If you don't follow Elliott Lusztig (a pseudonym) on Twitter, you really should. He's insightful and his tweets are good for clarifying the ongoing tragedy that is American politics. One of Wednesday's threads is a helpful look at why Republicans are ignoring the threat Trump represents to their party and the country (but mostly their party):
Many reasons: to some extent they want to deny responsibility for having coddled Buchanan-Trumpism for so long; but also, one suspects, because so many of them imagine that Trumpism will burn itself out, and they will wash its stink off the GOP brand and go back to normal. /8
— Elliott Lusztig (@ezlusztig) May 2, 2018
The delusion that Trumpism is not a terminal condition is the motivating force behind just about everything Republican leadership is doing. They "know" that after Trump is voted out of office in 2020, or even 2024, they'll be able to quietly take back control of their party and everything will be fine. The rubes will fall back in line, the donors will continue to pour money into their coffers, and Fox News will continue to pimp lies to gullible idiots. Trump is just a temporary aberration. Besides, he's breaking the government like a bull in a China shop and isn't that great for the GOP? The less functional the government is, the more money corporations can make and that's what it's all about, baby!
The key word here is still "delusion" because the longer Trump remains in place, the more permanent the damage to the GOP will be. And that's the assuming they haven't already crossed the event horizon and are now on an inescapable path to white nationalist fascism and inevitable destruction.
The problem is not the party itself but its base. By spending 40 + years conditioning them to reject their own humanity and ability to reason in favor of paranoia, conspiracy drivel, and pure hatred, the Republican Party has turned them into incoherent puppets. The person who speaks to their rage the loudest is the person they will follow and no one speaks the language of hate louder than white nationalists. Now that Trump has shown the way to power, his imitators will be legion and Republican voters will eat it up, especially once Trump is gone. They're addicted to their rage and the dog whistle racism Republicans will want to go back to won't even take the edge off. Craving their fix, the base will elect neo-Nazis, the KKK, white power militia leaders, and whoever else promises to make America white again.
Millions of white Republican voters will proudly vote their hate but the backlash from moderates, centrists, independents and the left will make the coming midterm blue wave look like a ripple in a pond. The Republican Party will be reduced to a regional power as the big money donors abandon it as a lost cause. And that's before the right wing domestic terrorism starts.
There's still a tiny slim chance for Republicans to take their party back but they would have to be willing to sacrifice power for principles; put country over party. They would have to reject the politics of racism and hate and greed and I can't even finish typing this sentence because we all know that will never happen.
The Republican Party is fucked. The only question is will they take the country down with them as they drown in their own bile.