US election: Where to now for Donald Trump and the Republican Party? He said what?
The Republican Party is in meltdown over Donald Trump’s sexually aggressive comments from 11 years ago. No longer are they attempting to explain them away, as Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus recently did of the Trump-Alicia Machado mess. “He’s not a polished politician” or as he’s previously said of Mr Trump’s outrageous rhetoric “we’re the party of free speech”. Within hours of the latest release of comments from Mr Trump, Mr Priebus issued a withering, blunt, furious statement. “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” he said. Tomorrow Mr Trump was meant to appear with the most senior Republican in Congress, Speaker Paul Ryan — Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential pick. It was supposed to be a victory for Mr Trump at a time of great need given that he’s so far behind in the polls, fundraising and the ground game. That didn’t even occur at the Republican Convention. Finally it would be an endorsement four weeks out from the actual election. But the timing couldn’t have been worse. Just today Mr Ryan tweeted that he’d signed into law protections for sexual assault victims. So now Donald Trump will not be going to the Wisconsin GOP Unity Rally to appear with a “sickened” Mr Ryan, who issued this statement: The other senior Republican in the Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also been utterly reviled by the party’s nominee for president. “These comments are repugnant and unacceptable in any circumstance,” he told NBC News. Senior Republican Jason Chaffetz, who led the fight against Hillary Clinton as Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, has now reportedly withdrawn his endorsement of Mr Trump. Republicans are stuck in Trump ‘nightmare’ This is serious — this is a political nightmare. Mr Trump may have offended half the voting population of the United States, at least. The one man we haven’t yet heard from is Indiana Governor, Trump defender-in-chief and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence Just this week evangelical pastors laid their hands on Mr Trump and prayed with him at the International Church of Las Vegas. He promised to uphold and defend their cherished Christian values as president. How will those religious Republicans feel now? Jeb Bush, John Kasich and multiple moderates who have been furious that Donald Trump was attempting to are now tweeting their fury as well. But the party is stuck.
Mr Trump’s name is on the ballot in every one of the 50 states. “Nearly all the ballots have been printed,” according to Ballotpedia and early voting is already underway in some states. The best they can hope for now is to siphon millions of dollars they were going to allocate to his campaign and try and salvage their control of the Congress. They would achieve this by directing that money into the campaigns of senators and representatives, before so-called down ballot positions that are also decided on November 8. What now for Trump?
For Mr Trump there are very few options left to him. Can you imagine him giving a soul-bearing, prime-time TV broadcast mea culpa a la Jimmy Swaggart?
No, neither can I. Mr Trump has offered an apology, but says the revelations amount to “nothing more than a distraction”. “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning,” he said. Now his fellow Republicans and Americans are just sick and tired of his scandals.