The cracks are showing within Donald Trump's party as the enemy sharpens its knives, with GOP politicians confessing they are "frustrated".

As the US bids goodbye to former president George H.W. Bush, many Americans are questioning how much the Republican Party has changed since his heyday.

The midterm elections has morphed from a slight shift to the left into a full-blown catastrophe for the GOP as the final results rolled in. The Republicans have lost 40 seats in the House of Representatives, six governorships, hundreds of state legislative seats and six state legislative chambers.

Meanwhile — buoyed by their new majority in the House — the Democrats are inching closer to punishing Trump over alleged Russia collusion during the 2016 elections, and starting to identify strong frontrunners in the race for the 2020 presidential nominee.

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The GOP is struggling with internal disputes over issues including climate change and immigration. Some believe the party needs to split in two.

Trump's brash, individualistic White House has set the tone. He has worked out his strategy of appealing to the protectionist instincts of his core demographic of mainly white, male, working class voters, and will not deviate from it.

Some members of his party are concerned it isn't a winning strategy, but they are struggling to make themselves heard.

Donald Trump's party is growing frustrated and concerned about his leadership. Photo / AP
Donald Trump's party is growing frustrated and concerned about his leadership. Photo / AP

"There has been close to no introspection in the GOP conference and really no coming to grips with the shifting demographics that get to why we lost those seats," New York Republican Elise Stefanik told The New York Times. "I'm very frustrated and I know other members are frustrated."

Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, one of a wave of GOP representatives choosing to retire, said: "It's clear to me why we lost 40 seats; it was a referendum on the President."

Tom Rooney, who is also retiring, said: "Now the party is Trump, so we follow his lead."

On the left, Beto O'Rourke has emerged as a Democratic star after losing to Senator Ted Cruz by a whisker in conservative Texas, The Hill reported. Former Barack Obama aides have compared him to their old employer, coming out with a strong message and nothing to lose.

Ohio senator Sherrod Brown is also gaining support after winning in a swing state where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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Other possible contenders for the nomination include former vice president Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Biden is thought to appeal to white, working class voters, but Brown and Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey could both rival him with that demographic.

The increasingly optimistic Democrats have some strong potential challengers for 2020, including Beto O'Rourke, who came within a whisker of beating Ted Cruz in conservative Texas. Photo / AP
The increasingly optimistic Democrats have some strong potential challengers for 2020, including Beto O'Rourke, who came within a whisker of beating Ted Cruz in conservative Texas. Photo / AP

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made huge donations to Democrats in the midterms, could threaten Biden for the centrist vote.

Other possible challengers include former Secretary of State and 2004 nominee John Kerry and senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Californian Kamala Harris.

The Golden State is a perfect example of what's going wrong for Trump's party. The midterms were a "predictable disaster" for Californian Republicans, according to the LA Times, after the party failed to make changes following the 2016 elections.

The Democrats now have a "supermajority" in the California Assembly and Senate, with the House set to be made up of 46 Democrats and just seven Republicans.

"The Grand Old Party is dead, partly because it has failed to separate itself from today's toxic, national brand of Republican politics," Kristin Olsen, former vice chair of the California GOP, told Cal Matters.

But no one wants to be the person to stand up against Trump, with voters becoming more nationalised and partisan by the day.

McCain strategist John Weaver said Trump and his backers had turned Orange County into "a GOP wasteland".

"You want to see the future?" Weaver asked Politico. "Look no further than the demographic death spiral in the place once considered a cornerstone of the party."