Will the old neoconservatives/new neoliberals who support Clinton instead of Trump ever come back to the Republican party after the election?
It depends on three unknowns. If Trump loses big, the neoliberals will remind Republican Trumpers that they had warned them about their populist folly. The neoliberals will seek to expunge populists and to rebuild a defeated Republican party in their own image as an improved version of the conservative establishment represented by the likes of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.
They may re-emerge as old Republican neoconservatives who will promote unfettered free trade, democracy-building abroad, and “comprehensive immigration reform” while downplaying social issues.
If Trump squeaks by, then the neoliberals certainly will be orphaned for good. As apostates, they will not be welcomed back as neoconservatives by the Republican winners, nor will they be seen by Democrats as converts having any further political value.
But if Trump loses by a point or two, the neoliberals will likely stay with the winning Clinton team. They will claim some credit for helping her just get over the top — even as they are blamed by irate Trumpers as traitors for sabotaging what otherwise could have been a winning new Republican strategy. Apart from opportunistic careerism, the subtext to this realignment is a larger issue of culture, education, and class.