Democrats, prompted by Mr. Trump’s latest antics and the string of Republicans who have spoken out against him, have, perhaps prematurely, started discussing a loftier goal than just winning in November: a wide margin of victory, driven by a record turnout among black, Latino and young voters, that could help squash Mr. Trump’s movement.I'm reading this after watching video posted by the Times of feral Trump supporters expressing widespread outrage at their political and cultural enemies (“Kill her”; “Trump that bitch!”; “Build a wall -- kill them all”), and after watching a Mother Jones video of Trumpite reacions to the Khizr Khan speech at the Democratic convention (Khan, we're told, is an "Islamic Brotherhood" enemy of America, and Hillary Clinton is a sociopath).
David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager, proposed the idea in June. “It is not enough to simply beat Trump,” he wrote on Twitter. “He must be destroyed thoroughly. His kind must not rise again.”
Is one election really going to make it possible to put this toothpaste back in the tube?
After the events of the past few days, I can imagine a Clinton victory as large as Barack Obama's in 2008 -- but that didn't exactly inspire angry Republicans to calm down, did it? I can't imagine a huge LBJ-in-'64 victory, not just because Republicanism is so ingrained in white America, but because it's quite likely that Clinton's poll numbers now are the best she'll have, given that it's right after a successful convention.
I don't think even a massive landslide would crush Trumpism. Goldwaterism didn't go away after 1964 -- it morphed into Wallaceism and, more significantly, the GOP's Southern strategy. David Duke lost badly when he ran for governor of Louisiana in 1991, but the GOP continued to appeal to its voter base with Duke's message translated into dog whistles; shortly after that Duke loss, a Louisiana politician named Steve Scalise declared himself "David Duke without the baggage." He's now the House majority whip.
The Republican Party is not going to abandon Trump's base -- without it, the GOP would be only a few sizes larger than the Libertarian Party or the Greens. After November, the party will seek to appeal to them without being Trump-like. If we're going to rid ourselves of Trumpism, it's going to take multiple elections, and a record of successful Democratic governance sure wouldn't hurt. Even so, Trumpism won't go down without a sustained fight.