And that brings us to the big lesson the GOP should take from the entire Trump affair: There is another side to the Republican Party, one that the GOP has tried to ignore, and can ignore no longer. It’s a side of the party that has learned to distrust its leaders on immigration, to be suspicious of a turbo-charged capitalism that threatens their way of life. And it may be a side of the party that is needed to return the GOP to presidential victories. It is the forgotten part of the Nixon-Reagan coalition. And by being ignored, it has turned angrier and more toxic.
But whoever eventually vanquishes Trump will still have to address the Trump phenomena. The billionaire has energized a large block of disaffected white voters who feel betrayed by the establishment of both parties and lost in an increasingly globalized economy. But he has also alienated huge swaths of the electorate with his angry rhetoric about immigrants and Muslims. Whoever gets the GOP nomination will have to figure out how to keep Trump’s supporters in the fold and get them out on Election Day to defeat Clinton in key swing states where the Democratic nominee is likely to dominate among women and other key demographic groups.
A menu of supply side tax cuts that deliver huge benefits to the wealthy and big corporations won’t do it. It’s not clear what will. Even if Trump falls, Republicans will still have a big Trump problem.