Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Conserva-Schism Comes

I'm not RNC chair Reince Priebus but I'm thinking this is not the story he wanted to wake up to this morning four weeks before a presidential election, and that he probably should consider going back to bed.

The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.

It was an extraordinary display of personal animus just four weeks before the election, destroying any semblance of party unity behind a nominee who many GOP leaders said they could no longer stomach because of his character traits and tawdry campaign tactics.

New national and battleground-state polls showed Trump sliding since Friday’s publication of a 2005 video of him bragging about sexual assault, putting Clinton in position for a possible electoral landslide. Clinton surged to an 11 percentage point lead nationally in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend.

It’s every person for himself or herself right now,” former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said. “The nominee for president is so destructive to everyday Republicans.”

The situation that I've long predicted has finally arrived.  The dangerously bigoted, ignorant, and vengeful GOP rump that lurked during the Bush years (and destroyed the party's immigration reform plan) has only grown in malignancy during the Obama years, until it metastasized into the Trump Train.  Now the rest of the GOP is bodily hurling themselves from it as the tracks lead off the cliff.

Paul Ryan giving leave to House Republicans to bail on Trump is the climax of our little tragic play, the point where everything collapses and the only question is whose career survives the disaster.

Hillary Clinton is smartly moving to bring mattresses for a softer landing for those jumping off the bandwagon as the rest of the GOP is now in full panic mode.

With Republicans at war amongst themselves, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton moved swiftly Monday to pry away moderate Republican-leaning voters who are turned off by Trump. Her campaign launched an advertising blitz featuring testimonials from ordinary Republicans explaining why they were voting for Clinton.

“She is reaching out to voters that may well have supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and in a normal year might also be inclined to support the Republican nominee but are so troubled by Donald Trump they are open to supporting Hillary Clinton,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said. He added that nasty personal attacks by Trump at Sunday’s second presidential debate in St. Louis “only helped us close the sale.”

Ryan’s move, announced on a contentious conference call with House GOP members, was seen as a concession that Trump could no longer win the presidency and that the party must devote itself to retaining its majorities in the House and Senate.

Unlike Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was rendered mute on the subject Monday. He told a business group in Kentucky that if they wanted to hear his thoughts on Trump, they “might as well go ahead and leave,” according to the Associated Press.

Still, there was no wave of defections Monday from Trump, who in an aggressive performance in Sunday night’s debate reassured the conservative base that he would be a relentless aggressor against the party’s shared enemies: Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Trump leveled a stream of harsh charges at Hillary Clinton during the event, claiming she attacked women who accused her husband of sexual abuse and promising to send the former secretary of state to jail if he is president.

I'm pretty sure that wave of defections will come pretty soon after we start seeing the polls come in later this week.  Count on every Republican up for re-election in Congress to be looking at their internal polling from after this weekend and at the national numbers, already showing Clinton widening her lead.

As Donald Trump's campaign reels over tapes of the presidential candidate's sexually aggressive comments about women in 2005, the Republican nominee now trails Hillary Clinton by double digits among likely voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll, conducted on Saturday and Sunday but before the second presidential debate, shows Clinton with 46 percent support among likely voters in a four-way matchup, compared to 35 percent for Trump.

The dam is broken, the boil has burst, the volcano has erupted, and everyone is scrambling to get out of the path of devastation.  If a double-digit lead holds for Clinton, this really will be the Av-Hill-Lanche I've been saying was possible all along.  It's not going to be a Goldwater, McGovern or Mondale level beatdown, but it could look a lot like 1980, where Reagan won 51-41 over Carter and John Anderson got 7% of the vote.  That turned into 489 electoral votes for St. Ronaldo.  I don't see Clinton getting that many EVs, but 450 is certainly possible if the state polls follow suit in places like Georgia, Arizona, and South Carolina.  Hell, with a lead like that Clinton could challenge Kansas, Alaska, Montana, and the spine-breaker for the GOP, Texas.

Texas, guys.  An 11-point Clinton lead puts Texas in play.

Four weeks to go.

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