Over the course of Donald Trump’s more than a year-long election campaign, the one thing that was more or less constant — besides his hateful rhetoric — was his popularity among voters.
For months, the Republican presidential nominee soared to new highs in polls, leaving behind Republican rivals by a huge margin. The unwavering support considerably encouraged his vitriol-spouting at campaign events, which, bafflingly enough, led him to rise even higher in subsequent polls — so on and so forth.
But this trend suffered a huge setback following the Republican and Democratic national conventions, mainly after Trump’s feud with the family of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan.
As per the latest polls, the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads her Republican rival by double digits nationwide, including in red states like Georgia.
This slump in polls prompted Trump to do what he refrained from doing up until now — give his campaign a reboot, a process that took off after the boorish billionaire endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain for re-election, despite exchanging bitter words with the two Republican leaders in the past and refusing just last week to endorse them.
It was clearly a political move meant to mend the deepening rift within the Republican Party that has put it at odds with its own presidential nominee.
But isn’t it a little too late to do that?
For starters, if one’s being honest, there can be no such thing as a Trump campaign reboot. The damage done by his words is far too extensive to be repaired, at least not before November.
Also, let’s face it — Trump has inflicted way more damage on the Republican Party’s brand than his own. His campaign is foundering specifically because he refuses to listen to the counsel of others around here, even on the most basic advice, like not attacking a Gold Star family for days on end.
However, even revamping the Republican Party brand seems impossible as long as Trump’s the official presidential nominee.
After all, it is, to a great extent, the GOP’s own fault Trump has become what he is right now. Despite knowing how non-serious Trump had always been about the conservative cause, the party leaders allowed him to thrive.
Trump said he wanted to build walls; the GOP nodded and failed to criticize him.
Then he attacked McCain and questioned his war veteran status; the GOP, including McCain, raised eyebrows, but failed to reject him. McCain even endorsed him.
Then Trump went on a 12-minute rant against Judge Gonzalo Curiel during a rally in San Diego, calling him a “hater” who couldn't be impartial because of his Mexican heritage. Curiel presided over a class action suit against Trump University amid claims of fraud. The Republicans squirmed, but, yet again, failed to reject him.
Then Trump mocked the parents of a slain American war hero. This time, the GOP openly blasted its candidate, calling his remarks about Khizr Khan “unacceptable” — but failed to reject him still.
This persistent failure to fully reject a candidate who is clearly not fit to be in the presidential race to begin with will cost the Republican Party more than just its unity. It could cost the GOP its conservative philosophy, which essentially means it could cost Republicans everything their party stands for.
A “reset” or “reboot” or reconciliations between feuding Republicans might make things a little less awkward in the run-up to the elections on November, but it’s probably not going to change anything — neither for Trump nor for the Republican Party.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri