Paul Waldman: When 2016 is over, the GOP will pretend Donald Trump never existed – The Washington Post

…[J]ust about all Republicans will share an incentive to follow the same path: pretend that Trump and Trumpism never happened, or that it was no different from what we’ve seen in any other election. That goes for Republican voters too. There won’t be hard-fought primary campaigns pitting anti-Trump candidates against incumbents who had supported the nominee. And in 2020, the debates between the party’s presidential contenders won’t devolve into arguments about who was behind Trump and who wasn’t, or who embodies the cleanest break with what Trump represented. They’ll all be in the same boat — and they’ll know they don’t want to alienate all those angry Trump voters, whose anger will not have abated. Their main point of contention will be whose hatred of Hillary Clinton burns the hottest.

If Mike Pence can get up in front of 50 million people and deny that Trump ever praised Vladimir Putin or said women should be punished for getting abortions, or even say that Trump isn’t the one running a campaign of insults, how hard will it be for other Republicans to act like there was nothing unusual about their party’s 2016 nominee and nothing they have to distance themselves from?

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