In their post Wednesday morning about what to look for in the debate Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of the NY Times suggested watching to see if Trump torches his own party. Sounded like fun to me.
Snubbed by Mr. Ryan in the final month of the campaign, Mr. Trump has seemed as eager to attack turncoat leaders in his own party as to make the case against Mrs. Clinton. He has reserved special venom for Mr. Ryan, blasting him as a weak leader with bad ideas about trade and immigration, and suggesting that Mr. Ryan might be sabotaging Mr. Trump’s campaign to pave the way for a presidential run of his own in four years.
These attacks have the potential to rip apart the Republican Party in ways that will last long beyond Election Day. Should Mr. Trump use a prime-time debate to sic the Republican base on its leaders– and to cast himself, essentially, as an independent candidate challenging elites on the left and right– he could inflict damage on the party far deeper than what Mrs. Clinton might deliver on her own.
And should Mr. Trump strafe the party that nominated him, it could have immediate consequences for Republicans seeking election to the House and Senate, who cannot afford an abrupt drop in turnout from demoralized and angry voters in their own camp.
But during the debate, the Adderall-impaired Trump had other things on his mind. He didn't attack Ryan. Last night, in the spin room after the debate, Hannity, a full-fledged Trump surrogate, told Robert Costa that Ryan is a “saboteur” and called on Republicans to force him from office and replace him with… Louie Gohmert. (No, I did not make that up.) If Ryan watched Trump giving the election to Hillary, he must have wanted to kill himself. Trump is clearly unhinged and deranged. And Ryan's cowardice and bad judgment in regard to the threat Trump poses to America, have caused his own favorability among Republicans to crater. And does he ever deserve it– and worse… although being replaced by Louie Gohmert is kind of weird, even in terms of the 2016 election cycle.
Ryan’s cratering popularity follows his public denunciation of Trump’s 2005 hot-mic statements to Access Hollywood in which the GOP nominee bragged about sexual assault. Ryan said he continues to endorse Trump’s campaign, but will no longer defend him. In response, Trump accused Ryan of conspiring against him and of being part of a “sinister deal” to help defeat him.
Only 40 percent of Republicans now hold a positive view of Ryan (R-Wis.), according to the poll, down from 54 percent 10 days ago.
Among Trump supporters, just 28 percent still like Ryan, down from 48 percent. About 6 in 10 Trump supporters disliked the speaker in the latest poll. Four in 10 Republicans disliked him in last week’s poll.
Among all voters, Ryan favorability rating has sunk to negative 20, the lowest rating recorded in a YouGov/Economist poll for the GOP leader since he became speaker of the House one year ago.
Similarly, a new Morning Consult/Politico poll shows Ryan’s popularity taking a nosedive among Trump supporters and Republicans overall, though by a smaller margin. The poll shows Ryan’s net favorable among Trump supporters fell by 32 points since an Oct. 8 survey. Among Republicans, Ryan’s favorability fell 23 points.
If things weren’t already looking sad enough for Ryan, the Morning Consult poll also found that more Trump supporters would rather see Ryan replaced as speaker of the House than continue to hold his job in the next Congress.
Meanwhile Trump's doofus ally from New Jersey, wallowing in his own misery, didn't show up. Maybe he's getting ready for his impending court case– or maybe just enjoying his record-breaking 21% approval rating among New Jersey voters. Overall, rightist Jonah Goldberg summed last night up for conservatives in his National Review column: “[W]here I dissent somewhat from the conventional wisdom is the notion that Trump was doing great until that one response. He lied repeatedly and shamelessly, most importantly about all of the stories of his sexual advances being debunked. They haven’t been. (I loved him saying– over and over– that “nobody” has more respect for women than he does. Nobody?) He was doing better than he has in previous debates and he was even scoring real points, but he simply wasn’t doing anything to get voters to see him in a fresh light. And when you’re this far behind, you need to add voters to your column. He didn’t do that. He didn’t even try. And that should be unforgivable.”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis