The GOP and the Tea Party spent the Bush-Obama years erecting bulwarks against precisely the kind of spend thrift apostasy that Trump has engaged in. They abolished earmarks, imposed sequesters, and insisted on the debt ceiling. But none of that mattered when the gale force wind that is Trumpism came along. All of their best laid plans collapsed like a house of cards. Trump has exploded the country's debt and deficits to the extent that even presidents fighting wars and slaying recessions never managed to do, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia. And the party's stalwarts and mavericks alike did nothing to stop him.
So the question is where will the GOP go from here?
It'll embrace some version of Trump's populist attack on America's institutions—and an economic agenda that is rife with nativism and mercantilism. In other words, the GOP's economics will become an extension of its culture wars.