I called it on Saturday.
I said that October 8, 2016 will go down in history as The Day The Republican Party Died. It didn’t die because of any lewd comment about women that Trump made in an old tape from 11 years ago. It died because the #NeverTrump forces in the GOP establishment seized on the tape as their opportunity to make their move.
The polling over the weekend showed that the Billy Bush tape was having very little impact on voters. Focus groups and polls of Trump caucus supporters in Nevada were showing that voters thought it was being blown out of proportion:
A source who does polling tells me these calls were made in Nevada yesterday. They were ID'd as Trump caucus supporters. pic.twitter.com/yAR1YAKVZT
— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) October 9, 2016
— Deplorable AJ (@asamjulian) October 9, 2016
The #NeverTrump forces didn’t wait to see what voters thought about the matter.
By Saturday afternoon, Trump was getting stabbed in the back by an avalanche of Republican senators, governors, congressmen and party officials who publicly denounced him and rescinded their endorsements. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas even went so far as to say that he wanted knock Trump’s teeth out!
It was a total and complete contrast to what happened over the weekend in the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton was hit by an equally devastating scandal on Friday evening when Wikileaks dropped the Podesta Emails. If there was a single Democratic senator, governor, congressman or party official who publicly stabbed Hillary in the back over that, denounced her corruption, or rescinded their endorsements, I didn’t see it.
When the Democratic nominee got bad news, it was all hands on deck in the media and the party. They went all in to save Hillary by releasing the Trump Tapes. When the Republican nominee got bad news, something like a third of his party dogpiled and publicly stabbed him in the back. I was struck by it at the time and the only thing that I could compare it to was the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate.
I knew then and there that the #NeverTrump Republicans had fatally split the party. I knew that such an unbelievable betrayal and slap in the face – coming less than 30 days before a national election against Hillary Clinton – would ignite such a furious reaction from Trump’s base that there would be no hope for reconciliation.
I knew in my gut that was it and something historic was unfolding. That was the final straw for millions of Trump’s disaffected voters. That was the confirmation of everything they had ever suspected about the Republican Party. It was if the term CUCKSERVATIVE had been etched in granite on the Republican Party’s tombstone.
Needless to say, the consequences of this will be unforgivable. There will be too much bad blood. There will be too little trust. #NeverTrump has burned bridges that they will never be able to rebuild. There is going to be a total crackup of the Republican Party.
Note: The demise of the Whigs as a national party in the 1850s heralded everything that followed. It destabilized the American political system which had contained passions and marginalized extremists.