So where do we go from Cleveland?
He'ls less pessimistic in some ways than I am. He thinks the GOP may survive in a perpetual state of civil war, or else suffer a merely tmporary schism. He is probably right in saying, as I observed yesterday, that the breakup of the Republican party would probably mean a generation of Democratic governance, just as the split of the Canadian Progressive Conservatives and the Reform party led to a decade of Liberal governments, and ended only with their reunion into the present Conservative party.
But there is no way that a Trumpista-lead GOP will ever win an election in any case, and I very much suspect that the same is true of a Republican party lead by the Cruz faction. We much-despised Center Right Republicans, scorned by Trumpista and Cruzite alike as 'the Establishment," remain the only faction (admittedly only in coalition with the Tea Party wing) which can both put together a large enough base coupled with sufficient attractiveness to independents to win. And the centrists would have to be the senior partner; a Kasich-Cruz ticket would probably win this November. A Cruz-Kasich ticket won't.
In short, if the Republican party does have a future after this year, it's going to be on pretty much the same basis that it's done business in previous years. It's not a question of the "Establishment" hogging the power; that's simply the only basis on which victory for an American right-of-center party can be won.
It will, of course, have to be a humbled and chastened "Establishment," more attentive to the base and more zealous for the party agenda. That might happen relatively quickly. But it may take a massive defeat for Cruz before the Republican Right gives up the illusion that conservative orthodoxy is the route to victory in this particular society, or that McCain lost because the Republicans had already been in the White House for two terms and Romney because he was running against an incumbent rather than because either ran particularly bad races or were insufficiently right wing for the electorate.
Alas, if there's any lesson to be learned from this most bizarre of election years, it's that both the Trumpista populists and the Cruzite movement conservatives are fed up with being junior partners in a party led by the "Establishment." Until and unless that changes, I fear that we're going to have Democrats in the White House for a very, very long time.
And it's not going to happen in time to beat Hillary.
HT: Real Clear Politics