Can the GOP survive Trump as its champion? No. It cannot.

Trump-and-romney-Julie-JacobsonAP-640x480

When it comes to political predictions, Karl Rove may not have the unblemished record of incompetence compiled over the years by Bill Kristol, the man with the grin of the Cheshire Cat and the cutting insight of the Mad Hatter.

However, when Rove has been wrong, he has been wrong in dramatic and highly entertaining fashion.

There was the time before the 2006 midterms, when Rove haughtily told an NPR interviewer that while others might cite math and polling numbers, only Rove possessed “THE math,” and “THE math” told him that the Republicans were a lock to hold onto both the House and Senate.

A few days later, they lost both the House and Senate.

And of course, there was that delicious moment late on Election Night 2012, when a distraught Rove kept insisting that Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio and thus the presidency, even though the number crunchers at Fox News had already called the state and election for Barack Obama. Rove’s impassioned protests notwithstanding, Obama ended up winning the state by a comfortable margin of almost three percentage points.

Given all that, I get a little fearful when Rove predicts that “If Mr. Trump is its standard-bearer, the GOP will lose the White House and the Senate, and its majority in the House will fall dramatically.” While I too think that’s true, I worry a little when I find that both Rove and Kristol agree with me. So let me double-check my logic and my facts:

First, let’s set the baseline. Even before Trump rose to such dominance, I thought it unlikely that the GOP would hold the Senate this year. They have 24 seats to defend this cycle, several in Democrat-friendly states. The Democrats defend only 10 seats, all of them considered safe.

In fact, under the circumstances I shake my head in bafflement at the GOP’s refusal to even consider a Obama nominee to the Supreme Court. That nominee is likely to be exceedingly moderate and non-controversial, perhaps even someone that the Senate has previously confirmed for a judgeship with unanimous Republican support. That reflects the fact that the Republicans do have some leverage at the moment.

However, political markets give the Republicans just a 39 percent chance of retaking the White House. And if the Democrats hold the White House and take the Senate, Republicans may face a Supreme Court nominee of an entirely different sort come January, when they won’t have the political power to influence or stop it. By taking this position, they are gambling with their hearts not their heads, and from desperation rather than from strength.

They’ve also put senators such as Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire in a bind. Her seat is critical to GOP hopes of holding onto the Senate, and if she hopes to win in a state that Obama carried by 5.5 percentage points in 2012, she has to sell herself to her voters as a moderate willing to compromise. That’s tough to do after announcing that she will refuse to even meet with Obama’s judicial nominee, the most basic of political courtesies.

Now, toss in Trump as the party’s standard-bearer, and the prospect grows significantly worse.

Trump supporters will argue that the man has brought new energy and new voters to the process, and that does appear to be true. GOP turnout in primaries and caucuses is extremely high, and Trump is almost certainly the inspiration for that. You could also make the case that his anti-trade, pro-jobs rhetoric — as empty as it is — could pull votes from traditional Democratic groups in parts of the country that have been devastated by the movement of industry overseas.

We’re also witnessing an effort by Republicans to bargain with the near-inevitable and convince each other that hey, maybe a Trump win won’t be so bad! For example, GOP Chair Reince Priebus is now claiming that if Trump does win the nomination, the GOP establishment will have “leverage” over him and be able to moderate his behavior because the newly anointed nominee will want access to the party’s expertise, data and financial resources.

I’m not buying it, and I’m sure the statement made The Donald break out in a yuge grin.

The truth is that having Donald Trump as its nominee would devastate the Grand Old Party. It would march into the general election deeply, profoundly confused about its identity, its future and its ideology, with many conservatives reluctant or outright refusing to be associated with Trump’s outlandish rhetoric.

Look at what’s happening already, before the nomination is even clinched. Republicans who a few months ago demanded that Trump promise not to launch a third-party campaign should he lose the nomination are now muttering about a third-party effort of their own in case he wins. A month ago, Erick Erickson was still saying that he would vote for Trump over Clinton. Today he says “I will not vote for Trump … ever,” and is offering up Rick Perry as a third-party option.

“Couldn’t vote for Trump, couldn’t vote for Hillary,” says Kristol, who long ago endorsed the third-party option to Trump, in his case choosing Dick Cheney as the option. Ron Paul also says that he could not vote for Trump in November.

“It would be an utter, complete and total disaster,” says Sen. Lindsey Graham. “If you’re a xenophobic, race-baiting, religious bigot, you’re going to have a hard time being president of the United States, and you’re going to do irreparable damage to the party.”

“I know that I won’t go to the polls,” says Glenn Beck, who has taken to dark mutterings about Trump and his “Brownshirts.”  “I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton and I won’t vote for Donald Trump. I just won’t. And I know a lot of people that feel that way.”

