As stock markets around the world plummeted Monday morning, Donald Trump saw an opportunity, batting out a series of social media posts making his case as the man to fix the global economy.

“As I have long stated, we are so tied in with China and Asia that their markets are now taking the U.S. market down. Get smart U.S.A.,” the real estate mogul and GOP presidential candidate tweeted. “Markets are crashing — all caused by poor planning and allowing China and Asia to dictate the agenda. This could get very messy! Vote Trump.”

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Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says he views Donald Trump as a positive force for the Republican Party.

“I think it brings a lot of interest to the Republican field,” Priebus said on WISN’s Upfront this weekend. “I think it’s a net positive.”

Priebus said Trump has “tapped into” the vein of people upset with Washington, D.C. and attributed the large ratings for the Republican debate in the beginning of August to people’s increased interest in the presidential field.

“I think it is a positive for our party. When you have 30 million people watching, not to mention the fact that we have 16 other incredible candidates out there I think we are showing America that we are the young, diverse party, offering a whole slew of options for people and that’s a good thing.”

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“His message is empty anger,” Paul told NBC anchor Chris Jansing during a humanitarian visit to Haiti. “It’s an anger without substance.

“We have to decide whether we want sort of empty platitudes, or whether we’re going to look at substance,” he said…

“For two months, the Trump mania has been soaking up votes from a lot of candidates,” Paul said. “And I guess my fear for the country is, is that there are large countries that do succumb to celebrity.

“I worry about the country, because I don’t believe there’s any sincerity to what the message is,” he added of Trump. “There’s a sort of frenzy going on and it’s been a self-reinforcing cycle for two months now.”

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But the worst fears of the Republican establishment, that Trump’s unapologetic condemnations of immigrants will scuttle their shot at retaking the White House, so far aren’t revealing themselves in polling…

Trump’s position among non-white voters improved, substantially, when you look at how he fared in a head-to-head match-up with Hillary Clinton. In a CNN/ORC poll conducted in late June, Clinton led Trump by 67 points among non-white voters. By the end of July, she led by 56 points. By mid-August, 49…

What’s more, in the most recent CNN/ORC polling Trump does better against Clinton with non-white voters than Jeb Bush. (Note the dashed line.) The net effect is that Clinton leads Trump by nine points among all respondents in CNN’s most recent poll, and Bush by eight. In late June, she led Bush by 13 and Trump by 25.

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SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I think that we’ve been wrong from the start about Trump and the nature of his appeal and the ceiling that he’s got. He’s disproved the idea that his gaffes, the things that we see as gaffes would undermine him, that hasn’t happened. So I think it’s still unlikely he’s the nominee. I think it is no longer inconceivable that he’s the nominee.

I mean, just look at the Reuters/Ipsos poll that came out on Friday, that’s an online poll, not a traditional telephone poll. They’ve trumped the field. That’s supposed to be what undermines Trump at the end, when the field gets winnowed to Carson, Jeb Bush, and Trump. He got 44%. That is a level of support, that that just wins you in Iowa and New Hampshire. But in South Carolina, that could carry you quite a ways in these Republican primaries.

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But if Bush can’t drive out the donor-acceptable alternatives, Trump can. Trump is doing just that to Scott Walker right now. Four months ago, the clever thing to say about Walker was that he was the one candidate who could win both the base and the big donors. That unique strength has proved instead a unique vulnerability, as Walker has been whipsawed by the internal party argument over immigration. Walker—a strong-willed politician, but not a nimble one—has tangled himself in a sequence of contradictory answers. He has tumbled from first place in Iowa to third. Dependent on a smaller donor group than Bush, Walker is also more susceptible to donor panic. Walker is a real-world politician, with a job back in Wisconsin and other life options than the presidency. The candidate Bush supposedly feared most may end as one of the first to exit the race…

Thank you, Donald.

The second reason Bush shouldn’t fight Trump: Even if Bush wins, he’ll lose. Jeb Bush is a candidate with many points of vulnerability: personal, familial, financial. Most of Jeb Bush’s Republican rivals will be reluctant to broach these issues in any but the most elliptical way. The norms of American media will inhibit journalists from reporting on them. If Bush can win the nomination, he can rely on the threat of mutually assured destruction to deter the equally vulnerable Hillary Clinton from pressing very hard.

But Trump is not playing by the usual rules. Show Trump a line, and he’ll cross it. He has crossed it. And Jeb Bush is a candidate who needs lines respected almost more than any other.

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One of Scott Walker’s top fundraisers met with Donald Trump Monday and discussed the possibility of his leaving the Walker camp to work for the New York developer’s presidential campaign, the two men said.

