Trump, the Republican Party, and the logic of bailouts

As the possible nomination of Trump approaches, many Republicans are worried about the Party crashing.  That could occur through convention warfare, a Trump nomination and an electoral disaster, or a non-Trump nomination and an electoral disaster.  Maybe all of the above!

And what is wrong with the Party crashing?  (Please, dear reader, consider this question from a logistic rather than a partisan point of view.)  The Party contains information.  Relationships.  Procedures and processes and established patterns of cooperation.  A well-known brand name.  Organizational capital is lost if those connections are blown up and then go away.  It would cost a good deal to rebuild them, whether through a new third party or through a reconstitution of the Republican Party in some new guise.

Large blocs of voters are in essence needed to help cover those fixed costs.  If you tell too many voters to go away, however that might be done, the fixed costs can’t be paid the next time around and a new organization must be created, backed by some other, partially-overlapping group of voters.  So during “bad times” Republicans still may wish to keep the Republican Party afloat, especially if they believe it is a viable concern over the longer haul.

This, by the way, is the same logic behind bank and corporate bailouts   If the afflicted company is allowed to go under, a lot of organizational capital will be lost in what otherwise might be viable enterprises.  (I am not suggesting those bailouts have zero cost, or are necessarily good, only that there is some associated benefit.)

So if you are a Republican, and considering supporting Donald Trump “for the sake of the party.” you are in essence considering whether a bailout of the Party is a good idea.  Except instead of bailing out a private company with your taxes, or guaranteed credit, you are bailing out a political party with your …[fill in the blank]…

I believe that many of the people who usually claim to oppose bailouts will favor this one.


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