We can’t think clearly because our labels have nothing to do with reality. The Republican establishment is populated with extremist, politically suicidal fanatics, but the Republican politicians can’t see it because they don’t measure moderation by public opinion. They measure moderation by the social status of the people holding the opinion. Republican officeholders, lobbyists, and consultants overwhelmingly hold one set of opinions on immigration (pro-amnesty, pro-increasing immigration, contemptuous of immigration enforcement.) That opinion is shared by the mass of the party’s donors, and the business trade associations. It is shared by the mainstream media. That becomes the universe for Republican politicians. The vast majority of Americans who don’t share those opinions only exists as a vague, despicable, fringe minority.
That is how you get Scott Walker being unable to recognize that his pro-open borders principles, and his dismissal of immigration enforcement were not universally shared. That is how you get Speaker Paul Ryan working to expand a low-skill guest worker program even as the Trump revolt was tearing his party to shreds. That is how you get Republican senators who are planning to repeat the exact mistakes that led to the Trump revolt. These establishment Republicans bear more than a little resemblance to the British journalistic and political elites who reacted with horror and disbelief at the public’s vote in favor of Brexit.
The Republican Party’s establishment lunacy is a bigger worry that Trump. Trump is loathsome, but he is just one guy and he is basically self-interested. He would sell out his new supporters the moment it became convenient. The establishment Republicans are true believers and the Jeb Bushes, Marco Rubio’s, and Paul Ryans aren’t going anywhere. They will keep pushing and pushing until they rip the party apart – and then they will blame the Republican voters for not caring enough about the opinions of the American people.