You have to admire the theatricality of this moment, as Donald Trump fisks and then flings the New York Times over the heads of a cheering crowd. The poll numbers from serious organizations are consistent, and they illustrate Trump’s staying power and the desire for an outsider candidate. But it is not just theater: as Matt Lewis notes this morning, contained within Trump’s enduring appeal are the seeds of a conservative crackup.
Trump’s support is solid despite the simple fact of his policy positions in favor of higher taxes, gun restrictions, single-payer, partial-birth abortion, and recent past as a Hillary-donating, Obama-voting Democrat. None of these things can hurt Trump, because none of them matter to his supporters, and because the chief argument against them requires you to believe in the Republican Party as a vehicle for something different than the Democratic – a fact that is no longer an item of belief for many voters.
When the talking points coming out of Mitch McConnell’s mouth are essentially identical to those coming out of the White House – an agenda divorced from the priorities of a significant portion of the electorate, of trade and reauthorizations and appropriations and device tax repeal and governing – why should they believe any different? Why should such a party continue to exist if it exists to serve the people who donate, not the people who vote? What use is such a party to the people? Why not dissolve it and create another?