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“Bloodbath Alert”: Donald Trump Issues New Threat To Destroy The GOP

The big news of the morning is that the weak, doomed-in-advance efforts by Republican Party elders to hold off a crack-up of their party may be collapsing before our eyes: Donald Trump and his two rivals have now backed off their pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee.

Here’s Trump:

“No, I don’t anymore,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, when asked if he remains committed to the pledge. Trump said that he would instead wait to see who emerges as the nominee before promising his support, recanting the pledge he previously signed with the Republican Party.

“I have been treated very unfairly,” Trump added.

It was always painfully obvious that Trump, in originally joining the Republican National Committee’s “loyalty pledge,” had carefully given himself an out, stating that he reserved the right to abandon the pledge if he were treated “unfairly.” Conveniently enough, Trump also knew he could define what constituted “unfair” treatment. Now he has done exactly this.

The crucial point here is not that this necessarily means Trump will run a third-party candidacy if the nomination goes to someone else at a contested convention. He may try to do that, but such an effort might depend on ballot logistics. Rather, what really matters here is that Trump is signaling his possible intention to do maximum damage to the party if he is denied the nomination, through whatever means he has at his disposal.

We simply don’t have any idea yet how much damage Trump can do to the Republican Party. It could go well beyond denying Republicans the White House. If a raging Trump, having lost the nomination at a contested convention, urges millions of his followers not to vote Republican, it could cause large numbers of GOP voters to sit out the election, potentially rupturing their plans for holding their Senate majority.

The significance of this spills over into the Supreme Court fight, too: GOP Senate leaders are explicitly refusing to consider Barack Obama’s nominee to keep the base energized, in hopes of holding that Senate majority. The idea: Republican voters might be fizzed up by the GOP leadership’s awesome willingness to do whatever it takes to prevent a liberal Court, and by the added benefit this strategy has of seeming to stick a thumb in the eye of Obama’s legitimacy as president. But Trump — by doing all he can to rupture the base — could roll a grenade into the center of all this.

Even if Trump wins the nomination with a minimum of convention drama, that, too, could do a lot of damage. If a lot of GOP voters alienated by Trump back the Democratic nominee or sit the election out, that could imperil GOP control of the Senate. It’s possible this could also begin to produce cracks in the GOP’s House majority. Paul Kane reports that political observers are suggesting it now looks possible that a Trump nomination could lead to major gains for Democrats in the House. Winning the 30 seats needed to take back the majority still looks like a major long shot. But some analysts think “double digit gains” for Dems are possible:

Such a big loss would leave Republicans holding the slimmest House majority either party has held in more than a decade. That could further destabilize the control of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan over a chamber in which his conservative flank has recently rebelled against his agenda.

If Republicans do lose the Senate, a much smaller House majority could matter a lot in determining whether the House can continue to function for Republicans as a kind of ideological island fortress, seemingly impregnable to the pressures of demographic and cultural change and evolving national public opinion.

This is why some Republicans may move to push a third-party challenger if Trump does win the nomination — to give Republicans a reason to go to the polls and vote for Senate and Congressional incumbents. But even in this scenario, they’d effectively be sacrificing the White House in order to do as much as possible to salvage their Senate (and House!!!) majority.

To be sure, it’s possible that Cruz could win the nomination at a contested convention and that Trump could support him. While this would also likely cost Republicans the White House, it could avert the most damaging down-ticket scenarios. But it’s also possible that we’ve only just begun to glimpse the damage Trump can do to the GOP.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, March 30, 2016

April 2, 2016 - Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Loyalty Pledge, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , ,

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