A once-great political party is at war with itself.
It is engaging in rhetorical combat over the fate of its presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.
I found two essays that illustrate the point. They come from longtime Republican-friendly columnists.
One of them is Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush speechwriter who now writes essays for the Washington Post.
Gerson calls Trump a contemptible politician who is leading a party toward destruction.
The other of them is Byron York, who writes for the Washington Examiner, one of two conservative alternative newspapers serving the nation’s capital.
York takes a far different view of Trump and his possible future as a political candidate.
The party is tearing itself into tiny pieces over Trump’s candidacy. It’s been a long time coming, starting about the time Trump began winning primary contests at the start of the year.
The Republican establishment — to which Gerson once belonged — began wringing its hands over the prospect of a Trump nomination. Trump began targeting another Bush, the former president’s brother, Jeb, who once ran for president in the GOP primary.
York sees it differently. He said Trump “weathered the sex portion” of the second debate with Hillary Clinton and may have righted his listing campaign ship.
I happen to agree with Gerson. Trump’s contemptible campaign reflects directly on a contemptible candidate.
I’m seeing the polling data that’s come out since the release of that nasty video recording of Trump talking about how he treats women and since the second debate with the Democratic nominee. It looks bad for Trump.
What’s more, with the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, saying he no longer can “defend” Trump or campaign with him — and dozens of other GOP lawmakers deserting him — the party finally has turned its back on its presidential nominee. It has surrendered the election to the Democrats, to Hillary Clinton and, yes, to President Barack Obama.
The polls? Trump bellowed loudly about them when they were trending toward him. He’s now dissing them. He’s dredging up the nutty idea that he’s going to lose a “rigged” election.
The civil war within this once-great political party rages on.