Realists anticipate that win or lose, Trump will leave the party in shambles, either blasting favored, knee-jerk sound bites to smithereens. Or inciting by November a repulsion to this theatre of duplicity that culminates with a national Never Trump movement. Just what this billionaire-happy party needs, having for decades abused its base: a tsunami of undeliverable, "populist" Trump IOUs -- that will ice their credibility for a generation.
Win, Lose, All of the Above?
Who can't wait to see Trump rebranding the Republican banner, say, the Make Trump Great Old Party, The All-American Trump Party, or maybe just Republicans Retrumped? The $64K question: will Trumpery solidly disrupt -- or simply continue to foster -- more GOP Derangement Syndrome? Or will Trump join other disgraced, faux populist jolts, akin to Wallace, Perot, Buchanan or Palin?
But let's not jump ahead. This week, the first big myth is already crumbling: that the party of holier-than-thou ideology, forever touting its moral purity, won't embrace hulking Trumpenstein. Oligarchy unites what social wedges rent asunder. Seeming winners attract wannabe incumbents. Party uber alles, and no extra cost Trump throws in racism, reality denial, birtherism, and wars against women, minorities, and foreigners.
Second unravelling myth: Trump can't win. Trump faces an unfriendly Electoral College, but that doesn't immunize America from electing a president right up there with Dubya the pathetic. This week, second-level pollsters (Quinnipiac) put Trump ahead or even in the only three states he needs: PA, FL, and OH. National polls parrot Trump's popularity, cutting HC's lead less than a week ago in half. Do suspicious polls invalidate what savvy conservatives dread: only a second Trump miracle (after nomination) elects this master of unforced errors, daily offending minority and women electorates.
Discredited Nominee, Discredited Party
Whatever else happens, the excruciating exposure of GOP hypocrisy is in earnest. Banished are illusory party principles, consistent policy, even moral hills to die on. The last weeks are less about Trump for me than how disposable are sacred GOP commandments. No question Trump's shock and awe primary barnstorming will fade into his new hustle: to appear presidential (yet how, without changing what's worked?). But shifting gears doesn't miraculously bridge how any such unprincipled party can credibly convert the unprincipled Trump into plausible commander-in-chief.
What if being "presidential" is just not Trump, even kryptonite for a disrupter coming across as much anti-Republican as anti-Hillary? Will Trump suddenly forego his working schtick, especially gross reductionism that scorns expertise or scientific knowledge, compassion or justice. Trump boasts all of Palin's prideful, fact-hating ignorance, but with a more polished, media-insulated brand of Know-Nothingism. Except she really wanted the office, to magnify her pip-squeak shrieks.