The final GOP holdouts to Donald Trump whimper into oblivion.
Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP.
The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears.
They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain. They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan.
And each time they watch another of their own go down, they wince, try to move on. Don’t look back. Try to forget.
“This business is a lot like being a professional fighter: Over the course of it, you get a lot of shots to the head, and sooner or later, you’re knocked out,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), mourning fellow Rep. Mark Sanford’s loss in Tuesday’s primary. The race was a referendum on Trump, in the South Carolina House district where he ran weakest in 2016.
Deal with it, said Corey Stewart, the anti-immigrant, pro-Confederate symbols, new Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia: “This is the new Republican Party.”
As for the people resisting, Stewart said, “They’re dinosaurs. They need to wake up and understand that President Trump has fundamentally remade the Republican Party.”
“Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Sanford is a former governor of his state and well established member of the House. He’s broken with his party many times over other issues. He’d been around forever. He was durable. But he couldn’t withstand fighting Trump.
So, Republicans wonder, why would anyone else — especially a backbencher — even try?
“People become disenchanted with the way democracies work. A strongman comes along, says, ‘You’ve got to give up some freedoms, but if you do, I’ll take care of these problems for you,’” Sanford said late Tuesday in his concession speech. “We’ve got to stay true to this notion of the democratic principles that our founding fathers laid out.”
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Trump critic from the start, couldn’t agree more.
“Hell no,” Schwarzenegger said in an interview Wednesday about whether the GOP is lost to Trump. “A party can never be about one person. A party is about principles. Anyone, on either side, whose politics are based on being for or against the president is misguided.
“The focus needs to be on the issues — on keeping our economy booming, on reducing our huge debt, on the inequality of our education system, on cleaning our air,” he added. “Those are the principles that have spanned generations of Republican leaders, from Lincoln to Roosevelt to Reagan, and it’s those principles that will get us back on track.”
Originally published By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE PoliticoJune 13th, 2018