Donald Trump won't be the GOP's "My Fair Lady"

Nine months into the campaign, party leaders still harbor the modest hope they’ll be able to housebreak their nominee. When he accomplishes the meanest tasks (not denouncing someone for being “Mexican,” not lambasting rivals as “losers,” giving a pre-written speech) he is lavished with praise; when he stumbles (say by belittling a woman’s appearance) his conduct is excused on the grounds that he’s a political novice and is still “learning and growing.” As though a 70-year-old man were a child learning adult table manners for the first time; or a puppy in obedience school. (Or a grizzly bear.) Who’s a good boy? Not Trump.

That knowledge has come at a parlous cost for the Republican Party. The calamity and folly of it all is that there was no need to pay it. For the only lesson to be learned from this experience is one that was taught years ago: out of the crooked timber of Trump will no straight thing ever be made. Trump is who he has always been, contumacious and contumelious.

Now his ways are those of the GOP. Even more so, perhaps, for the party tried and failed to change them; and because, having failed to change them, remained willing to turn over America’s nuclear arsenal to him despite believing him utterly unfit for the burden. The GOP knew Trump was a scorpion. That it was stung is its fault alone; the scorpion, after all, can’t help his nature. What effect the venom will have is unclear; the victim’s bloodstream was already rife with toxin.