As Nate Silver points out this morning, betting markets are now giving Donald Trump a 14 percent chance of not being the Republican nominee once the dust settles from the party convention in Cleveland next month.
As the day wore on came news that Trump had parted ways with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and another top campaign advisor resigned after mocking Lewandowski’s firing on Twitter (Sad!). You would expect these developments to hurt the Trump campaign if there was an actual Trump campaign to hurt.
And buzz continued to surround the “Free the Delegates” ploy to change the rules ahead of the convention so that delegates can “vote their conscience,” as House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested on Sunday, and deny Trump the nomination on the floor.
If any of this is giving you hope that somehow the Republican Party can find a way out of this nightmare of their own making, I have a series of fool-proof real estate seminars I’d like to sign you up for.
For his part, having snatched the GOP away from its establishment leaders (hey, how’s it feel Speaker Ryan?), Trump still manages to talk about the party as if he were fighting against it rather than being its standard bearer.
At a rally a week ago in Florida, Trump unleashed this broadside against what is theoretically his own party:
I mean, I’ve had more opposition from the Republican Party than I do from the Democrats. The Republican Party has to be tough and has to be smart. And if they’re not tough and smart, I’m going to win, but a lot of other people won’t.
The crowd responded with a chorus of boos for the GOP.
No, the Republicans won’t dump Trump because, as Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times today, Trump’s bloated persona has swelled to fill the hollowed out shell of a once proud political party:
Do you remember what happened when the Berlin Wall fell? Until that moment, nobody realized just how decadent Communism had become. It had tanks, guns, and nukes, but nobody really believed in its ideology anymore; its officials and enforcers were mere careerists, who folded at the first shock.
It seems to me that you need to think about what happened to the G.O.P. this election cycle the same way.
The Republican establishment was easily overthrown because it was already hollow at the core. Donald Trump’s taunts about “low-energy” Jeb Bush and “little Marco” Rubio worked because they contained a large element of truth. When Mr. Bush and Mr. Rubio dutifully repeated the usual conservative clichés, you could see that there was no sense of conviction behind their recitations. All it took was the huffing and puffing of a loud-mouthed showman to blow their houses down.
The Republican Party can’t dump Trump because Trump is the Republican Party. Trump may have fired his campaign manager, but who will fire Trump?
Yeah. That’s what I thought.