If conservative intellectuals and many of their institutions and leaders fail to back the nominee, Trump’s fans will hold those elites culpable for the loss, further feeding the frustrations that had alienated them in the first place. The idea that a bunch of know-it-alls can undermine the democratic process will only generate more anger and paranoia. Do Trump boosters seem like the sort of group that will embrace rapprochement and constructive change after having an election stolen from them?
Even more terrifying for some many of us is the prospect of a successful Trump presidency. Even without Congress, as Obama has shown, a president can accomplish many destructive things. Though probably not enough to satisfy Trumpkins, who will undoubtedly be disappointed. Presidents can’t just slap huge tariffs on other countries without Congress, and they can’t make Mexico pay for border fences, nor take oil form countries in the Middle East, nor will he be able to deport 13 million illegal immigrants. When this becomes a reality, I suspect his fans will still blame the establishment for its lack of willpower, support, and patriotism.
And, of course, finally, Trump might lose the GOP nomination (I still don’t believe he’ll win, but I’m cognizant of the fact that this is probably wishful thinking.) Then, it’s likely that the Republican Party will go back to business as usual. Which is a disaster of whole different kind.