Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, many in the party are calling for Republicans to unite behind the guy who was clearly the favorite of primary voters. But, apparently, Trump is still not the choice of many key party members. The rift in the party illustrated by Trump’s rise has become more pronounced. Now even members of the establishment are sniping at each other.
Most recently, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said he supports Trump as the nominee, but when the same question was put to House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Speaker flatly refused to endorse Trump. The Donald immediately went after Ryan:
“With millions of people coming into the party, obviously, I’m saying the right thing. (Ryan) talks about unity, but what is this about unity?”
Trump will likely need that unity if he wants to win in November. Rank and file Republicans and even some of the “NeverTrump” crowd will need to be won over if Donald wants to attain the White House. Many prominent GOP power brokers seem to understand this, and even those who have been vehemently anti-Trump are now supporting the nominee. But not everyone.
Meanwhile, the DEMs seem to be trying to move themselves into the position of Adults in the Room. President Obama delivered an unveiled jab during a recent press briefing, telling the assembled reporters, “This is not a reality show. This is not entertainment.”
The comments were a naked poke at the media, which has found much to love about Trump’s on-camera presence. He makes for good TV, so they keep us tuned in. It’s tough to blame them, really. They’re in the business of making money, and that requires viewers. Trump brings in viewers, no doubt about it.
But Obama’s comments are not just for the media. For decades in American politics, the GOP has referred to their party as the grown-ups, castigating Democrats for being immature and whiny children. Now it’s the DEMs trying to take the mantle of “grown ups” into the general election season.
This narrative shift, if successful, could pose a problem for a divided GOP, who need not only their party regulars but also many independents to win the nomination. They need to find a message that resonates and align behind that message. Otherwise, they will lose. Again.