I keep telling you that there's absolutely no way Donald Trump is going to destroy the Republican Party, or even do serious, long-lasting damage to it, simply because the Beltway press won't allow that to happen -- the press has too much invested in the notion that both parties are equidistant from the political center and both are equally to blame for government dysfunction, so even if Trump wins the nomination and then crashes and burns in November, the press will give the GOP a mulligan soon after Election Day and declare the party's slate wiped clean.
This Ronald Brownstein article from National Journal is a few days old, but it suggests that the Beltway isn't even waiting until Trump is nominated, or even faces voters for the first time, to proclaim the existence of an alternative GOP. And as I said a few days ago, the preferred Beltway narrative is that the alternative GOP is the GOP of Paul Ryan, who's sending thrills up journalists' legs again:
Why Paul Ryan Is Becoming the Counter-Trump
The new speaker offers the clearest contrast to the presidential front-runner’s confrontational vision of the Republican future.
On Friday night in Rock Hill, about 80 miles north of here, Donald Trump roused a raucous overflow crowd with impassioned populist attacks against a dizzying array of targets. The next morning in Columbia, House Speaker Paul Ryan wowed a reserved but still overflow crowd at a forum on conservative thinking about poverty with a dizzying array of policy proposals and his impassioned insistence that the party must address the problems of the poor.
... with Jeb Bush faltering in the presidential race, and Marco Rubio moving toward a darker message, Ryan emerged from Saturday’s forum as the national Republican leader offering the sunniest contrast to Trump’s belligerent vision of the party’s future.
... “This is a struggle for the soul of ... the party,” says Arthur Brooks, the polymath president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a Ryan ally.
Just for the record, the event at which we're told Ryan "wowed" the crowd was the Jack Kemp Forum, which, according to news reports, was attended by "hundreds of voters." The crowd for Trump's rally? 6,500 people. So I think Trump wins that round.
But it doesn't matter. The press can't bear to acknowledge that the party of Trump (and Ted Cruz) might be the real Republican Party, so we'll hear endlessly throughout Trump's time at the top that there's a shadow party just waiting to wrest control from him. So nothing to see here! The GOP's just fine -- really!
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog