A popular Southern GOP governor was asked earlier this week how the candidates were going to fare in his home state on Super Tuesday.
“Trump is going to win by 10 points,” the governor said, “and I don’t know a single person who is voting for him.”
Welcome to the Republican Party of 2016, where money means little, endorsements mean less and celebrity trumps experience every time.
As tonight’s Super Tuesday’s results prove all too well to the Republican ruling class, Donald Trump has seized control of their Grand Old Party and has forever changed the way conservative candidates will run for president. The Manhattan billionaire has wiped out all competition on his own terms, offending and insulting every establishment figure within earshot and proving once again there is little they can do to stop him.
The fact Trump’s big night came just days after he balked at the chance to condemn the Ku Klux Klan suggests that there may be little that even Trump himself can do to stop this train.
Victories in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Vermont and Georgia underscored just how weak the GOP establishment has become. Adding insult to injury were Ted Cruz’s modest success tonight and Marco Rubio’s continued disappointment.
Pulitzer Prize winning historian Jon Meacham says Trump’s takeover of the Party of Reagan has no precedent in American history: “Donald Trump has managed to hijack an entire political party, and the pilots are asking why no one is on their side. The passengers are cheering for the guy who took over the plane.”
Meacham believes Trump’s hostile political takeover is unlike any other uprising in the past century. Henry Wallace, Strom Thurmond, George Wallace and Ralph Nader all launched failed insurgency bids from within their own parties, but those bids collapsed before they evolved into outside independent campaigns.
Trump’s takeover bid is different not only because he is succeeding, but also because the former Hillary Clinton supporter has swooped in from the outside and taken over America’s conservative party much like corporate raider Carl Icahn seized control of TWA in the mid-80s, stripped it of its assets and remade the airline in his own image.
Unless Donald Trump manages his hostile takeover of a bitterly divided Republican Party better than his friend handled TWA’s dissolution, Meacham’s belief that George W. Bush may be the last Republican to be elected to the White House could turn out to be the most lasting legacy of this surreal 2016 campaign.