According to a Gallup poll conducted in January, 42% of American voters consider themselves Independent, 29% Democrat, and 26% Republican. This reflects in part the continually abysmal approval ratings for Congress, which have bounced back and forth between 10% and 15% for the past several years. Americans are really fed up with politics as usual but our political leaders are apparently incapable of understanding and responding to that obvious fact.
Nationally among Republican voters, Trump is viewed favorably by 30% and unfavorably by 63%. Let’s see now, if Trump is supported by 30% of a party which constitutes only 26% of the electorate, that seems to mean that Trump is viewed favorably by as little as 7.8%. If we assume that a few Independents vote for Trump (and I’m sure it would be very few) and so do a handful of Democrats, we might generously guess that Trump will garner 20% of the votes in the general election.
That is to say, if Trump wins the nomination, in November he will be laughed right out of public life. That would be a positive gain for America and the world.
But the sad part is that the Republican Party may not survive this tumultuous year. I call that sad not because I find anything to respect in the party as it is today but because I believe America needs two strong parties.
The Democrats, on the other hand, while barely more numerous than the Republicans, are very unlikely to suffer any long-term damage by 2016, no matter what happens. Even if they lose in November — which seems almost certainly impossible — they won’t be as covered in shame as the Republicans already are.
And it is going to get worse for the Republicans in these next six months. Trump is almost sure to continue humiliating the party and, much more seriously, humiliating America. It should give none of us any pleasure to point out that the Republicans are reaping what they have sown.
Both parties are weak right now but only the Republicans are doomed to become even weaker, no matter what happens. And only the Republicans are certain to make America even weaker, no matter what happens. They are humiliating America in the eyes of our friends. How much worse must we seem in the eyes of our foes?
Having unleashed strong forces of hatred, racism, bigotry, the Republicans show every day that they haven’t a clue how to fix the damage they’ve done or prevent any further. We only have to consider their refusal to consider the current nominee for the Supreme Court to realize that the Republicans are at a total loss about why so many people in America are angry at them. Their lack of contact with reality borders on insanity.