Is the GOP Going Up In Smoke?

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I had the weirdest dream last night. I was in this big room with American flags all around, and it turned out I was watching a presidential debate. But unlike the real debate, this one featured Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. It was totally surreal. The moderators were asking Trump about sexual assault and Trump was insulting someone or another—maybe Rosie O’Donnell? I couldn’t tell. But seriously, it was Donald Trump. Can you imagine?

Then I woke up. Whew. But it turns out the GOP is stuck in nightmare hell, and there’s no waking up for them:

The Republican Party was at the brink of civil war on Sunday as Donald J. Trump signaled he would retaliate against lawmakers who withdraw their support from his campaign, and senior party leaders privately acknowledged that they now feared losing control of both houses of Congress.

….A wave of defections from Mr. Trump’s candidacy, prompted by the revelation of a recording that showed him bragging about sexual assault, was met with boastful defiance by the Republican presidential nominee….In a set of talking points sent to his supporters Sunday morning, Mr. Trump’s campaign urged them to attack turncoat Republicans as “more concerned with their political future than they are about the country.”

….Much of the party appeared to be in a state of paralysis, uncertain of how to achieve political distance from Mr. Trump without enraging millions of voters who remained loyal to his campaign….The Republican National Committee took on the aspect of a fortress: Numerous Republicans who sought to reach the committee’s top officials said they were unable to get through, though Reince Priebus, the committee’s chairman, flew beside Mr. Trump to the debate in St. Louis, even as Republican elected officials rejected their nominee en masse.

On Saturday I pondered what the Republican Party would do when appeals to its white base were no longer enough to win. Perhaps this is the answer: they’ll go up in smoke. Maybe that’s what it takes to force a major party into the kind of profound change they need to survive.

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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