This election cycle, there are three groups of Republicans. The first are the people who enthusiastically supported Trump from the beginning. Then there are the people who did not support Trump in the primary, but will support him now that he's the GOP nominee using the eroding justification that Clinton is worse. Lastly, there are those who have decided that Trump just asks too much of them. They believe Trump is a disaster for the GOP and is actually dangerous for the country, even at the risk of a liberal Supreme Court. They are Never Trump.
Most people can probably see by now that Trump is going to lose in a bad way come November. There's little use arguing it, he is incapable of going more than a few days without saying something totally ridiculous. FiveThirtyEight puts Trump's chances below 15%, with states like Georgia and Arizona (possibly even South Carolina) now in play for Clinton. For this, we can lay the blame squarely on his primary supporters. We hope that the hard lesson they are about to learn resonates so as not to be repeated. It's a loss that we Republicans need to be prepared to absorb. The Republicans have been diagnosed with terminal political cancer for 2016.
That being obvious, what's curious is the second group of Republicans with people such as Gov. Nikki Haley, who spends a lot of time disavowing the crazy things Trump says but quietly mutters that she is supporting him none the less. On Monday, Gov. Haley took some time to slap Trump for his sociopathic feud with a Gold Star family. She went on to say, "At the end of the day, I will continue to say that Trump is the better candidate of the two."
At what point, Gov. Haley, will Trump NOT be the better candidate of the two? Is there anything that Trump could do or say to make her, or any other Trump lukewarm-endorsers, withdraw their support? Given what Trump has already said throughout the course of his dumpster fire campaign, I think not.
The damage of a Trump nomination has been done, but now we need to contain it and prepare for post-November without Trump. Remember when I said that Republicans had been diagnosed with terminal political cancer for 2016? Well, continuing to offer support for Trump is like knowing you're going to die and then mocking God until you go! It's totally counterintuitive. If you already know you're going to die (politically in 2016), then you may want to prepare for what happens next.
What's next is the "rebrand." It was supposed to take place in 2012 after Romney lost, however this time around we need to be more resolute if we are going to have any future as a party. But I find it hard to fathom how rising stars such as Haley, Scott, Rubio and Ryan are going to be able to play a legitimate roll in that if they stand with Trump until the bitter end. Sticking with the political death analogy, you can have a conversion all the way up to death, but not after. After death is too late and so too is after Election Day. While the first group of Republicans is definitely responsible for our demise in 2016, the second group may be responsible for the GOP's eternal political death beyond.
But beyond that, Republicans ought to disavow Trump because of the Supreme Court! Yes, it was once the only cogent argument to support Trump. But with his chances evaporating, the ONLY check against a far-left Clinton Supreme Court will be if Republicans can hold on to the Senate. The latest polls show that Sen. Rubio's lead against his Democratic challenger has all but evaporated after Trump's political week from hell. Likewise, Sen. Toomey from Pennsylvania is also being pulled down by Trump. To defend against unacceptable Supreme Court nominees, Senators need to jettison Trump.
One politician in particular has had the gall to do the right thing: Sen. Lindsey Graham. Not only has he shown immense courage this election cycle, he has a history of lifting the heavy loads for the good of the party (even if the base doesn't realize it). Graham stuck his neck out to lead on the Gang of 8 bill that earned him a primary challenge for his Senate seat. Why? Because he knew it would be good for the party to lead on immigration reform, it's necessary to our electoral future. Unlike Kasich, Graham dropped out of the presidential race early because he knew it would be good for the Stop Trump effort. Graham even endorsed Ted Cruz, whom he personally loathes, because he knew that Cruz would at least give us a fighting chance. And now he stands nearly alone, asking his fellow politicians to stand with him in being Never Trump for the good of the party and the country. Will they convert?
Probably not. Sen. Graham, you were too good for our party - we weren't ready.