawed candidates. If McCain were the nominee in 2000, it probably would’ve been a landslide. Likewise, the weakest presidential candidate in generations barely winning a presidential election suggests that his party is in a position of strength. A tremendous scandal-free candidate barely winning after the other party has held the White House for two terms would indicate a long-term problem.
Republicans have also won the popular vote in US House elections in 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2014 and 2016, which isn’t a mark of a party dying for 30 years.
The most interesting point is Abramson’s confident declaration that America stands for “the rule of law, free and fair elections, easy ballot access, transparent government, an unbiased media” and similar stuff. I’m curious when we had settled that discussion. These are good ideals, although there are plenty of times Democrats have been on the other side. The biases of the liberal media are well understood, while Democrats are often opaque when they’re in charge.
Different people are going to have different views on what America stands for. What Sarah Palin believes America stands for is different from what Bernie Sanders believes America stands for, to say nothing of what Stacey Abrams thinks America stands for, or what Paul Ryan thinks America stands for, or what Joe Manchin thinks America stands for, or what Joe Rogan thinks America stands for, or what your apolitical neighbor who can’t name a Supreme Court justice thinks America stands for. There are plenty of other concepts that are seen as emblematic of America, sometimes incorrectly, like politics as a temporary profession, freedom from government interference/ regulation, an emphasis on self-reliance rather than the safety net as a hammock, adherence to the written constitution, and Judeo-Christian values.
Abramson seems to look at a complex unsettled question in the lens of hating Republicans circa 2019, which isn’t a mistake unique to him; I’m sure many conservatives wrote similar pieces about how Democrats just didn’t understand what made America great and one guy ran for President on that idea.
Ultimately, one of the main things that makes the country unique is the diversity of viewpoints on tough questions (IE- pro-life VS pro-choice, the degree to which immigrants should assimilate) and this is ignored when suggesting that only one side is truly American.