Donald Trump’s campaign continues its impersonation of a fire in a fireworks factory. Not content with trying to justify sexual assault as “locker talk” or engaging in the “Sluts & Nuts” defense against the women who have come forward to accuse him of being a sexual predator, Trump is now trying prepositioning himself for his defeat at the ballot box and gin up support for Trump: The Network, by claiming the election is rigged against him. As noted before. You would be hard pressed to imagine what a plant by the Democratic Party could do that would cause more damage to the Republican Party than what Trump is doing.
And yet while Trump has virtually no chance to win without the phrase “and then a miracle happened” being invoked, things may not be that bad for the Republican Party as a whole.
Despite concerns in the immediate aftermath of P*ssygate of the Republicans losing the House of Representatives, the most recent polling indicates the House will remain Republican, albeit with a small majority than its current historical high. On the Senate side, it is still an open question whether the GOP will retain control, with the RCP outlook suggesting the Democrats will pick up 3-4 seats (it depends on the day). If it is 3 seats, the GOP keeps the majority, 4 means the Democrats will have the edge (thanks to VP Tim “Dr Phlox” Kaine casting the deciding vote). But the election results will not be a blow out. According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted over the October 15-16, 53% of registered voters were more likely to support having a Republican Congress acting as check on a Clinton Presidency.
In fact, when the dust settles, it is very possible the GOP establishment might actually be the winners of the debacle. Why? Because Donald Trump’s scorched earth campaign will do more to discredit the issues he has campaigned on better than any Democrat could.
Each time someone suggests the party adopt one of Trump’s policy ideas, the party leadership will be able to point to this election and say, “Look, it didn’t help Trump beat Clinton, why do you think it will work politically now?”
1) Voter ID laws. This has been more of an issue for segments of the Republican base than it has for the higher echelons of the party. While there is certainly evidence of voter fraud, no one has been able to show definitively an instance where voter fraud has actually swung a national election. But with Trump whining (and he is whining) that he is going to lose because the system is rigged against him, how seriously will Republicans push voter ID laws based on the sour grapes of a loser? What’s going to be the hook? “If my legislation had been in effect in 2016, Donald Trump would have only lost by 5% of the vote instead of 7%”? All people are going to remember is Donald Trump complaining before a single vote was counted that he lost an election because it was rigged against him. Al Gore may be beloved by the leftist faction of the Democratic Party, but he is a non-entity for a vast majority of the American electorate for the simple reason that he lost the 2000 election and then proceeded to make a federal case about it. Literally.
[Trump is right of course, that the electoral system is rigged. Where he errs is not realizing it is rigged in his and Clinton’s favor. Maybe the Donald should checkout Rigged 2016.]
2) Immigration. The idea of a giant wall between the US and Mexico is dead (not that it was ever really going to happen). Who in the GOP is going to say “Donald Trump was right” when Donald Trump is a loser at the ballot box?
Nor is any Republican going to go to the wall (pun intended) to advocate throwing all illegal immigrants out of the country as Trump currently proposes. (Recall in 2012 Trump thought Romney’s idea of self-deportation of illegals was cruel). Given that 59% of Republicans polled by Pew believed illegals in the country should be given a path legal residency, it is very hard to argue any Republican is going to strenuously campaign for a Donald Trump position.
I doubt the GOP will embrace some form of “comprehensive” immigration plan. It is more likely they will introduce a series of bills to reform the system and will ultimately have some form of path to citizenship involved.
3) Trump’s anti-Muslim policies.y. It is going to be hard to justify a plan that while, possibly Constitutional, goes against the intent of the United States, especially when you factor in you have a 1 in 3.6 million chance to die in a terror attack (especially when you have a better chance of being killed in a car accident) and such a ban would cost somewhere between $35 Billion and $229 billion in lost productivity and growth.
It is more likely the party will try to find a balance between trying to keep the jihadi out while courting the vote of American Muslims who are far more secular in outlook then their overseas brethren.
As it has been for Steaks, wines, airlines, search engines, vodka, mortgages, magazines, universities, water, and football teams, the Trump brand on these policies is going to be a Yuge disaster.