Anybody who cares about the future of the United States should start to worry that the Republicans will somehow wiggle out of nominating Donald Trump as their presidential candidate. Why should every sane person on the planet, not just angry Trump voters and savvy Democrats, hope Trump is the GOP candidate?
With the rise of the so-called Tea Party, the Republicans stopped being a normal parliamentary party with any interest in governing and became dedicated to one thing: obstructing anything President Obama wanted to do. The Party establishment knew very well that Tea Party populism was born of dark ignorance, free-floating anger, resentment, and vicious racism but decided to exploit it anyway. In 2012, the Republican establishment’s candidate Mitt Romney happily took money and an endorsement from Donald Trump at a time when Trump was shamelessly peddling the racist Birther nonsense that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not legitimately the President. An astounding 43% of Republicans today believe Obama is a Muslim. (http://www.salon.com/2015/09/14/a_staggering_number_of_republicans_believe_president_obama_is_a_muslim/)
Now, of course, Romney is denouncing Trump as a con artist and a fraud, not because Romney has had pangs of conscience about going along with the racism, but only because he thinks Trump will go down in ignominious defeat and take the Republican Party with him. Whatever else you can say about Romney, he isn’t stupid.
After Romney’s loss to Barack Obama in 2012, the Republican National Committee published a post-mortem report that recommended among other things rebranding the Grand Old Party (GOP) the Growth and Opportunity Party. But beyond such goofy window dressing, the report also addressed the need for the party to face demographic realities. The changing face of the nation—less white, less male and much less traditional—meant that the Republicans could no longer be the party largely of angry white males. In fact they were the party of happy rich white males with a really dumb angry white male base, but they desperately need to expand that base. The report called for “redoubling efforts to recruit and attract strong female, ethnic and young Republican candidates and surrogates.” The report also recommended an “inclusion council” to reach out to groups such as Latinos, African Americans, and unmarried women that didn’t usually vote Republican. Just how the council would do that isn’t clear, but certainly it didn’t plan to insult and denigrate those groups.
Donald Trump has come along and gleefully pissed all over the RNC’s plans. He has gone out of his way to alienate every demographic the post-mortem report concluded the party needed to win over. In reality, even without Trump the Republicans would have had a hard time overcoming their own mean-spirited, racist base. The old trick of running an establishment figure who would appeal to the nastiness at the base during the primaries and tack to the center in the election hadn’t been working anyway. But Trump has really ginned the base up, and it’s not going away. Without Trump, the Party might survive.
So the hope is that Trump will secure the nomination, lose every state but maybe Alabama, and destroy the Republican Party in the process. Then American conservatives can rebuild a reasonable center-right party and start to implement the recommendations of the old RNC’s report. With a bit of luck, this process could start during a Bernie Sanders presidency.
Hang in there, Donald!