Posted by: maboulette | August 15, 2016

The Republican Party Is Nearing a Breaking Point

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As Donald skips from one blunder to the next, GOP leaders in Washington and in the most competitive states have started openly considering turning their backs on their party’s presidential nominee to stop what they fear will be wide-scale Republican losses in November.

Republicans who have devoted their professional lives to electing GOP candidates say they know the White House is already lost. They’re irate by Trump’s divisive politics and his decision on running a general election campaign copying his method used to win the primaries.

“Based on his campaign record, there’s no chance he’s going to win,” said Sara Fagen, the political director for former President George W. Bush. “He’s losing groups of people he can’t get back.”

Trump’s campaign says things are moving in the right direction, a position that feeds the discontent among his GOP detractors. The billionaire businessman’s loyalists say enough time remains to change the dynamic against Democrat Hillary Clinton. 

And his backers are blaming the media for the view that all is not well.

“Frankly, a lot of stuff over the last week … it’s him being distorted,” said Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. “For the last week or so, he’s been very focused and very much on his game.”

In the past seven days, Trump has questioned the advice of senior aides, threatened to stop raising money for the party, dismissed the usefulness of get-out-the-vote efforts and defended his decision not to run any television ads even as his opponents fill the airwaves with spots backing Clinton in several contested states.

“He can’t simply continue to preach to the choir and think he’s going to put together a coalition that will win the White House,” said Ryan Williams, a party strategist and former aide to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “He’s essentially guaranteeing that he will lose by refusing to clean up his mistakes and stop committing future ones.”

The mistakes do keep coming.

Trump  stuck by a patently false claim that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State group. The candidate made an off-handed remark about Clinton that was widely condemned by critics as an invitation to violence. He even acknowledged that losing might not be so bad.

 

More than 100 GOP officials, including at least six former members of Congress and more than 20 former staffers at the Republican National Committee, have signed a letter asking the party chairman, Reince Priebus, to stop helping Trump’s campaign.

They call the New York real estate mogul a threat to the party and to the nation. They want the RNC to take resources now helping Trump and shift them to vulnerable GOP candidates for House and Senate.

The letter follows a steady stream of recent defections from Republican elected officials and longtime strategists who vow never to support Trump. They want party leaders to acknowledge that backing his White House bid is a waste of time and money.

“They’re going to do it sooner or later. They might as well do it sooner to have more impact,” said former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber, one of the Republicans to sign the letter to Priebus.

Senior Republicans in Washington and in some of the most contested states have discussed a scenario in which the party scales back its presidential focus in states that don’t feature top races for Senate. They could abandon a state such as Virginia, for example, and focus more on a state such as Indiana, where Democrat Evan Bayh is trying to make a Senate comeback.

That’s according to several Republican officials in Washington and states that would be affected, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to outline private discussions.

There is no evidence that a formal plan to break with Trump exists at either the state party or RNC level, but Priebus has informally discussed the possibility with party leaders in battleground states in recent days, three of the officials said.

Should that occur, it’s not likely to happen until after Labor Day, as the party is still relying on Trump to help raise money to fund its expansive political operation. But the amount of money needed decreases as each day passes, giving the RNC greater financial freedom to potentially change course as the election nears.

For now, Priebus is vocally supportive of Trump. The party chairman joined the nominee on Friday, part of a larger effort to ensure an experienced political hand is almost always at the candidate’s side when he travels.

 

 

 

 

 


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