R.I.P. GOP: Is the Republican party already dead?

At a Republican town hall last night, the three remaining GOP candidates — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich — were all asked if they would support the eventual GOP nominee.

They all declined.

From WaPo:

Mogul Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were each given a chance during a CNN town hall in Milwaukee to definitively state they would support the nominee. All three declined to renew their pledge. As recently as March 3, in a Fox News debate, all three said they would support the nominee.

Trump said Tuesday that he believes establishment Republicans and the Republican National Committee in particular have not treated him with respect.

Cruz was asked three times by Cooper whether he would support the nominee.

“I’m not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my family,” Cruz said, making reference to Trump.

Kasich said he would have to “see what happens” in the race before he could answer the question.

Serious question: If no one currently running for President (a person who will also be the putative head of the Republican party) is willing to support the GOP nominee, does the Republican Party even exist anymore?

A message from North Carolina's government, via Shutterstock

A message from North Carolina’s government, via Shutterstock.

There’s been a lot of talk about the death of the GOP this year, but last night might have effectively been the final nail in the coffin. If Trump, Cruz and Kasich are all willing to take their ball and go home — if they’re all willing to ignore the loyalty pledge they all signed — then what’s left of the party?

Second question, less serious than the first: How the heck does GOP Chair Reince Priebus still have a job? The Republican National Committee’s donors have to be livid about this whole situation. How on earth has Priebus survived this long? It’s bad enough that someone as extreme as Trump is likely to be the nominee, but as a result there is serious debate as to whether the US House is now in play in November.

Will Priebus even last to the convention?

Most of the press coverage around this is focused on Trump. But this is also a disaster for Reince Priebus. I can’t think of another example of this happening in modern presidential politics.

Priebus will forever be remembered as the chair who fiddled as the GOP burned.

Melissa Ryan
Melissa Ryan is a political consultant. She’s spent a decade leading digital campaigns for nonprofits and political races, including EMILY’s List, Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the New Organizing Institute, and Senator Russ Feingold’s campaign. Visit her website at melissaryan.net or follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.

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