It’s been less than four days since The Washington Post released footage of Donald Trump making lewd and offensive comments about women – comments that have incited a media firestorm and have brought into further question the candidate’s fitness for the highest office in the country. Some reports find that more than 150 Republican leaders from a multitude of offices will not support Trump, many of whom reneged their support for the candidate following Friday’s release. Among those who have since announced that they will not – and cannot – support the Republican nominee is House Speaker Paul Ryan. After disinviting Trump from a joint campaign event over the weekend, Ryan told Republicans on Monday that he would no longer defend or campaign on behalf of the candidate and would instead be working arduously to ensure that downballot Republicans find success in their upcoming races. "Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats, and all Republicans running for office should probably do the same," said Ryan’s spokesperson this morning.
This, understandably, did not sit well with Trump, who decided to do what he does best in taking to Twitter to combat leading Republicans, and Ryan, in particular. "It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to," wrote Trump earlier today. This has immense potential to be devastating for the Republican Party next month, as a major division between the Party’s presidential candidate and the rest of its candidates effectively creates a civil war within the body, handing an advantage to Democrats. According to CNN, “such a battle would pit his loyal supporters against the rest of the GOP, including vulnerable lawmakers running for re-election that could threaten the party's hold on Congress.”
Trump also took direct stabs at Ryan. “Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.” Then, in assuming that he may very likely not win in November, Trump already began pinning blame for a Hillary victory on Ryan and his colleagues. “Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!”
On one hand, Trump’s behavior alienates the swing and moderate voters that will be crucial to Republicans taking the White House and maintaining the Senate. On the other, denouncing Trump outright would alienate the millions of voters who have supported the candidate, leaving congressional Republicans vulnerable.
In addition to taking issue with the Republican Party, Trump has questioned the electoral system as a whole, arguing that the election will inevitably be rigged against him. This is dangerous in that it makes millions of Americans question the backbone of America’s democratic process at large, when in fact they have no valid reason to do so.
What do you think about Trump’s radical split from the GOP? Will this be disastrous?