The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Yes, Trump does mean the end of the GOP

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Lindsay Graham, as part of the taunt-war he’s having with Donald Trump, says that if Trump wins the GOP nomination, it will mean the end of the Republican Party. He’s right, but Trump means the end of the Republican Party even if he doesn’t get the nomination.

I wrote a few weeks ago that Trump represents the Jump the Shark moment of the party. The GOP has been a rickety, unsustainable contraption of policy prescriptions that don’t add up, don’t really represent the coalition’s actual members, and is based on a backward-looking set of views appealing to an ever-shrinking demographic. It has been held together this long with an ever-more-obfuscatory confabulation of misdirection, packaged in buzzwords and amped with anger. It was overdue to come unglued.

Trump is a disruptor of the most lethal sort. His blunt language is shattering the brittle framework of GOP nostrums that forever promise things they don’t deliver. He is revealing the basic discordance between party leaders and rank and file. He is like the rogue catalyst that breaks one bond, then moves on to break the next and the next. There’s no easy way to stop this, though the party establishment is frantically trying to think of one.

I would like to say that this implosion will be good for the party, and good for real conservatives and good for the nation. And it might. Or it may be a lurch into the rank nativism that is gaining strength in Europe.

But it isn’t going to be the same.