Most of America, including a significant minority of Republicans, have seen Trump’s candidacy exactly for the con it is. Trump for President is a category error. He is, as his rivals have described him, a charlatan, a con artist, a congenital liar, a man self-evidently unfit for office at any level, and especially the presidency. As George Will has argued, his unfitness is so manifest that it applies to anybody who considers him suitable for the office; a person is “unqualified for high office because he or she will think Trump is qualified.”
Even after those of us who initially dismissed Trump’s appeal came to terms with it, it seemed as though the anti-Trump wing of the party would at least put up a strong fight. It was only a few weeks ago that projections had Trump falling well short of the 1,237 delegates he would need to win a first-ballot vote. (In mid-April, Nate Silver, whose findings were typical, projected Trump finishing with around 1160.) Trump’s lead in California, the largest remaining source of delegates, was tenuous. Some semblance of order seemed likely to prevail. Even if that order took the form of the extremist Ted Cruz wrenching the nomination in some kind of chaotic scene, the Republican Party would still have wound up fulfilling the basic threshold duty of a functioning party: ensuring its presidential nomination had remained in the hands of a reasonably well-informed and indisputably sane person — not a giant, not a Lincoln, but at least one of the 10 or 20 million most qualified people in America, or at minimum, a certifiable non-sociopath.
But actual Republican voters have not seen things this way at all.
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