Ronald Reagan drew centrist Democrats - hence the term "Reagan Democrats" - into the GOP with his trademark sunny, optimistic, staunchly conservative/constitutionalist message. He did not do so by diluting that message, or by moving leftward to pander to them. And as the Gipper, himself a former Dem, said all the way back in the early 1960s, "I didn't leave the Democrat Party; the Democrat Party left me." There was, of course, no doubt that the fortieth president was a Republican.
We on this site have had an ongoing, intermittent debate about "progressive" infiltrators into the GOP, with your humble pundit scoffing at the notion as paranoid hostility at a GOP "establishment" whose shortcomings are not ideological but tempermental. Something which I characterize as Pachyderms not being revolutionaries, a description that most definitely encompasses their Donk opponents. But that doesn't make "establishmentarians" leftwing collaborators, either.
But with the rise of Trumpmania, we may very well have that liberal/socialist/commie bastard infiltration PP's proprietor has been looking for all along:
Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in the Republican race in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the G.O.P. coalition.
i.e. Outside of it, but not entering it as a rightward move ideologically, but rather bringing their leftism in with them.
He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. [emphasis added]
The saving grace of the "Trump coalition," particularly given that his candidacy is far more a cult of boorish personality than an organized campaign.
His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats.
i.e. They're Trumplicans far more than they are Republicans and self-identify as such because of in which party he's running.
It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democrat data firm.
So quite regional, not a nationwide phenomenon. West of the Mississippi, Trump fades dramatically. That, along with the aforementioned weaknesses, is why, I'd imagine, most political analysts forecast the GOP race as coming down to a mano-e-mano between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Trump’s huge advantage among these groups poses a challenge for his campaign, because it may not have the turnout operation necessary to mobilize irregular voters. [emphasis added]
So Trump's gaudy poll numbers may be highly ephemeral.
But it is just as big a challenge for the Republican Party, which has maintained its competitiveness in spite of losses among nonwhite and young voters by adding older and white voters, many from the South. These gains have helped the party retake the House, the Senate and many State governments. But these same voters may now be making it harder for the party to broaden its appeal to nonwhite and younger people — perhaps even by helping to nominate Trump.
Due to the aforementioned factors, that would seem to be unlikely. After which the question will be whether these "traditional Democrat" voters, big on socialism, protectionism, unsustainable entitlements - in essence, loving big government and wanting it kept just as it is, only working in their favor (my late in-laws resided in this category) - but not so hot on their own party's cultural debauchery, racism, Ameriphobic anti-patriotism, and pacifism and surrender abroad, will stay in the GOP post-Trump, holding their own noses at the Tea Party wing which regards them as the infiltrators they are.
That, though, poses the question of whether that actually is infiltration or simply Conn Carroll's conclusion:
Do we as conservatives want our party assimilating "big government whites" or do we wish the GOP to be as ideologically pure as possible? Most Tea Partiers would reflexively embrace the latter. But what if the GOP needs those "big government whites" who are with us on moral/social issues and foreign policy but not fiscal and economic matters in order to retain control of Congress? That's when that question stops being so simple and starts getting very, very complicated.
Politics, in other worse, is a lot harder, with a lot more shades of gray, than TPers ever want to admit.
Trump, though, is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy: a Democrat demagogue manipulated into the Republican presidential race in a classic piece of Clinton mischief to in turn exploit Tea Party anger as an entrance ramp for "traditional Democrats" to import their big government preferences into the GOP. He must be stopped by any means necessary, even if "establishmentarians" have to swallow Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee.
Perhaps a President Cruz, if he adapted a more Reaganesque mien, could help "cure" Trumplicans of those wayward heresies?