Max Boot wants to know “what the hell happened to my Republican Party?"Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, GOP, Trump
As a confirmed #NeverTrump conservative from day one, I should be ecstatic at the way Donald Trump’s campaign has cratered since the Oct. 7 revelation of an audiotape in which he boasted of groping women. Numerous women have now come forward to testify that this was not, as the Republican nominee claimed in the second presidential debate, an empty boast. The Real Clear Politics average has Hillary Clinton seven points ahead nationally in a two-way race; a landslide is becoming increasingly likely.
And yet, although I’m relieved that Trump is unlikely to be our next president, I remain profoundly disturbed and depressed that so many of my fellow Republicans continue to back him despite the growing evidence of his degeneracy and lunacy. Their position in the campaign’s waning days — sitting on the Trump Train as it hurtles toward the precipice — bodes ill for the future of the Republican Party.
Sensing his impending downfall, Trump has been ranting that the election is rigged against him, hinting that his opponent is high on drugs, and demanding that she be locked up. Even more disturbing is his claim that Clinton is engaged in a conspiracy with a shadowy cabal of “international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors” — language that echoes centuries of anti-Semitic slurs.
Trump has also been issuing empty threats to sue the New York Times and vainly trying to rebut the sexual assault charges against him — for instance, by putting forward a notorious British fabulist and self-proclaimed pimp to assert that he was on the very same flight, in the very same first-class cabin, nearly 40 years ago when Trump was alleged to have groped a female passenger and that absolutely nothing untoward happened.
The more Trump talks, the more demented he sounds. At the rate he is going, he will end the campaign in a psychiatric ward — or on his own TV channel, which is pretty much the same thing.
And yet all of his unhinged harangues have barely dented Trump’s support among his slavishly loyal base.A recent Fox News poll showed Clinton ahead of Trump by 7 percent overall, but Trump is still getting 80 percent of the Republican vote — only 10 points lower than John McCain, a war hero, received in 2008. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found 72 percent approve of his threats to imprison Clinton — a violation of the most basic norms of democracy. A survey by Public Policy Polling observed that among Trump supporters in Florida, 40 percent say Clinton is literally a demon — a claim advanced by the crackpot talk-radio host Alex Jones, who says the Democratic nominee “stinks” of sulfur.
These surveys suggest that most of the GOP base is so disfigured by pathological, unreasoning hatred of Clinton — a flawed candidate, to be sure, but also a centrist Democrat with ample qualifications for the presidency — that they will embrace any alternative, no matter how vile. ...