But Republicans’ identification as the antigovernment party leaves its followers more prone to alienation. In a Pew Research Center poll before the 2006 midterm election under Mr. Bush, 28 percent of Democrats described themselves as “angry” at the federal government. In a similar poll four years later under Mr. Obama, 33 percent of Republicans called themselves angry.
When Pew examined public trust in government during recent presidencies, it found trust among Republicans in the Obama era lower than among either party for the past half-century; just 12 percent said they trusted government to “do what’s right” always or most of the time. And 52 percent of Republicans said Mr. Obama made them angry.
Imagine that. After years of Republican politicians and pundits describing Barack Obama as everything from Hitler to the Antichrist to a monster, a majority of Republicans are angry at him. Go figure.
In 2011, Mr. Trump fanned those sentiments with skepticism about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate. The next year, Mitt Romney touted Mr. Trump’s endorsement of his presidential campaign.
Mr. Trump rallies supporters by accusing rival Republicans of incompetence and railing against illegal immigrants. The immigration issue holds special potency because it arouses the anger of older, white conservatives over America’s changing demography.
In a Mississippi primary last year, one Republican Senate candidate, Chris McDaniel, encapsulated that angst: “An older America passes away, a new America rises to take its place,” he said. “We recoil from that culture. It’s foreign to us. It’s offensive to us.”
Understand that this is white anger against a black president and growing Latino population. And Republicans have embraced being the party of white anger fully.
Such sentiments endanger Republicans nationally as Latinos, for example, of that “new America” swell as a proportion of the electorate. Even so, some Republican candidates were slow to denounce Mr. Trump for decrying many Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists.”
Other 2016 Republican candidates have matched Mr. Trump’s rhetoric. Senator Ted Cruz accused Mr. McConnell of lying in a legislative dispute; Mike Huckabee accused Mr. Obama of marching Israel “to the door of the oven” with the Iran nuclear deal.
Jeb Bush felt compelled to distance himself from that sort of heat. “I don't have anger in my heart,” he told an audience in Florida. “I’m not a grievance candidate.”
There's no room for you in the GOP today, Jeb.
His hopeful tone may yet prevail. But days before the first televised debate, Mr. Bush trails Mr. Trump in polls of Republicans nationally and in the crucial states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The GOP is the party of Trump, white anger, racism, and resentment of an America where white privilege doesn't go as far as it used to. And today's Republicans are scared, pissed off, and looking for revenge.