Last week I wondered if Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner could already be written off as a failure. Now I wonder if the GOP has conjointly lost its soul. Death notices aside, it was the abject failure of Republican Party leaders to acknowledge and tamp down the grass-roots momentum of Donald Trump that caused this presidential race to turn into a mud-slinging train wreck. The rich oligarchy that almost unilaterally dominated sustained the GOP until the Tea Party movement has let that power slip through their fingers. They underestimated the number of Americans that are both conservative and poor, and embraced an unpredictable candidate that didn't want or need their campaign money.
In spite of Donald Trump's polarizing presence, his ability to galvanize social conservatives and libertarians alike does not ensure an easy victory for whomever wins the Democratic nomination come November. Trump's campaign hit a sweet spot for a portion of the populace that leans right but never votes. Common sense aside, the "Trumpeters" will come out en masse in November, ensuring only a close race against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Perhaps its the fault of party leaders, the "mainstream" conservatives that didn't anticipate --or vastly underestimated-- the anti-establishment ruminations of the past decade. (The Democrats have a similar issue.) In any case, the people have chosen their candidates, and now this three-ring circus is consolidating into its final act.