- - Monday, May 9, 2016

It is hard for any sane Republican to look towards this fall and see anything but destruction and the death of the Grand Old Party. The cause of the death for the GOP will be Donald Trump.

As the smoke clears from the battlefield that was the GOP primary, Americans are getting a clear look at the liberal New York billionaire. Conservatives don’t like what they are seeing. The #NEVERTRUMP movement has exploded in the last week. Usually, as was shown in 2012 and 2008, when a candidate effectively clinches the nomination, the opposition within the party dissolves.

#NEVERTRUMP is growing.

Other Republican candidates showed the impact of the Tea Party movement. They made frequent references to the Constitution and to limited government. Not Donald Trump. All Donald Trump ever referred to was himself.

Trump said “He” would make America great again. “He” would bring back jobs. “He” would build a wall. The operative word in all of Trump’s discussions was “he.” References to American exceptionalism, the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers, freedom, liberty or limited government were as absent from Trump’s speeches as any signs of humility.

Columnist Ross Douthat noted that even more than George Bush, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton, Trump is running as a Caesar-type candidate. Trump is the American demagogue. The Greek historian Polybius noted that demagogues eventually undo free societies and the government then decays into a “government of violence and the strong hand.”

If Trump had his way, he would be the American strong hand, trampling over the rights of citizens and crashing through the Constitutional boundaries America’s founding fathers put in place to stop men like Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

For better or worse, Trump won’t get his chance.

Trump’s polling is a disaster. His presumptive nomination has already changed eleven states from being possible or probable Republican states to either toss ups or states that now favor Democrats. Indiana has only gone blue three times in the last century. Experts now say Indiana could be a toss-up with Trump leading the ticket.

The Democrats wasted no time firing on Trump. The Republican Party is in the unenviable position of defending 24 Senate seats this year against only 10 for the Democrats. There are a number of endangered Republican senators and the Democrat Senate Campaign Committee quickly tried to tie them to Donald Trump.

One of those senators, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, has yet to endorse Trump.

Many Republican campaign experts in Washington are already writing off the Senate. Some even fear for the House. While that is unlikely, as the Democrats would need to pick off thirty seats to flip the House, most Republicans are bracing for a much smaller majority in 2017.

All of this is not final just yet. In the days after Trump presumptively clinched the nomination, he promptly went into Chernobyl mode. He changed his positions on his own tax plan, minimum wage, indicated single payer health care might be an option and hired as his finance director a noted liberal with ties to both Hillary Clinton and George Soros.

Donald Trump still has not clinched the nomination. He does not have 1237 delegates committed to him yet. If the #NEVERTRUMP movement has its way, he won’t.

But one thing is certain. If Donald Trump leaves Cleveland as the Republican nominee, this fall’s campaign will be a bloodbath for Republicans and this might be the last year the Republican Party competes as a major national party.

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