There has been but one certainty in this roller coaster ride of an election season: The Republican Party will complete the monumental task of destroying itself.
It didn’t take a crystal ball for me to write, as I did way back in September when we were young and the world was a gentler place, that an emergent Donald Trump was not the cause of the party’s destruction; he is the fulfillment of everything the party has become. Yet it took most of the punditocracy another six months to understand that today’s Republican Party is no longer Their Father’s GOP, a bunch of conservative business guys for whom tassel loafers and madras Bermuda shorts were fashion statements and whose goal in life was to play a round of golf with Orrin Hatch.
Their father’s party has morphed into a racist, xenophobic and intellectually dishonest bastion of the rich and privileged, everyone else be damned, and I didn’t have to look any further than the history of the last half dozen presidential elections to understand the GOP’s creation of their Frankencandidate: Voters have elected Democrats in four of the last five, not including the one thrown by the Supreme Court, prevailing by a decisive 2-to-1 electoral vote margin (1,446 to 706) with increasing percentages of the popular vote in the last two as Republicans tacked further and further from the shores of sanity and the electoral mainstream.
So what happens next?
Republicans are headed for a monumental drubbing on Election Day, and probably the only way for them to have prevented that was way back in 2008. That was when the party establishment rolled over and let a half-term governor from Alaska scratch their tummies instead of telling John McCain that he was nuts for selecting a nut for a running mate. And then coronated Sarah Palin as the party’s Queen of White Rage, which was a watershed moment in the slow but accelerating destruction of the GOP and greased the skids for Trump’s ascendancy as the King of White Rage eight years later.
How Republicans get to Armageddon 2016 depends on which poison they pick. Yes, things are that bad.
There are basically three scenarios at this point:
* MOST LIKELY: Trump becomes the nominee, which is probable because of the refusal of John Kasich to drop out and leave the field to he and Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton crushes Trump in the fall as one red state after another turns blue.
* LESS LIKELY: Cruz wrests the nomination from Trump, who eschews a third-party run but continues to attack Cruz and urges his supporters to stay home. Regardless of whether they do that or not, Clinton wins comfortably.
* LEAST LIKELY: Trump runs as a third-party candidate, finishing a distant third despite his populist posse because there still is no movement of substance behind him, only his cult of personality. Clinton wins in a landslide.
Don’t buy that red-states-turning-blue thing?
Try this if you don’t believe Clinton could take 48 or 49 states: Trump got only 14 percent of the vote in the Mormon-dominated Utah caucus last week, finishing 55 points behind Cruz. Mormons are usually the most reliable and predictable of all Republican voters and they detest Trump so much that Utah could go blue in November for the first time since 1964, the year of the historic LBJ-Goldwater landslide.
Although the Stop Trump ad buys are flying fast and furious, the party establishment that enabled the celebrity fascist is like a herd of deer caught in the headlights, and the ads are unlikely to make much difference at this late date.
Charges that Trump is a con man lack gravity because they’re being leveled by practiced con men themselves. Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump imprecations did not slow Trump, including in the Mittster’s home state of Michigan, and the party’s 2012 candidate is a fabricator of such stature that his campaign manager declared when confronted by Romney’s many lies that “we’re not going to let our campaign be determined by fact-checkers.”
Meanwhile, every major party leader — and we’re talking Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and Reince Priebus — is waving the white flag of surrender in not attacking Trump while pledging to support whomever wins the nomination.
Lets not forget that the execrable Cruz, who is sinking ever deeper into the slime as he and Trump sling mud at each other over National Enquirer stories, cowardly kissed Trump’s capacious rump earlier in the primary season to avoid being eviscerated as were Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. And that while Cruz has garnered some endorsements, notably those of Bush and Lindsey Graham, he has the ethics of a rabid hyena and is widely considered to be the most loathed man in Washington — surely disqualifiers for anyone who wants to run the country — and the silence from most Republicans has been correspondingly deafening.
“They’re afraid of Trump’s voters and they hate Cruz,” explains Graham. “But if I can swallow my pride, they can, too.”
Actually, there has been a second certainty this campaign season: That Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. And now because of that first certainty will be the next president.
Bernie Sanders scored three impressive caucus wins on Saturday in three largely white and liberal Western states receptive to his message, but — and this is beginning to sound like a broken record — these victories will only forestall the inevitable. Sanders is running out of caucuses, where he has done well because they attract diehard supporters, while Clinton’s delegate and super delegate lead is insurmountable because the largest remaining primary states are tailor made for her strengths, notably black and other minority support.
And let’s not forget that at this point in the 2008 primary campaign, Clinton was nipping at Barack Obama’s heels as Sanders is now nipping at hers’, and she did not concede for five more weeks to the future first black president whom she will now succeed as the first woman president.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on March 28, 2016, on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.