GOP Rudderless After Big Losses and Embrace of Extremism

What role will Trumpism continue to play in Republican politics here in Michigan and beyond?

Republicans are at a political crossroads after losing the White House and likely the U.S. Senate after Tuesday’s runoffs in Georgia.

“I think there are a lot of especially younger Republicans who think the party we entered into when we were young is not the party that exists today.” – Andrea Bitely, Truscott Rossman

The future of the GOP is in question after Donald Trump’s presidency, with factions growing more divided with no clear leader other than a president who is taking much of the blame for the party’s recent electoral failures.

Those dynamics are playing out here in Michigan, where few notable Republicans seem to be interested in running against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022. 

Listen: Evaluating the state of Republican politics in Michigan and the party’s future.


Zach Gorchow is the executive editor and publisher of the Gongwer news service in Lansing. He says “it’s definitely a time of transition for Michigan Republicans.”

“Where do the Republicans go from here in this state? We don’t know,” says Gorchow. “They’re casting about for a leader…and right now it doesn’t look very good for Republicans.”

Sarah Hubbard is principal and partner at Acuitas, a government relations and PR firm, newly-elected Republican member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. She says Trump will have a lasting effect on the party.

“I don’t think (Trumpism) is going away,” she says. “But he certainly won’t have the same kind of bully pulpit after January 20th that he does today.”

She mostly dismisses the idea that Trump supporters could break away from the GOP to form their own party. “I think that the part that would like to break off doesn’t have the organization it would take,” she says. “They can’t just have a couple of meetings in somebody’s basement and have a new party.”

Andrea Bitely is senior director of strategy and client services for Truscott Rossman. She was director of communications and government affairs for former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. She says she hopes to party will shed the extremist view of Donald Trump and his supporters.

“I am ready to move on,” says Bitely, who says she voted for Joe Biden in November, calling it a “choice of good versus evil.” “I think there are a lot of especially younger Republicans who think the party we entered into when we were young is not the party that exists today,” she says.

“The party that is divided is the one who loses,” adds Bitely.

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