Reince Priebus at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting in Hollywood, Florida, in April. Joe Skipper/REUTERS

When the postmortem on the GOP 2016 presidential race is conducted there will be plenty of blame to go around. Candidates ran shoddy races, attacking one another and hanging around far too long. Voters gave way to anger, nihilism and rank prejudice. Elected leaders were reticent to speak up  But it was Chairman Reince Priebus who will long be remembered for his series of spectacular errors. To review:

1. Priebus never understood that Trump had neither the means nor the inclination to run as a third candidate. Spend his own money?! Priebus put the entire party at Trump’s mercy by creating a suicide pact (the pledge) with Trump. Like the JCPOA, once the pledge was in place it was vital to keep it there. Priebus then began a dangerous approach in which appeasement, rationalization and out-and-out water-carrying were the rule.

2. Rather than going on bended knee to Trump to extract the pledge, Priebus should have used leverage (free debate time, access to RNC fundraising, rhetorical support and defense from the RNC) to demand Trump cease attacks on fellow Republicans, improve his tone and show some understanding of both policy and political mechanics. If Al Gore had shown up to run in the GOP race would Priebus have sat idly by? And yet that’s essentially what he did when a man who had no particular loyalty to the party moved in for a hostile takeover.

3. Pledges for any candidate were a bad idea. Kevin Williamson wrote recently: “The Republicans who promised to support the nominee no matter who made an error in judgment. That’s forgivable. But now it is time to admit the error, step up, and do the right thing.” Explicitly putting partisan loyalty over conscience, conservative principles and reciprocal loyalty from the candidate was another grave error from Priebus.

4. Using national polling — essentially name recognition — to determine the debate lineup was a gross error, giving Trump every incentive to spend his time on TV and presenting him, literally, with center stage. Likewise, the undercard debate should have ended much sooner.

5. Priebus should have spoken out loud and clear when Trump slurred Mexicans, POWs, women, and Muslims. Priebus utterly failed to act as the guardian of the party’s values.

6. The field of debate participants should have narrowed faster and more dramatically, giving candidates time to attack Trump and forcing Trump to come up with cogent answers.

7. Priebus immediately sided with Trump in a battle with delegates who may want to oust him. That’s not Priebus’s role. He is a servant of the party and of the elected delegates. Whatever rules they decide upon he must implement in good faith.

8.  Priebus repeatedly minimized and denigrated Republicans unhappy with Trump, who won only a plurality of the votes. If Priebus works for the party he should at least show respect and listen to the majority of Republicans who did not vote for Trump and now don’t want him as the nominee. Priebus, once again, seemed to think he worked for Trump, not the GOP.

9. Priebus should have written into the party’s fundraising agreement with Trump an obligation for the billionaire (who showed no inclination to raise much money in the primary) to raise a reasonable amount of money (a few hundred million dollars at least) and if not, cut a check to the RNC to fund the campaign. With no history of fundraising and notoriously opaque finances Trump was allowed to snooker Priebus, leaving the GOP with a fraction of the money Clinton will have.

10. Like every other candidate in the last 40 years Trump should have been required to release his tax returns. If he refused, he should have been excluded from the debates, and eventually from the convention. Trump was never required to give up information that was vital to voters’ decision-making. Even worse, to this day Trump is still involved intimately in his business ventures. That’s a horrible conflict of interest.

There are probably a few missteps I am forgetting. Priebus’s spinelessness may well result in an irretrievably divided party, not to mention a humiliating loss in a critical, entirely winnable election. Priebus’s successor had better learn some lessons from 2016. He or she might also consider using super delegates. It turns out party grownups are needed. This cycle they’ve been AWOL.

NOTE: Right Turn will be back from vacation on Monday.