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Fri Jun 10, 2016, 03:57 PM


Man, I love John Cassidy. How to feel the GOP's pain over Donald Trump

This post is something of a public-service announcement for liberals and Democrats: I’ve discovered a new guilty pleasure that you might want to get in on. It’s perfectly legal and harmless; the main source of the guilt is that it can become compulsive. All you need is an Internet-connected Web browser. Then fire it up and type into the search box “Donald Trump” and “Republican Party.”

I’ve been doing this for weeks now, and the results seldom disappoint. When I indulged my habit on Thursday morning, here were some of the headlines that appeared: “Donald Trump’s Racist Remarks Could Destroy the Republican Party” (Chicago Tribune); “Many in GOP Are Now Running Away from Their Nominee” (Boston Globe); “Iowa State Lawmaker Leaves GOP Over Trump” (The Hill); “Donald Trump Leaves California GOP in a Mess” (Sacramento Bee); “Major Conservative Radio Host Calls for Republican Party to Dump Donald Trump at the Convention” (Business Insider); “Obama Tells Jimmy Fallon He’s ‘Worried’ About the Republican Party” (USA Today).

You bet Obama is worried. Just like you’re worried—worried that, despite its current troubles, the G.O.P. might somehow get its act together in time for the election. Right now, though, there doesn’t appear to be much danger of this happening, so feel free to keep on typing and searching. You can even get the view from the inside, by confining your search to conservative sources. Town Hall: “Donald Trump’s Biggest Opponent Is Himself.” Red State: “Donald Trump Can’t Hire the Best People, Because They Refuse to Work for Him.” National Review: “ ‘The Agony of the Trump Endorsers.’ ” If you prefer to gloat, you’ll find plenty of company at liberal sites. Salon: “Donald Trump May Be Finished: Republicans Are Turning on Their Nominee En Masse.” Daily Kos: “Trump’s Ground Game? Let the State Parties Get Out the Vote, but Don’t Talk to ’Em or Fund ’Em.” MSNBC: “What Took Trump’s Republican Critics So Long?”

If you only have time for a cursory read, scanning the headlines and dipping in here and there offers a decent fix. But there are ways to take it further, too. One thing I like to do is select an anguished Republican quote of the day. There were many entries in my Thursday contest, including one from Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio host, who called for a coup against Trump. On his daily radio show on Wednesday, Hewitt said that accepting Trump as the nominee is “like ignoring Stage IV cancer. You can’t do it, you gotta go attack it.”

That was pretty good. But Hewitt is a longtime critic of Trump, and he might have been gloating more than despairing about the candidate’s antics since he clinched the nomination. So I awarded the prize to Wayne Johnson, a Republican consultant in California, who was reacting to the results of Tuesday’s runoff election to determine the two candidates who will compete in the fall for the U.S. Senate seat that Barbara Boxer is vacating. Under the reformed electoral system that California adopted in 2011, one party is able to claim both spots, and indeed two Democrats did so, leaving the G.O.P. without a candidate on the ballot.

With most eyes fixed on the Democratic Presidential primary, this result didn’t get much national attention, but it was a sign of what could be awaiting the G.O.P. Many of the Party’s voters stayed home, creating fears among state Republicans that, with Trump at the top of the ticket, the Democrats could pick up a bunch of California’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and rack up huge, filibuster-proof majorities in the state legislature. “I’m trying to find something good, but there is no silver lining on this very dark cloud,” Johnson, the G.O.P. consultant, told the Sacramento Bee.

Another source of schadenfreude for non-Republicans is monitoring the various schemes to stop Trump that are circulating in and around the G.O.P. For a while, these revolved around the possibility of a third-party candidacy. But after Mitt Romney ruled out a run—and after the rumor that some conservatives favored David French, a little-known writer for National Review, prompted some wags to post derisive tweets with the hashtag #FrenchToast—attention switched back to the idea of challenging Trump at the Republican Convention.



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