If Republican Party leaders and insiders have been going through the stages of grief as Donald Trump has moved closer to the GOP’s nomination, this Sacramento Bee article, published Friday, sounded quite a bit like acceptance.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday rejected the possible calamitous effects a Donald Trump nomination could have on the Republican Party, arguing instead that the businessman and political newcomer may improve the chances of GOP House challengers in November.McCarthy, speaking with reporters after an event in Sacramento, said he compared results of the first nine presidential primaries and found that Republicans turned out in far greater numbers this year than they did in 2008. Meantime, Democratic turnout was way down.
As this excerpt makes clear, the Bee’s article was a little short on Trump-related quotes, so it’s hard to say with confidence just how enthusiastic McCarthy is about Trump’s ability to help House Republican candidates, but it’s nevertheless a break with the line pushed by many party leaders. Many of the House Majority Leader’s colleagues have been closer to panic than acceptance when it comes to the New York Republican’s possible nomination.
Yesterday, Trump took note of the article and said via Twitter, “Thank you Kevin. With unification of the party, Republican wins will be massive!”
And while McCarthy’s assessment may be wishful thinking, and may be out of step with the party’s broader fears, he’s not the only one trying to put a positive spin on the circumstances the party finds itself in. Politico had this piece two weeks ago:
Senate Republicans have a new pitch when it comes to Donald Trump: He might not be so bad for their chances of keeping their tenuous majority, after all.While the GOP establishment confronts an existential crisis over what Trump at the top of the ticket would mean for the future of the party, several Republican senators have been signaling behind the scenes to donors and supporters that the real estate magnate could actually help them in November.
The idea, apparently, is that Trump boosts turnout, especially among those who don’t usually participate, which has already happened a fair amount during Republican primaries and caucuses.
How much of this is sincere and how much of this is evidence of GOP officials trying to make themselves feel better as their party’s nominating process spins wildly out of their control? I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, but either way, every minute Republican leaders look for silver linings to a Trump nomination is a minute they’re not investing in plans to derail Trump’s candidacy.
Whether or not McCarthy believes his own rhetoric is an open question, but the fact that he’s even speaking this way publicly is evidence of prominent party contingents that believe they might as well make the best of a bad situation – probably because they have no choice.