From Jonathan Martin, at the New York Times, "Republican Party Unravels Over Donald Trump’s Takeover":
By seizing the Republican presidential nomination for Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night, he and his millions of supporters completed what had seemed unimaginable: a hostile takeover of one of America’s two major political parties.That's a surprisingly good analysis, especially for the far-left New York Times, heh.
Just as stunning was how quickly the host tried to reject them. The party’s two living former presidents spurned Mr. Trump, a number of sitting governors and senators expressed opposition or ambivalence toward him, and he drew a forceful rebuke from the single most powerful and popular rival left on the Republican landscape: the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan.
Rarely if ever has a party seemed to come apart so visibly. Rarely, too, has the nation been so on edge about its politics.
Many Americans still cannot believe that the bombastic Mr. Trump, best known as a reality television star, will be on the ballot in November. Plenty are also anxious about what he would do in office.
But for leading Republicans, the dismay is deeper and darker. They fear their party is on the cusp of an epochal split — a historic cleaving between the familiar form of conservatism forged in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s and a rekindled, atavistic nationalism, with roots as old as the republic, that has not flared up so intensely since the original America First movement before Pearl Harbor.
Some even point to France and other European countries, where far-right parties like the National Front have gained power because of the sort of resentments that are frequently given voice at rallies for Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump, with his steadfast promises to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally and to build a wall with Mexico, may have done irreversible damage to his general election prospects. But he quickly earned the trust that so many of those voters had lost in other fixtures of America — not just in its leaders, but in institutions like Congress, the Federal Reserve and the big-money campaign finance system that Mr. Trump has repudiated, as well as in corporations, the Roman Catholic Church and the news media.
And he has amplified his independent, outsider message in real time, using social media and cable news interviews — and his own celebrity and highly attuned ear for what resonates — to rally voters to his side, using communication strategies similar to those deployed in the Arab Spring uprising or in the attempts by liberals and students to foment a similar revolution in Iran.
“Trump leveraged a perfect storm,” said Steve Case, the founder of AOL, in an email message. “A combo of social media (big following), brand (celebrity figure), creativity (pithy tweets), speed/timeliness (dominating news cycles).”
Mr. Trump is an unlikely spokesman for the grievances of financially struggling, alienated Americans: a high-living Manhattan billionaire who erects skyscrapers for the wealthy and can easily get politicians on the phone. But as a shrewd business tactician, he understood the Republican Party’s customers better than its leaders did and sensed that his brand of populist, pugilistic, anti-establishment politics would meet their needs.
After seething at Washington for so long, hundreds or thousands of miles from the capital, many of these voters now see Mr. Trump as a kind of savior...
Mr. Trump now feels so empowered that he does not think he needs the political support of the party establishment to defeat the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. He is confident that his appeal will be broad and deep enough among voters of all stripes that he could win battleground states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania without the support of leaders like Mr. Ryan, Mr. Trump said in an interview on Saturday.That's going to be quite a test, the defining test of this campaign. Can he really win these states without establishment backing, or even some of the establishment? It's going to be an epic campaign! I love this.