Every day that goes by, more and more political observers are beginning to wonder whether Donald Trump actually wants to win -- whether he's deliberately throwing the contest. While he talks a big game on the stump, his specific remarks, as well as whatever gibberish passes as his campaign strategy don't seem to point to a candidate who's seriously invested in winning the general election.
Mostly due to Trump's own incompetence, he's trailing Hillary Clinton by as much as 14 percentage points, which is extraordinary in modern presidential polling, especially in an age of such extreme partisanship and ideological entrenchment.
Furthermore, news broke on Friday that GOP delegates are planning to defect from Trump during the convention in favor of another less clownish nominee. This following a cavalcade of Republicans who are rushing to either avoid commenting on Trump or to un-endorse him, which is exactly what Mark Kirk did, followed by Lindsey Graham who encouraged other colleagues to do the same.
Making matters worse, there are more than double the number of Republican senators up for re-election in November than Democrats. The odds of keeping those seats safely in the red category are growing increasingly long knowing how damaging Trump will be with literally every demographic group, minus, of course, non-college-graduate middle-aged white guys.
So, knowing all of this, who has the party enlisted to cauterize the gaping chest wound?
George W. Bush.
Yes, Trump is so poisonous right now, the GOP has brought in George Bush to rescue a handful of Senate seats from disaster. In other words, Trump is so remarkably awful, Bush will be seen as a stabilizing and comforting force by comparison.
In the weeks since Mr. Trump emerged as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Mr. Bush has headlined fund-raisers for two Republican senators and has made plans to help three more. Among them are Senators John McCain of Arizona, who was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest targets of derision, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who has struggled to respond to Mr. Trump’s inflammatory talk.
And it shouldn't come as any surprise that Bush thinks Trump is a bloody mess -- so much so that he may have let it slip that he thinks Hillary will win in November.
Friends say that the former president is deeply bothered by Mr. Trump’s campaign message, especially his derogatory remarks about Muslims and immigrants. At the event with Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush stressed the importance of preserving the Republican-held Senate as a “check and balance” on the White House, suggesting that such a check was needed, whether the next president is Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Bush, along with his brother Jeb and former President George H.W. Bush have pledged to not support Trump in the general election, proving that Trump has dragged the party beyond the extremism of the W regime. Of course, there's a heavy dose of butthurt here, given how badly Trump treated Jeb during the primaries, not to mention Trump's criticisms of the Iraq War.
Frankly, it shouldn't shock us to eventually learn that the Bush Family is privately relieved by Trump's existence. Comparatively, both Bush presidents seem even-keeled and supremely competent when lined up with a potentially nightmarish Trump presidency. In many respects, Bush 43 and especially Bush 41 showed a respect for the process and a loyalty to appearing somewhat presidential. Trump, on the other hand, is treating the process like a gas station restroom -- pissing all over the floor because who gives a flying rip?
We're not even close to witnessing the denouement of this story, but the pieces are moving toward what could be a rather explosive convention, and an even more explosive general election -- a general election, by the way, that's a month longer than in recent years. All told, if you've been dreaming about a GOP implosion, all of your wildest dreams just might come true.