Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Trump-Induced Breakup Of The GOP Has Begun

Trump is mad at elected officials. Donors are mad at the RNC. And everyone anticipates a bloodbath on Election Day.

After a week of repeated allegations that Donald Trump sexually assaulted women at various stages of his life, top Republican donors and even some rank-and-file lawmakers are urging the party to fully cordon itself off from its presidential nominee.

Trump did himself no favors with this crowd this week: disparaging his accusers’ physical appearance, launching tirades against the press corps, and giving a more full throated endorsement of the notion that the election was rigged against him.

Watching from afar, a number of top Republican donors were aghast. One very high ranking Wall Street donor said that pressure on the RNC to cut ties with Trump “is intense.” As for the RNC’s chairman, Reince Priebus, the donor warned that “his re-elect [as chair] was on the line by holding firm” to Trump.

Trump has put top Republicans in a Hobbesian bind, forced to choose between alienating the vast number of voters devoted to the real estate mogul and the elite wing of the party that finds him repulsive. So far, they have largely sought a middle ground, denouncing the candidate at times while never fully severing their ties. But as the election nears and the limit of Trump’s political abilities and appeal become clearer, walking that line has grown much harder.  

One Republican National Committee member told The Huffington Post that he advised congressional candidates to avoid an event featuring Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, out of fear that they’d be hounded by the press over the nominee’s sexual assault allegations. Other party officials have told HuffPost that fundraising for down-ballot races has been hit hard by antipathy to Trump’s presence on the ticket.

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