In my "Politics and Policy" course last semester we were assigned to write a scenario analysis. This technique requires that, for any given phenomenon, one isolate the factors that are unlikely to change from those that could shift. Having ascertained the potential source of any new developments, the analyst then determines both the content and the likelihood of those changes. Scenario analysis is not really about predicting the future as much as it is preparing for it by way of gleaning a better understanding of the present. It is a common tool in diplomatic, military and corporate environments, but can be applied to just about anything.
I wrote about the potential dissolution of the Republican Party. Even before the election of President Trump, I had long been fascinated with the ability of the GOP to hold its "big tent" together. Its factions, I thought, had been making nice for far too long. In my view, tensions seemed to be mounting and the compromises that they had to make in order to maintain intellectual and emotional consistency were getting to be to great. And Trump's election seemed to bring all of these tensions to a head. And as an historian I was well aware that parties have come and gone in US politics.
My professor really liked the paper and thought that I should try to publish it. I made some halfhearted attempts in that regard, but nothing panned out. The paper was written in December and now it's March. It's probably a little dated and my time is increasingly occupied these days with the professional report I have to write in order to graduate (more on that in future posts). So I've put the scenario analysis up here. I think that some might find it interesting, for whatever wisdom might lie in its analysis as well as what I would imagine would be for most readers an introduction to scenario analysis.
It's a bit long. Originally it was fourteen double-spaced pages, so you might want to budget your time accordingly.
[more after the jump]