Pundits have been predicting this moment for months. Most thought it would happen earlier. Many thought it would happen before the Republican National Convention — the party would devolve into madness as it tried to boot Donald Trump from the ticket.
It didn’t happen. In fact, the party rallied around Trump until the Convention, when he attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan. There were a few defections, but it mostly held. In fact, the Trump ticket gained steam for much of September.
And then October happened. The first debate happened. Trump’s 1995 taxes were released. Then the Access Hollywood tape. And then the second debate.
The number of elected members of the Republican party un-endorsing and distancing themselves from Donald Trump skyrocketed over the weekend, culminating yesterday in Paul Ryan’s decision to no longer support Trump’s campaign (he did not, however, pull his endorsement).
Trump hardliners were not happy. Corey Stewart, Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman, was fired yesterday for launching a public protest against the RNC. Glenn Beck — GLENN BECK — said that he would vote for Hillary Clinton, the only “moral, ethical choice.”
Then yesterday, Donald Trump took a shot at Paul Ryan on Twitter.
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
At a rally last night, Trump took a couple of veiled swipes at Paul Ryan.
“You have people that can’t fix the budget and then they start talking about their nominee, but they can’t fix the budget. Isn’t it really sad that we don’t have stronger leadership on both sides?” Trump went on. “But that’ll change if we win November 8th. Believe me, it’s going to change fast.”
This morning, he took the
gloves shackles off in one of his now routine Twitter tirades, casting blame on Paul Ryan and the GOP for his devastating drop in the polls.
Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Paul Ryan still has not un-endorsed him.
For the next month, this election is going to be as much about Trump vs. the GOP as it will be about Trump vs. Clinton. In close races, the split in the Republican party is going to be detrimental. The Dems have a very good shot at taking the Senate. Some polls are now even showing that they have a chance at taking back the House.
It’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse.