Of course, losing for the sake of a principled position is not unheard of and, in fact, may rejuvenate a party for the long term. There are those who argue that Barry Goldwater’s loss to Lyndon Johnson in 1964 set the stage for a more successful and coherent Republican party in the decades that followed.
But is Trump another Goldwater? Hardly. Trump’s policy positions are substantively an inch deep and bombastically a mile wide. In times past, his flippant comments, vulgar attacks on opponents, and appeals to the public’s anger and fears would have been characterized as demagogic.
None of this should surprise. Trump has bounced around with his party identification. Sometimes he has registered as a Republican, other times as a Democrat, and still other times as nonaligned or aligned with the Independence party. Trump himself admits he’s been more than willing to give support and money to whomever might help him and his various enterprises.
There is nothing unprecedented about such behavior; it might even be smart business. But, again, there is nothing here to suggest a candidate committed to a principled party platform.