July 19, 2016


Inside the GOP's Shadow Convention : Banking on an Election Day loss, the party's elders and elite lay the foundation to rebuild post-Trump. (SHANE GOLDMACHER July 19, 2016, Politico)

[F]ew were as dark about the Republican Party's future as former President Bush himself. In a more intimate moment during the reunion, surrounded by a smaller clutch of former aides and advisers, Bush weighed in with an assessment so foreboding that some who relayed it could not discern if it was gallows humor or blunt realpolitik.

"I'm worried," Bush told them, "that I will be the last Republican president." [...]

In interviews with more than 40 of the Republican Party's leading strategists, lawmakers, fundraisers and donors, a common thread has emerged heading into the general election: Win or lose in November (and more expect to lose than not), they fear that Trump's overheated and racialized rhetoric could irreparably poison the GOP brand among the fastest-growing demographic groups in America.

And so, to an almost unprecedented extent, as the 50,000 Republican activists, officials and media pour into Cleveland this week, there is something of a convention within the convention. Many of these GOP titans--the intellectual and financial pillars of the party and its possible future elected leaders--are plotting a parallel course.

In delegation breakfasts, private hotel suites and steakhouses across Cleveland--and farther afield for those, like Jeb Bush and his family, who are skipping the festivities--they are laying the foundations for the next political battles they believe can actually be won: first, to preserve the GOP majorities in the House and Senate this fall, then to save the Republican Party itself.

From the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to an increasingly influential GOP financier Paul Singer, from those who fell short in 2016--Ted Cruz and Scott Walker--to those who could be fresh faces in 2020--Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Nikki Haley--from House Speaker Paul Ryan to the not-so-subterranean contest for the chairmanship of the RepublicanNational Committee, the maneuvering is underway to pick up the shards of the shattered GOP.

"There's a school of thought that Trump, who's gonna get crushed, will somehow teach the party a lesson and they'll get it out of their system," said Stuart Stevens, who was Mitt Romney's chief strategist in 2012. "I don't have confidence in that."

The great cure for Tea Partyism remains the same : they're old and dying off.

Posted by at July 19, 2016 4:24 PM