— POLITICO (@politico) October 9, 2016
The Trump movement, like its spiritual precursor the Tea Party, has always felt like a wave the Republican party establishment has decided to try and ride because they were scared to stand up to it. After losing the 2012 presidential election the RNC commissioned the Growth and Opportunity Project Report (link here) to assess their defeat and map a course for the future.
If that report ever made it inside of Trump Tower it certainly didn’t get read, the recommendations on engaging with non-white communities, reach out to women, and even the focus on getting staff in the field could hardly be further from the Donald’s campaign style. His campaign staff has been notable for the lack of involvement from veterans of recent campaigns. In short Trump’s candidacy has been something between a shotgun wedding and a hostage crisis.
How the GOP establishment ended up in this situation will no doubt be a major part of their next autopsy, whether public or not (and at first glance it seems, but what it means for the here and now is that the Republican establishment has not only not been invested in Trump, they’ve been blinking hard begging for an escape and Trump’s latest set of controversial comments (this time historical rather than current) has given them the excuse. It’s hard to keep up with the list of Republicans tripping over each other to distance themselves from the Donald. Reports suggest that the RNC is diverting funding away from Trump into Senate and House race in the hope of limiting the election to a defeat instead of a massacre.
It’s hard to credit the idea that after everything else Trump has said in the course of the campaign that this is finally too much, even if it triggered what is probably the most surprising moment of the campaign, Donald Trump apologising for something he said. What has almost certainly triggered this is the collapse of Trump’s victory chances, now sitting at 18.8% on 538’s polls-only forecast having collapsed from 44% on the 27th of September and 33.3% on the 2nd of October.
Now the ship is sinking the rats have discovered their principles.