Source: Politico, May 8, 2016
It was as shocking as it was predictable after a year of slow-motion build-up – the dramatic splitting apart of the Grand Old Party in the 72 hours after Donald Trump became its presumptive nominee.
When asked Friday if the organization he now leads is officially Trump’s party, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus responded with pithy double-speak befitting this dystopian moment in our politics. “It’s the party’s party,” Priebus said.
Whatever party Priebus was speaking of is currently in tatters.
There is no more denying that Trump will be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. But there is still plenty of denial when it comes to accepting the more fundamental issue at hand: that the fractious coalition of conservatives that we used to know as the Republican Party is, after a decade of fraying ties between the Washington-based establishment and its base, is now comprised of two separate coalitions.
There are those mainstream conservatives still tethered to the party’s ideological history of limited government, free trade and a hawkish foreign policy; and there is the conservative base that is increasingly resentful of elites of all stripes, voters unmoored from ideology and drawn to Trump’s charisma, fearlessness and a populist, angry brand of neo-nationalism.