It’s interesting. When Trump first started to rip through the ‘official’ Republican candidates, there was all kinds of talk about how the Republican party couldn’t possibly survive this, and it would tear itself apart, possibly before the election. That didn’t happen.
But now the ‘mainstream’ Republicans do seem to be trying to distance themselves from any candidate controversial enough to threaten their program of upward wealth-redistribution, while a certain fraction of their base will blindly embrace any candidate who tweaks the libtards hard enough. And the angry brigade aren’t going to forget how the rich old white suits running the party ‘betrayed’ their heroes like Moore and Arpaio. I think it’s going to get progressively harder for any Republican to hold together the fragile coalition of the venal and the frothingly insane.
Trump, of course, is the perfect president for the party at this point in time, because he represents both venality and know-nothing lunacy. But if he turns into a real liability and the core GOP cuts its losses and kicks him to the curb, then that promised fission really might happen after all. Then we’ll have the Deplorable Party on the one hand and the Koch-Norquist Front on the other, perhaps attended by a few satellite splinters of the Ayn Rand Died For You Tendency. And these would be actual distinct parties (probably not under those names), rather than simply factions within the larger party.
If that happens, then the party of Trump/Moore/Arpaio is going to be something spectacular: the amount of raw hatred and full-on madness out there waiting to be tapped by any sufficiently unprincipled demagogue is considerable. This will not be simply another nationalist party along the lines of the Front National or Vlaams Blok, but something even more frightening. I’m not a great believer in the notion of American exceptionalism, but I do believe that when it comes to introducing something truly psychotic to the political arena, the US may still have an edge.
P.S. When I describe the Republicans as either ‘venal’ or ‘frothingly insane’, I do not actually believe that all (or even a majority of) Republicans fall under one or other of those headings. But they do seem to be the two factions that are steering the majority of the party’s actions just now.