Donald Trump is still wildly popular with Republican primary voters, and although there are signs he will eventually implode, he’s doing irreparable harm to the GOP. Trump has been drawing large crowds of supporters, and some of his campaign rallies have turned violent – an issue he has refused to condemn.
The Republican Party would be thrilled to have a candidate that is both qualified and an asset to their brand going forward in a country that is becoming more diverse – but Donald Trump is neither. It is an issue that party leaders have been forced to grapple with, while trying to avoid pushing Trump into the possible third-party candidacy that he has hinted at.
Many leading Republican officials, strategists and donors now say they fear that Mr. Trump’s nomination would lead to an electoral wipeout, a sweeping defeat that could undo some of the gains Republicans have made in recent congressional, state and local elections. But in a party that lacks a true leader or anything in the way of consensus — and with the combative Mr. Trump certain to scorch anyone who takes him on — a fierce dispute has arisen about what can be done to stop his candidacy and whether anyone should even try. (Source)
The popularity of Donald Trump with primary voters, who tend to be more conservative, is ultimately the fault of the Republican Party. The GOP has been drifting to the right for decades, but it took a rapid lurch in that direction with the rise of the Tea Party as a response to the election of President Barack Obama.
Instead of trying to confine these radicals to the fringes with limited political control as they had done in the past, the Republican Party all but conceded power to Tea Party lawmakers who have dictated policy ever since. The ouster of John Boehner was yet another sign that establishment Republicans have mostly lost control to the activists they brought into the fold over the years to win elections. Consider the fact that Paul Ryan was once a Tea Party hero, yet faced considerable opposition to take Boehner’s place as Speaker from the right-wing members of the House – because he wasn’t considered to be conservative enough.
In the time he has been a candidate, Donald Trump has managed to insult nearly every minority in America. His rallies resemble scenes from the movie Idiocracy, and his speeches, while empty in policy, are chock full of thinly veiled bigotry. He has cited conspiracy websites for his claims about 9/11 and remained open to having Muslim Americans being monitored based on their religion. He even took to Twitter after the San Bernardino massacre to brag that his poll numbers would go up.
It remains to be seen whether or not Trump’s campaign continues beyond Iowa and New Hampshire. If he doesn’t flame out by that point, Republicans have a serious decision to make. The only “moderate” and somewhat qualified candidates that they have are John Kasich and Jeb Bush, neither of whom have made much of a dent in the polls, despite spending enormous sums of money.
Kasich and a Super PAC have launched attacks on Trump, with little to show for it. If the GOP wants to salvage their political viability beyond 2016, they are going to have to go after Donald Trump as a combined effort, even if means forfeiting the 2016 presidential election to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
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