Donald Trump Going Rogue:  Attacks Republican Leadership!

Dear Commons Community,

Donald Trump yesterday attacked House Majority Leader Paul Ryan as “weak and ineffective” and described Arizona Senator John McCain as “very foul mouthed.” In a Fox News interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump mocked both men as disloyal to him and his candidacy.

“Paul Ryan opened borders and amnesty and bad budgets” Mr. Trump said.

On Twitter:. Trump declared himself a liberated man, “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

Should Mr. Trump continue deriding the leaders of the Republican Party, it could have profound consequences down the ballot, potentially depressing turnout by demoralizing the party or leading Mr. Trump’s ardent supporters to deny their votes to Republicans who abandoned him. But there is little Republicans can do to control Mr. Trump’s behavior: The party’s donors have no leverage over him, he is relying largely on small donors and, at 70, he is not mindful of any future campaign.

A New York Times article commented:

“The emerging dynamic may be especially toxic for Republicans in swing states that are also home to competitive races for the House and Senate, where the party’s candidates must choose between two unpalatable options: alienating much of their party’s base, or standing behind a nominee who is unacceptable to most mainstream voters. The voting bloc that especially concerns Republican officials are the right-of-center, college-educated voters who usually favor Republican candidates but cannot abide Mr. Trump. These voters can make up anywhere between a quarter to a third of the party’s electoral coalition.

“That voter is clearly not going to vote for Donald Trump,” said Josh Holmes, a Republican strategist who is working on several Senate races. “But if they don’t vote at all, it’s catastrophic for us.”

The nightmare possibility for the party is that swing voters punish the party because of Mr. Trump, the anti-Trump Republicans stay at home and Mr. Trump’s base casts a ballot for him and then leaves the polls. Under those conditions, Senate races in places like Pennsylvania and North Carolina could fall to Democrats, while Senate and House races in places like Missouri,

Arizona and Kansas could move to the center of the battlefield.

Already, Republicans view Mr. Trump’s sharp downturn in the presidential race as having jeopardized their majorities in Congress. A poll published on Tuesday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found Mr. Trump trailing Mrs. Clinton by nine percentage points nationally and drawing just 37 percent of the vote. No major-party nominee since World War II has received a smaller share of the vote. But in an illustration of the bind Republicans are in, the poll found that three-fourths of Republicans believed their candidates should stay loyal to Mr. Trump.”



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