The cover of the National Review special issue devoted to opposing Donald Trump. Click image to enlarge.
There is a glimmer of hope shining through the train wreck that is the Republican Party presidential primary, and it is not an oncoming train.
Donald Trump may just destroy the GOP.
The schism in the party is getting so deep it looks increasingly likely that it can never be healed.
With the bastion of conservative thought the National Review magazine throwing salt into the wounds this week, it’s like Trump is wielding an axe to cleave the party in two.
Bemused observers are beginning to hope the split in the party is becoming irreversible – and that would be good for America and the world.
The latest salvo in the GOP presidential primary circular firing squad came Jan. 20 from one of American conservatism’s most influential publications, the National Review, which devoted an entire special issue to opposing the leading candidate Trump, whom it called a “menace.”
In a hard-hitting editorial titled simply Against Trump the editors pull no punches.
The National Review editorial titled “Against Trump” which pulls no punches in its commentary. Click image to enlarge.
“Trump often makes no sense and can’t be relied upon,” they write. “Trump knows approximately as much about national security as he does about the nuclear triad — which is to say, almost nothing.”
The editorial continues to trash Trump’s record as a businessman, noting his initial wealth was inherited.
“Few of us will ever have the experience, as Trump did, of having Daddy-O bail out our struggling enterprise with an illegal loan in the form of casino chips,” it says.
Ouch! This sounds more like a line from a Democratic campaign commercial than an editorial in a respected, establishment Republican publication.
Other choice terms used in the editorial to describe the candidate supported by more than a third of Republicans in recent polls include “huckster” “impertinence” and “pettiness.”
Then it delivers the coup de grace. “Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism,” it concludes.
It’s hard to see how the party recovers from this broadside, especially if Trump is eventually selected as its nominee.
This was brought home by the Politico story on the National Review attack headlined National Review aims to take down Trump.
The Politico story on the National Review issue opposing Donald Trump.
The article notes that many party luminaries like neither Trump nor his leading opponent Sen. Ted Cruz, also seen as an anti-establishment insurgent.
It quotes former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham on the two leading contenders: “It’s like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter?” Graham has endorsed Jeb Bush.
Politico features this explanation from National Review editor Rich Lowry.
“This is the time to mobilize,” [Lowry said]. “The establishment is AWOL, or even worse, so it’s up to people who really believe in these ideas and principles, for whom they’re not just talking points or positions of convenience, to set out the marker.”
The frontal attack on the party’s front-runner was not without immediate blowback for the National Review. Just hours after its special issue published, the Republican National Committee pulled the magazine as a co-sponsor of a planned Feb. 25 debate in Houston.
According to The Washington Post story National Review loses GOP debate sponsorship National Review’s editor-in-chief Lowry said that the magazine knew it was risking losing its debate perch when work on the Trump package began.
“We wanted to push back against this notion that it was just the establishment that was opposed to Trump, so we assembled this group of people who nobody can accuse of being the establishment,” Lowry told the Post.
Just days from the first balloting in the 2016 presidential race, it is beginning to look increasingly possible that Donald Trump might irreversibly split the Republican Party. There are several scenarios, perhaps the most likely being a brokered convention in which Trump loses, then runs as an independent å lå Ross Perot.
If something like this does happen, it will take a generation for the party to recover – if it ever does – after handing the 2016 race to the Democrats.
Reasonable people everywhere will rejoice.
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