The meeting between Mr. Trump and SkyBridge Capital managing partner Anthony Scaramucci, a national finance co-chairman of Mr. Walker’s campaign, comes after the celebrity businessman began attacking hedge-fund operators, who Mr. Trump said Sunday are “getting away with murder.”

“He wants to drop Walker and go with me,” Mr. Trump said in a phone interview Monday. “He wants to endorse me. He said, ‘I want to drop Walker and endorse you.’”…

“What I said to him again today is that I love him as a guy, but I’m loyal to Scott Walker,” Mr. Scaramucci said in a phone interview. “That does not detract from my friendship with him, but can he please stop railing on the hedge-fund industry?”

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But many Republican strategists, donors, and officeholders fret that the harm goes deeper than a single voting bloc. Trump’s candidacy has blasted open the GOP’s longstanding fault lines at a time when the party hoped for unity. His gleeful, attention-hogging boorishness—and the large crowds that have cheered it—cements a popular image of the party as standing for reactionary anger rather than constructive policies. As Democrats jeer that Trump has merely laid bare the true soul of the GOP, some Republicans wonder, with considerable anguish, whether they’re right. As the conservative writer Ben Domenech asked in an essay in The Federalist last week, “Are Republicans for freedom or white identity politics?”

“There is a faction that would actually rather burn down the entire Republican Party in hopes they can rebuild it in their image,” Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican admaker, told me. For his outspoken antagonism to Trump, including an op-ed calling Trump voters “Hillary’s new best friends,” Wilson has received a deluge of bile from Trump’s army of Internet trolls; his family has been threatened and his clients have been harassed. He worries that the party is on the brink of falling apart. “There’s got to be either a reconciliation or a division,” he said. “There’s still a greater fraction of people who are limited-government conservatives than people motivated by the personality cult of Donald Trump.”…

In the (possibly apocryphal) past, there would have been a smoke-filled room where the GOP grandees could meet and hatch a plan to excommunicate Trump. His success, and the inability to stop him, speaks to the weakness of the party establishment in the time of the Tea Party. These days, the counter-establishment devoted to attacking Republican incumbents often seems better organized than the establishment it harasses…

The Beltway freakout that Trump has inspired proves his ability to shake up the system, Stone added. “I think what they’re really upset about is that if he got elected they’d be out of a job, since they’re in the lobbying revolving door,” said Stone, himself a former lobbyist. “They can’t buy him; they can’t influence him in the traditional Washington ways. He’ll be a truly independent president, and I don’t think that’s something the Republican establishment wants.”

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“I know how the system works better than anybody,” Mr. Trump also says, explaining that accepting a large donation creates an obligation to return the favor. Favors to campaign donors happen every day in Washington, but politicians also often disappoint their campaign supporters once in office. Politics attracts many despicable characters, but some of the people drawn to government service are there because they are animated by a cause…

The stolen base in the Trump argument is that if elected the other candidates would have agendas but he wouldn’t. The truth is that even if he never takes a nickel from a lobbyist, Mr. Trump will still be influenced by his largest campaign donor—himself. To say the least, he’s never been shy about pursuing his interests.

In business that’s fine and plastering his name everywhere has built a well-known brand and accumulated a fortune that may even be as large as he says it is. But it’s naive to examine his career and conclude that he lives only to serve others. It’s not clear to us why the agenda of one rich guy in Manhattan is superior to one that incorporates the views of a thousand rich guys across the U.S.

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Domenech is right that Trump and his immigration plan raise the specter of a GOP driven by white identity politics in a particularly vivid way. He is also right that the problem goes much deeper than Trump, who is, as he points out, merely benefiting from an anger and resentment that was already there. America is growing more and more diverse. Once the “cultural mainstream”, whites are becoming just one ethnic group among many. As that happens, the danger is that the GOP, which got 88 percent of its votes from whites in 2012, gives up on creating a coalition bound together by ideology and instead resorts to ginning up resentment among aggrieved members of its base.

If that transformation happens, Domenech argues, we would be faced with a European-style future, where the failure of the elites to respect the will of the large swathes of people creates an increasingly illiberal right-wing backlash, which in turn drives moderates to vote for the left, and so on in cycles…

Until the GOP regains its constituents’ trust on [immigration], the populist fervor buoying Trump will likely grow in intensity and scope. The way out of this mess is to outflank and isolate the Trumpians by tackling the immigration problem head on. GOP leaders must address Americans’ legitimate concerns about immigration, or risk seeing their party, and the country as a whole, slide down the ugly path that European nativists are taking.

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Via RCP.