Is this 1856 all over again?

Here's an article by Ross Kaminsky of The American Spectator on why a whole lot of conservatives- and I'm one of them- will not, under any possible set of circumstances, vote for Donald Trump if he's nominated.

Trump will get his comeuppance.  But what the Trumbots just can't seem to get through their heads is that the polls aren't lying when they say that he's the only Republican candidate Hillary would beat. They can't seem to understand the relatively straightforward fact that candidates who have a popularity rating with the electorate of negative 60%- as Trump does- don't win.  Some polls indicate that up to a third of Republicans feel the same way about voting for Il Duce as Mr. Kaminsky and myself do. You can't lose the votes of a third of your own party and still hope to come out on top.

It will be hard to take much satisfaction in Trump's being revealed as the loser he is by being crushed at the polls by Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in a cataclysmic landslide that may well spell the end of the Republican party and will almost certainly mean that Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges, and other such abominations will not only be put beyond reversal but joined by a whole slew of others from a solidly Leftist- and young- Supreme Court.

This is exactly the wrong year for the Republican party to lose its collective mind.

If Trump is nominated, he will lose, and lose badly. We're talking Goldwater here. At least. We're talking losing both houses of Congress for a minimum of six years, and our last chance to save the Supreme Court and the Constitution probably forever. But it goes beyond that.

After 1964, the Republican party was in shambles. It managed to gather itself together and win four years later. But with the "establishment" which provided the framework for that renaissance in disrepute, the post-Trump Republican party would be in a different kind of shambles. Goldwater was a decent and principled though fairly tactless gentleman who lived in an age when saying stupid things cost you. Trump's nomination, unlike Goldwater's, would stain the Republican party with a moral taint from which it might never recover.

And the same crazy, dysfunctional and unconscious alliance of the extreme right wing and the nihilist Trump supporters will still be there to undermine it even in disgrace and disrepute. They won't be chastened the way the even most extreme Goldwaterites were. Never underestimate the ability of a reactionary wingnut or a radical moonbat to rationalize away any reality which doesn't happen to fit with his or her fanatically espoused worldview. Somehow it will be the fault of the people with brains and a conscience, the ones who simply could not  vote for Trump. Or of the Trilateral Commission. Or of the Illuminati. Or of somebody other than the nominee and his goofy followers.

And if the party's landslide defeat comes instead because somehow it nominates the poster child for the very partisan bickering and obstructionism the American people are so disgusted by, Ted Cruz, the situation will differ only in that the lines will be drawn between right-wing extremist and conservative, rather than between proto-Fascist and small-d democrat. Either way, the cracks and fractures in the GOP will be irreparable.   The division between traditional Republicans (scornfully described as "the country club set" and the "establishment") and the totalitarians on one hand and the tinfoil hat conservatives on the other will be irreparable.

If Trump is nominated, I hope that Mitt Romney or Lindsey Graham or some brave and principled traditional conservative will consent to lead a third party ticket in order to provide sane Republicans with somebody to vote for this Fall. But I'm not talking about a one-shot deal here. This is 1856 all over again. Just as that year saw the effective death of the morally exhausted Whig party and the birth of the Republicans, 2016 will, if Trump is nominated, see the death of the Republican party, even if it were to stumble through the motions, zombie-like,   for years.

After a Trump nomination, it would be crystal-clear to me (and I hope to traditional Republicans generally) that we simply can no longer share a party with the Trump and Cruz wings.

It will be time to let the populists and extremists have the carcass of the elephant, and strike out into history carrying the banner of a new center-right party consisting of those conservatives who actually continue to exist on planet Earth, in the same time/space continuum with the rest of the human race.

I am under no illusions that electoral success would come quickly. There might be some rocky times ahead for the fledgling party. But I am convinced that a viable, ideologically sane party of the center right is necessary for America, and that history demands that there be one. And if Trump or even Cruz is nominated, I can't see how the Republican party can be it.

Yes, there might well be some tough times for a while. But remember- four years after John Fremont went down to defeat as the first Republican presidential nominee, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the second- and in a multi-party election.

After four years of Hillary and eight of the extreme Left,   America will be looking for a viable option. And the Trump and Cruz wings of the Republican party will be no more able to provide it in 2020 than they are today.

ADDENDUM: Matt Walsh has some things to say to Trump supporters who claim that they want a candidate who "tells it like it is." Which, of course, they don't.

The want a candidate who tells them what they want to hear.