For many in the GOP — let’s guess about half? — Donald Trump is an embarrassment. When he characterizes Mexican immigrants as rapists, or talks about banning Muslim visits to the U.S., or suggests a federal database to track Muslim-Americans, he embarrasses about half of the GOP. This wing of the GOP understands that racial fear-mongering can play a role in winning elections, but it has been crafted for decades now in a way that allows for deniability. Suddenly, Trump’s loud-mouthery gives away the game. The unsophisticated bluntness, they fear, stands to alienate a generation of voters that the party is going to need in the future.
The other half of the problem is the Trump supporters. For many in the most hard-core GOP base — let’s guess about a third? — Trump’s explicit racism is an actual and welcome relief. They agree, hell yes. Enough with the ‘political correctness’. Why not be honest? This cohort despises ‘multiculturalism’, or ‘tolerance’, or whatever-you-call-it. We want our country back! they say. They believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
The GOP consists of both of these voting blocks. Is this a political party that can endure?