Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaking at a Tuesday fundraiser [in San Antonio], continued to call out members of his own party for not being fully supportive of him, including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who he accused of "total disloyalty to the party."GOP insiders and others think the party could be doomed because of this rift:
... "I think they forgot that there was an election, because something happened in the last month where you didn't see them, right?" Trump said of some fellow Republicans, according to audio of the event obtained by The Texas Tribune. "You didn't see them. I said, 'Why aren't they on the shows? Why aren't they all over the place?'"
Earlier in his remarks, Trump said occasionally "our own party gets in the way" of his campaign. "Sometimes it's harder to beat our own party than it is to beat the person on the other side," Trump told donors.
Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist and former aide to Mitt Romney who has not supported Trump, predicts that Trump will lose the presidential election and, "unfortunately, hurt several" down-ballot Republicans.But here's the thing: Trump could be getting his revenge right now, and he's not doing it. He could be telling crowds at every rally that they shouldn't vote for Paul Ryan or John McCain or anyone else who's criticized him. He could say, "Vote for me. Don't go down the ballot and vote for that bozo."
Beyond that, it's difficult to predict what will happen after Nov. 8, especially when it comes to Trump's next moves, Williams said.
"Who knows what he does? I think he's going to be mad like a wounded animal after the election, just looking for the next thing to go after," he added, noting that Trump will "still have sway over a certain amount of people who will believe anything he says."
"The fissures in the party will extend long beyond Election Day, and it's going to be extremely difficult to unite the Republican coalition, going forward," Williams said.
But he's not doing that. Why? Maybe he's so self-involved and so uninformed that he literally doesn't realize that some of his critics are also on the ballot in November. Maybe he doesn't know because the right-wing media, from which Trump gets all his news, doesn't actually want Republicans to go to defeat in November. Trump was aware that Paul Ryan had a primary challenger, and he flirted with endorsing that challenger before half-heartedly backing Ryan, but Trump's favorite news sources aren't calling for a Ryan defeat because that would mean a Democratic victory. Not even Breitbart, where Steve Bannon once made it his mission to destroy Ryan, seems to want that.
At this point, Trump seems to be focusing on Ryan and other Republican critics not because he plans to hurt them, but because he's lining up scapegoats in advance of his near-inevitable defeat in November. (A loss can't possibly be Trump's fault.)
What will Trump do after Election Day? He might want to hurt Ryan and others, but I don't think he'll have any idea how to do that. If he chose, he could build an apparatus that would identify challengers to his enemies and fund those challengers lavishly. But that would require patience, as well as real knowledge of the political system.
Trump lacks both of those things.
He knows how to attack people directly in the moment -- we saw that in the primaries -- and he knows how to ask his lawyers to file lawsuits (or, as a fallback, how to go to the media and use the threat of a lawsuit as an alpha-male dominance display). I just don't believe he'll manage any follow-though after November 8, even if he's furious. He'll just rant and rave and threaten, and then he'll go on vacation and come back and tell us he's got some shiny new venture.
More than that would require the attention span of an adult.