Note to Republican Party apparatchiks: Donald Trump's negatives in recent sentiment analysis polling do not matter. He will win the General. What we are seeing in sentiment polling/analysis will not translate to a loss. Both Mitt Romney and John McCain had near-perfect positive ratings. Nevertheless, I remember the nearly untreatable clinical depression that was prevalent in Republican clubs across the land after their decisive losses in 2008 and 2012. Now, having been gifted (at no additional cost to the Party) a candidate who really seems to have winning pretty well figured out, the Republican Party is gnawing off its own legs in order to deny itself a free foot massage that promises years of relief from its aches and pains. I'm really trying to help here, but...
What amazes me still, as I listen to Fox News in the background, is how many "esteemed intellectuals" and Party loyalists are addressing Mr. Trump as though he is the opponent of the Party. I've never seen anything like it... since Reagan that is. The Party HATED him, too. Hated him. Now, they act like he was THEIR idea. And no, I am not comparing Trump to Reagan as characters. They're quite different. Reagan was many things that Donald isn't; well mannered, always polite, effusively and unstoppably congenial, and was always guided by his political 11th Commandment: Never attack a fellow Republican. And still, the Party tried to eviscerate him treated him like a pariah during both the 1976 and 1980 primaries and "tolerated" him for 8 years, until they could FINALLY get Bush 41, a real President, into the White House (thanks to the long coat tails of Ronald Reagan).
They got their guy and he gave them four pretty good years. During his last two years as President, George Herbert Walker Bush and Republican luminaries like John Sununu managed to flush every cent of political capital that Ronald Reagan, alone, had bequeathed to them. Amazing. Even George W. Bush famously recognized how stupid the Party was acting, ignoring the power of Reagan's intangible gifts. He tried to warn his father about the Party's "Party before principle" approach to winning the White House. He was ignored by the Jim Bakers and John Sununus and other Party mechanics and he watched them engineer a defeat for his father; a lesson he vowed to never forget. Bush thought the Party operatives failed his father and he largely rejected their advice at every turn. He won. Twice.
To show the Party's "we just can't help it" disregard for W even going into his second term, I am reminded of a story I heard. As W was preparing to take the stage and give his speech at the 2004 Republican Party Convention, a senior ranking party operative (having reviewed the President's speech) recommended that the President throw in a line or two to satisfy the Party. Reportedly, W looked up at the operative and said, "I AM the Republican Party!" They still didn't get it.
Once again, the Party has more self-serving institutional needs, wants, and desires than it does answers for the country and the American people, including all those millions who vote Republican even when it hurts and legion disaffected D's, are in full tilt rejection of Party hubris. The more the Party fights this, the sadder it gets. They are completely missing what's happening here. Trump is the wide open receiver in the end zone, who has put 28 points on the board. He's jumping up and down waving his hands, then the quarterback (here, the Republican Party) sticks to the playbook and throws to the double-manned and injured tight end at the 20 yard line for the interception. Pick 6. Game over.
It was long, widely, and often reported that even during Reagan's presidency, Bush Sr. regarded Ronald Reagan as a bit of a dolt and had a very low opinion of his style and execution, which seemed to lack the seriousness and gravitas so coveted by Northeast and Beltway Republicans. Then in 2004, I remember watching GHW Bush eulogize Ronald Reagan at the latter's funeral. Now an old and reflective man, GHW Bush came to speak a truth he never had believed all those years earlier. He said, "I learned more from Ronald Reagan than from anyone I encountered in all my years of public life." Herein lies the similarity between Ronald Wilson Reagan and Donald J. Trump. The Party is negligent to the point either self destruction or being brought to its knees in great humility. Alternatively, they can just take pause and realize its got a winner on its hands and extract and express Donald Trump's x factor for the good of the Party.