Writing in The Federalist, conservative David Harsanyi warns that Trump poses a far greater danger to the country and to the conservative movement than Hillary ever could, implying that she is the better choice:

“You can’t let a mob run your party. And it’s not a mob because it’s hyper-populist or constructed around a cult of celebrity or even because it’s angry — though all those things are true. The problem is that it’s incoherent and nihilistic.”

I think that word “nihilistic” is accurate and important. Trump’s supporters have to sense that their crusade against the party establishment has a very high probability of wrecking the GOP as we have known it.  For many, that isn’t merely a risk that they’re willing to accept. That’s the point of the whole exercise. Their excitement over Trump is motivated not by what he promises to build, but what he promises to destroy.

The idea that a party struggling with all that can somehow unite itself behind a Trump and be victorious in November simply is not rational. Yes, he’ll pull a number of first-time voters to the polls, and a number of Democrats as well. But many more conservative-leaning voters will just stay home, with potential ramifications far down the ballot.

Reader Comments 0

1388 comments
jezel
jezel

Doubt if the GOP can survive at all unless they return to promoting competition on main street as well is on wall street. And return to the idea of limited government in people's personal lives.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

This is not the formal speech Hillary made about why she voted "Yes" on the Iraq War, but it will do for now.  (As all know, she has since acknowledged that her vote on Iraq was the wrong decision for her to have made.)


Excerpt: "She conceded that making such decisions is "very tough" for the occupant of the Oval Office.

"That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to have a president who asks a lot of questions, who is intellectually curious, who seeks out contrary points of view, who doesn't just surround himself with people who see the world the same way," she said.

"You have to have a decision-making process that pushes a lot of information up and asks a lot of hard questions. You don't get that sense from this (Bush) White House."

Hillary said these words in 2004.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/21/iraq.hillary/

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@MaryElizabethSings

In an email with the subject “bravo!” sent on March 19, 2011—the day the United States and its allies began bombing Libya—Clinton confidant and former employee Anne-Marie Slaughter appears to praise then-Secretary of State Clinton for convincing a reluctant President Obama to take military action in Libya.

[snip]

“Keep your fingers crossed and pray for a soft landing for everyone’s sake,” Clinton replies.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18912/bravo-email-shows-anne-marie-slaughter-congratulating-clinton-on-libya

Just curious as to why she'd make such a bone-headed decision when Gaddafi posed no threat. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@MaryElizabethSings 

What is 'very tough' about deciding whether to concoct or be swayed by a fraudulent case for war against a country that is not a threat and has not attacked you? 

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

From time to time in these awful winter days of sometimes high 40s - I go back and read excerpts of my favorite books - this horrible  10 day winter, it was 'Call of the Wild' by Jack London.

I can't help but think the Republicans are about to learn the lesson of 'The Law of the Club and Fang' 

Peachs
Peachs

I totally agree. If there is a God , he is the god of nature. You can't escape the laws of nature.

rimsky
rimsky

Electric cars will be cheaper to own than conventional cars by 2022, according to a new report./////

I sure hope so.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

If people are gonna put something on social media, make it worthwhile.

Why this father says ‘Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to me’

http://tinyurl.com/hgr78td

We all have something to teach. We all have something to learn.

Kewl!





rimsky
rimsky

MSN.com

Has said Rubio won the debate last night and the rest lost.  Come Tuesday they will be surprised.

Peachs
Peachs

What they don't realize is most of the electric does not even watch the debate. They vote on brand, and Trump has the brand.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@rimsky  Win the debate?  Rubio claims he has won 4 states in a row!  He was on a couple of the network morning shows today - already setting the stage for his "second place victories" on Super Tuesday.

Peachs
Peachs

Watching President Bush at the debate last night, made me wonder what he was thinking about all these insults from Trump.

rimsky
rimsky

@Peachs 41 was thinking.  "thank God I am not running against these guys."

Peachs
Peachs

Jab was saying the same thing.

rimsky
rimsky

Tennessee lawmakers have designated a sniper rifle made in their state and used by militaries around the world as the official state rifle.//////

Here is one of your problems about gun violence.  The law makers.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

All on "Morning Joe" just closed out that program by saying that Hillary now has her message down pat, is relaxed, and is ready.  They said that Nevada has boosted her confidence tremendously.  She is Presidential.  Check her out and see for yourself.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Btw, Hillary said on Morning Joe this a.m. that she has the greatest of respect for Elizabeth Warren and that Warren has made great contributions to our nation.  

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peachs


Warren is only about a decade younger than Sanders.  She looks much younger than that.  Perhaps, age does have its benefits, ya think? :-)

Peachs
Peachs

Warren will complete what Sanders started. She will be the revolutionary figure of the new era.

