The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Republican lawmakers keep warning of a looming GOPocalypse thanks to Donald Trump

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Republican commentators have been saying for months that Donald Trump's rise could signal the fall of their party as they know it:

But after Trump's terrible first few weeks of the general election, actual Republican elected officials are buying in on the doom and gloom predictions. Each new week brings new lawmakers questioning their party's viability in November --and sometimes beyond.

Of course, that doesn't mean these lawmakers are going to vote for Hillary Clinton.nominee. They're just saying that Trump's campaign could mean the end of Republican congressional dominance — or even the party itself.

We ranked the predictions from bad to apocalyptic:

The Republican Party could definitely lose in November (and probably will)

  • "If you’re speaker of the House, it’s your job to worry about the Republican majority, no matter what the circumstances are." -- House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) to The Post's Bob Costa earlier this month about Republicans' historically large House majority potentially in play this November, which, if you're Paul Ryan, could be apocalyptic in its own right.

Could Republicans lose their majority in the House thanks to Donald Trump? Paul Ryan isn't ruling it out.

  • "I think it will be Hillary [Clinton]." -- A Northeastern House GOP lawmaker who is publicly backing Trump to The Hill.
  • "I think that's my presumption today." -- Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in response to a question in May from TV reporter Mike Gousha about whether Trump will be "disastrous" and lose to Clinton.

Sure, things are bad for the GOP. But they'll probably get even worse.

  • "Distance yourself from Donald Trump  ... [Otherwise], this will last decades." -- " Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a Trump critic, told The New York Times recently.
  • "I’m not feeling great about the immediate future of the conservative movement right now. As a conservative who believes our ideas are good for America, it is pretty gloomy these days.” -- an unnamed Southern GOP lawmaker and Trump backer quoted in The Hill earlier this month.
  • "If Mr. Trump is the nominee, he becomes the standard-bearer for a party that’s on the verge of breaking apart." -- a longtime Iowa state senator, David Johnson, who suspended his party registration in June over concerns about Trump.

The Republican Party is on its last legs

  • "I'm worried that I will be the last Republican president." -- President George W. Bush to a reunion of staffers in April, reports Politico's Shane Goldmacher. (Okay, President Bush not a current elected official. But we included him because, hey, he's the former president, and this is a pretty shocking thing for a former president to say.

Maybe the sabotage is coming from inside the party

  • "I have no hard proof for my theory, but I think the relevant question is do people actually think that Donald Trump is trying to win?" -- Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) to a Miami radio station recently.

There are probably a few things going on here. One of the biggest: positioning. Republicans who have to share the ballot with Trump are increasingly fretting about how the nominee's struggles in swing and even red states could bring down their campaigns. Saying Trump is bad for the party is a way to distance themselves from him.

Lawmakers may not be happy with the campaign. But many of the rank-and-file are: eight in 10 Republican voters say they're pretty happy with their party right now.