This is what a GOP meltdown looks like

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Donald Trump, left, speaking with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (AP)

You hear that rumble off in the distance? It’s not thunder; it’s not a jet.  It’s the sound of a major political party splitting itself into pieces.

The latest WSJ/NBC poll puts Hillary Clinton up by 11 points in a four-person race; in a two-person race between Clinton and Donald Trump, the gap grows to 14 points. By a margin of 49 percent to 42 percent, voters now say they want to see a Democratic Congress as well, and internal polling by both parties reportedly show similar numbers or even worse.

In Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan essentially told his caucus today that he has written off Trump and will instead concentrate on “making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check” when she moves into the White House. “The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan’s spokesperson said.

So you know what comes next:

And this, from a Trump surrogate:

As Pierson’s tweet suggests, the Trump campaign is warning that any Republicans who defect from its cause will be made to pay a price at the ballot box by Trump voters, and perhaps in other ways as well. Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and a Washington veteran, warned in several TV appearances that if the truth ever became known, many of the GOP leaders now abandoning Trump might be exposed as hypocrites or worse.

“I would talk to some of the members of Congress out there, when I was younger and prettier, them rubbing up against girls, sticking their tongues down women’s throats who uninvited — who didn’t like it,” Conway said on MSNBC. “…. some of them, by the way, are on the list of people who won’t support Donald Trump because they all ride around on a high horse.”

When she made that same claim on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, Kelly invited her to come back on a later show to explore that issue more fully. (Remember, Kelly has her own history on that issue with ex-Fox leader Roger Ailes, now a Trump adviser.)

“Yes let’s do that,” Conway said. “… we can name them and shame them.”

Oh, and an unscheduled, emergency conference call of the Republican National Committee has been called for 5 p.m. today. No agenda has been announced.