I keep hearing that, in addition to ensuring a Democratic presidential victory, Donald Trump's nomination will destroy the Republican Party, or at least win the Senate for the Democrats. And while I believe Trump is a very weak general election candidate -- in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll he loses to Hillary Clinton by 13 points, and to Bernie Sanders by 18 -- I don't believe he's going to take the rest of the party with him.
Consider another result in that poll:
Trump, according to this poll, would lose a general election badly -- but only 8% of poll respondents think he's representative of the Republican Party; 61% think "he represents something different that is harmful for the Republican Party," while 27% think "he represents something different that is positive for the Republican Party."
So if he continues to alienate people outside his base, a lot of voters won't associate him with the rest of the GOP. In fact, I wonder if the real point of the "Never Trump" campaign is not so much to prevent his nomination as to keep the stink of Trump off the rest of the party.
If so, judging from this poll, it's working.
So don't assume that Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk, and other vulnerable senators running for reelection are going to be tainted by Trump. The GOP is doing a good job of quarantining Trumpism and disassociating itself from Trump in the public's mind.
But what about the Supreme Court? Won't the Senate blockade hurt Republicans in November? Well, consider this result from the same poll:
Yes, more people believe a nominee should be voted on, but it's not a majority -- 48% want a vote, but 51% either favor the blockade or have no opinion.
And, because Americans are endlessly told that Both Sides Do It, there's this:
By more than a two-to-one margin, respondents think Democrats would do exactly what Republicans are doing if the party situation were reversed.
(I'm sure Democrats would set a high bar for a nominee, but if 1988 is any indication, they'd be willing to approve someone, and they'd certainly hold hearings and allow a vote.)
I know, I know: This is just one poll. But I'm just reminding you that the GOP really could survive all this with no more than a presidential loss. And then we'd be pretty much where we are right now.