Donald Trump has stopped fundraising for the Republican Party that he feels has openly betrayed him.
The Republican leadership is turning on the outsider candidate who captured their party, inflicted immeasurable damage to the brand, and is failing to defeat a Democratic rival the public neither likes nor trusts.
Trump loyalists, particularly Giuliani and Gingrich, are turning on the Republican leadership and the rightwing press, feverishly trying to deflect blame in advance of the trainwreck that is looming.
From Sydney Morning Herald columnist, Paul McGeough:
There's blood in the water. Traditionally, a losing party might go to the mattresses after an election, but just days before an election that was its to win, the Republican Party is already tearing itself apart.
Privately, Donald Trump is demanding that House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most senior elected Republican in the country, be forced to pay for his disloyalty, and on Tuesday Trump made clear he'll not take any blame for defeat – "the people are very angry with the leadership of this party, because this is an election that we [could] win if we had support from the top," he told Reuters.
Riven and demoralised, the party is splintering into two camps – an establishment-led faction that will disown Trump as it attempts to make peace with the minorities abandoned in his pitch to a shrinking white America; and the Trump and Tea Party diehards who cling to the candidate's ethno-nationalist xenophobia.
The GOP's post election dilemma is nerve-racking – a whole leadership generation will have been discredited for not pushing back hard enough as Trump emerged as the likely nominee – and in that, they created their own combustible Catch-22.
...Here's how New York Times columnist Ross Douthat parses it: "The party's leaders were afraid Trump would rage against them if they denied him the nomination; instead, he is raging against them for refusing to go to the mat for his caught-on-tape misogyny and pornographic boasts.
...Ryan is among a GOP who's-who of likely presidential candidates for the 2020 election.
But Trump, always a modest man, seemed to argue to a rally in Florida this week that that only he can defeat Clinton – "all these characters, they want to run in four years. They can forget it. They're wasting their time. You don't have even a little bit of a chance."
If the conduct of Trump's presidential campaign is a guide, that is guaranteed to be brutal, self-destructive process.
If Paul McGeough's take is accurate, and he does have a pretty good record of getting things right, this is getting very ugly and could be a setback the GOP won't overcome anytime soon.
Would a Clinton presidency and a Democratic Senate seek to fan the flames of Republican discord? How could they not. If Republican solidarity collapses and their energy is diverted to internecine battles, that's all good news for the Dems.