Peachs
Peachs

That was my point. Sanders is too old to see this campaign through. But he understands the heart of the problem of America. It is much more complicated then just electing a president. Our children have no future ,because of the bullies in the playroom.

Peachs
Peachs

We need to give her a better grass roots Congress. This is where I think Sanders and Warren can help her. In Georgia we need to register new voters both young and minority. The energy of Sanders and Warren will make this happen. Unlike the establishment, these people really believe they can make a change. And they can make a change.

Peachs
Peachs

Clinton needs to get off this election being about her. The country needs a change and she is the instrument,at the moment, that can do it. Being a man or woman has nothing to do with what is needed to be done now!

When Branch Ricky needed a shortstop he picked Jackie Robinson, not because he was black but because he was the best shortstop he could find at the time.

Peachs
Peachs

I am as crazy about Warren, as you are about Clinton . By the way I had never remember Jay mentioning that he thought the house and senate would change parties. I have been saying this for months. And with a Democratic Congress the things a person like Warren or Sanders can do with it would be amazing.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peachs


Clinton is one step ahead of you, Peaches.  She has already adjusted her message to be about others, not about her credentials to serve well.  Self-awareness.  Watch her in action more frequently and then judge her in the present.

Peachs
Peachs

I have watched her and think you may have a more biased opinion being a woman. She is the best we can get elected right now but she would not be my first choice.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peachs


But look what Jackie Robinson did for the black race BECAUSE he was the best shortstop at that time.  Ditto what Hillary will do to change the perception of what being a woman is really all about.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peachs


That's okay by me.  I know you will vote your conscience, as you should.  But, you can't blame me for trying to convince you of what I see in Hillary, as a quality PERSON.  ;-)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peachs


I remember Jay saying that the Senate would return to being Democratic and he gave the statistics related to number of Senate seats up for grabs now, but I do not remember Jay predicting that the House would also become dominant Democratic in the upcoming election.

Peachs
Peachs

Or the damage she could do if she messes up. She really worries me in this respect. I have two daughters,that I think could be better candidates they would be more truthful and trusted and there are thousands of women in America who are depending on her to become a trustworthy person.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

I think Jay's right. Rube-yo Sessyboots has got 2 weeks to pull it off; otherwise, it's Trump.

It's interesting train-wreck entertainment. But in the big picture, it doesn't really matter.

She's gonna destroy whoever they deliver as a human sacrifice

Peachs
Peachs

More because of how they have destroyed their party than anything that Clinton has done.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

"...millions and millions of women, cervical cancer, breast cancer, are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly." - Donald Trump, last night 

Will this hurt The Donald? 

Will this change the attitude of his supporters, and, by extension, the Republican Party?

Paul42
Paul42

@Nick_Danger

It will not hurt him.

But the vast majority of Republicans, especially of the Religious Right variety, will continue to see Planned Parenthood as a tool of the Devil.

They give new meaning to bipolar compartmentalization.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

This comment from @honested about the Kansas shooter got me thinking: 

"Apparently the guy faced a situation that prevented him exercising authority over something and decided that violence was an appropriate response." 

Now where could this shooter have gotten the idea that 'violence was an appropriate response' in trying to resolve difficulties? 

Hmmmmmmmm.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Donnie_Pinko @honested

Now where could this shooter have gotten the idea that 'violence was an appropriate response' in trying to resolve difficulties? 

[cough] "Second Amendment remedies" [cough]

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@FIGMO2 @Donnie_Pinko @honested

Matt Jarrell, a painter at Excel, told CNN that Cedric Ford -- his co-worker and friend -- is the suspected shooter.

"Never in a million years" would he expect his friend to do something like this, Jarrell told CNN affiliate KSNW.

"He was a mellow guy," Jarrell said. "He was somebody I could talk to about anything."

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Visual_Cortex @Donnie_Pinko @honested 

That's not what I had in mind at all. 

What about the fact that the man has lived much of his life in a country that has launched one military intervention after another against foreign targets left and right, including most recently against Libya and Syria, with other aggressions launched carried out against China and Russia? 

Not to mention the fact that it sends SWAT teams into cities when groups gather to exercise their right to congregate and march against injustice. 

Or lock down whole cities when suspects are at large after other violent events.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@BuckeyeGa @FIGMO2 @Donnie_Pinko @honested

Golly, it's kinda like having easy access to killing machines make it more likely for ordinary folks who have an especially bad week to do something awful.

And maybe encouraging people to buy and use such bang-shootie things as a proof of one's manhood might not be responsible public behavior.

You think maybe we might ought to do something about this?

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Donnie_Pinko @honested  I remember a time when politicians claimed that violence was due to people listening to rap records and playing video games.  Nowadays they want to "carpet bomb" or "bomb the $h!t out of" people they don't like but don't think that this condones violent resolutions.