Yesterday there were a lot of conference calls among Republicans. Reince Preibus’ call got the most reporting, and in it he attempted to tamp down any fears or concerns that the party was looking to Dump Trump. Reince, as he does, did his best to make it sound like everything is fine in the party and with the nominee.
But the other big call, the one Speaker Ryan held with House Republicans, tells you how things are really going. Not just in the relationship with lawmakers and the nominee, but in Trump’s relationship to base voters.
Speaker Ryan to GOP: Drop Trump endorsement if need be: https://t.co/mFc5AcVcAi @mkraju on #TheLead
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 10, 2016
Do what you have to do for your district. That’s very telling. It’s not a matter of his saying “do what you must for your political future” or kowtowing to liberal media’s demands. He’s talking about what real voters think; the people who will decide on whether these guys are reelected. He’s saying that you can un-endorse or denounce if that is what the district that you represent believes is right and you agree with them.
Here’s more from Bloomberg:
Ryan broke ranks with the Republican national chairman and Trump’s own running mate Monday to declare that he was effectively disavowing his party’s presidential nominee — telling Republicans running for the House and Senate to do whatever they need to do to win, even if means rejecting Trump.
“You all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” Ryan of Wisconsin told House Republicans, according to a person who was on a GOP conference call.
The move foreshadows what’s expected to be a titanic battle for the direction of the party if Trump loses. Polls show two-thirds of Republican voters are still standing with Trump despite his vulgar comments about women, putting Ryan and other Trump defectors at odds with the mainstream of the party.
“We’ve never been here before, this kind of crisis,” says Curly Haugland, a long-time Republican party activist from North Dakota, and former member of the National Committee member.
There is a more immediate concern: Once-confident Republicans now fear that they could lose control of the Senate and see their House majority shrink, as GOP candidates pay the price for Trump.
All is not well in the House of the GOP. Remember how many politicians spoke out over the weekend to say “enough is enough” with Trump. That doesn’t go away because of a marginally improved debate performance against a terrible opponent.
And let’s talk about that opponent for a moment. “Stop Hillary” as the rallying cry for Trump voters is ringing more hollow every day. What good is a Trump presidency with no congress or senate to support him? To support his nominees? That’s a pretty major argument Trumpists make that is now totally out the window.
What’s more, the idea that Trump is easily going to beat Hillary is increasingly a fantasy. It’s so much of a fantasy that his surrogates keep referring to invisible voters too scared to say they support him. His supporters brag about the size of his rallies, which is like arguing today’s local weather explains the global climate. The facts are that he is being obliterated in national polling. His electoral college prospects are grim. And what are his big-thinker apologists doing about it?
Well they’re whining about #NeverTrump, just like always. They aren’t doing anything to prop him up or increase his appeal to undecideds or to people who are considering third party votes. No, they’re just whimpering that Republicans are being mean to them.
Scratch that, they’re not just whimpering, they’re out organizing protests against the RNC and texting his campaign to brag that they aren’t going to support any Republicans down the ballot.
That is not the happy and friendly relationship that Pence and Priebus want us to see. The relationship is a mess, and complicated, with some abandoning Trump in favor of long-held conservative principles, and some digging in even harder on the flimsy basis that they must prove to the establishment that party leaders are not in charge and “you’re not the boss of me.”
That illusion of unity and common purpose isn’t even one that Trump himself is pitching. His tweets are still attacking other Republicans. He’s threatening GOPers that are up for reelection that he’ll punish them and publish oppo on them if they don’t support him.
That is not the behavior of a standard bearer. It’s not the behavior of the nominee. It’s the act of the head of a hostile takeover. The Trump junta forming.
The profound lack of interest in how government will operate after November, the absolute indifference of his campaign and his voters for whether Democrats or Republicans will be running the show in January, should worry you. It should worry “reluctant” Trump voters, who claim that they want to stop a Hillary agenda.
But they aren’t worried. They’re too busy explaining to everyone that bragging about pursuing a married woman and grabbing strangers’ crotches is just kind of what dudes are like to actually consider the consequences for the country. And they’re way too caught up in defending their choice to support him to actually, well, support him.
Trump isn’t winning. He’s losing. But even if he does miraculously win, it will be at the expense of Republican power in Congress. What argument do you have to offer that makes that okay? What is your justification, Rush Limbaugh? That you’re sticking it to the political correctness gods? That you’re teaching the party a lesson?
The answer is there isn’t one. As we’ve said before, this is all about revenge and exerting some illusory power. And in exchange, there is nothing ahead but bleak, Democrat rule.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member